Yesterday, I received one of those forwarded emails that we have all come to know and dread. Some I quickly delete without thought. It would be interesting to know the criteria by which each of us do that. Mine is if it sounds “cute.”
Anyway, this one was about supporting American workers this Christmas. It suggested that instead of buying the scads of cheap junk that foreign factories are or have been busily producing for our consumption, that we gift people with services from owner-owned shops, or buy from local craftspeople. It reminded me that I’ve been wanting to introduce the work of my friend, Terry Widner. I’ve been meaning to do this as a sort of public thank you since
he crafted a spoon for me from the wood of my plum tree.
I’d read a book on soul a while back that suggested that we know our treasures. What are those items that we hold most dear, that speak to us, that say something about our lives and values. Another way to say it is, if you were to leave your home with just a few items, what would they be?
This spoon is one of my treasures.
I never did the “naming my treasures” exercise. That’s another question I’d love to ask anyone reading. Do you ever do the exercises in books?
But the thought stayed with me. What do I treasure?
I have the disks with my books on them in a small, fire-proof safe. Even though some of the disks are no longer easily usable, I feel good having them there. I’d want my books to survive, but I don’t know if I’d haul them along if I was fleeing a burning house simply because they’re replaceable. The irreplaceable nature of the “one of a kind” can have a lot to do with making it a treasure.
One of the things I’ve felt has fallen away in a quest for non attachment is our appreciation of the particular. Soul attachment is a little different than clinging to our consumer goods.
This spoon is something I treasure because it came from Terry. He invited me to send him some wood and offered to carve me a spoon. The offer alone felt like a gift. The anticipation as I awaited my spoon’s arrival was also a gift. The fact that our plum tree had just given up its life, and that it was the site of one of my most cherished moments in the coming of A Course of Love (one I wrote of in The Given Self), also enhanced the feeling due to timing. If the offer hadn’t come when it did, the plum tree might have left me without being memorialized.
Often a well-chosen gift will delight because it says that the giver of the gift really knows you. But when an artisan makes something particularly for you, there is a whole additional sense of anticipation, as if it will be revealing of something that is not of you alone but more of the bond between you and the artist.
This spoon came to me just after I’d discovered the Message from the Hopi Elders, which I’ve copied below. It came looking like a pipe. I’ve attended Native American ceremonies and my good friend Lou is an Ojibwe pipe carrier. It felt as if, without realizing it, without conscious intent, Terry had crafted my spoon into one that looked so like a pipe as a compliment to that sense of sacredness with which the pipe is held in the Native tradition. The feel of the pipe/spoon in my hand was also heightened by its pipe-like shape. It wasn’t a pipe – not a lifting from another culture of something as sacred as that – but it still held the potential for being held in a sacred manner.
Terry’s spoons are whimsical and profound and any of them would be gifts worth being called treasures.
You can view and purchase them here:
He also has a poster of his various spoon creations that he sent me and I love it, and there is also one of the Brugmansia that is on the cover of my new book, Creation of the New, which he designed.
Message from the Hopi Elders
We have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour
And there are things to be considered.
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, and push off into the
Keep our eyes open, and our heads above water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally,
least of all ourselves.
For the moment that we do,
our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that you do now must be done in a sacred manner and in
We are the ones we have been waiting for….
THE ELDERS, Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona, June 8 2000