Stories move in circles.
They don’t move in straight lines.
So it helps if you listen in circles.
There are stories inside stories
and stories between stories,
and finding your way through them
is as easy
and as hard
as finding your way home.
And part of the finding
is the getting lost.
And when you’re lost,
you start to look around
and to listen.
~A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Coming from a Great Distance.
Maybe today is the most perfect time to talk about coloring. Now that we are moving into the season of Spring, it’s good to be reminded of the little and great things that bring color to our lives.
Sitting down with the intention of coloring is one of those life-bringing activities that I wish I did more. One of my favorite memories when we were little was Mom’s bringing home a brand-new box of 64 Crayola’s (wait for it…) WITH a crayon sharpener built into the back. All those colors. Rows of them all lined up. Brand new crayons. Those boxes were my earliest glimpses of bliss. Now that I’m older, there are choices upon choices upon choices for coloring. Crayons still, sure. Colored pencils, and now there are colored pencils that have multiple colors on the same tip (who thought of that one???). Paint (oil, water, more). Chalk. All kinds of ways to bring color to a page. All kinds of ways to break loose and jump in.
More often than not when I start coloring, I find myself drawing circles and coming round to mandalas. I first met mandalas in seminary and have loved them ever since. They are symbols for healing, for meditation. Mandalas are symbols holding the universe. Symbols reminding us of the center, of our center. They are known to be symbols of balance. Symbols of the sacred, inviting us to go beyond what is here to what is coming.
With a little imagination, you can see mandalas in so many things. As the trees have been blooming, I’ve been mindful of trying to get pictures. When I walked up to a tree and looked all the way to the top, I could see a circle at the top, with the branches forming the design of the mandala on the inside. Not far along in my walk, I saw the same thing with the fire hydrant. Then I saw mandalas in bicycle tires. Beauty is all around. Finding circles and stopping just a moment to see what is pulling us in. Is all about stopping for a moment to see.
I've heard it said that stories move in circles. I believe spending time with mandalas keeps me listening to my story. So, take a piece of paper and draw a big circle. Grab your crayons or paint or chalk or colored pencils, find a comfortable spot and see what happens. It's. All. Good.