Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life is a (Circular) Journey - Diva Challenge #215

In 2009, I attended a retreat at the Portincula Center For Prayer in the St. Francis Woods in Frankfort, Illinois.  The center has beautiful grounds that feature many quiet and beautiful places for individual and group meditation.  One of those places is this lovely labyrinth.  This was the first time I had walked such a path.



The purpose of the retreat was to share the music of Hildegard von Bingen and other meditative music including some rounds, singing bowls and gongs.  I experienced emotional release and spiritual growth in many forms during my short stay there. 

For me, sacred music is a more potent form of prayer than the spoken word could ever be.
I have always thought there is something very circular in some forms of music.  Notice that circles are the backbone of many of the forms of music I experienced at the retreat.  African music has a very round, ringing sound to the harmony as well, and I find it quite lovely.  Mozart, Elgar and other composers have a quality of roundness if you stop to feel rather than intellectually listen.  Certain music touches your heart in an actual physical way, a fact that science is beginning to discover.

Prayer circles, drum circles, wagon circles, children's circle games, Mayan calendars - even eyes and navels - evoke protection and contemplation.  The labyrinth (and Mandelas AND Zendalas) all echo this circular meditation. 

When I walked the labyrinth in St. Francis woods, I was struck by how I was unable to discern how far along the path I was and how far I had yet to go.  Around I went, light crunching sounds of my feet on the very fine gravel path, and wondered.  Suddenly, there I was in the center.  I stopped to rest there.  It was not a physical rest, exactly - it wasn't a tiring walk - but a mental pause. Reluctantly, almost, I rose and began the second half of the journey.  Again, even though I had walked the circle before, I was unable to determine how far along I was.  I walked, I hummed some music we had learned, and then...  With the lightest little crunch, my foot lifted off the last step and it was over.  Just like that.  No real warning. 

For me, that walk, that lift of the foot, was a metaphor for our life on earth.  We walk, we ponder, we distract ourselves, we grieve, we celebrate, and then...a little lift and over.  Life IS a journey.  It is not a straight line path to some goal.  We must be present and mindful of the journey every step of the way.

Here is my response to the challenge.  I drew the simplest of labyrinth forms and added patterns.  I divided the form into quarters to represent the earth cycle, but did not take great pains to interpret any particular cycle or season.  I just tangled my way around the path.



*****NEWS!   I am now an official, fully tangelated, inspired and blessed CZT!  Yippee!!

 
 
CZT 19 was a wonderful experience.  I loved meeting Rick, Maria, Molly, their staff, and a few of my fellow online Tanglers.  The Taiwan contingency was so totally cute!  There were drawings for prizes, and they won quite a few of them - they were so excited, so thrilled just to be there, and SO talented.  It was inspiring just to be around them.  I met my online Diva participants, David Hunter and Suzanne Durville, and getting to know them was so sweet!  Hi to Nancy and Judy if you read this, and to all the wonderful and inspiring people I met there.  Sandy - I was moved and honored to see your work in person, and I'm so sorry that in all the hustle-bustle we didn't get to meet.  I left there entirely worn out but inspired to share my newfound knowledge with my friends at home.  I can't wait for whatever comes next!!

23 comments:

  1. Beautiful tile and congratulations!

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  2. Woot! You're a 19! How exciting... and you got to meet all my heroes. I'm sure you told them all that Duchess said Hello... Can't wait to see all your newfound learning in your tiles.

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    1. Thanks, Your Highness! Of course I passed along your greetings!

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  3. Congratulations and welcome to the world of CZT's! How lovely to meet some of our friends. I like your labyrinth, and enjoyed the story about your own journey.

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    1. Thanks, Jean! I am very happy to have completed my pilgrimage to Providence. It was so great, as you well know!

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  4. What a very beautiful post, Antonine. Words, musical allusion and gorgeous tangles. Axxx

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    1. Thank you, Annie! This challenge really did speak to me.

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  5. Congratulations on the certification. A lovely tile and a lovely post. I would have liked to meet the "Taiwanese contingent" as you call them. I use the patterns contributed by the Taiwanese tanglers as a way to be close to my son who is currently living and working in Taipei.

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    1. Thank you, Dorita! If you go to CZT training, you will likely meet some of the group from Taiwan. They send a group to every class, I believe. I don't know too much about their background, but apparently there is some kind of big Zentangle Society there. What a wonderful experience for your son to be in Taipei. Living in another country with a totally different culture is an unbelievable life-enriching process. How cool!

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  6. I like your labyrinth and I love your words of wisdom. I love the music of Wychzel, for instance the album Healing Drums. Do you know this?

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    1. Thank you, Anne! I was not familiar with Wychzel, but I checked out his website and the Healing Drums. How wonderful! I also love, love, love the music with the sea sounds! I have a number of CDs with Native American flutes and drums, African choral and drum music (including one track where the women stand in the river and just drum on the surface of the water with a wonderful variety of sounds), and various Japanese and Tibetan flute and chant sounds. Plus, then there's Rick's flute music! Such music enters your body and changes you. Love it!

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  7. Congratulations to the new CZT! It was a fabulous experience wasn't it?

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    1. Thank you, Betsy! Yes it was fabulous, and I'm so happy to be counted in the ranks of CZTs!

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  8. Your labyrinth tile is very inspiring Antonine! I enjoyed reading about your music meditation...I will have to think on the roundness as I listen to some of those styles of music. I love how you divided this up into quarters and how the tangles move from each division so beautifully! Congrats on acquiring your CZT. I think an event like that is especially nice for being able to connect with others.

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    1. Thank you, Lynell! I always think about what kind of "shape" is achieved with different types of harmony. I don't know enough about music to understand fully, but I do actually feel "roundness" and "angularity" and "jaggedness" when I listen.

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  9. Firstly, congratulations Anthonine on your achievement! Secondly, thank you for sharing your experience of the labyrinth--very deeply moving one, I am sure. And thirdly, your response to the challenge looks so well conceived--nicely contrasted segments and interesting choices of patterns. Have a brilliant day! c

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    1. Thank you - I'm glad you enjoyed my musings! Do walk a labyrinth if you have the opportunity. I have done some prayer walks in church courtyards, etc., but none more moving than that solitary walk at St. Francis Woods.

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  10. A beautiful Post, Antonine. What a wonderful Challenge Tile. Love the gorgeous use of black and beautifully drawn pattern choices. It was wonderful meeting you at CZT#19. Much success to you in your new role as teacher. Blessings to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, David! I loved this challenge. All the best to you, too, in your new journey as fully Certified Zentangle Teacher! I know your classes are lucky to have you. I hope we meet again sometime - maybe at a Tangle U or some such event!

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  11. Love your labyrinth and your words of wisdom! Congratulations on your CZT!

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    1. Thank you! I loved this challenge, and am thrilled to be a newly minted CZT!

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  12. It was so lovely to meet you in Providence. I love your labyrinth story - and now know about your love of music. I have a beautiful singing bowl that I like to ring before I start to work (when I remember...)...such a beautiful sound, just to follow the last notes into infinity. Your tile is really great too! By dividing the circle and changing from black to white, it makes all your lovely tangles sing - and the labyrinth easy to follow. Good luck with your classes and many blessings to you.

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