1: On Beauty.

I have missed writing.

My extra time is filled with kettlebells and barbells. I have prioritized the journey of reclaiming my body – caring for it through tearing each muscle.

But I missed writing.

I reached out to my daughter, Frankie, who I know also has had these little pauses in showing up for her writing to do a small writing project together. We have no name for it. We just committed to both writing on a theme each Friday and posting it on our. blogs. She chose the first prompt: Beauty.

What do I consider beautiful in this moment in my life? Nature? Relationships? Yes, sure. Those are a given. Or should I answer this with more abstraction and get myself off the hook of actually pushing for concrete? I could always look to Love and Truth (with that capital T).

Today I have three children in three different continents and two children with me at home. One of them at home is here for a visit. I am still trying to define the beauty in this distance and separation.

I was teaching Ancient Japan last week to my Grade 3 class and we explored the concept of Ensō.

The circle may be open or closed. In the former case, the circle is incomplete, allowing for movement and development and the perfection of all things. Zen practitioners relate the idea to wabi-sabi, the beauty of imperfection. When the circle is closed, it represents perfection, akin to Plato‘s perfect form.

We practiced drawing circles with one stroke with water, a paintbrush, and a chalkboard. I told the class that we were going to do one final circle with black ink on water color paper. The 9 year olds were horrified and nervous that they only had one chance. I reassured them that yes, today, you had one chance, but they had a lifetime of practice. Imperfection was accepted and encouraged.

I also sat with a good friend this week that I haven’t seen in five years. During one of my daughter’s travels, she and her partner graciously hosted her and cared for her thousands of kilometres away. We only had an hour on the beach to talk and she said something beautiful.

To paraphrase her, transitions expose us. They are the places where the shifting itself can move us to a place we didn’t choose to be. We can also choose to be absolutely vulnerable and move a little slower to wherever we need to be next.

Or not.

When I tried to draw my circles, I tried to close them but I couldn’t. That felt good and it felt right. For now. They remained open and perfectly imperfect.


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