Wonder Round (Sept. 30-October 6, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

This has been a milestone of a week for me, as I turned half a century old (which actually makes me laugh). Steeped in gratitude for my time thus far on earth, and very much looking forward to what lies ahead, I have been quite reflective in the midst of being busy. I received the good news of being juried into the Kentucky Crafted Program, which will enable me to have a booth in KY Crafted: The Market annual art market in the spring, receive mentoring and exhibit opportunities, and be listed in the KY Crafted Directory. I also got word that I was juried in to the Lexington Art League’s PRHBTN show, which will exhibit from October 26- November 18, 2018. I am grateful for the opportunities that are unfolding, and for the connections, new and old, that are part of my life. Thank you for following along on this journey and supporting me— I am quite fortunate!

(“As I awaken to the privilege of celebrating my 50th year, I feel profoundly grateful for the depth of life and love that has brought me this far— I have been gifted beyond words... And as the chrysalis metamorphosizes into being with wings, so may I continue to grow and transform in this second half century of flight. Hooray for the joy of being alive!”)

(“As I wound down for sleep after a very full day, I logged onto FB and was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love shared with me on my birthday. I am amazed, still, that the ability exists to connect with each other across the surface of this huge world, and that we have the power to lighten each other’s days and nights through our engagement with one another. These are the positives that stick with us throughout our busy days, giving balance to the energies that are not so easy to take. They remind me to reach out to others when I can, hoping to spread a bit of love that has been so generously shared with me. Thank you all for the beauty you express in so many unique ways...”)

(“This morning there are not many words... just reflection that comes from being with what appears in my circle. Well, maybe just a few words— for the first time, I am not posting the original circle that I painted this morning. And it is not because I was not happy with the composition (although I wasn’t), but because it was not true to how I was feeling this morning. I kept trying to redeem it, change it, etc, to no avail, and decided to give myself permission to not even finish the first one— to start over. Letting this one unfold with no intention other than to not block what was coming out, revealed a very different image, and one that felt congruent with my inner. Now I can return to reflect on that which appears within. Strange how difficult it can be to let ourselves just be with what we are feeling, and not apologize, cover, or push past what is uncomfortable.”)

(“This morning I awoke to an alarm set for 1.5 hours later than usual, and then proceeded to not get out of bed for almost an additional hour. After a legitimate brush of regret/anxiety over how to get the morning routine completed before we must leave the house, I realized that once again, I can make choices that will enable us to get out on time (like painting a simple circle!). And more importantly, I realized how tightly I keep myself inside a box (that I made), and that it does not have to be this way. Perhaps the starting over on a new circle yesterday and painting the truth of my experience was a beginning for me. I am pretty sure we could all use more opportunities for breaking out of that which no longer fits, even if only in tiny steps of change. I am going to work on being more conscious of the expectations I have for myself that keep me feeling constrained, and gently or powerfully, depending on the day, greet them. Wishing you all bits of freedom and change where you can find it...”)

(“This morning I am feeling relatively empty in the reflection department, and instead, am immersed in more of a floating space in my tired noggin. Looking forward to being out in the woods today with our Red Oaks (@redoakscna) friends, soaking up the peace and beauty of nature while we play and learn.”)

(“After returning home from a beautiful surprise birthday celebration in the woods yesterday, complete with a shimmering birthday crown and singing around a cake baked from the finest sand, rocks, and leaves to decorate, I basked in the privileged glow of feeling loved. I have been reflecting on this experience and the lines that tie us to one another... It is easy to see the connection when it comes from shared world views and values, and less so when coming from different perspectives, yet the interconnection is still there. We all share the existence of being human and the experiences of loss, joy, suffering, adventure, and wonder of living day to day. Being mindful of how to balance the strong connections we have while remaining open to others that may be difficult to see is a task that is present daily for me, and one which we strive navigate with our children. No small thing...”)

(“As we continue with temperatures that feel more like summer than fall, I notice the draining of color on the hillsides... muted browns replace the vibrant greens, deep reds creep up through the tall grasses, and bittersweet sprouts up where I could not see it before. Goldenrod blankets much of the hills and is the most vibrant of all, along with the last of the ironweed, a rich violet shade which always moves me, resting nearby with its last burst of color. How I miss the intensity of color when winter comes, yet anticipate the magic of the fall that will visit before the starkness of winter lands. Day by day, the hills will brighten with pigment of their own— how I look forward to taking it in as the show unfolds.”)

(“It is difficult to find words about my circle this morning, painted mostly with my left hand. As I worked on art all day yesterday as news unfolded, I reflected on the task in front of me to raise our boys, and how challenging a world it is in which they are growing. It saddens me and makes me angry beyond what I want to write here, and so I come back to my responsibility to do the best I can to help them navigate the most beautiful and the most wretched parts of being human, and that which lies between. I am often stopped in my tracks as I field their painful questions, listen to their perspectives, and witness them remain open, curious, excited, and hopeful about life. I am grateful for the lessons they bring to us, and am so happy that we are heading into the woods today as a family, taking some much-needed time to connect.”)