The Circle is Unbroken

Just before Christmas, a young client of mine came in for a session and brought me a beautiful beaded Christmas tree ornament.  I was so excited about it that she offered to show me how to make one.  “I have the stuff in my car,” she said.  She didn’t know that I had my own private stash of beads tucked unceremoniously away waiting for the time when I could take up what seemed like such a frivolous hobby.  I love beads (and small stones), but was sure all of my other work was so important that I couldn’t possibly spare any time for beading.

We spent her entire counseling session beading with our heads bent together, talking about the many issues of the heart and soul.  We worked like two prairie women—our fingers busily stabbing small glass beads with a thin needle . . . three white, one purple, three white, one purple.  By the end of her session, I had a tiny, but beautiful mandala of beads forming on the table before me.  My client wished me a Merry Christmas and left, and I returned to my “real” work.

However, the beautiful white and purple circle stayed in my mind.  I pictured it sitting alone on a wide expanse of my cherry wood office table like a distant star.  It was strange how that circle beckoned me like nothing has for a long time.  Finally, just before bed, I crept back out to my office at midnight after two hours of writing and working on other more important matters.  I simply could not go to bed without first revisiting that little beaded circle.  And of course, I had to add one more ring to it.  I followed the pattern carefully around the outer circle, three white, one purple, three white.  When the loop was done, I went to bed feeling oddly satisfied.

The next morning morning when I went into my office, it was still where I had left it.  I touched it, feeling the loose connectedness of the beads and thought, “What a beautiful pattern.”  It reminded me of the rangoli, the sidewalk circle the yogis of India create at the entrance of a sacred place.  They sift colored rice powder to create intricate images to honor the Gods knowing full well that the wind and rain will probably destroy it by dusk.  And still, they create it anyway.

It was then that I understood my attraction to the shiny circle of glass beads.  My work is always about finding patterns and seeking patterns—but perhaps I put too much time and energy into finding the patterns of darkness and despair.  I work with individuals and organizations but, like so many other people in this work, tend to see the problem patterns without seeking the patterns of order and ease.  We get so attached to our descriptions of the problem pattern that soon that is all we see—and then we cannot find another story.

The rangoli, the medicine wheel, and my little circle of beads looping into other beads remind me to look for and find the patterns of beauty and connectedness as well—and to seek that greater order of life, love, spirit.  I will remember.

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