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How Not To Live a Small Life . . . And Other Life Lessons

One of my granddaugthers at a previous open studio making her important contribution to the whole!

Currently, I facilitate two kinds of nature mandala workshops. One gives each participant the opportunity to create an individual circle to help work through a predetermined topic. The other type of workshop starts with some introspective writing and ends up with the creation of one large cooperative circle. "The Big Circle", as I often call it, holds some perspective-changing lessons.

When we are all finished with the circle, we stand back to observe and discuss. Here are a few lessons that always come out of the experience.

1) None of us needs to live a small life. I remember taking a night flight out of my old hometown in the mountains, looking down to see the small, isolated lights spaced out among the rural landscape. I was visiting after living in so many places and it felt very small to me. I found myself saying, "I don't want to lead a small life." Sometimes we can feel very isolated and our lives, unimportant, and unconnected. The reality, however, is that we are not! If we are consistently showing up, using the gifts that we have been given, and being the person we were created to be, then we are not small. We are an essential part of the whole - a beautiful, huge, connected whole that without us, would not be complete!

1) Equality. Often when a large mandala is finished, I ask the group which objects are the most important in the circle. Some seem like the essential backbones of the design. Others are like tiny little accents that make it so beautiful and interesting. The reality is that no one part is more important or less important than the others. Take out one and it is not whole. Each contribution in the circle, and in life, is not more or less important than any other.

3) The beauty of change and letting go. I like that the circles we create in my workshops are always ephemeral. It mirrors life. It is an exercise not just about letting go, but letting go because of something. It is so much easier to let go if we realize that the next circle, the next day, will have its own unique beauty. All we need to do is show up, pay attention, and soak it all in.

OPEN STUDIO: 211 Columbus Ave., Studio 218, Pawtucket, RI

Saturday, December 10 from 11-4

Stop by and help make a "Big Circle" and shop for the holidays! While the big circle we will create at Saturday's open studio will not be a workshop with writing or discussion, we can still have fun making something together! I hope to see you!


Some new four-packs are available in my website store. These sets of four miniature, mailable prints have a little less packaging than four individual cards. Therefore, they are a little less expensive. Shop for them here or at the Open Studio while supplies last!


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