It is hard these days not to be glued to the news of what is happening in Ukraine. Many of those I know have family and friends there, others are paying attention out of fear or concern. Many of us feel helpless, living afar unable to help with humanitarian efforts on the ground in Ukraine, assisting those who are fleeing their homeland.
This past weekend, I hosted a Pysanky For Peace workshop and gathering at my home. A handful of friends showed up, all of them have never made eggs according to the Ukrainian way of writing pysanky. It was a humbling experience being able to teach them the way my Baba taught me. I went into the event with the hopes of being able to spread this cultural practice and to raise some money for the humanitarian organizations this project supports – but what I learned by the end of the night was an unexpected lesson of gratitude and self care.
Everyone, upon learning the technique involved in writing pysanka – became hyper focused. From drawing out their designs, to carefully writing with the wax, and slowly immersing their eggs into the vibrant dyes – the mood of the room changed from an anxious nervousness, to one of a collective peace. As pysanka are made with intention – so it became a meditative practice, and a moment of calm in the midst chaos.
Several of my friends who attended thanked me before leaving for the night, stating that this was the first time in the past week and a half, that they were able to not be glued to the news, that they had a moment to breathe and to re-direct the deep emotions that they were feeling in a way that felt meaningful. To me this unexpected lesson I learned that evening – was more than what I anticipated to come from the evening, and something that I felt needed sharing during these tense times.
So please – remember to take moments to care for yourself as you are caring for others in need. Use pysanka writing as a means of meditation – of channeling your thoughts, well wishes to the people of Ukraine, frustrations into your designs, and allow yourself a moment of quiet reflection and creation. We must also take care of ourselves so we can effectively take care of others – especially when taking care of those that don’t currently have the luxury of peace.
This video was submitted to us by Emily who owns the shop Ukrainian Egg Supplies. Her and her husband – who is a composer, and whos work is also featured in this video – create video tutorials to help foster the peace of making pysanka and to honor the pysanka tradition.
MEDITATION AND INTENTION PRACTICE : A MOMENT OF CARE AND INTENTION
Sit comfortably in a quiet, dark candle lit room. Before closing you eyes, reflect on the warm glow of the candle light, imagine the warmth wrapping itself around you and embracing you with love and care. Close your eyes, and breath in and out through your mouth deeply. Feel the air fill your lungs, giving you life, nourishing your body. Breath out through your mouth slowly, releasing the tension in your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your neck, your back, your legs, your feet…. as the air is released back to the world. Continue this breathing practice through this meditation time. As you breath and release your tension, begin to imagine a bright white sheltering dome of light over Ukraine – protecting it from invaders, allowing peace to return to it’s people. Reflect on the emotions you have been feeling these past few weeks, and messages of love and encouragement you would share with the people there – offer them continued strength, courage and love through your meditation session. As you are ready to come out of the session, and slowly begin to open your eyes and return to the normal rhythm of your breath – hold onto these messages of peace you’ve sent in your meditation to the people of Ukraine. What symbols hold meaning and represent your messages, who will you and translate these intentions into your pysnaky writing? Write from your heart, with all the love in the world.