57: The particulars of a circle.

- January 7, 2018 -

The onset of the new year has been helping me to remember the value of reining things in, of maintaining a steady-going sort of pace as I move along.

You see, I’m now in a place where many major projects of mine — some of which I’ve been working on for nearly a year — are coming to their conclusion, and in my excitement I’ve been feeling eager to race past their last few hurdles to completion.

It’s not because I want them out of the way, though, or because I’ve procrastinated until the last moment and therefore need to be rushing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve just found that when I’m passionate about something, I don’t usually have a great deal of patience when it comes to, say, waiting for certain situations to unfold on their own time, or ensuring that all of the necessary steps are followed in a particular way. I like to dive right into the deep end, like to divert the energy from other parts of my life into working with laser focus on whatever it is that has so captured my attention.

But, to build off of last week’s letter for just a moment, this transition into the new year has been reminding me that, really, there is almost no precedent for such erratic progression in the natural world. More often than not, change in nature operates solely according to the demands of a carefully calibrated and cyclical system. The change of the seasons, for instance, or the growth of a forest, or the way in which day turns to night and then back into day.

Such change operates according to a long-established set of prerequisites and procedures, each of which is crucial to the process and none of which can be substituted. If this weren’t the case, if certain protocols were unnecessary or if some steps could be overlooked altogether, then the progression wouldn’t be cyclical at all. A circle can’t be formed by going from, say, point A to point N to point B to point Z, for that would form a different shape entirely.

No, a circle is very particular about the fact that it must go from A to B to C to D, maintaining this steady pace of incremental development all the way to Z before it once again returns to A and the cycle begins anew. As we move through our days, though, we don’t often like to do things in this way, and certainly not within the confines of the productivity-crazed culture in which we now live.

We don’t like to go from A to B to C to D. We like to jump around, to take shortcuts, to stop and then start, to go from A to N to B to Z. But perhaps we might do well to better familiarize ourselves with the particulars of a circle, and to consider why it is that there is such measured precision assigned to the manner of their progression.


Waving from my desk,
– J


This piece comes from Jana Marie’s newsletter, The Sunday Letters. You can sign up to receive future editions below.