Showing posts with label reconnection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reconnection. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reconnecting With Heart and Spirit in 2017

"Who am I? What's is my soul's purpose for being here? What do I love most and least about my life and how can I best catalyze change, growth, experiences, and understandings in the year ahead?"

These are the questions I ask myself and how I search within for the manifestation of the answers from my heart.

This year my reconnection with spirit will be about realizing all that I have learned in the past 20 years for they have truly flown by and seem but a dream within a dream (once the name of one of my AAQI art quilts ;-)

So, as I dream...and I create and I manifest goodness in my life and the life of all I love (and if you come here and read here and especially if you are reading this..I love you from the truth of the one heart we connect to and share!

Who am I?

Michele Maria Bilyeu
(Mi-shell Mar-ee-ah Bi-lue)

I am an oxymoron by nature!

noun: oxymoron; plural noun: oxymorons
  1. a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g., faith unfaithful kept him falsely true ).
When people look at me ..physically...they see a youthful for her age, perhaps...but still a  little older lady.

I am perceived, as a sewist (the modern term for a sewer and now you know why as you read that word) and a quilter who has spent her life giving and working with others.

But I have also been an activist, who rallied others to fight against injustice, who was asked to serve on community boards and planning committees, who worked tirelessly to fill in the gaps as a volunteer in schools that ranged from early childhood Montessori quansut huts to elementary, middle school, high school, and college level programs.

But deep down inside, and to the hundreds of people who have been directed by therapists, and healers, and friends and acquaintances to my healing hands for decades, I have been an intuitive healer and a creator of spiritual alchemy in my life, and the lives of others.And all of it, every thing I have done.I have done for free.

So, we have lived a simple life with simple, inexpensive things based on my growing up in territorial Alaska and learning always, always, always to make do with what we have and to make what we needed ourselves.

I am all of those things and more. And I have done all of these things, before they even had names since I was a very, very young girl. I just didn't seem to see it as it was simply part of who I am.
People have always reached out to me for help and for connection with the hurting and missing parts of themselves, just as I have reached deep inside to that giving and understanding part of me to understand why I have always been so willing to give so much of myself to them.

Growing up in the fern filled forests of summer in Alaska to the snow filled landscape of winter in Alaska, I lived a solitary but richly creative life. If we wanted something we needed to make do with what we had whether it was snow for snow men to clothing, to hand me downs from my twin cousins where I appeared to only own four outfits when truly I had eight!

As the oldest of five children, and the only girl, my world was very different from that of my four younger brothers. They were active on the outside, and I was active on the inside, as well. Creativity began with the simplest of materials ..making villages and dollhouses of our extensive collection of garage sale books, sewing my own doll clothes on my grandmother's treadle sewing machine, building forts out of leftover wood to house the dozens of stray cats, I secretly fed in our back yard...

I was extremely intuitive, empathic, artistic, and creative. Both of my grandmothers, my Alaskan grandmother who emigrated from Finland, and my Louisianian grandmother, who emigrated from France, were sensitives blessed with intuitive gifts of caring and healing. These special women who were pioneers in all ways, were a natural part of me. And how their strength and courage during hard times and many losses, enforced by mystical stories passed down by my family helped reinforce my own strength and abilities.

As a child, I  realized that I wasn't afraid of being different, or living an isolated often solitary life, even in a house filled to the brim with my own family and the very large extended family that came almost every day to visit. I chose to walk a different path by rearranging the stories of my elders into new configurations that fit my spirit and moved my heart to being and doing all that it needed to be and to do.

Bit by bit, in this lifetime, as I got married in a tiny shrine on a very tiny island in Alaska, as I gave birth to and raised my children, those understandings, that deep awareness grew. And as they grew so did my heart and my spirit and the deep, energetic gifts of  heart and hands grew as well.

Then, I knew I was very different and I was meant to serve and to help others in very different ways.

Half of my world was is in Alaska, and the other half visiting our relatives in Louisiana....yin and yang, day and night, hearing Finnish spoken in one home and French in the other. But my whole world...inside and outside....was filled with art and music and books..because the world I lived in with my family in Alaska was a long heritage of artisans. Filled to the brim with creative family members and a creative life. And oh so filled with the beauty and magic of a transformative land.
And I used those opportunities and those gifts all days long manifesting a world of my own design in spite of the wild games of my younger brothers, the howling of the Taku winds that rattled our 1935 windows mercilessly, the bitter cold of walking to school wearing pants under my dresses that had to be removed once I arrived there as girls were not just expected to wear dresses but required to!

When the weather cleared, I lived outside. Walking through the underbrush of the that surrounded our house in a town that still had few houses and many, many lots were completely empty. Creating forts out of piles of scrap wood from the my beloved sandy beach, or my father's scraps, or even from the wood pile meant to keep our old house warm.

Now I collect things to create homemade paper and other art projects.....seaweed and lichens, and moss and bits of fibers. Just as I did as a child, when I collected bits of just about everything and created the magic of the natural world just as I collect, and create with today.

I find treasured rocks, and twigs, and even eagle feathers in strange places, and lichen, and moss. And everywhere I went as I child, I found them... and they found me. And each and every item, each and every creation has reconnected my spirit and reminded me of who I truly am.

Now, I make potions and notions from wild things like our native and incredibly magical and healing wild devil's club that grows as a rather irritating weed in those magical forests and hillsides.
(You have to wear gloves to strip the bark but once it is dried it can be used to make creams and lip gloss as well as medicinal tinctures.)


As I once sewed clothing for myself and my dolls and my cats with needle and thread from my mother's and grandmother's sewing baskets. I learned to sew with the children that go to our Douglas Island Gastineau Elementary School, to work with adults who want to learn to sew or to quilt but transforming that into this blog and sharing such a greater community in that process of teaching myself to create a blog over the past ten years!

As I child I read as many as four books a day and playing endless music on the phonograph ..everything from 50's tunes belonging to my parents, to operettas, to classical. I danced and I played and I sang and I created and manifested all of the future versions of me. And it was art filled with books and music and paintings that my father and uncles, and later my mother and myself, painted.
I still dance and I still sing, and I still love books and music that touch my heart like little else can and always will.
Those who come here and read, those who feel my connection and reconnection. You carry this in your heart and your spirit, just as I do. This is the connection and the reconnection in all ways.
I love to sew, to craft, and even to quilt..very simply and all by a child. But everything was so much simpler then. Everything was done by hand or on a treadle sewing machine or my mothers Singer when I was allowed to use it.

It was the mini-me version of myself in the making and I loved my life then, just as I do now, inspite of challenges that sound unbelievable to others when I share them.

I am still that forest and ferns, rocks and seashells little girl become little old lady ;-)

I still go out into nature and collect beautiful to me things and fill my heart and my home with them. My heart and my home are filled with starfish and seashells,and glass fishing float balls, pinecones, and home made wreaths, and feathers, and rocks, and crystals. Everything is handmade and homemade unless it is a gift and those gifts still come from the creative hearts of those I love.

As a visitor once told me (as she noticed that one of my end tables was fabric covered plastic crates, and the other one, fabric covered card table.... "All this time I thought you were rich but you are just crafty!" I am and so are the members of my family! Above, a prayer flag by me, a concrete meditation bench created by my son for one of my best birthdaygifts ever!

We live in the same house we built ourselves in 1978 and no even though we are builders we still live simply and have never remodeled. Even our furniture is the same homemade, or thrifted things I love and somehow it all works and works quite well in our lives.

 I like to do charitable work and giving but almost all of it is done at home and then brought to the venues that disperse them. I give one day a week to community, two days a week to family, and four days a week to what feeds my soul.

I am rich in spirit and happiness because of this richness in my spiritual life of not only giving but always trying to do onto others...and while I try to do it as mindfully as I can with physical, mental, and emotional challenges constantly seeming to enter my life as lessons for this amazing journey and adventure...sometimes ok, quite often...I do lose my mind as those amazing energies of connections fill me with de-light!

So for this year, while I do not have New Year's Resolutions as such, I do have my own private words of the year. Last year my word was 'Reconnection". And it all just seemed to happen but almost always in ways that I would never have expected, and most of them quite challenging.
I reconnected with myself, my friends, my family and my soul. All things others would say they thought I was already connected with. I thought so, too. But as I often discovered, what one sees and feels with their eyes is not what one feels and sees from the heart.

So, this year, more than ever that is my goal. I will continue to feather my nest and share feathers with others. I will continue to feed my heart as I continue to share my heart with others. And I will continue to give and to do and to be and to share.
But I will do it in the spirit of mindful living. And as I show the word of action, I direct my ongoing path of choice. This year will be about mindful reconnection realized and manifested in my life and the lives of those I love. Not wasting, not wanting, not ranting if I can help it ;-) but focusing and my home and in the places I am needed and meant to be. Just as I have always done but in new and intuitively creative ways!

Choose your word and share my path and together we will make it through any pain, any challenge, any darkness. 

Love and reconnection will guide me to make right choices for myself and those I love. May your word and your loving heart guide you as well.

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares her creative and healing  journey from Alaska to Oregon. Wildcrafting and the textiles arts... sewing, quilting, and creating prayer flags. Join me as I add my healing energies to changing our little project, one gift of sharing from my heart, at a time.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Birds have always been seen as special messengers of hope from above. While bird feathers, besides being engineering masterpieces, are often seen as symbols of reconnecting us with hope, and a belief in the unseen and as yet unknown.

I love finding feathers along my own path whether I am simply walking in my own yard in Oregon where feathers are more likely to have been left from one of my own flock of domestic chickens or along the beautiful beaches along the channels of ocean waters in my home state of Alaska where I reconnect with childhood, family, and the feeling of being home and truly returning to my own nesting rebirth year after year.

In a time of transition, and the beginning of a New Year, I seek the same reconnection. After many months of continuing my own daily life with all of the traditions of family, celebrations and feathering my own nest with the bringing in of the holi-day lights, the creation and giving of gifts, and the joys and sorrows of life and living, reconnecting with my own past took on new meanings this month.

After months of being in an internally aware state of grief for the loss of my youngest sister-in-law to cancer, and the tragic death of a dear family friend of 45 years, I was reconnected with the loss of his wife and daughter just 17 years ago, my best friend of many decades, and my youngest daughter's loss of her best friend since birth. A family that we shared the building of our two homes together on the same acreage, the births and raising of each of our three children to adulthood.

Reconnection to grief and mourning needed to rise up and be filled with constant reminders of life, of light, and of the grace and the beauty of our natural world.And I needed to bring those reminders of the natural and outside world into my my inner and internal world..both in my heart and in my home.

And then a new loss. One of my four little grand-cats was killed in a tragic accident. As someone who has loved animals her entire life, this new loss was just one more on top of those that had come at the end of the year. Again, I reconnected with the deep emapthic grief of anothers loss that mirrored my own and yet, was still my own.

Reconnection is truly connecting to source and to the divine that lives within each of us, just as spirituality connects us to spirit and religion links us back to the beginning and source of all understanding. Our awareness of any separation is simply an illusion or perhaps better yet, an allusion. For each of us is part of one another and a part of all that truly is.

And because I am always finding feathers in my own spiritual journey, birds and feathers as two of the many joys in the gardens of my own life.  And it was all of these feelings, all of this joy, and all of this pain that was transformed into a prayer flag to grace a wall in my home. A wall that rises up the journey of the stairwell...step by step, just as enlightenment in all of its forms and all of its stages, has come into the journey of my life since I was a young child playing in the fern filled forests of Alaska.

I brought in the symbology of the bird feathering her nest, long recognized as signifying hope and of course the feathers as symbols of creating and manifesting the improbable, if not the downright seemingly impossible. With bits and pieces of fabric and thread, yarn, jute, feathers, twigs and twine it speaks without having a voice and is heard without having a pulpit.

Reconnection fills my heart and lights up my soul, my prayer flag graces the steps, the pathway, and the journey as I walk upstairs to my art and quilting areas. With each step, and each new awareness, I seek to rise each and everyday to greater and greater joy, inspiration, and creativity.

And I fill my heart not only with gratitude for each new day, each new step, and each new understanding, and allow the reconnection to soften and gentle within me as grief merges with understanding and joy once again.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King
Be of and everyday
Reconnect..with empathy, caring, and love with one another.

For as Dr. King has said: "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
And he is also credited with having said: "Be the peace you wish to see in the world."


Reconnect with YOUR past, your present, and how we manifest our own future! I do on an almost daily basis!! Today, I realized for the first time, why I am so drawn to Melanie Testa's Meadolark fabric and why I am constantly drawn to supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. Each of us in our own ways, kicks our challenges to the curb and keep on after day! Here is my latest Melanie Testa Breast Pocket contribution. This one donated at the end of last year to the Quilting Art's Challenge.

For not only did my own mother battle Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer and come down from Alaska for treatment but she ended up leaving with me and my family for the next 9 months as we battled..first her fear and refusal to go through treatment, but onto intense chemo, a mastectomy, and then intense radiation. She went from less than a 3% chance of surviving to not only surviving, hitting her 5 year benchmark and on to living for many, many more years. That she ended up with severe Alzheimer's and my traveling to Alaska for additional caregiving is another reconnection in so many ways.

This 'Breast Cancer Pocket' was created as soon as I learned that my beautiful 27 year old niece was not only diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2014, but had almost immediate surgery, and is now having chemo, then radiation. Time for not only this breast pocket, but for another prayer flag!!!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!