Joining Together

by Madeline Champagne



For most of my forty-year career, I worked at a computer screen. So the idea of a meditation meeting on a zoom screen did not conjure up for me a warm fuzzy feeling. Over the years I had never been able to discipline myself to a daily or even occasional meditation practice – so this opportunity to not do it alone eased my self-discipline. I enhanced the ambiance with a burning stick of incense. I have a glowing salt lamp beside me, and I assembled an altar area in the room which I can see behind me in my zoom image.


A while ago, a member of our Meditation Group was calling in on her phone, and said that she wished she could see the screen. I remember thinking that our zoom screen was like a patchwork quilt of beautiful faces. Then when one of the members was attending, too ill to participate but continuing to be with us every day, I pictured this patchwork quilt as a warm and comforting cover.


The screen of faces has become a special place of grace and love and gentleness and inspiration and healing. No longer do I see a patchwork quilt. I see a tapestry. The threads carry the words that are spoken from our hearts. to radiate out, and weave from each to all.


These are threads of harsh stark reality, past and present.


These are threads of affirmation, of visions and hopes.


These are threads of honesty and sincerity and open hearts.


Some threads are silky and smooth, some are textured, some are thin and brittle, some are thick and strong.


On the face of the tapestry are our images, what the world sees in a glimpse. On the back is a growing mat of uncut threads, connections made and remaining, new ones building up. There is no need to keep the back tidy – it grows organically, free and loose.


On the stark computer screen there is a tapestry. This tapestry, like each of our individual lives, is greater than the sum of its parts.


Threads of varied densities and textures and hues that make up each I and You,

and intertwine with gratitude to connect to We.


We are all the same.

We are all different.

We are woven together.

Poem by Vera Agnes


I am weaving the

tapestry of my life.


I am spinning the threads of my past,

the odd and knobbly strands, the

smooth and soft ones, it is all flowing

like silk through my hands once I sit

down at my loom.


Only when it all blends together, I can

see the unfolding pattern I was blind to

see before. When bits and pieces

seemed like bitter blocks before, they

now turn into a manifold ornament,

to enliven my life on a tapestry of

experiences.


The more I weave, the more I trust.

Though sometimes I will bleed and

blister, it is inherent to the weaver’s

work and weave I must.


My tapestry is unique as yours, not

better or worse, simply mine and as my

tapestry grows, so do I.


I weave and I weep, I weave and I laugh.


I weave in darkness, I weave in light.


This weaving never ends.


Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you for the threads of love and the healing fibers you offer! So POWERFUL.

  • Thank you for your extraordinary words this morning.

  • It reminded me of Carolyn King’s Tapestry

  • I thought I couldn’t handle another metaphor. But the tapestry is a beautiful one, as is the patchwork quilt. I think it’s true, it’s this amalgam of all of these different threads. All different but when woven together, it’s strong. You mention the mess in the back of the tapestry. I remember seeing an exhibit of Chinese textiles from a village where the women finish the back as well as the front. It’s what we can do.

  • Thank you so very much. It made me think of the AIDS quilt, and how people came together to remember their lost loved ones. The patchwork of love together. What a beautiful idea to represent the similarity of all those people. The other thing that came to me during the meditation was an old song from church that says ‘blessed be the tie that binds, our hearts in human love, our fellowship with kindred minds, is like”… a tapestry.

  • That was so beautiful. It really reflected my experience of this group for so many months. When I closed my eyes, I could see these threads of golden energy flowing amongst all of us. These are the threads within the tapestry. I was deeply moved by what you wrote. I feel like someone gave me a present. During the meditation, I realized the present all wrapped and beautiful with this bow was what you had written, but what I really felt was the presence that was embodied in everything you spoke. And when you spoke of the love, and then of the grace, I could feel how grace has supported us in this exploration. I felt how it had entered my life. It was like one layer after another layer, and I thought about different mornings we’ve had together and things that were said. Thank you for capturing the experience of this group. And I could feel how grace has supported Shirley in bringing us this opportunity to pull together and unite at a very special time in our lives.

  • It was such a rich reading to listen to and it was truly moving. When you first started, it seemed like a straight-forward statement and I began settling in. But then I took a deep dive into my heart and soul. That’s what I appreciated the most. It was just beautiful. And also, the experience of hearing what others think of this group. I have tried to put into words what this experience has meant for me. And I really like that you expressed it and put it into that kind of frame. It encourages me to tease out my own way of expressing it. I appreciate your comments about the uniqueness and differences of each of us, and the huge commonality that brings us together. It’s such a rare experience, at least for me.

  • Thank you so much. That was so powerful. I love doing all kinds of art and crafts. I had strong images. What resonated for me was on the back of the tapestry. I was seeing all these strands in different colors on the back. They weren’t loose hanging in the air, but they were like roots that were connected down into the Earth and the Universe. So that there was a connection of all of us with everything else coming up and blooming in different ways. I’m going to play with that. I like how someone said you put it in a frame for us. Thank you so much.

  • Thank you so much. I could see the smoke from your incense undulating around you. It was beautiful. I agree with how we are all together. I also pictured an animal quilt, of all the animals we’ve had over the years who have passed. I’m missing the cat that just passed. My other cat plays with my iPad, the other one was in the cat tree snoring. The animal quilt has the pets that have passed and the live ones bringing their love and energy to it and making it move. I always get another pet when one passes because there are so many that need homes. But right now, in my life, I can’t do it anymore. So there is a sadness that I can’t add to that quilt. Thank you for what you said. It meant a lot.

  • Thank you. Those were really beautiful images. Initially, in the meditation, I went to my childhood and my mother braiding my hair. And then how I braided my children’s hair. It was lovely. What is coming to me is how, at the beginning of our meditation journey at the beginning of the pandemic, I was working as an essential worker. It was so hard putting one foot in front of the other each day. This group held me for that early part of the pandemic. I felt supported and grounded by the love. This group has been so rich over time. I feel the energy of those who have come and gone, who’s here today and who will come back. It’s so rich. So thank you for that imagery, it’s beautiful.

  • Thank you so much for that amazingly beautiful writing. I love the image of the tapestry. I’m going through a hard time right now, trying to be there for my son. I feel strength coming from all of you as I figure out how to respond. And to respond in a different way than how I have responded in the past. This tapestry gives me a lot of strength for doing that. I am grateful for all of you. And for making me feel welcome from day one. When I first came in, I knew you all had been meeting for several months. But I never felt like the new kid on the block. I felt welcome from day one. I treasure this time with all of you. Thank you.

  • When you first sent me this writing and I read it, the word magnificent was the only response I could have and it made me cry. It made me cry again today because there is truth in every word. You are capturing what happens when people connect their hearts. To me, that’s my goal everywhere I go is to help people feel included and honored and deserving, and that they count. It’s so important to me. I couldn’t do that until I did it with myself. I so appreciated this.

  • Thank you. That was wonderful. I love the extended metaphor, from the quilt to the cover to the tapestry, and then the threads. From a writing perspective, it was beautiful. From a spiritual perspective, it captured who we are. I watched people cry as you read it. It was touching. During the meditation time, I went into a deep meditation because of the beauty of your writing and its content.

  • I’m getting an image of how, when we are weaving, we don’t want to pull the threads too tight because they can break or they can buckle the tapestry. There is a lightness we carry with each other that I love.

  • One of the reasons all these different metaphors are so powerful for us, I know for me, I have looked more closely at everything in my life over this last year. And I see this microcosm of life as a whole in all these things we take for granted. And when I become more grounded and start to see these things that have been in the background, it strengthens my whole feeling about how interrelated everything is, and the beauty that comes from that.

  • Thank you. Thank you everyone for showing up today, whether you spoke or not, we all benefited from this sharing. It was quite moving. I hope you all have a gentle day. As we live our lives with more awareness, we are aware of the tapestry of everything. And as we deepen our relationship with the everything, we become more aware of the bird’s eye view and being in it, and we gather more wisdom. And it all comes from within. Thank you for walking this journey with us. I hope you all have a great day.

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