Origami has been on my long list of ‘things I want to do when I find some spare time’ for what seems like forever. Both my daughters have studied Japanese at school and my youngest has recently joined the lunchtime Japanese Club. As a result she has been learning origami. As our interests are quite different, I had been looking for things we could do together at home. When she offered to teach me to make origami cranes I jumped at the chance.
Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into a range of different designs. One Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. My daughter heard the tale and has been slowly folding cranes ever since. With so many different objects that can be created by folding paper, why focus on the crane? In Asian culture the crane symbolises good health, wealth, longevity, hope, truth and healing. I guess we could all benefit from those.
The thing I’m finding so wonderful about origami is that it seems to have the effect of slowing down time. When my daughter and I sit down and begin folding together the cares of the world tend to fall away. Focusing on the precise folding of the paper becomes a kind of mindfulness practice. We chat, reflect and are both present in the moment. It has become an unexpected delight that breaks up the chaos of everyday life.