Hello and welcome to Woolgathering: Contemplative Rest. This podcast is a soft and contained space for guided meditations, storytelling, and silence for daydreaming or journaling or resting. A virtual blanket fort for respite from the busy world.
My name is Monique Francis and I’m the creator and host of Woolgathering. I’m the founder of Fully Woven, a crafty care collective and I’m also the community prioress with Sanctuary of the Arts, an online contemplative arts community. I’m a disabled monastic creatrix and am humbled to find my home in so-called Vancouver, BC on the stolen and unceded traditional territories of the (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh). I am thankful for this privilege and part of my commitment to reconciliation is being mindful of my presence and honouring Indigenous wisdom.
I live with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME, which is also unfortunately called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That’s a terribly stigmatising and cruel label as it implies those living with this disease just need a good nap and perhaps a vacation and all will be well. Well, not so; ME is a chronic illness with very little support, research, and understanding. It’s controversial within the medical community with many medical professionals denying its existence. I’ve lived with it for most of my life and have figured out how to live gently within my capacities. Ha! But truly, isn’t that all any of us can do? Live within our capacities?
And so, this podcast is for you to tend to your own exhaustion. To slow down and daydream for a while. That’s what woolgathering means: indulgence in aimless thought or dreamy imagining. Sounds good to me. Does it sound good to you? We’ll start with a simple guided meditation as a way of welcoming us into our blanket fort and then I’ll read you a short story or perhaps a poem. I’ll leave a minute or so of silence and you can turn-off the podcast there and drift away with your own musings. Or you can stick around and I’ll share a few journal prompts. You know, choose your own adventure. Or if we’re going to stick with the wool metaphor then how about you follow your own thread?
An audiobook and journal writing or doodling are my go-to contemplative practices when I’m feeling depleted. May this podcast be a source of comfort to soothe your weariness as well. Episodes will be around 20 minutes with none longer than 30 minutes. Please have close-by some of the things that support your sense of safety & coziness. I’ll have my little dog curled up beside me, my cat snoring nearby – I’m sure you’ll hear her – and a mug of hot tea in hand. You’re most welcome here in our blanket fort. No passwords required.
I freely offer Woolgathering: Contemplative Rest out of my lived experiences with economic inequity. Financial gifts and donations are welcome and you can find more details on my website which I’ve linked in the show notes. Please consider sharing this podcast and leaving a kind review. Thank you very much for listening. It’s an honour to share space with you and I don’t take that for granted.