the labyrinth in winter

First came fearless in 2009. I challenged myself to step more boldly into my life. I overcame my irrational fear of paint tubes, took a painting class, started doing yoga, exposed my vulnerability to the team I was leading, and got a few bruises.

Fearless was followed with the journey in 2010. I got breast reduction surgery and journeyed into a new way of living with my body. I took up running. I journeyed to hell and back with my beloved. I took a trip to Halifax that changed my life. And, most importantly, I left my full time job, started this website, and journeyed into self-employment. What a journey it was!

After two intense years, I wanted something lighter for 2011, so I chose joy. I sought out my joy people and made connections with incredible people all over the world. I traveled to Columbus, Ohio for another life-changing week at ALIA. I walked a painful 100 km and was reminded that pain is part of the path to joy. I taught my first Creative Writing for Self-Discovery class and had more fun than I’ve had in a long time. I fell in love with mandalas. I purposefully sought out work that brought joy to my life, instead of simply that which paid the bills. It was an incredible year.

And now it’s time for a new word.

The word that came to me around the time of winter solstice is… circle.

Circle means so many things to me.

Circle is as old as the world itself. In fact, circle IS the world.

Circle is sacred.

Circle is labyrinth.

Circle is the dismantling of hierarchies.

Circle is mandala.

Circle is community.

Circle is equality.

Circle is the seasons.

Circle is completeness.

Circle is play.

Circle is feminine.

Circle is an invitation to Spirit.

Circle is womb.

Circle is birth.

Circle is art.

Circle is conversation.

Circle is storytelling.

Circle is ritual.

Circle is social practice.

Circle is indigenous knowledge.

Circle is covenant.

Circle is council.

Circle is social movement.

Circle is dance.

Circle is learning.

Circle is strength.

In 2012, I want to seek circle in every way that I can.

I will teach the elements of circle in my upcoming group facilitation class, I will use it in my Creative Discovery class and other classes, I will draw it in my mandalas, I will nurture it in my relationships, I will welcome it into my rituals, I will invite it into my upcoming offerings, I will continue to study it, and I will honour it in all of the work that I do.

In honour of this choice, I am also making this The Year of the Mandala.

It is my intention to use mandala-making as my primary spiritual/creative practice, to remind me of circle’s place in my life. I will try to work on mandalas every day, and hope to have completed 300 mandalas by the end of the year. Most mandalas will be in my mandala journals, but some will be on my body, some might be in the snow or sand, and some might be made of random objects I come across.

I invite you to create mandalas along with me this year. I’ve created a Flickr group where anyone is welcome to share mandalas they’ve created.

p.s. If you want to learn more about circle as a path for leadership and community-development, I highly recommend the books Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture, and The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair . If you’re interested in making mandalas, I recommend The Mandala Workbook: A Creative Guide for Self-Exploration, Balance, and Well-Being.

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