CategoryAll posts under‘May‘

Fishing for contentment

  • by 100 Good Things
  • May 15th, 2015
  • 2015, May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite scarves in the shop is a Laotian silk piece inspired by fishing nets local fishermen cast over waters to haul in a multitude of fish. In fact the fringe of this scarf is knotted using the same net-weaving technique. The brilliant colors are derived from nature: Black from mud, guava leaves and a wild plant Laotians call kungpa; orange-red from annatto seeds, which is increasingly prized as nature’s alternative to synthetic food coloring.

The sartorial elegance of this fishnet scarf aside, fishing, I discovered, is part and parcel of life in Laos. Subsistence agriculture is very much practiced and locals haul up from any waterbody just enough fish to feed the family. An old friend, M, speaks fondly of a diplomatic career stint in the landlocked country that has shown him the virtues of contentment. “I have fished all over the world but nowhere is as simple and true as Laos,” the avid angler muses. “Fishermen take only what they need to eat each day. The Laotians really believe in the balance of nature. I learn a lot about that out there, in the simple act of fishing.”

Incredibly, M was told catfish as enormous as a Volkswagen can be found in the mighty Mekong River. A neighbor offered to take him to this “Mother of Water” one day, suggesting he pack a heavy casting rod and the biggest lure in his tackle box.

He laughs, “I tied on a huge plug I had used in Mexico fishing for Marlin. As I pulled back and cast out, I noticed my friend was no longer smiling. I didn’t think twice about that. I was already busy. Something big had taken the plug and was rapidly running line off the reel. As I strained over my bending rod, trying to slow the run, my friend brushed against me and I heard a sharp ping. The line went slack. I was shocked. My friend had cut it, I could see the knife in his hand. He turned to me and the big smile was back. ‘Too big to eat, no need to bother. Let’s go home’.”

To purchase this lovely fishing net-inspired silk scarf, visit 100 Good Things store.

 

Rhythm of life

  • by 100 Good Things
  • May 5th, 2015
  • 2015, May

I have been a dedicated yoga practitioner, seeking a life of balance by eating mindfully, moving consciously, living in the power of present. During a recent trip to the countryside two hours’ drive from the city of Vientiane, I saw how another community embraced the rhythm of life without forethought and it appeared, nary a struggle.

Women in this village were fulltime caregivers who juggled myriad tasks, from selling and farming to house chores and childcare. Chiefly, in between the above tasks, they found time to be at the family owned hand loom, weaving beautifully delicate scarves that would later line the shelves of shops in the city. There were days when a family member was taken ill and the multitasking mother had to put her life on hold in order to attend to the needs of the ailing one. Or another menial but necessary task would require her immediate attention and she had to abandon everything to see to the matter.

The piece of textile, handwoven midway, sat forlorn on the loom while she busied herself with motherly duties. Return to the loom she would, whenever she found pockets of time. Effortlessly she retreated and reconnected with these worlds at her own pace. These women merely went along with the rhythm of life, embracing its ebb and flow, neither resisting nor dissenting. Weaving another shawl could wait. The conscious shopper understands the carefully woven fabric she’s buying does not come from a factory floor that operates a punishing schedule.

I found myself in awe of the wisdom that comes from flowing with the rhythm of life. The serenity that comes from the cessation of the race, being at peace with what life might bring. The hardworking weaver reminded me how I can take my yoga practice off the mat, into the world.

To purchase these lovely silk and organic cotton scarves, visit 100 Good Things store.

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