The idea is that it is a single piece of paper.  Folded, and never cut or torn, but results in the final object of an item of artwork or function. When you were in grade school there was the “cootie catcher” kind of finger puppet that you could write numbers on and then under a number you would write a bit of wisdom or prophecy, like an “8 Ball” for poor kids.  Folded and bent and creased, creative and fun for the group.

The artform of the Origami masters of the orient would amaze the mind with what could be done with only the bending and creasing and folding of the paper to achieve unbelievable items.  Mind blowing fish and buildings and everything in between.  In an interesting shift, there came the day that the computer would add to the game by creating the lines on the paper for you and you could then build things only dreamed of in times past.  The Stag, with a cloven hoof.  The scales on the fish and the plates on the turtle shell.  Crazy things that amaze and cause wonder. 

There is a real need for this in the world we live, though.  The Air Bag in your car uses the art of Origami to fold the bag into the smallest space, with the most effective release, to keep you safe in a crash.  Weird. It was also used to create a folding shield to take into space to block the light of a distant star to see the planets around it, like holding your hand in front of the light to see what else is near the light.

Origami. Bending, creasing, folding. With a plan to achieve something that is not seen as of yet.  Functional or simply beautiful, but soon and not yet.  This will help when it is your life that is being bent or creased or folded.  It is about the times that there are no lines on the paper that show where the next crease will be made, and your shock is that you know that it will yet come.  It starts when you are young.  For some it is the idea that grandma will not give them the candy they know is in the purse. Personal rejection at the rebuff and the quandary of the reality that you know there is some there but that you are being withheld.  This is a violation.  For those in more dramatic places of survival, it is the reality that their parent is stoned and there is no food in the cupboard, again… and “who are these strangers here really?”   For some the bending and creasing and folding is a normal thing and the only question is the resulting shape.  For others, it is the unknowing.  The impending actions that result in the shape of things not known before. Not even seen in the lives of others that they know.

The list is as varied as it is long.  The only question is in which way will your bending happen. Sometimes it is a shock and a trauma.  For others that have been waiting on the news, only the question of degree is unknown.  It is not that yours will not happen, but rather when and in what manner.  For those that are private, that the folding would be public is the capstone of trauma.  For the perfectionist it is that they would fail.  Sometimes it is only that they alone know the amount of the failure, and yet still, they know.  It is a curious thing that even a wrong fold will leave a crease mark on the spot that was not to have been bent.  And yet it is there, like a scar, for others to see. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this” might be their refrain.

Desertion is only part of divorce, but the mark is still there.  Quiet that a miscarriage may be, let someone know and soon there are three that can say that they were folded that way.  Pointed ends, hidden under parts, and a crease that holds solid that which has occurred. Not to be undone… ever.  Here are the darker underparts of the thing.  Not simply the obvious pain of the act, the betrayal of trust and the violation of hope.  But the insult that comes later.  Insult in the form of the actions, or lack of, or shallowness of, by the one you called friend. Or the loved one that left you to suffer alone, or worse, would ridicule and impugn you in your current state.  Now there is more bending and creasing and folding. 

The plan is still not known, the reason still hidden. And you know there is more that is yet to come.  This cannot be the end, this shape that you are.  Unusable and blighted in appearance.  Serving no purpose other than to hold in place until the next bend will come. There is the reality that is similar to having had surgery after a crash, I suppose.  Broken and on the way to restoration but that is yet to come.  Right now, it is only being tended to and prodded and stretched and trying to deal with the knowledge of the thing.  Replayed and replayed in your mind.  There is this part of Psalms that is a lament of David dealing with this thing called betrayal; For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me”.
 What about the times that it is your friend that was supposed to be tasting the salt of your tears, that is the one throwing the spears of rejection and taunting you with ridicule? Indeed… what then.

You aren’t the first, but that is sad consolation.  You will not be the last, and perhaps it will be your hand that causes such to another… but that is for another day as well.  What about now and me?  That is the struggle that confronts our humanity.  Why this? Why now? Why this way? Existential questions shouted in the dark to the heavens that are silent.  Bending and creasing and folding our existence, for a reason we know not, a result we have no voice in, and a time we are not in control of.  It is our lot in life to simply be candid about the “now” of things.  Now I am in transition.  Now I am not completed.  Now I am not functional.  Now I am simply here, showing up.  Patient.  Content to know there is a planner that has the answers, and that is enough… for some.  For some it seems a very rough road indeed.  It is indeed so.

For these that have the extraordinary path, it is humbling to the remaining mortals among us.  It lays bare and shallow the complaints of the papercut strata when exposed to the reality of the path that they, not only walked, but had to cut themselves through the jungle they were dropped into.  The beautiful result gives evidence only hinting at the dangers and toil and despair of the thing. The resulting fragrance of their peace stands in stark contrast to the simple cootie catcher that I play with and call a struggle.  They, being called to a higher order, have the knowledge of the call that was theirs… as do you with yours.  Not to compare and measure, but to know that yours is a very real path of bending and creasing and folding.  A story to be heard, to be told, to be lived.  In fact, to be shown to others.  That they may be willing to show the beginnings of their own simple path to greatness.  The creases that are written on the forehead and hands of the tellers of the old stories.  Of the knowing the one that folds, and the plan that is known, to create the artwork of your life. The Master of Origami artwork.


  1. A short talk about Origami, with some nice pictures of artwork that it can create.


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