Wonder Round (Dec. 9-22, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

With the last two weeks passing by (filled-to-the-brim with activities), I am happy to be sitting still in a rare lull on the afternoon of a full and lovely Christmas day, revisiting the musings of experience that have come my way. I hope you all have found moments of quiet, connection, and joy, especially today. Sending love and gratitude for each of you, gifts in my life…

“As my feet stumble on chunks of frozen ground, I am brought into direct contact with the earth, whose rigid surface remains immobilized on these cold days. Yet I know that not far beneath this unforgiving exterior, lie many beings working to prepare for new life above the surface where they now rest, gathering energy for their becoming. Connecting to this awareness brings an easing into what is uncomfortable in the moment, as the wind bites my face and my feet now walk more mindfully.”

“Barely stirring after my first alarm, I began listening to a meditation I had preset before going to sleep. I have never been able to be consistent with meditating formally, and mostly do so when making art, my mind often emptying as I relax into a deeper state of being and awareness that comes naturally with creating. However, I have noticed as I have gotten more and more busy, adding activities of my kids and family as we age and evolve into different times in our lives, that my mind has gotten a bit chaotic. Often these early morning awakenings, despite the best of intentions, can morph into worry sessions about the day/week/month, year... the mind is amazing that way— how it can start small and explode within moments, in both the most positive and negative of ways... hence, my decision to use guided meditation. It was interesting to envision light coming into my being and becoming more expansive, rather than restricted and tight before even sitting up to get out of bed. As I started to paint (not even thinking that I had just painted spiral forms yesterday), I was happy to sit with the awareness tha all we can really do is start with where we are, and move out from there. That is a sense of accomplishment for any of us, and can bring gentleness to whatever is on our plates...”

“Continuing the ponderings of yesterday, I think of the small and quiet voices in our minds that tell us of the things that seek our attention. It takes awareness to notice and listen, and space to allow the discernment of whether to fuel those fires or let them go when they are messages that do not serve to help us grow or heal. I remember being struck by the simple statement in social work school many years ago, “awareness is the first step to change”. It is interesting that this still comes to me decades later, offering the valuable lesson that remains relevant and vibrant.”

“Being an introvert, I do not mind space to be alone— in fact, I need a healthy dose of it as much as I need other elements that enable me to keep my flow going. This circle within the circle appeared all of a sudden, making its presence known smack dab in the middle of the painting. I was not reflecting on anything, at all, until it appeared and demanded attention. I noticed my tendency to want to connect it to something else in the painting, fill in with some color representing warmth or light, and decided to let it rest, as it seemed to need to do. I know that being alone allows for space to be... in charge of our own time, thoughts, feelings. It can be easy to neglect that need, filling in what needs to be done for other obligations, others we love, other “shoulds”... May we all find ways to see clearly what it is we most need, and respond with generosity for ourselves.”

“Happy today to be less on the go, I look forward to exploring the direction for the day that lies ahead. I am always amazed how it can lift my spirits to have even a small break from intensity in schedule and wish you all the same!”

“As much as I am working to be mindful of planting my feet on the ground and being centered in what is, I find my mind wanting to gaze upward and outward beyond my immediate experience, opening to possibility and space free from expectation. The convergence of these two brings balance and allows more peace to radiate within myself and towards those I love.”

“When I was clearing my bogged-down mind to fall asleep last night, this simple image came to me, the lines of water moving gently and rhythmically over these small stones. I was relieved for the quieting it brought and the power to wash away the day so that restful sleep could follow. Our minds really are amazing in their ability to transport us to other places or to a deeper place of calm inside ourselves. I will tuck this away and remember to pause to create space for more during this weekend time, which can be all too easy to fill with things that need to get done. I wish you the same...”

“When I was young I never could quite remember which to shade darker— the trees closest to me, or those farther away... I honestly still have to think really hard about that (often having to gaze out into landscape to try and figure it out), and it makes me chuckle to realize the parallel that exists between my focus on what is before me in the moment and what lies in the future. It occurs to me that this may be one of those things tied in to trust, and that perhaps by letting those things beyond my nearest gaze recede and blur a bit, there will be more energy to absorb what is right before my eyes.”

“As I finished up painting the orange in the center (the last color to be laid down), I stopped myself, realizing there was more energy available when I allowed space around the orange to breathe— once again, a simple painting reflected an issue close at hand for me. The power of creativity, in all forms, is immense... a gift we can give ourselves in one way or another, every single day.”

“With hues that do not often show up in this space, I enjoyed just playing this morning, the only expectation but to explore... there is satisfaction found in such simple permission!”

“After luxuriously sleeping in two hours later than normal, I walked the dog in the light. Every single inch was bathed in a warm glow that brought life to the millions of tiny ice crystals that covered the earth. Only pale shades of color shone, but they were beautiful in their slight variations. I love that part of winter— that it makes me notice details and subtleties that are often lost in the bold splashes of color that spoil us in spring.”

“I have been thinking a lot about my mother and father’s lives, their parents, and the generation after generation that led to me being here, all still alive in my DNA and some, in my memory. It is much to ponder, wondering about the many lives that were lived in various degrees of fullness, with similar challenges and many that surely were quite different. There is so much history lost. It reminds me to share with my children what I know of those that have gone before us, and to deepen this knowledge as I continue to move along in my stage of life. We are all richly made...”

“As we in the Northern Hemisphere come to this day holding the least amount of light, I enter it quietly, with a sense of sacredness, reflective on what I want to release as well as bring forward in my life. I am heartened that light will return with each day that arrives... What are some ways that you celebrate the Winter Solstice?”

“Last summer, my friend shared a video of her dear son dancing and doing calisthenics, all the while keeping one hand on the lawn-mower, pushing ahead full-speed in a rectangular pattern, unconcerned that anyone might see him. I don’t think I ever had that level of confidence, lol, but was quite inspired by his wild sense of abandon. I am not sure when we lose touch with that freedom to play along the way (and sadly, some never experienced it), but want express that silliness and light-heartedness as life keeps rolling on, as it is never too late to connect to this inner spirit that waits to be let out. I am so grateful for the children in my life that proclaim this so naturally and bring so much joy by just being themselves. I wish you all bits of play in your days, wherever you can make it...”