Saturday, March 8, 2008

Transition Times (and an Offering to the Sign Gods)

I always used to say that I hated airplanes, but loved airports. I still dislike airplanes - I always feel a little claustrophobic - though I love their speed and relative efficiency. And I still generally like airports - they are places full of anonymity and possibility: you can go anywhere and become someone new, up to a point. You are limited by your baggage.

But transitions are still difficult. The transitions that occur in airports when you're trying to make connecting flights and navigate each airport's unique security requirements (don't get me started on Heathrow's International Arrivals Terminal) are more difficult since 9-11. And of course there are those airports that the Sign Gods* have abandoned utterly (like LAX or Katmandu International), perhaps for lack of the proper tributes or the worship of other gods.

Starting a new class, with new students, is also a transition of sorts. I started a new Playful Prayer class on Tuesday with a wonderful group of women. I was still a bit fuzzy headed from travel, but the class went reasonably well and is off to a good start.

We usually do mandalas during the first of the six-week classes. It's a good grounding and centering introduction to the practice of intuitive and devotional art. The class was small enough that I was able to work on my own mandala:

It incorporates bright, frenetic color; luggage tags from our "lost" luggage; punched circles from our boarding passes; tickets to Tulum area attractions; and images from the travel brochures. At the very center is the logo for Mexicana Airlines, a logo which also very much resembles the pyramid-shaped temples so common in MesoAmerica prior to colonization. This collage is only loosely a mandala - there is a central focus, radial symmetry. But it is more of a whirlwind in search of a place to put down. All that energy from transition needs to go somewhere.

*A note about the Sign Gods: I have traveled a great deal by myself across the United States and around the world. Yet, everywhere I go, when I am most in need, signs appear that guide me: the image of the leaning tower of Pisa with an arrow pointing straight ahead; the sign that reads "Baggage Claim" is six languages; the friendly rectangle letting me know that a much needed Rest Stop is only 10 miles ahead; even the strangely angular outline of a woman on an otherwise unremarkable door that spells "Thank Ye Gods, Relief is Near!" These are all evidence of the Sign Gods whose will is done by lowly shop merchants and bureaucrats the world over. Generally, chaos results if we defy them or ignore their will.


maria said...

I am so envious of you! I have been dreaming of Mexico lately! Perhaps this is a sign that I should go.
I hope your trip was fabulous.
It's good to have you back teaching at collage----your classes are always so wonderful.

Leah said...

those classes sound wonderful! and i'm loving your mandala. oh, and i know about the sign gods...

one of my favorites was a sign that read "it's a sign!" i wrote about the story here:

gl. said...

i LOVED airports before 9-11. now i hate the whole process. almost cried in the security line in heathrow coming home in october.

hooray! playful prayer has begun!

Dayna Collins said...

Bridget, oh those lucky women to be in your Playful Prayer class! I loved every session and especially enjoyed pawing through all of your wonderful doo dads and bits! Dayna