This weekend I sat with my eight year old daughter and we coloured mandalas together.

Engrossed in the simplicity and beauty of the task, with no standards with which to compare ourselves, and with nowhere to get to, I found myself connected with her, present with her, in ways that are fleeting at best in the melée of day-to-day family life.

We talked about many things as we drew – topics touched rarely by our more familiar pattern of everyday conversation. And there were long periods of silence in which we just were together. It was exquisite and deep and loving, and so very very simple.

We easily forget the straightforward human satisfactions of being together with others and of making with our hands. Perhaps it’s because we’ve become so sure that there is always somewhere to get to (which isn’t here), that something else needs doing (that props up the familiar feel of our busyness), and that more complex and more sophisticated (more ‘entertaining’) is of greater value.

It can support our lives enormously to remember that what’s deeply rewarding can be simple and uncluttered. And that it’s right there, in front of us, all of the time.

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