design1Taking a break from holiday preparations, sitting for a minute to rest and just breathe, I happened to idly page through my sketchbook and come across this drawing I made last month. I just stared at it for a bit, trying to use it to empty my mushy mind and let go of all “to-do” items. Does it look like anything recognizable, I asked myself?

No, just a sinuous design.

What, if anything, do you see in the design?

design4         On a whim I began to turn it in different directions.


Nice and flow-y, but nothing stood out in particular to me.

How about you?


When I turned it this way,


it looked to me like a lyrical landscape, with green hills above, blue river and lake below, and a foundation of brown earth between them. Abstract to be sure, but pleasing to me. Full of movement but restful too. Seems like there is a fresh breeze in this landscape and lots of animals and birds just out of sight. Nice place to be—I may come back here.

Do you see this too? Or something else perhaps?


design3But I love the final, upside down version of the design. I see three people, heads leaning together, singing, their voices blending easily, harmonizing naturally because of their connection with each other and with the moment. They are almost snuggling in their closeness, and I can feel smiles within the singing. There’s breath here, too, in the swelling chests and bellies, and in the alert silence that surrounds them. No hurry. Their singing has no agenda other than simply enjoying the song and the moment. No planned harmonies; each contributes the unique thread of sound they hear within and without. I think it is the singing that draws them together—this mutual love of finding and sharing the song—not necessarily blood ties or long acquaintance.

This picture makes me smile, and I want to join in the singing!

I realize THIS is how I want the holidays to feel. This sweet, easy, freedom-filled affinity. No, not just the holidays, but as often as I can, all throughout the year. I want to make space to breathe and listen, find the smile and the song, and then lean in with others doing the same, each in their own way, even if only for a few minutes—to sing or ponder or tell stories or play or problem solve or imagine or paint, as one flowing, colorful organism with many arms, receiving and giving back the heart of life.


Perhaps you see something different in the drawing. What does your vision tell you?