Tag Archives: dye plant

Nettle in the Mint–the shadow side of self

31 Jul

I like to taste words.  To roll them over my tongue.  Notice their flavor.    The emotions they evoke.  This morning over at windthread Grace posted briefly around the idea of “regret.”  I noticed the way that little six-letter word made me feel. The brief moment of sadness that wanted to arise.   And just as I was heading down a road of my own, lined with what I could have called regrets,  Grace flipped the concept on it’s back–answered my comment–clarified the idea of not applying the concept of “regrets” to things one has done — but to future things that would cause “regret” if NOT done. She re-framed and presented a more constructive use of the word…and i’m quoting “i realized i have a tendency to think of regret in…what would i regret NOT doing in any given situation?”  A total about face.   And this struck me as such a profound reflection–a moving away from a negative spin towards the positive.  From the ingrained response to a liberated restructuring of the concept of regret.  A point-of-view that implies if we know in advance what actions would cause regret, then we can take steps to circumvent it–or not.  But still it feels like a choice.

I’ve had my own word lurking around lately.  “Shadow,” as in the shadow side of self.   My shadow side specifically.  The not-so-pretty, often problematic part.  Bats in the belfry and all that.   They’ve been asking for attention. Persistent.  Clearly holding an important message.  Right now I sit here listening to the rain. Noticing what, in the past,  I would have called “weeds”–common nettle– growing on the bank right in the middle of mint and lemon balm. nettleThe nettle in the mint–bottom right hand corner.

It has meaning for me now. because nettle can be used as a dye plant.  It changes things. Improves cloth when used in a certain way.  I will harvest it just as I harvest the mint.  Now it has value to me. But the value of shadow?

Then I think of my grandson who totally loves his physical shadow.  He plays with it.  Runs full steam while watching it over his shoulder.  Sometimes it gets in front of him, sometimes it stays behind.  And sometimes he trips himself up in the process of watching it.  But he’s always aware of where it is and it delights him to no end.  Obvious I can’t actually see my own shadow side — although I can see the fallout from it, from time to time.    But I do see that it’s just like the nettle in the mint.  To be looked at as nuisance/weed–or something instructive and useful. An agent for change.

Oh Sunday I sat with seven women for seven hours in a workshop conducted by Jude Lally.   We discussed a lot of things. And we made felted objects. This one is actually a holder of sorts. Right now it’s holding memories. Old memories that seem to be arising from another place and another time. And it holds a feather.  felted piece

And this cloth, muted, eco-dyed fabrics in the early stages of becoming,  feels like it’s arising from that same ancient place.

the sisterhood

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