These last couple of months have been a hive of activity as Menla Healing (or rather I) took up a number of challenges the least of which was a trip to Oxnard, CA in the US for a ‘Stitching Buddha’s” retreat where women from around the world gathered under the watchful eye of our teacher Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo to develop our skills in the ancient art of Tibetan Applique.
What does this have to do with pain or Menla Healing? Menla Healing is about managing pain both emotional and physical. Menla Healing promotes self-compassion and care …. and this is how I chose to care for myself. This form of art aids expression, is spiritual and healing, and it lends itself to contemporary pain management strategies such as ‘pacing’.
This ancient applique process used in the making of Tibetan Buddhist Thangka’s offer’s opportunities for practice and self-care no matter how much pain or discomfort you are in. On ‘good’ days one could wrap cords and do the most intricate of work. On days where this is not possible fabrics could be ”stabilized’, or longer less intricate pieces could be stitched and couched. On days that demand stillness, the projects and the course material can be reviewed, images of the works of Masters (including those of Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo) can be perused, or one may prefer to just sit and examine fabrics and threads making choices of textures, colours and designs for the next project.
Pain doesn’t mean we need to lose touch or give up the things we love doing. There is always something that this art form offers no matter where one is with pain, even if that is ‘just sitting’ and accepting.
This art form is also such a beautiful Buddhist practice – the act of stitching is mindfulness in action. Each piece is symbolic and rich in teachings and opportunities for meditation.
One learns a great deal about ones mind while in meditative contemplation of each stitch.
For more information on this art form click on the White Tara image below or follow this link – Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo’s Threads of Awakening website.