“Go ahead into life, full-blooded, courageous and leap for the adventure. But you must do it soon—before the summer of your youth has cooled off into caution. You are magnificently charming—and you come like a torrent. But you will be spent on the futility of little things. You are not a watercolor. You are carved out of life—and there can be no petty hesitancies about you.” Ruth Reichl
It’s been a busy time! Lots of responsibilities; my Sweetheart has been ill, the Girlz With HeART program has expanded three-fold as increasing budget cuts continue to gouge children’s protective services, Cottage classes have been selling out, and I’ve been running in circles trying to keep all the colored balls in mid air. Do you ever have that “totally overwhelmed and completely under staffed” feeling? What do you do to replenish? How do you refill your tanks? What do you do to rekindle your inner fire?
Mandalas are rich with traditions and symbolism. Each mandala is unique and considered a sacred object. The word mandala comes from a Sanskrit word meaning circle, and the etymology of the word itself actually means a container of essence. Carl Jung’s visionary ideas came from many influences, but without his theories, our awareness of the importance of mandalas would be limited. Jung believed that mandalas were snapshots of the subconscious and that they could help identify emotional fractures and then help recreate wholeness.
Mandalas have long been used as a healing and meditation tool. Many cultures from one end of the globe to another use the mandala as part of their beliefs – a way to tap into the soul or psyche. In art therapy, the therapeutic journey is the actual creation of the mandala itself rather than the final outcome. The mandala becomes a self-portrait of sorts of its creator. The emotions and feelings that are felt at the time of creation are transformed into the mandala.
The only true structure to the mandala is the circular center. In many religions, this is the house of the deity(s) that are worshiped and for which the mandala was built. The center is often construed as the soul, the heart, the center of the universe itself. It’s important not to lose sight of where you are coming from and where you are going on your therapeutic mandala journey.
Mandala making in art therapy offers several benefits, including a higher level of self- awareness and, when one is entranced with the journey of creation itself, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing all slow down and stabilize. For me, it has been a very special journey of finding the repeating patterns and recurring symbols in my life. It’s given me a chance to slow down and see the absolute beauty in the smallest details as they fit delicately into the larger context of my life. Mandala making has been a pathway to new understanding and greater joy.
“Happiness belongs to those who are sufficient unto themselves. For all external sources of happiness and pleasure, are by their very nature, highly uncertain, precarious, ephemeral and subject to chance.” Arthur Schopenhauer
In this beautiful season of giving thanks and celebrating the abundance of our spirits, pause if you can, and celebrate for the beauty that surrounds us, the small moments of absolute joy. Rekindle your soul!
Love and thanks giving. to you and yours…you are a blessing in my life!P.S. Please check out the new page “Marnie Is my Muse” by clicking on the banner on the header above this post–Marnie has some amazing classes coming up and is offering a FANTASTIC deal if you sign up early!
©Copyright, Kaitlin Meadows, 2014. All Rights Reserved.