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ad·vent /ˈadˌvent/

noun: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.

One of the things I have come to love about the mandala workshops I facilitate is the discussion time when people show their mandalas, explain what they have learned so far, and listen to thoughtful comments about their work from others. We often gain more clarity about our work and ourselves through to thoughtful insights from others. Other times, we are simply blessed to hear heartfelt stories illustrated and embraced in the beautiful circles around the room. This month's workshop at Blithewold Mansion and Arboretum was called "Nest and Rest". It was a sold out class with lots of interesting work, but one mandala and its story stands out to me still.

Looking at a fairly simple yet elegant circle with one portion open, participant Jan told us her mandala was all about Advent and how her family had always taken care to honor the anticipation of Christmas. Her mandala had other meanings too, we learned, as she shared that the open side also represented being open to new possibilities and reinvention in life.

In that moment, I realized that I this year I had missed it. I did not embrace the spirit of Advent at all! The hectic season had gotten away from me, I felt like I could not afford to stop lest I get even more behind. I simply did not make the time or create the space for the beauty of anticipation and hope. The next day, I decided that I would start my season of Christmas Advent early, the day after Christmas, in anticipation of next year's Christmas. I also decided, I would also embrace the broader definition of advent (lower case) in anticipating New Year's Day and the hope of a brighter, new year full of possibilities, hope, and even reinvention if it presented itself.

How appropriate that the circle(s) I made for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day included the element of anticipation as it took close to a day to complete. I started with a circle of of tight flower buds (left) and watched them open up slowly over time. As they opened, I adapted the mandala several times to embrace its unfolding and reinvention. Advent. Anticipation. Openness to whatever might come. Thanks, tulips, for your unfolding. Thanks, Jan, for your story.

Field 2019

To all my friends near and far, family, and people I have met through my work, I wish you blessings, peace, and a bright New Year!


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