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Making Space / Clearing the Chaos

New Year's Day Circle, January 1, 2023

My New Year's wish for myself, my loved ones, and for you comes from many different directions, not the least of which is a conversation I had months ago with a friend at a weekly art market. She and I realized that we were experiencing similar emotions even though we had not seen each other for months. The fact is, over the past couple years, many people seem to share similar unsettling emotions which have come from stressful events in our country and in our world.

Catching up at the market, my friend Patricia told me a story about a woman who, along with a small group of people, was getting ready to enter The Ganges River. As you may know, that river is full of history, meaning, pollution, and the stuff of life and death. The woman stood by the water, uncomfortable with its contents. Someone in the group, however, assured her that they need only clear away a space on the surface to enter. I can imagine the physical and emotional battle taking place in her mind as she surveyed the situation. Patricia and I went on to talk about how our lives felt somewhat similar to the river, full of overwhelming, stifling clutter and chaos. I can't remember all the in-betweens of the conversation, but by the end, I knew that I was going to the woods to physically clear out a space in the fall leaves, sit, and experience open space.

The next day, I went to the woods with the intention of making a circle in a secluded spot. But as I tell people in my workshops, the magic of connection with nature really happens when we leave all preconceived notions behind. In the woods, I felt called to make the circle not in a hidden place as I had imagined. Instead, I cleared a space right over the bridge in the middle of the path. After it was empty of leaves, I did not sit. I stood. With the chaos moved away, I felt completely still, confident, clear headed, and optimistic.

Yesterday, New Years Day, I went to a favorite wooded area with the intent of making some sort of New Year's Circle. It is rather short, circular path that I almost always walk three times in order to make my walk longer and practice some observational skills. I envisioned creating my circle behind a stone wall where I had made one before. But that place didn't feel right this time. Instead, I made it under a tree along side the path where it makes a sharp, ninety degree turn.

Under the graceful limbs of a young beech tree, I cleared the leaves. Then each time I walked the path, I picked up and placed more lichens around the edges to create a distinct, beautiful boundary. I realized that I was again trying to clear the chaos and find peace.

May this year bring all of us a sense of clearing out, letting go, opening up, creating boundaries, and finding peace.

Instagram: @bethadoette


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