When Bells stop ringing—Church—begins
     The Positive—of Bells—
     When Cogs—stop—that’s Circumference—
     The Ultimate—of Wheels.    ~ Emily Dickinson

Today is International Pi Day which is a favorite of mine for several reasons.

I grew up thinking up I was ridiculously bad at math, however I did very well in Geometry. I loved the logic of setting up theorems and proofs and the fact that I could SEE what it meant. I still am drawn to geometry as math, as symbol, as beauty and poetry.

I haven’t mentioned Emily Dickinson in a while, but she has certainly not been forgotten. In fact, my Emily project (which will technically be ending in mid May this year) has opened a significant internal change that I am still navigating.

One of the key themes in her poetry was that of Circumference. She used the word in multiple ways: spiritual, emotional, physical. This theme in her poetry could be a whole blog series in itself, but that will have to wait for another time.

The way that circumference is speaking to me loud and clear these days is as a symbol of the sacred container of self. I have been reading Rokelle Lerner’s Living in the Comfort Zone: The Gift of Boundaries in Relationships and she says that we can fully integrate “only by knowing and claiming our boundaries, a sacred space in which we can do the soul work necessary to actualize our potential and still be grounded in our identity.”

To become whole, we need to have a sense of self. This simply means we recognize ourselves as a sacred container which makes it easier to inhabit our bodies and truly love and respect others. It does seem ironic to be talking about boundaries in a time of quarantine, I admit.

My thoughts right now are to shift my art studio work toward more of a therapeutic space for very small groups to have the safety to explore art with no judgement. I am not an art therapist, and although that might happen in the future it will need to happen outside the realm of another university degree. I am working with the sister of a good friend of mine who is helping me to conceptualize a logo through her graphic design work. Oh, and yes, the name of the studio will be Circumference Studio. I am working to get the name registered in the next couple of weeks.

With all that is happening in the world right now it is tempting to put this on the back burner and that may need to happen but for now I am letting myself dream and move forward as it becomes possible. Also, it seems that in times of public distress, tools like art are more crucial, not less.



4 thoughts on “Circumference”

  1. This is exciting and beautiful, Mary Ellen!

    I love the word— circumference. I may spend time thinking about that today…

    Love to you in uncertain times. (Which, despite our hubris, are ALL times!)




  2. It shows great wisdom that you are focussing on bringing a dream of yours into reality. It may take many small steps but you are moving forward. And this is a good time to do so when there is much uncertainty around us. God has given you this dream and God will walk with you as you bring it to fruition. Blessings!


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