As I received the news of the unprecedented and brutal attack on Ukraine, I struggled with what to do with my feelings of unease and horror at what the Ukrainian people are facing. Today I woke up and thought perhaps I could engage in a contemplative activity in which I could focus prayers and positive energies directed to all those who are and will be suffering gravely. So I spent the day today designing a cross-stitch pattern that I could practice contemplative stitching on. I then thought I should share this by making it a kind of solidarity stitch-a-long and encouraging others to join me on this special stitch-a-long in honor of the Ukrainian people.
Why a cross-stitch design?
The Ukrainian people have had a long, proud tradition of embroidery, and this small piece is inspired by traditional Ukrainian embroidery designs.
Based on Ukrainian tradition the symbols in this piece mean:
The cross = protection from evil.
The star = strength and serves as a protection from disease and evil.
The heart = love and harmony, and a united family.
The white dove (flying over heart) = peace.
The wavy lines = the stream of time and evolution.
The key/sigil = protection from negative influences.
The square = well-being, peace, and fortune. It also means perfection, harmony, and order. In the Ukrainian tradition, the square is the symbol of earth.
The colors also have meaning in the Ukrainian tradition:
Yellow = wellbeing, joy, and vital energy.
Blue = healing and spiritual calm, and it protects those who are most vulnerable.
Red = life energy, love, and joy.
Black = the earth, wealth, and wellbeing.
White = innocence and purity.
Green = youth, beauty, and calm.
I have matched the yellow and blue threads to the official colors of the Ukrainian flag (see the thread color conversion chart below) by converting the official RGB colors to DMC thread colors.
How to practice this Solidarity SAL:
This is a project that is meant to take slowly and with a particular focus. Here is how I practice this solidarity stitching:
With each stitch, offer a prayer of strength and support, while reflecting on the challenges facing the Ukrainian people. Pause periodically, breathe and envision a world at peace and in harmony. Then continue infusing each stitch with strength and support.
When I stitch with black thread, I connect to the stability of the earth. With each stitch in red, I connect to life energy, love, and joy. With each stitch in yellow, I connect with wellbeing and vital energy. As I stitch the cross I focus on protecting the Ukrainian people from harm. And as I move on to stitch the star, I focus on protecting the Ukrainian people from negativity and evil.
This focused stitching takes a bit of energy, so I devote a short amount of time each day to it--but it also raises energy that I release into the world and in turn, send to all Ukrainian people all over the world.
Please share this pattern and encourage others to join in this special solidarity stitch-a-long. May we, together, through our creative forces, wake people up to the horrors that Ukrainian people face and to the truth of how fragile democracy among people can be. Through stitching may we all become stronger and closer together! (Note: I ask that you not use the pattern for personal gain. If you sell anything made from the pattern, please donate the money to support the Ukrainian people.)
You are welcome to join the One Point Mind Mystery SAL Facebook Group and share your process working on the Ukraine Solidarity SAL:
May our creative energies guide the world to peace and harmony!
About My Work
Before I became a monk I made a living creating art. When I took the five Buddhist precepts in 2002 I was given the dharma name Do'an (pronounced Doe-ahn), which loosely means "path of the eye". From that moment on, the focus of my art shifted toward contemplative practice, in which I used meditation and breath to facilitate my creativity. I studied Asian brush painting and calligraphy techniques, which had a great influence on my painting style and composition. In 2008 I discovered fiber. I learned to knit, spin yarn, needle felt and weave.