Meditation for the New Year

25 Quilt
Insights and Intuitions: Twenty-Five Images for a Trip Down Memory Lane
Ellen Collington, 2007
Free motion machine embroidery on creme silk, mounted on velvet
prepared for the 25th anniversary challenge of the Hamilton Quilters Guild

Tonight we are planning to rehang some of my fiber art, which was taken down during extensive and very dusty renovations, and tomorrow we will start the new year with the first dinner in our new kitchen. This wallhanging is an attempt to record in images some of the things I hold dear and important.

What would you select for your visual biography?

Did you make any new year’s resolutions?

This year there have been many tragic reminders that life is too short and too unpredictable to fuss over non-essentials. So this year my resolution is to be freer and less demanding in my quilting, and in my life. “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, including 1/4 inch seams, mitred corners, and finding that perfect fabric.”

Despite our conditioning to consider it a virtue, the pursuit of perfection is self-defeating. Feelings of anxiety lead to paralyzing procrastination. Stress is created by regret over perceived failures. Surrounded by examples of “superior” creativity or skill, we become inhibited about taking risks or learning new skills. Unrealistic standards of perfection, especially when self-imposed, can stifle us and bleed the joy from our life.

Author Virginia Satir suggests five freedoms that help us to escape the damaging impact of perfectionism:

Freedom to see and hear what is here and now, rather than what was, will be, or should be.

Freedom to think what you think, rather than what you think you should think.

Freedom to feel what you feel, rather than what you think you should feel.

Freedom to want and to choose whatever you want, rather than what you think you should want.

And freedom to imagine your own self-actualization, rather than playing a rigid role or always playing it safe.

So I wish you a happy… and imperfect… new year!


You may enjoy reading more about Virginia Satir. There are also several sites giving her quotations. Here is one of my favourites.

I want to love you without clutching, appreciate you without judging, join you without invading, invite you without demanding, leave you without guilt, criticize you without blaming, and help you without insulting. If I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other.

Satir often integrated meditations and poetic writing into both her public workshops and writings. One of her most well-known works, “I Am Me,” was written by Satir in response to a question posed by an angry teenage girl.

I Am Me

I am me
In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me
Everything that comes out of me is authentically me
Because I alone chose it – I own everything about me
My body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions,
Whether they be to others or to myself – I own my fantasies,
My dreams, my hopes, my fears – I own all my triumphs and
Successes, all my failures and mistakes Because I own all of
Me, I can become intimately acquainted with me – by so doing
I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts – I know
There are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other
Aspects that I do not know – but as long as I am
Friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously
And hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles
And for ways to find out more about me – However I
Look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever
I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically
Me – If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought
And felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is
Unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that
Which I discarded – I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be
Productive to make sense and order out of the world of
People and things outside of me – I own me, and
therefore I can engineer me – I am me and

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One Response to Meditation for the New Year

  1. debbierodgers says:

    Ellen, I’m so glad to finally see some of your fibre art! This piece is very thought-provoking – I only wish I could examine it more closely than what my monitor will allow.

    What would I select for a visual biography? A wonderful question for introspection.Off the top of my head I would choose a train, books, a porch, a baby, dogs, a genealogy chart…hmmm..yes, I must ponder this some more. Thanks for the prompt!

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