Running in Circles (April 1-7, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

Interestingly enough, this morning marks my 68th consecutive circle since committing this to being a daily practice-- significant because that is my birth year, and this process feels much like bringing something to life that was not quite there before.  The thread of creativity was already tapped into, but not called upon to present itself day after day onto a blank slate.  

Thankfully, the circle provides a balance of endless and contained space.  I was reflecting on that with someone who had inquired about these circles... sharing that I am finding that feelings difficult to express in words end up feeling like they want to go live in the circle.  There are no hard edges needing balance of composition, and no matter what marks, puddles of pigment or water you place inside, they are held as they are.  No other artistic or life situation comes to mind which so effortlessly offers this simple freedom.   I find the circle quite soothing and receptive, even when I do not feel at ease with the emotional feelings that often live within those marks.  Somehow, circles provide me a sense of safety and outlet, something which has not been present during all parts of my life, and which I cherish now.

This perspective of seeing the empty circle as a beckoning to draw out what may be lying beneath the surface, helps balance out the feelings of hesitation that are bound to arise with any practice to which we are committing daily energy and time.  And I am working with the resistance by acknowledging it when it arises, and doing it, anyway.  I am also reminding myself that there are some days that I know I will not feel like writing about what is inside the circle, and giving myself permission to not explain, but to allow the colors and shapes speak for themselves in as much or little as they do, reminding myself that the main purpose of these circles is for inner reflection, quiet, and growth.

("When I was young, I loved dying Easter eggs, my mother and siblings elbow to elbow around Blue Willow mugs filled with colors of the rainbow, the scent of vinegar in the air. But the thing I remember most vividly was awakening the next morning and rushing to peek out the window, desperately hoping to glimpse a patch of color peeking out from its secret hiding place. This morning, my heart is brimming with gratitude for my mother— her care in crafting baskets filled with simple treasures, her early morning alone time traded in to hide these marvelous eggs... This sense of eager anticipation has stayed with me, and is recaptured as I scan the ground for bits of nature, begin a new piece of art, or unexpectedly connect with a loved one. Wishing you all connection to this magical sense of wonder today!")

("Not many thoughts came into my mind as I painted this morning, until the end, when I realized I am working with the energy of pushing through what makes me uncomfortable in order to keep growing... and then I realized that pushing through is what I always have done, when perhaps what I need when working with change is a spirit of gentleness which allows me to ease into what is making me feel fear... hopefully this will create more space to feel the positive feelings that can come with newness, like excitement, energy, and release of what is no longer nurturing me. Wishing you ease in the places that are calling to you...")

("Not wanting to leave the perfect warmth of my cocoon this morning, I remembered the privilege of awakening safe in my bed, shelter inside and out, and sent a silent prayer to those who are not in a place of safety or protection. So many things to hold gratitude for every day...")

("A friend sent me a picture of a bridge this morning... almost half of it incomplete, materials in the water below, awaiting further construction. These shapes must have come from that imagery... urging my unconscious to examine what experiences and people have influenced my life thus far, and being grateful that possibility continues to exist every day for new stones to be put down, both on my path and those we place on others’. Although the literal photo of the bridge made my stomach bottom out, the metaphor of what possibilities lie ahead creates a sense of curiosity and hope...")

("Whoever said that your children are your best teachers was not kidding... feeling grateful for even the difficult things they help bring to the surface that need light and room to grow. Sending love, stamina, courage, and hope for all parents and their children, no matter their stage in life.")

("Yesterday, we were driving to our homeschooling co-op, and my son said, “You know what really boggles my mind? If each car represents one person on the earth, then for each car that drives by and all those we don’t even see, inside is someone with their own full life and all that goes on in it... I really can hardly take that in.” This awareness touched me, and we talked about how much we have to learn from each other’s experiences, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and remembering that we do not ever really know what someone is carrying. It was a reminder to connect with compassion and to extend it to others (and myself) whenever possible... I am grateful when these small moments arise and lead to sharing and reflection...")

("Appreciating the power of friendship, and how deeply listening to each other opens up space for more light to enter into our own perception of self, as well grow from understanding more from where each has traveled.")

And I have also continued to be deeply gratified as people continue to reach out to me and share how this practice is helping them in their own journeys.  I am touched to know that these simple renderings can act as a conduit for shared experience and interpretation, and hopefully some day soon, a bit of humor will be in one of them ;).  Lately, I have been in a very reflective place, perhaps more so than usual.  And although it feels vulnerable to share some of my raw edges, it also lessens the isolation I think that we can all feel when going through day to day life... of raising our children, ourselves, and dealing with the ups and downs of every life.  Beneath it all is an awareness of privilege and abundance in my life, and I know I am very fortunate.  I send goodness out to all of you this week, and hope you all feel important and loved.