I chanced upon Shuttles and Needles when I was looking to buy some yarn online. They have an impressive website mind you; one as impressive as their name, and when I saw that they offered weaving lessons and even sold looms, an old childhood memory of mine resurfaced. One, where I had woven with pride, a small & simple purse, on a small & awkward 12cm cardboard loom. Perhaps I had stumbled upon a fortunate stroke of serendipity???
Tucked away, in a quiet and lovely residential area, this lovely little Studio facilitates and takes one and all, on an experiential journey of creating and bringing to life beautiful expressions that are unique to, and that identify with, the precious SELF.
I entered this cozy nest on a cloudy summer's morning and was warmly welcomed into the roost. It was like walking into a home full of lovely people. At first sight, the looms, on which some very beautiful expressions were in the process of being created, were quite intimidating. However, my instructor got me mesmerized with the loom in no time at all.
On the loom, my first thought while weaving was – I was experiencing at once, the beauty and the might, of Simplicity. My hands were moving to and fro and back & forth, in this repetitive & mundane, yet calming action, creating a beautiful flow; reminding me of a caterpillar in a chrysalis. To the onlooker, the act of weaving may look boring and monotonous but a lot is going on inside the weaver's mind. Just as the caterpillar in the chrysalis is busy transforming into a beautiful butterfly, the repetitive action on the loom transforms into a beautiful flow that leads to a feeling and a sense of oneness with the act itself. Your Body, Mind & Soul connects to and is witness to; the rhythmic dance of your fingers synchronizing with the expression of your creativity through the interlacing of the yarns. It is quite a spiritual experience.
As Kabir says, “ I weave your name on the loom of my mind.”
The Warp and the Weft they call the yarns. Oh! What a harmony they illustrate despite being so mindful of each other’s space! What a splendid marriage they make, for—
As Gibran says,
“You shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness
For the pillars of the temple stand apart
And the Oak tree & the Cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
The 3 days I spent at Shuttles & Needles was like magic. The lovely music playing softly in the background, sipping a hot cup of tea, people answering my every call and deftly coaxing away my anxiety and self-doubt, appreciating my weave from time to time and the interns energizing the place with their cheerful talk….it made me realize that weaving is a timeless act. One gets so absorbed in the beautiful flow that is created, that one loses track of time. It was as though I was weaving an order into all the thoughts in my mind. Suddenly there was no Ego, no Anger, no Hurt, nothing. Every thought was warped and wefted into harmony; a harmony that wove its presence into my mind without me ever realizing it; creating a beautifully patterned Peace of Mind.
As Kabir says-
“Quietly, quietly like a thief, my mind has slipped into the simple state.”
It has been almost 3 months since those 3 magical days at Shuttles and Needles. Weaving has become my Mantra since. It has led me to ponder and reflect. It took a pandemic for my penny-drop moment to occur; to push me towards investing in myself. We choose to warp our Identities and weft our Ego’s through man-made resumes, centred around corporate giants and ivy league schools and colleges; and claim that achieving this pedigree is how we must weave purpose into our lives. We condition not just ourselves but our children too, to run this irrational race; telling ourselves that we are seeking happiness, seeking contentment, seeking peace of mind; all of which I had experienced through such a simple action; the simple action of working the loom.
The solution, therefore, to a world, or should I say; a mind full of conflict and chaos? lies nested in the beauty of SIMPLICITY. Should we not then redefine Success? Should we not then unlearn and relearn the running of this never-ending race? Is it not our responsibility to nurture the future generation towards exploring and discovering the beauty that exists in Simplicity? Should we not learn and teach to let go of the fear of being left out and go ahead and forge our own unique identities? Yes, there will always be those who will fail to identify with our unique patterns, who will perceive us differently, but then, is being Unique such a bad thing?
All we need to do is to trust our instincts, and our intuitions, believe in ourselves and live, love and experience every moment of every day of our journey.
As Kabir says,
“Drop falling in the ocean: everyone knows.
Ocean absorbed in the drop: a rare one knows,”
Be then…THE RARE ONE!!!
As for me, just as my hands come together to pay obeisance to the primordial---so do my body and mind come together as a weaver; to pay obeisance to my soul within---to the Brahman within. My heart will forever keep resonating with this incredible experience of expression and longs to reside forever in this state of soulful meditation.
Radhika Anand on herself: My family is my heart and soul. I love children. I love the rain and the birds. I love reading and I love my herb garden. My favourite colors... Aqua and Turquoise. People who I love for driving me crazy....my husband and my Indie pup. I stumbled upon two joys of my life serendipitiously...one is Back to College...and the other is weaving