Exploring Mandalas

In preparation for my workshop focusing on woman-honoring cultures as they impact our own self-worth & divinity, I’m exploring the mandala which translates “circle” & represents wholeness & life.

Mandalas are everywhere, in all aspects of life!  Spiritually, they are found in Native American traditions, Buddhism, & Hinduism to name a few.  Emotionally, art therapists & psychologists use them to help clients reach a higher level of self-awareness.  Physically, mandalas are in natural objects from flowers to snowflakes.

One of many natural mandalas in my garden.

This Native American medicine wheel (a type of mandala) came from the website healing.about.com

This image of a Tibetan sand mandala came from princessioana.com

Before I ask others to create mandalas, I made one for myself so I can come from a place of knowing & better serve my workshop participants.  When I drew the 3 teardrops in the center, I jumped to the conclusion that this would be a gloomy mandala, revealing the frustration I’m feeling in one area of my life.  Not so!  The teardrops are the buds on thriving young plants with leaves resembling wings; the pink spiral & the smaller red spiral with dewdrops on it symbolize growth & creativity; the light radiating from the center is just as needed for growth as the rain.  I believe the springlike colors & spirals signal a time of new ideas & possibilities.  This is clearly a very positive mandala full of hope!

My first mandala, a symbol of balance, hope, & possibilities.

Trace a circle onto a piece of paper & create your own mandala.  Draw whatever comes to mind.  There is no “right” or “wrong”, only TRUTH.  Reflect on the image, getting to know your Self.

While there are many books on mandalas, I recommend the following as a starting point… Creating Mandalas by Susanne F. Fincher, Mandala:  Luminous Symbols for Healing by Judith Cornell, & The Mandala Book:  Patterns of the Universe by Lori Bailey Cunningham.

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A Sketch A Day

Have you heard the advice “Just come to the page” for writers who suffer from writer’s block or who claim they are too busy to sit down and write?  They are told to take just a few minutes per day to show up at the page and write something…anything.

Now that my schedule is getting far more hectic, I’m putting a twist on that advise and saying to myself, “Just come to the sketchbook”.  Each day, draw something…anything.  Now, I know it’s the wrong time of year for traditional resolutions but I’m making a September resolution to draw one sketch a day all month long.  I have to continue with my art no matter how busy I get.  As all creative people know in their hearts, if we don’t draw, sculpt, dance, write, or play our instruments, we can’t be as happy as we are when we are creating.

I’ve got a small sketchbook, pencil, and sharpener that I will keep with me at all times.  Let’s see how it goes 🙂  How do you fit art into your schedule when you get busy?