top of page

Defending The Open Circle

Field 2019

The first nature mandala workshop I facilitated in a school was with a small class of fifth graders. Clearly comfortable with each other and with the assignment, it wasn't long before many completed their circles and began to bounce around and contribute to each other's. At one point, five kids sat on the floor helping the teacher create "her" circle in a beautiful example of spontaneous co-creating.

One of the girls made a thoughtful design full of red and pink objects with a large, empty center. (see photo) As the class went on, many of her peers tried to fill in the middle. Repeatedly, the young artist defended her open space, taking out other people's objects over and over again. In the creative chaos I lost track of her mandala, but was so pleased to see the empty middle show up in the final photographs just as she had intended. She had done it. She had defended her design with the open circle. I wondered if her persistence and conviction would be an indication of her future self.

When I photograph my daily circles, I often create several but post only one. Usually, the variations come from editing or taking away rather than adding. I find there is a softness and a lightness when the middle is open. It makes me feel more content, settled, and optimistic.

Contemplating my recent circle of oranges and lavender seen above, I thought about how I have become a pretty resilient and open person. I wondered if glimpses of that showed up in my childhood, like the fifth grader defending her open space. Thinking about my life and experiences, it would make sense if my circles and my acceptance of the world would be less open. But it is not. I have learned a few things along that way.

I truly believe we all came into this world with open hearts, open centers. Later, false stories and hard experiences can begin to fill in the middle and sometimes get stuck there. That is life. It's full of stuff! Let's just recognize that remaining or becoming an open person, like editing a nature mandala, is a process. We need to take things out. We need to get rid of things that don't seem to make sense or no longer fit. We are better off if we move the old stories and bad experiences out of the center of our lives. When we do, we enlarge our lives! We create space and an invitation for new experiences. Like the persistent fifth grader, defend your circle. It is yours. No one else's. Leave the center open for new experiences, softness, and light.

Testing the Waters in Surface Design

I have a few designs available on Spoonflower with many, many more in the works! Now you can order fabric, wallpaper, and home decor items like pillows, bedding, curtains, table runners, etc. with my designs. (To see the home decor, click on a design, then find the "also available in home decor" tab lower on the right hand side of the specific design page.) I am working on may more, but you can see the first few designs here!


2023 Calendars on Sale

2023 Calendars are now on sale while supplies last! Shop here!


Want to support my thinking and writing time? Buy me a cup of coffee here . . .


Subscribe to my "Circle of Friends" to receive blogs, back stories of my contemplative art, and notifications of new prints and events in your


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
bottom of page