Cat From The Mat

The Event of a New Year

Before crossing the threshold of a rather tumultuous 2012 into the possibility of this new year, I attended an art exhibit at NYC's Park Ave Armory called "The Event of a Thread."  
According to artist Ann Hamilton, her exhibit was inspired by two main things: sewing and storytelling.  The practice of stitching is one of crossing threads in such a way that they become connected in relationship with each other.  In a rather lofty yet welcoming space, Hamilton has created the dynamic movement of a central silk curtain, connected to overlapping strings above the driven movement of nearby swings.  These swings move in tandem with the others and cause the silk to dance.  Hamilton is successful in creating a space where people felt roomy while feeling the impact of one's actions on another, from having your swing moved, initiating the random oscillation of material, to just sharing a common place in which to get lost.

You can ride the pendulum of a swing or repose on the wooden floor looking up at the dreamy flowing curtain. From surrounding brown paper and twine gift wrapped speakers, one can hear an intimate broadcasted voice of a live reader.  

Being read to is a narrative loom.  As a child, I remember my grandmother reading to me Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories or Grimm's Fairy Tales, as I closed my eyes and opened up my ears.  Leaning into her as she recited, I could feel the vibration of her words while being transported to another time and place that each story demanded.  I would fall asleep inside the stories and then wake up the next morning back in my own perception of reality.  My imagination became the connecting thread.
As you transition into 2013, you exercise the ritual of writing upon the blank slate of a new year.  You are the story you tell yourself.  It's easy to focus on what you have failed to do the prior year.  More exciting though is envisioning the narrative that you want to tell.  Like a worn out sweater, 2012 is done with. Instead of throwing that piece of clothing away, you have the chance to take the leftover relevant threads and reknit the next version of your sweater, your life.  You don't need this ritual of New Year's to do such a thing, but culturally it's an agreed upon date when we can all reset, start fresh, and fabricate again.
Yoga invites you to hit the reset button, to sew and sow again.  The Sanskrit term "Svatantrya" means self-sovereignty or self-weaving.  "Sva" implies self.  "Tantra" is a paradoxical term that defines both a tool upon which to expand, as well as one upon which to deeply enter into woven relationship.  What are the strings from your old garb that are still relevant to incorporate into your new year?  And what are the new fibers you wish to add into the tapestry of 2013?  You can always unravel the pattern of your current narrative and recount the chronicle you wish to reveal this year.  Every moment is the first of January.

The title of Ann Hamilton's installation comes from a knitting book where it's explained that the crossing of any thread is considered an "event." So make this year of putting your intention into action as an application of self-mastery.  When you deliberately design the pattern you wish to be, the web you weave is a beautiful manifestation of how you choose to engage in life, rather than just a "stitch 'n bitch."
Happy New Year!  To 2013, a year of artful possibility and expression...cheers!
Cat from the Mat
January 2013