Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Raw Silk

Day 43 (Thursday 12th January 2017)

43 species have now been declared Extinct in the Wild by the IUCN
Each of these creatures can now only be found in zoos. Amongst the 43 are:

Today's author, Janine Baillie-Stewart, lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. She wrote this post on New Year's Eve - it uses the symbolism of one of the gifts she received at Christmas to focus her thoughts and to provide a message for us, her readers. Janine is a highly capable senior HR professional, with over 24 years of Human Resources and OD experience gained in the Public Sector, Retail, FMCG, Pharmaceuticals and Manufacturing industries. She is one of the few I know who can rival me for experience in start ups, SMEs, established, global or local, public and privately owned organisations. She believes in authenticity and living a balanced life and she leads by example. 

Janine has worked at GSK for the past four years and is currently the Learning Business Partner for the Consumer Healthcare Supply Chain division for across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She is a sporadic blogger, commenting on life and things that matter to her, on JanineBSBlogAs you will deduce from her writing, Janine has an eye for detail and is full of heart. Her academic roots are in Psychology and she is loving and caring, a devoted mother, with a genuine concern for the environment and our future. You can find her on Twitter, her handle is @JanineBS.


Raw Silk

I received a truly beautiful Tree of Life wall hanging for my small garden this Christmas. Of all things symbolic, it is the one which truly resonates with me.

Now, with a small lull in the hive of holiday activity, I have some time to reflect.
The Tree of Life is symbolic in many cultures and religions. Universal symbolism.

Baobab Tree at Sunset, oil painting by Errol Norbury
In Africa the Baobab is known as the Tree of Life
The symbolic meanings come from all the aspects of the tree and how these interact with the earth's elements. The deep strong ground roots embracing the fertile soil of Mother Earth, the green open-faced leaves reaching to the glorious sun for much-needed sustenance, bringing healing. The solid towering trunk supporting, standing firm and at times bracing against the relentless wind. The fruits give back of themselves to Nature which has provided for their growth and abundance.

The tree provides life.
All the elements are in harmony with the tree. Everything is at one. As I watch the sun set on the last evening of 2016, I wonder how we would, as mankind, compare to the synchronicity of the Tree of Life?

Cartoon by Chris Madden

An old university friend of mine recently suggested I read "The Tao Te Ching" by Lao Tzu as translated by Stan Rosenthal in 1984. Reflecting on the year which has been, and looking to a new year, no.39 struck a chord with me.


It is better merely to live one's life,

realizing one's potential,
rather than wishing
for sanctification.

He who lives in filial piety and love

has no need of ethical teaching.

When cunning and profit are renounced,

stealing and fraud will disappear.
But ethics and kindness, and even wisdom
are insufficient in themselves.

Better by far to see the simplicity

of raw silk's beauty
and the uncarved block;
to be one with oneself,
and with one's brother.
It is better by far
to be one with the Tao,
developing selflessness,
tempering desire,
removing the wish,
but being compassionate"

In 2016 we have seen cunning and profit succeed, we have seen selfishness create a reign of fear where many are afraid of their brothers. We have seen hostility between men and nations. We have seen mothers and children dying with no other place to go.
So what to do differently in 2017?
We have so many examples of people performing selfless acts of kindness and courage. People working two to three jobs to support an extended family. People working within their communities to uplift the poverty-stricken. Stories are abound where families and individuals have made the decision to simplify their lives, to live more naturally and embrace the beauty of the raw silk and the un-carved block.

As more and more of us make these conscious choices with the small things in our lives, the choice to live with less, act with less malevolence, and to embrace the natural ebb and low of life, let go of our ego's, we can germinate seeds of change. We can return to a state of harmony like the Tree of Life.

Mulberry Tree seedling

The change starts within. 

Raw mulberry silk yarn

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