One of the first aspects of her ministry Eileen Melia shared with me and our support group friends is of her Healing Energy of Love. The quilt has a large, pink, marbled, valentine heart at its center. Opened hands of all sizes and colors with pinkies overlapping thumbs encircle the heart. The hands and heart are on a white background which is bordered by a calm blue. It was made in 2006. In time, through writing grace, Loving Hands of Healing Energy became an inspiration for an affirmation quilt for one in our circle who feels a special connection to hands.
Eileen, Toni, Jewels, and I decided to experiment more seriously with writing for healing after having a guest on a conference call meeting for Elly’s Gratitude Group (EGG). The guest, Alissa Lukara, author of Riding Grace, A Triumph of the Soul, read to us amazing passages from her book of life and healing. We enrolled in her workshop called Writing Grace – Writing as a Path to Transform Your Life which suited our long distance situations being in many states and time zones. Assignments were by e-mail and discussed in class teleconferences. (Read about Alissa and classes at the Transformational Writers website.)
Loving Hands of Sisterly Support
The prompts for Writing Grace were challenging. They encouraged us to know ourselves more or differently, to reveal what we could. There were triumphs and there were troughs of tears. We saw more of each other’s hurts, coping mechanisms and walled off areas. We helped each other open vent holes in areas of the bodymind that hadn’t breathed in a really long time. Confidence in the presence of the the sacredness of all and cushions of gratitude made it possible to sit through some chilling, tough stuff, and to reclaim some energy knotted up in experiences or worries of the past. In writing class, our hearts and writing hands were connected, were holding on to each other, so we might have individual transformative moments.
Outside writing class, the group plotted to surprise Jewels with our individual hands of support on a quilt by Eileen. Though Eileen obviously knew her quilts came with writings, the rest of us didn’t really get how big a part that was until later. Eileen sent for outlines of our hands, from classmates, the teacher, and from my immediate female family members. She overlapped them under a big heart. The Loving Hands of Sisterly Support quilt and its written meditation were born in 2008. The quilt was bordered with bright butterflies symbolizing the soaring and tremendous transformation that may comes after wrapping up in cocoon for a time. Eileen wrote, “Like the butterfly, life offers one a multitude of stages. Taking risks while spreading wings involves both trust and fortitude.”
A single one of a kind butterfly was sewn into the back for the one of a kind recipient with the meditation pointing out “the little girl is still within and will never leave” and to “keep those feelers out and live in the wonder of childlike joy!”
This Loving Hands of Sisterly Support affirmation quilt, based on the Loving Hands of Healing Energy quilt, lent inspiration to the 2010 quilt featured in Affirmation Quilt Ministry – Blessed Offerings. The quilts have similarities – many of the same fabrics including butterflies, a heart of marbled pink at the center, hands – and they have differences. There are outlines of different people’s hands holding the hearts, there are light blue blocks in the corners on one, the other has the chalice and the cross atop the heart. Each has a unique meditation and was sent into the world on a unique mission of comfort and celebration. Each is quilted with threads connecting and appreciating us all.
Crafters create some interesting intersections of life with how their supplies end up part in this project and part in that project, with how one project is the springboard for another. Eileen and I have another thing in common. We don’t often make the exact thing twice, always tweaking a design, adapting it a little here and there for the uniqueness of the moment. Many interesting things life of a crafter and her projects often go unseen except by and sometimes not even by the crafter herself. I love asking about the stories about the inklings to buy this or that fabric, for example, for a person or a project where there are plot twists and mysterious things that happen to change who got what. I love listening for the synchronistical vibes and the aha moments in those intricacies. They make it possible to let go even more the idea that things only happen logically or under certain conditions.
Themes I have seen in all the affirmation quilts are celebration, appreciation, and something I call becoming unconditional. Childlike joy might come in part from how unconditional children are. We have all heard of, some have even experienced, the extraordinary uplift of being unconditionally loved, unconditionally accepted, unconditionally appreciated. Recovering from being conditionally loved, from being conditioned to believe things are only a certain way, and from conditional acceptance recovers more energy, spirit, aliveness.
I am witness to the hard and holy work Eileen is doing to ease up the conditions she puts on herself. I am witness to her helping others do the same. The Meditations for her Affirmation Quilts are full of wonder and celebration of all aspects life and they do help others experience the freeing feeling of unconditionality. The unique and universal blessings of healing via each act, each breath of becoming unconditional surprise, delight, and uplift.
Her Affirmation Quilts are not being made at the speed they once were. God and the grandchildren have other plans. The body of work already out there and the spiritual messages to still be taken in through the material and the meditations are enough to keep Her Ministry ministering.
©Elly Brosius, 2016. All rights reserved. Excerpting is allowed with credit and direction to original content. For full reprint permission, firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos supplied by Eileen Melia.