SEPT 2021: Circles, Spirals, and Rivers

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Life lives on, Life loves on. (Link here to read this article in the Atlantic)

I am still thinking about circles, spirals, circumambulations. And about rivers & mountains. And prisms and refractions- alchemy and transformation.

One of my favorite podcast episodes last summer was with Joseph Goldstein on Ten Percent Happier titled ‘Getting Over Yourself (#364). Not as harsh a reckoning as the title, but a beautifully simple explanation of the idea of Self, or no-self.

The word ‘Self’ is a designation to you, like the word ‘River’ is to flowing water. ‘I am’ is an eddy to the flow of the water. An eddy is defined as a circular movement of water, counter to a main current, causing a small whirlpool.

It's the spiral movement, the coils of manifestation, that creates a center and a ‘whole’.

There is nothing to say about the last couple of years that you don’t already know. We've all been in this together. Swimming in the ebbs and flows, the tides and currents. 

For me, the first half of 2021 felt like a kind of PTSD. I stopped taking orders in the spring & summer to allow some space to catch up, rebuild & restructure. The pile was too high and the list too long. I was constantly behind the 8-ball and scrambling amidst so many delays and constraints. 

My Virgo-rising nature was seriously challenged. I had to let go of timeliness for mental health & well-being and accept that things have changed and that no amount of pushing would make anything move faster, or smoother. I am a ‘to-do list’ person and while my list was always big, it became unmanageable- I literally became a walking to-do list- not a good thing. 

I feel so many energetic forces scrambling to get 'it' all back to status quo while the world continues rise and crumble. The shit continues to fly. Yet in some way, I can’t help but sense an opportunity; that this tragic reset is just time to review the grooves rut into the landscape and venture to take a road less travelled, to consider how we want to spend our precious life, our energy, our time. To work to salvage and transform what we can from the mess we’ve made. Covid seems to have brought the global perspective into view for many of us who weren't really looking. 

The site is open again with lots of work available and ready to ship. Production & workflow in a pandemic remains challenging, but we all do our best! 

Which makes me think of one of my favorite books 'Start Where You Are' by Pema Chodren. 

'We can start where we are.'

And, If you’ve gotten this far, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this. 

Wishing you peace, sending love, and all good things. 

Stay well, Michele



Below are some notes and excerpts from a book Opening the Mountain- Circumambulating Mount Tamalpais. A Ritual Walk. By Matthew Davis & Michael Ferell Scott.

Circumambulation. Literally it means to walk (ambulare) around (circum). Tibetan and Indian practices of walking clockwise, or ‘the way of the sun’ around a venerated object.

‘Opening the mountain’ a Chinese/Japanese Buddhist term for beginning a practice in a place. Gary Snyder

This beautiful book documents a circular, all day walk, with 10 stops, around Mount Tamalpais in Marin County north of San Francisco. This walk was ‘opened’ October 22, 1965 by Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Phillip Whalen. ‘Opened’ was a word chosen to mean ‘intentionally ceremonial’ and the practice of circumambulation was inspired by Tibetan & Indian practice of pradakshina of walking around a venerated object: plant, person, mountain.

Striving in Circles- Matthew Davis ‘Walking on a circular or spiral path relates to the condition of life... We are all turning in circles of space and time: Each day is a turn of the earth, each month a cycle of the moon, and each year a trip around the sun. Our solar system is on an orbit of many light-years in the spiraling galaxy we call the Milky Way. The idea of the walk being a spiral (however irregular) relates it to a very intrinsic organizing principle of so much in the natural and biological world, right down to the DNA helix.

Never mind the Internet, I am receiving all manner of information from the wind and clouds, the rains and streams, the birds and the sky. Circumambulating is the cream of the appreciation of where I live and who I am. I think any walking contributes to the wordview. Consciously walking with open spirit and the intent to connect to a greater self is a boon and a blessin on one’s life.’

Life is a path through time. A continuum. And from Guy, who lives in my building- 'Be happy, child in time.'

Sarvamangalam- Good Luck to All Beings


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