Fostering a daily practice of spiritual calm where God is at the center of each day during this time of self reflection, forgiveness and reconciliation, can bring another aspect into your practice of icon writing (for me anyway) — slowing down. One of the best books I have encountered is titled “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. Lessons from a snail? Really? Yes! We move too fast in our days. We push through morning meditations because we must go to work. Rush, rush, rush! Time to slow down and breathe. Yet that nagging sensation that you must hurry up and get things finished tries to rise through your thoughts.
I read this book in two days, not because of a rush to finish it but because it transformed my thinking…rosykrysh…applied slowly and methodically brings better results for the underpinings of the icon; of course one knows this but my hands move too quickly until thunderbolts from Heaven said “slow down and become the snail!” Oddly enough, my daughter in law gave me a small candle holder in the shape of a snail for Christmas and I’ve been seeing snails everywhere lately! All seemed to come together for my ears to be opened to hear the message of lent…slow down. Reflect. Forgive. Be calm. Vladislav calls it your “listening ears” and most of the time, mine seem to be closed?
Getting ready for our meeting this past Sunday, I began to have slight panic as my home was in slight disarray, 7 friends were coming to pray and practice and our Lenten soup seemed to be missing an ingredient; preoccupied with being Martha/Mary and having everything just right so people enter a calm environment to write our icons, I found myself rushing … then I saw my snail carrying a little clove oil candle on her back and I smiled. Slow down. All is well. God is present.
Noon arrived and friends began coming through our door. Ahh, no time to vacuum, but no one noticed the leaf poop scattered by the doorways or the mud on the carpet runners–only the smell of the soup and the scent of the candles. We began our work quietly and Christ is with us! Working for 6 hours we stopped for dinner, then our day was finished. Friends headed home around 7:30 though Tatiana and I stayed til 11pm discussing the various aspects of iconology and the sacred work we are called to do, fueling the inspiration to revel in the Gospel of Christ in light and color.
Now today is Tuesday and the beautiful snow we are receiving with ice covering the trees, I will practice being a snail working in peaceful contemplation and hope you, dearest readers, are doing the same. Psanky workshop is coming on March 25th and we are all looking forward to our next gathering to pray, create and fellowship!