There were about 20 people in a circle in the middle of the Open Source Embroidery exhibit, with microphones at the center. It looked a little scary walking in, and realizing that we were the circle. In fact we were the mantra, and become the stitch with our words and breath. It was to be recorded.
Sherri instructed us to choose a mantra, anything that quickly came to mind, and to use the embroidery floss and linen at each of our chairs to simply pierce the fabric with each syllable. In one side as you started the word, Out the other as you finished the stitch. Or to follow your breath. Let the pace of our mantra drive the pace of the embroidery.
It was like breathing, in unison, but all of our unique breaths, all of our unique mantras.
Hesitant at our own pace, some speaking louder than others. Some whispering, rhythms coming together at times and then falling apart to allow one voice to come through.
It was a sort of theater that was not public but became deeply personal as it felt like the rhythm of the group became a part of my own breathing. It was amazing.
Years later, the mantra I came up with that day on the spot in two seconds before we started to stitch is still so real for me. And I say it to myself when I stitch, when I need to ground myself.
Always. Trust. Yourself.
(You can hear recordings of other Stitch Mantras conducted by Sherri here.)