Talking Feather Time: Eggshell Lessons

In this very challenging, scary time it feels as though we’re being hollowed out and emptied of things that only two weeks ago seemed nourishing and normal. Our comfortable, entitled, delusional lifestyle is disappearing.  The pattern of the future is murky and unclear but maybe in this darkness we will begin to understand what mystics have always taught: We are connected with everyone else and all creation.

During the Christian season of Lent, I make pysanky (Ukrainian decorated eggs) to give to friends and family at Easter. The batik process of decorating the eggs involves applying a design in hot wax to an eggshell, dyeing the egg, reapplying wax and re-dyeing successively leaving an egg that seems a black, waxy mess. The finished design and colors are only revealed when the wax is melted off in a candle flame and the egg wiped clean. The egg is then lacquered, blown out and hollowed. If the yolk and white are not removed, they eventually go bad and stink. It’s a process that requires patience and willingness to make mistakes. It’s also a mindful deliberate spiritual discipline for our challenging times

Perhaps Covid-19 is acting as the flame melting away the dross, mess and overlay of a way of life that has damaged our planet hiding a previously unrecognized underlying beauty, design and color. We too are being hollowed and blown out of attachments to lifestyles and expectations that can no longer serve us in the future.

Let’s use this difficult interim time of enforced slow down for appreciation of beauty, for creativity and an imaginative sharing of ourselves and gifts which previously we didn’t have time to explore.  Let go of fear, of arrogant, egotistical assumptions that we are separate from everything thing and everyone else. Let go of what will decompose and poison us if we refuse to change our habits.  Then, pierced but unbroken, light and empty as pysanki eggshells, lacquered and shining we can be a gift to each other and the world.

Stay safe, help each other and stay in touch particularly with those who live alone.


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