Circle Round (April 22-May 5, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

We are happy to be coming up for air after a very full past 2 weeks, packed with theater and birthday celebrations for our oldest son.  I am grateful for all of the lessons that came from a wide variety of experiences with friends and our own small family unit, and look forward to this month of May unfolding with more to come...  wishing you all fresh air and a joyful sinking in to this beautiful month!

("Peacefulness comes like a balm on days I get to stay home, the luxury of being in my own space and rhythm, choosing how to spend the precious time. Because these days are increasingly rare as my children are entering busier times in their lives, I am reminding myself to sink into the gratitude for what free time I do have, to focus on the aliveness that is inside my children and myself, and to connect to the abundance of energy that is erupting outdoors with spring. Although this circle is full of cool colors, they always feel full of potent energy for me, as if containing pure Spirit. Wishing you all space, flow, and vitality today as you fill yourselves up before beginning a new week...")


("I am appreciating simplicity this morning, and the small spaces that can be created by line. I am drawn to these enclosures that exist in nature, and find myself repeating them often in my work. Perhaps because they look like ideal places to rest, protected from the bustle of outside life. Wishing you all sacred spaces to rest in your week ahead...")


("Walking in the pouring rain with our dog this morning, I turned off my flashlight, realizing there was enough graying light to see the contours of the land. What my eyes could not quite register, were the brambles that are beginning to sprout up at knee height, as they do every spring. It made me catch my footing, and to reflect on how perennial in nature thorns are in our lives— some that come to bear fruit, and some that just remain painful in their protective purpose. The color that blankets the hillside as they come alive every year, especially in the rain, lends a deep magenta-purple hue, also stops me in my tracks. I remind myself to find beauty where I can, and to step back enough to evaluate what needs pruning, or is left to run out its own course of life...")


("We are midstream into tech week for our homeschooling theater group, the production being this weekend. Today we head to the actual theater, where we will spend many hours a day, bringing together what they have worked so hard on this whole year long. From the last 2 years’ experience, I know we feel a bit like bats by the end of the long run, having been deep inside the cave with no windows for days on end. I think my mind needed to create some open space this morning, to carry inside us all. Here’s to light within!")


("Some mornings when the resistance comes that can make me sit and anxiously stare at the blank circle, I am aware of the quickly passing minutes that bring me closer to the realities of the day unfolding... I eventually make myself pick up my brush, pick whichever color I am drawn to, and rapidly make a line across the page. Often, that is the hardest step, even though there is not one single threat that is real about beginning (or continuing). This part of the human psyche is curious to me, and makes me realize it holds true for so many parts of our lives— beginning is often the hardest part. Wishing you ease in beginning things that are awaiting action, however big or small they may be :).")


("When I got to the bottom of the land with the dog this morning, I adjusted my flashlight to a brighter beam, as I could smell that a skunk was nearby. Much to my dismay, the rechargeable batteries gave out, and I was left in darkness, only the faintest outline of the hill behind me. I immediately laughed, as I often do when stressed, and reminded myself that I know the land, and that my feet, legs, and vestibular system know the incline, muscle memory being what it is. I took a breath away from the scent of the skunk, and began trodding steadily uphill, hoping she was not following. Our theater kids filled my mind and heart then— just how fearless they are in getting up on that stage, day after day, long hours, much feedback and processing... and every single one of them facing their own obstacles in standing in their own two feet, finding their voice, and busting through resistance into their courage. I have so much respect for these kids, and such gratitude for working alongside them, absorbing the powerful lessons they teach us all.")


("Diversity is such an integral part of life, whether it be human, animal, plant, or the environments surrounding us that we call home. I am grateful for experiences that deepen my appreciation for diversity in all its forms, and remind myself to seek out and celebrate them whenever I can. This world in which we live is incredibly rich with uniqueness, and I am grateful that our children are growing up with more awareness. Let’s find ways to open to and honor differences in the many beautiful forms they exist, especially people. We can learn so much from what is unfamiliar to us if we risk being receptive.")


("Redbuds are one of the most splendid of trees for me, bringing me always back to where I grew up in the hills of Indiana, where dogwoods grew alongside, dotting the woods like polka dots of unexpected color for the precious weeks they bloomed. I am grateful that redbuds grow in KY, as well, and for the city workers who no longer attempt to clear our property edge that meets the gravel road leading to the hollow below— after 10 years of running out to greet the workers, arms waving wildly before the blades were to be lowered, we now have a lovely row of redbuds that border our property all the way down to the creek. This feels like magic to me, the simple act of leaving nature alone and letting it flourish in ways that bring beauty, shelter for the birds, and much needed shade on these pasture hills. Perhaps there is a lesson in there for letting parts of ourselves become who we are meant to be, even taking years in the making...")


("Awakening this morning to the palpable relief in our house that follows final productions of my boys’ plays... there is nothing quite like that freedom, knowing the day lays ahead, wide open, carried by the energy of having been part of a powerful whole that brought laughter, enjoyment, accomplishment, and joy to all involved. I could not be more proud of all the kids, and grateful for the hard work and dedication of all the parents involved, and for the supportive families who sustained us especially in this last 10 days of push! My heart is full as my body and mind are tired. Wishing the joy of liberation to all today!")


("The privilege of voice is an awareness very present for me lately—watching the kids use theirs so bravely in theater and finding mine to speak these simple reflections each day. A friend and I were talking about it, and she did not realize that I have not always been so vocal. Not at all. It has been a painstakingly slow progression that started with my work in social work, grew with trusted friends and family over decades, and has only very recently taken a risk into the more vulnerable public realm. It is not easy, but I think it is important that we speak what we have so say, if we feel so inclined. It is not about having any answers or special insights, but the act of sharing and connecting with others about our human experience. That is powerful in ways that I could not have anticipated, and profoundly healing. We all have rich life experience, stories, gifts to offer when we can slow down, inquire, gently listen... I am grateful beyond words for the gift of being able to speak up now, and for a supportive circle in which to share! Thank goodness we can offer each other support in this growing of ourselves...")


("The mind is a mysterious thing... if left to breathe, it will wander and place color, line, forms that are swirling around in our unconscious. “Portal” is the first word that came to mind when I finished this one, and I am left wandering which gateways are yet unexplored in my life... where I still need to go, where I still want to go. I feel deep gratitude for the privilege of having the freedom to not only ask, but explore, those questions. Wishing you the same permission to peek into your own mind and see what is waiting to be revealed to you...")


("Yesterday we were driving home from a day spent beautifully with friends in the woods, and drove by a terrible accident. The stark contrast of my experience with those receiving emergency support could not have been more different, and I immediately felt the preciousness of life. Today marks the 44th anniversary of my father, who left this world much too young and too quickly. Losing him taught my family not just that death can come at any time, but the importance of holding this awareness, embracing life as fully as we can every day we are lucky enough to see the sun rise. I am sitting outside as the sun is cresting the trees, listening to the birds sing. Gifts abound...")


("As may be obvious, I rarely work in black and white. Today, I decided to delve into the black paint pan, which has been beckoning for me to return to its rich depth of pigment, enabling immediate stark contrast when placed on the white paper. I loved working in ebony pencil when I first learned to draw, and for years after, yet veered into the land of color, intensifying over the years as I let myself be immersed in its vibrancy. I found a grounding soothing quality to the black paint, smiling at the ease of gradation created merely by water coming off my brush against these stark edges. I felt relief as the grays began to emerge... this did not surprise me, as I am a person who very much gravitates towards the grays, rather than extremes. The complexity of life reflects this concept profoundly, and is a daily topic of discussion with my boys, who continue to examine these polarities and all that lies between, themselves. I am grateful to be with them in their discernment, and to continue working on softening my own extremes when needed.")


("What is it that keeps living beings moving towards the light? There are countless stories in the news and in our own lives and nature that exemplify this resiliency over and over again, despite unthinkable circumstances. I am feeling gratitude this morning for the power of the spirit to overcome, and the drive to keep going. Wishing you all momentum and light where you need it most...")