Do you remember when you were young, and you wore a favorite pair of pants, or a favorite shirt, until it wore out in spots?  For many children, when this would happen, and a hole would be worn in our clothing, or our favorite stuffed animal or blanket, a patch would be sewn on.  To repair what had worn out or had been damaged. 

Patches came in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures.  With care and diligence, the patches would cover an area that was worn, that was harmed in some way.  Patches, by definition, are scraps of clothing, left over and no longer having a use.  Actually, patches are probably pieces from other well worn favorites.

Patches also would be put together, from dozens of our favorites, to create a patchwork quilt, all of the worn pieces that fit in no where else.  But as a mosaic of color, created the most beautiful artwork there is, individual and original. 

I have been thinking lately about what we do for one another in this world, to assist others and to be there for one another.  It made me think of patches. 

When we are hurting, and worn, and even torn a bit, we rely on those that can patch us up, sew us back together, so that we can go on, just like new.

Kind of, anyway.  At least, we can go on.  Wearing those favorite jeans, patched up in the areas that are worn through and faded, we feel stronger somehow.  Stronger to have our favorites still with us, and having them fortified, and the loving touch of those that helped patch them close at hand.

When we are damaged, and worn, and feel like we have holes in us, through loss, or endings, or changes, we need to love, connection, care and gentle touch of the person that will secure our patches.  We all have areas that need patching.  All of us incur damage due to one circumstance or another.  And because humans are interdependent creatures, even when we want to doubt that reality, we need to work of a good seamstress.  To patch us where we are worn.

If we are lucky, in addition to having that be a person, or persons, that can patch us when we are wounded, they also have that touch, that ability, to create beautiful tapestries with those same patches; take portions of a life that are some of the favorites, and putting them together into one amazing creation.


For me, the essence of Ubuntu, I am because you are, has everything to do with how others help us, and we help them, when we, or they, are worn out and wounded.  When we need to feel the love and care of another person, to patch us up and sew us back together, so that we can go on.  And, so we can go on as close to our true selves as possible. 

So, feel proud of your patches, even when you like to appear that you have it all together, that you are always like new.  With patches, you are new, only better. 

Worn in, fixed up, ready, wise, healed.


14 thoughts on “Patches……..

  1. This is truly beautiful Vanessa.
    I’m a make do and mend sort of person; I think I may be the last person alive in the UK(under sixty anyway) who knows how to darn! My journey blanket (that is, the blanket I use when I do shamanic journeys) had been sitting near a window for a long while(shows how often I journey) and had become damp in places and had begun to rot as it is pure wool. I have spent hours darning the holes and strengthening the weak patches, and now while it doens’t look as good as it did, it FEELS stronger and somehow more REAL.
    Last night I dreamed I was walking about a major city centre without shoes, just ageing woolen socks with holes in. In the dream one of those charity collectors came up to me and I was embarrassed because I didn’t have any money to give him. he said, No, no, that’s not what I meant, we need to get you some shoes and whisked me away somewhere to give me a hot meal and find me some shoes. I woke bemused because I am not destitute and felt even in the dream that this was undeserved as there were others who needed it more.
    My mum used to do a lot of patchworking and I have a quilt she made for my daughter made of scraps and remnants of the dresses and stuff she made for me when I was a girl; so there are 3 generations of memories in one item.

  2. Viv: Your comment just emphasizes for me this morning the power of patches; even though I felt like I couldn’t clearly say what I was trying to in the post, I knew what I meant, and you are describing it spot on. Like when we break a bone, the bone where it was broken grows back stronger than ever. There is such power in my mind in the human’s ability to heal. A true testament to hope and to resilience. I love the story of your journey blanket, the name and the intent, and the fact that now the patches make it stronger…….. and more real, because it has been worn and repaired: that is absolute, true love for something.

    Your dream seems to say to me that you are in need, even when you don’t want to acknowledge that; destitute not in possessions, meals or clothing, but possibly feeling so in feeling and spirit. You have been writing of that most recently, so it makes sense to me. Take what is offered, and more than that, know that you DESERVE to have what is offered….again, genuine and pure, absolute love is why such gifts are offered to us, and love of self is why we should embrace those gifts from others….

    In a word, Ubuntu.

    I am sending you the warmest, tightest hugs ever!!! Love, V.

  3. It’s funny that it was shoes that were missing in the dream; while I have on occasion given away shoes in the street and gone on barefoot, it’s been many years(it’s rare to meet a beggar or baglady with feet the same size as mine!!). There’s a line in a favourite song (Twist in my Sobriety) by a favourite singer Tanita Tikaram(who has what I can only call a deep chocolate voice), and it goes “All God’s children need travelling shoes, drive your problems from here” The whole song is very deep and addresses a lot of things but is rather catchy too! Shoes are about travel, moving onwards and exploring and only a madwoman does it in her socks! A year ago I bought my first pair of red shoes since I was a kid; they had a message to me, and I even bought them at an airport(I was waiting for a pickup, not going anywhere myself)
    I’m battling not just depression but free floating anxiety at the moment, plus a fair dollop of paranoia(i am unsure if this is a medical issue; family are aware of my concerns about it and are watching for signs of anything serious going wrong. I’m stuck still, with no signs of coming free, and I get so frustrated by it.
    I’m off to fill the house with incense smoke; clear the air of pain. I had some new white sage arrive this morning and will use that with other resins. i also had a dream pillow filled with NAmerican herbs.
    Thank you for caring for a stranger, Vanessa. It’s seems strange too that you sign with an initial as I have done for years, having passed by another V name online for years, I am known by many people as just V(ee)!

  4. I love the concept of Ubuntu. I had never heard of it until I stumbled across your blog. What a beautiful concept. 😀

  5. Lindsey: 😀

    Leah: I am so glad that you are getting to know Ubuntu; it is so meaningful for me, in particular because it literally means what it represents; a whole concept in one little, musical word!!! I am amazed and humbled by that…..

  6. When we are hurting, and worn, and even torn a bit, we rely on those that can patch us up, sew us back together, so that we can go on, just like new.

    Absoulutelyfrutly beautiful and every word so true!

  7. as a silly aside, never forget the beautiful simplicity of superglue! Invented as an alternative to sutures during the Vietnam war, superglue is a wonderful healer; my three wounds after appendectomy were closed with superglue and not stitches. Much simpler and less painful by far! What, I wonder, is the spiritual equivalent of superglue?

  8. Deeps: Thanks girl, I am so glad you like it!!!

    Viv: Superglue, possibly the equivalent of pure, true love?? The deepest love possible, that sticks no matter what, and heals all of the hurts, no matter how serious???

    hmmm, I wonder….

  9. Well 🙂 this makes more sense!

    TRULY BEAUTIFUL!!! I’m actually patching myself back together everyday. To have been patched up when the holes appeared would have been better but that’s okay. I’m doing it myself and with help from my friends and family I have now. 🙂 The way you symbolize things and put it in a way I never would have thought amazes me to no end!!!!

  10. Nikki: There are so many of us, I believe, that walk around with the holes and tears in themselves for years, just waiting for the loving, caring hand of human seamsters and seamstresses to come along and repair; so that we remain intact, just more durable, and oh, so much more colorful.

    What a beautiful tapestry you are becoming!!!!

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