Showing posts with label small art quilts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label small art quilts. Show all posts

Monday, May 23, 2022


Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning a purpose for being or "a reason to get up in the morning."

Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding this deep meaning, this purpose in life can vary for all of us and it can change as we journey through life. But it usually requires a deep and often lengthy search into one's self. And like all journeys, in the very end, it is often that journey that is more significant than anything, or everything one may do, or accomplish, or even achieve in their lives.

For the journey can often be the purpose. It can be the meaning and the reason for getting up every single day and allowing the spirit of wonder and expectation to enter. To focus the energy of being, the spirit of wanting to learn, to know, and to grow to enter. And then to access that deep inner energy, that drive, that creative impulse to center and to ground to become one with that purpose.

Pronounced :                                                    
"Uh key gay I"

For me, my 'Ikigai' has always been about using my gifts - physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally - in service to the greater self. And the greater self for me, is expressed in helping others. Sometimes, it has been someone I already know and care about. And sometimes it has not. 

Sometimes, people are directed into my path or found along my journey. Sometimes our meeting is for a reason, or a season, or a lifetime. I never know which until the path unfolds.

This journey has always been a challenging one for me. I always know what I had to offer and it can vary from day to day. I always know what I want to give, to do, and to be in a greater sense. 

But that has so very often conflicted with what I had to do, or to give, or to be in order to fulfill this purpose, this meaning, this greater destiny of spirit catalyzed into action here on earth.

The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It is this combination that creates the spiritual impetus for doing good for doing that deeper spiritual impulse's purpose in this life, through love and not ego.

The term "ikigai" is composed of two characters : iki and kai. Iki refers to life and kai is a suffix meaning roughly "the realization of what one expects and hopes for."

As we mature, as we realize our own courage, our own deep need and our abilities to survive beyond all that which we think we are capable of, all that we think we can achieve, and are often surprised to discover that it might not have been what we originally thought we were meant to do, to give, and to be in this lifetime.

And so today, I share my doing, my passion, my being, in one tiny little form..creating from fabric and bringing forth the manifestation of a greater gift..the gift of love, of giving, of doing and creating. Not just for myself, but through myself for others. My reason to get up in the morning.

So, today I ground myself, my purpose, and my spirit with ikigai. I share this little embellished art quilt begun a very long time ago when my mother was still alive. My mother who loved all things Japanese, all things with deeper meaning, never knowing that one day, her own family, my own family with have members of Japanese descent that we love dearly marry into our family and begin the process and finalization of the healing of many wounds from World War II. 

A war that cost one of the five members of my Alaskan family his life by the hands of one once seen as the enemy but now seen as part of ourselves, our family, our earth, our humankind.

We gave up the anger, the blame, the polarization that leads to division and separation of our true spiritual self and our incarnated soul. It's not easy to stay in spiritual radiance. One has to always remember who we truly are and what it is we were sent here to this earth to be and to do.

I honor that journey, this earth, my life, and the grounding that I find along the way - that balances the darker shadows of life and its challenges as I always do.  I use.with the brilliance of the light, the sacred power of divine energy and that desire to do more, be more, and give more. 

One of those things in life that never fails to give me joy is creating.  All of these little quilts were begun during my work with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and my caring for my parents in my childhood home on Douglas Island, Alaska. 

I made and donated my 75 little 8.5" x 11" art quilts to AAQI from 2006 to 2013 for sale on site or at auction for them to earn money towards research funding towards finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.  The ultimate form for not remembering who we truly are. 

And perhaps for me, the ultimate reason for getting up with love and purpose each and every morning.


Caring for my beloved mother over the 9 years of her disease progression was an act of steadfast love and determination traveling back and forth from Oregon to Alaska as many as 4 times a year as I was needed by my dad who cared for her with the help of other family members the rest of the time. 

It was hard, hard work but still filled with love and joy no matter what, each and every day. And in between I sewed and donated my 75 tiny art quilts to AAQI. The most blessed and deeply personal work of a lifetime of service and volunteering with and for others. 

I treasure that journey of its purpose and its creation and I bring those energies into my new day. Quilting with grace and with purpose and with deepest meaning and joy.  

A journey and a process and a joy created with love from my heart and with my hands.

I blog on a Galaxy Note 9 mobile phone using only mobile data signal in a no wifi home.. Not easy but I am a determined woman who doesn't give up easily 🤣

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting from my heart and with my hands.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

World Invocation Day

On World Invocation Day groups and individuals around the planet unite in prayer and meditation to invoke energies of Light, Love and Spiritual Will, using the Great Invocation. World Invocation Day has been observed annually since 1952.

Eleanor Roosevelt reads the Great Invocation on the first World Invocation Day, 1952

On World Invocation Day, 1952, Eleanor Roosevelt, a pioneering force in the passage of the Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations, and wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, recorded a brief message which included the Great Invocation. The message was recorded by Mrs Roosevelt at the United Nations.

 "We are living today in a troubled world. In many parts of the world people have a sense of discouragement as to whether they will ever solve their difficulties and it seems to me that those of us who feel that a spiritual leadership is necessary in the world are looking for ways in which to express what we feel. Someone sent me the other day an invocation, its called the Great Invocation, and it seems to me to express the aspirations held by many people throughout the world so I’m going to read it to you on this program."

 Listen to the broadcast here

World Invocation Day

Human Unity

The intention to deepen understanding of the oneness of life and to express that understanding is growing daily within the hearts of people everywhere. In the birthing of a just, interdependent global society we need, above all, more light, love and spiritual will. On June 17 people of all faiths and spiritual backgrounds will invoke these higher energies by using a world prayer, the Great Invocation.

Using the Great Invocation every 15 minutes

On May 26, in all time zones, you are invited to hold an alignment with lighted energies for periods of 15 minutes - using the Great Invocation at the beginning and end of each 15 minutes. Join in for as many 15 minute periods as you wish. So, for the one hour period 9:00 - 10:00 AM, for example, you might use the Great Invocation at: 9:00; 9:15; 9:30; 9:45; 10:00 AM.

The Mindfulness Clock on Your Computer Will Help You Keep the 15 Minute Rhythm

There are a variety of Mindfulness Clocks available on your computer. Many of these can be set to sound a chime every 15 minutes, so as you are continuing with your work on Friday, June 5, you can quietly pause and use the Great Invocation every 15 minutes throughout the day. Imagine the pulse of invocation generated by thousands of people using the Great Invocation on this rhythm.

Download a Mindfulness Clock here. There is also a free Mindfulness Bell for MACs that can be downloaded on Itunes here.

One Initiative Among Many

The World Invocation Day Vigil was first held in New Zealand in 2000, and since 2003 it has been observed globally, attracting participants from most continents of the world. It is one initative among many for organised, concentrated use of the Great Invocation by groups and individuals on World Invocation Day.


"Changing the World"

My small format art quilted designed and donated by Michele Savikko Bilyeu for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Iniative and purchased at their online auction by Bill Volkening For the Volckening Collection.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Friday, January 29, 2021

Night Sky Magic: Full Moon and Looking For Our Own Lion's Heart

Moon and Lion's Heart rise mid-evening January 29 and 30 | Tonight | EarthSky

On January 29 and 30, 2021, look up into the dark nights sky (and over in a general eastward direction) to see the brilliant waning gibbous moon pairing up with Regulus, the brightest star and Heart of the Lion in the constellation Leo. 
From most places worldwide, you’ll see the moon and Regulus by mid-evening, that is, midway between your local sunset and midnight.

The moon will be very near Regulus on the evening of January 29. By January 30, the moon will have moved onward in its orbit – cruising ever-eastward in front of the stars – so that you might more easily see the prominent star pattern of which Regulus is a part. 

This pattern isn’t a constellation. It’s an easy-to-see "asterism", or noticeable pattern of stars, in our night sky. It has the shape of a backwards question mark. 

Regulus, the Lion’s Heart, marks the bottom of the question mark pattern, which represents the Head and Shoulders of Leo. This beloved pattern is called The Sickle."

Hope you had a clear sky for the Full Wolf Moon of the January 27th /28th!

Full Wolf Moon falls in late January 2021 | Tonight | EarthSky

"If you consider that the winter season started for us in the Northern Hemisphere at the December solstice, the upcoming full moon is this season’s second full moon. 

In North America, we often call this full moon the Wolf Moon, Snow Moon or Hunger Moon. From around the world tonight and tomorrow – January 27 and 28, 2021 – watch for a full-looking moon to light up the nighttime from dusk until dawn. In the Southern Hemisphere, this late January full moon will be the second summertime full moon.

"Pay attention to the signs of the Universe on this day, and keep your sights set on the bigger picture. Know that if things are confusing, they won’t be that way forever. 

Clarity will soon dawn, and in time, you may even be able to look back on these events as necessary for the next steps of your journey.

Falling in the sign of Leo, this Full Moon will carry a fiery and creative energy to it.
Use this energy to make headway on any new or creative projects you may be working on. It is also great energy for allowing yourself to get motivated and excited by life."

Gratitude for the astrological readings and insights!

Shown above:
 Liberated Quilting 
and Freeform Flying Geese

at the post top:
"Changing the World"

Purchased by Bill Volkening
For the Volkening Collection 

Support needed and so greatly appreciated: 

Fundraiser by Terin (Tiffany Erin) Bilyeu

 Terin's cancer fund

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Andrea Balosky: Prayers Flags from Mungpoo

Andrea Balosky-Nyima Lhamo is an improvisational and creative woman, writer, quilter, and friend whose story crosses an island, three oceans, and several continents.

 As Andrea, she was blessed to be born and grow up in Hawaii. As a quilter she was blessed to move to Oregon and live and quilt in the woods of Camp Sherman and become self-apprenticed to a number of quilters and guilt venues.  There, she created beautiful quilts and had them entered in wonderful venues and setting inside and out. As a writer, she wrote a wonderful little book "Transitions, Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within."

As Andrea becoming Nyima, she has become an inspirational story of an American woman who thought she was giving up her quilting life for a far greater calling and a much deeper and meaningful purpose by moving to India in 2004 and taking her new name Nyima, who is, as she describes herself.... a “Buddhist recluse, but recently with internet access."

But as Andrea Balosky/Nyima Lhamo,  she has found a way to create beautifully  improvisational quilts for my own very special cause and to create them with extremely limited resources and then transport them out of the Himalayan Mountains from the small village of Mungpoo, in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India to America.In this case small format art quilts destined for  the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative  where they have either been put up for sale or into the AAQI monthly auctions and  a into the hands of admirers and quilt purchasers.

One such 'quilt magnet' collector named  Bill Volkening  met her at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show in 2010, and serendipitously was given one of her quilts (talk about a quilt magnet!) and a story that captivated his own heart. This led to a wonderful show of Andrea's  earlier doll quilts at the  Latimer Center, also here in Oregon.

But others have recognized her talents as well, and her quilts have also made their way into a 2011 art quilt exhibit based on the improvisational art quilts of NW quilters in Salem's own historic Bush Barn Art Gallery, that I was fortunate to be able to see and to photograph, as well.

As Andrea, she had access to all of the sewing supplies of the 60's and the quilting supplies of he early 90's. But high up in her Himalyan Mountains, Nyima had only a common pair of utility scissors, fabric given to her from another Indian quilter, and batting she had originally taken from upholstered pieces. Creating her quilts was one thing ....but finding a way to get them down the mountains and to a Post Office was quite another!

She has created the most beautiful of handpieced and quilted AAQI art quilts as well as larger pieces which I blogged about in my post featuring the improvisational art quilts collection: Bits and Pieces: Intuitive Quilts from the Northwest and Beyond

I first learned of Andrea when she emailed the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative several years ago, asking AAQI founder, Ami Simms if 'she could bend the rules a bit." Nyima (Andrea) wanted to register six quilts for donation to AAQI, but couldn’t print off the confirming email because she has no printer in the Himalayan Mountains!

When she moved to Mungpoo in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India, she transformed from her previous life as a professional quilter in Oregon to .."engage in a contemplative life, I easily renounced all of my mundane activity, including quilting." Life and quilting have now combined. Her quilts are exceptionally lovely and intuitively original. But it is truly her friendship that I admire most.

And because of this amazing and synchronistic set of connections, I have felt so blessed as we have traded little emails back and forth sharing details of connection between our lives that has forge a unique and greatly treasured just little improvisational 'bits and pieces'.

Her comments on a few treasured blog posts of connection between my prayers for my family members and my prayer arbor arch, which she wrote to tell me she was using as a screen saver on her own computer in the Himalayan mountains...and believe it or not.... my chickens ..who knew that there are chickens with upside down feathers roaming freely all over Mungpoo and they are called phonetically at least 'doom say' chickens?

 I wrote Nyima that there are three distinct types of chickens in my own world. That I think that her "dhoom-say(or)" chickens are perhaps called 'Chicken Littles' "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" ;)  And that perhaps in Mungpoo, having upside down or perhaps right side up feathers, depending on your point of view, is either being a fatalist as in 'let's just get this over with', or a realist as in " it's going to rain and we are going to get wet any way!"  Or I said, perhaps just being environmentally 'green' optimist' as in 'how lovely, it's raining, we should save some for later when we are thirsty or need to take a bath! Let's grow some cupping feathers for that purpose!"

Can you tell it has been a great deal of fun for me and no doubt incredibly different from her usual contemplative life as a "Buddhist recluse?"  Oh, my aren't I just the one to turn lots of feathers upside down with my writings? ;) I like to think that I live my own contemplative life ...a lot of it on the beaches and forests on my own little small island in Alaska , but now so much more if it on 8 lane freeways where not only do a multitude of racing cars pass before me .....along with past visions of my own life.  The hills, and the songs and the music without words are all just part of all that I have read, that has influenced me, and all that has brought me to the joys of fabric and thread....and painting my own stories without a canvas. I can admire Andrea and think of all of her journeys to the special place of arrival, but it is Nyima who touches my heart with connection.

So, when Bill Volkening (who currently has an exhibit of AAQI quilts on display including four of Andrea's and one of mine) emailed me and told me he had been left with a small package from Andrea  that she had left with him last summer ...and that it was for me.... I was totally delighted!

Imagine my delight when I opened a set of real Himalayan prayer flags all the way from Mungpoo in the Himalyan Mountains! Nyima wrote me that if I sniff carely I may even catch a whiff of mildew....reminiscent of course of the famous Himalayan monsoon season. I can only sense the love, the deepest of prayers, and the most meaningful, and dear friendship of synchronistic and heartfelt connections.

Along with my heartfelt thankyou, I sent her an email attachment of my latest little art quilt to go up for auction at Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative October Auction and told her that as I designed and created it, I was thinking of her.... so many miles away and her life there in those beautiful hills.  She writes me that she loves my little quilts just as she loves Tagore (the quote on the quilt)  and asked me if I knew that Tagore had actually lived in Mungpoo when the Bengali plains got too hot in the summer?..I did not!

 But nothing I, or any of us do is ever by accident, so of course somewhere it all fit like the pieces of a puzzle of all of our lives.  She says his home is now open to the public and it is so easy to fantasize that he wrote his masterpieces at his large desk on the veranda, overlooking the majestic hills.

I treasure my Himalayan Prayer Flags from Nyima, just as I know others treasure their little art quilts they have bid on and purchased from AAQI made by Andrea Balosky.  Each is so deeply special in each of their own ways. I know in my heart, as she knew in hers, that this was the perfect little gift of connection...prayers flags stretching now between the hills of the Cascade mountains in Oregon to the hills of the Himalayas in West Bengal.

I feel so blessed and so grateful for this gift. But it is the true gift of connection that lifts up the heart and finds joy in creation and the spirit of giving and sharing.The act of creation, the joy of giving, and the manifestation of connection, fills my spirit with the present of all that is most high. And it is that song..the song of all of these hills and valleys that connect us..that is the true song of my own heart.

Collage hown at top of post:
My chickens, my treasured gift of Mungpoo prayer flags, my own prayer arbor arch with two more of my chickens at the bottom right standing at attention by it, my treasured copy of Andrea's now out of print book found at 'Goodwill' of all the wonderful places!  'Good will'

To see Andrea's AAQI quilts click here:
To see her quilts in Bits and Pieces click here:

To see my own little art quilt, inspired by this gift of connection, click here: 

 11,086 - Song of the Hills 
Michele Bilyeu
Salem, OR USA
Width: 12" Length: 9"
Designer: Original design

Materials/Techniques: Batiks, hand dyes, and commercial cottons, Shiva paint sticks, ink jet printing, and metallic threads.

Artist Statement: The poet, Rabindranath Tagore, said of his beloved Himalayan mountains “I touch God in my song as the hill touched the far-away sea with its waterfall." These words were my inspiration, and this this poet, my muse.

Dedication: In memory of those whose lives have touched ours, as the mountains touch the sea. And to those who have inspired us to reach out with our hearts, and touch others lives in return.

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska and all of her AAQI Quilting. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!