My last few posts I have talked (or drawn) about transitions, change, waiting, renewing...all the things mandalas are good for expressing, understanding, and containing. Throughout this time the mandala has been my friend. It has patiently waited for the times I've needed to emote in that ever-healing circle and has held no judgement when weeks or a month go by without my visiting. I consider the mandala a gift that was given to me. I wasn't searching for it - but it found me and now the mandala is a part of me. It seems that there is hardly a week that goes by without me thinking about mandalas or telling someone about them. I suppose what I didn't expect was how in this verbal history that I transmit I am giving the gift of the mandala to others. They may use it - they may not...but now they know it. Once something is known it can't be unknown and therefore it lingers until needed.
I recently left my job and transitioned to a new job. It was an unusual transition but filled with the combined joy and grief that any life cycle (mandala) starts and ends with.
My previous supervisor indicated that the team of 75 volunteers I worked for had created a "gift" for me. Being the heartfelt crowd that they, are I expected some thoughtful well-wishes on my new endeavors. What I did not expect was a book filled with 75 mandalas!
The moment I realized what they had gifted me my heart swelled and my eyes became overwhelmed. 75 people had been touched by mandalas because mandalas are a part of me. Not only was I clutching onto a book filled with mandalas made especially for me, but somewhat arbitrarily, the group had decided to present these mandalas to me in a leather-bound red book. My very own Red Book. Jung's got nothing on this!
The Mandala Exchange is an interactive blogspot where mandala projects, resources, ideas, and knowledge can be shared. The Exchange was formed to be able to continue the mandala work presented at the 2011 AATA conference, "Communicating Through Mandalas: Exploring Traditional and Online Media with Fellow Therapists". The presenters and moderators of this site, wanted the cycle of the mandala to continue and expand through a virtual community of practitioners, artists and explorers.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
We will soon be at the 1 year mark of the Mandala Exchange and boy have our lives undergone changes since last July when our blog was born! I’d like to say that at the very least we’ve inspired and encouraged each other to create a life worth living. We’ve utilized this blog as a means to stay connected through the happenings of life stressors. Towards furthering the idea of connectivity for sustainable self-care practices from time to time we’ll post about the blog on Facebook. I equate it to submarine sonar. We (semi) blindly send-out a ping, and then wait and see what we get. Recently we received a reply ping; Nichole Hall-Permell, a dear friend of the Mandala Exchange and creator of the Magpie Tree.
Nichole can best be described (and she can correct me if I’m wrong) as a wonderfully creative go-getter. She’s empathetic and loving towards the needs of others and finds in art a soothing escape. Nichole’s been using these to relax at night after hectic days at the clinic where she works.
“I've stashed a container of colored pencils and ink pens next to the couch; makes it easy to go to when relaxing and watching tv in the evening.”
1. To begin obtain (or cut) a small piece of paper: 3”x3” or bigger. I find that for a beginner 3x3 or 4x4 is nice and manageable. Bigger pieces will take longer and may become overwhelming. The idea here is that small means easy to start, carry, and complete. Think of it as a constructive distraction over a cup of coffee (in fact they can easily be ‘coaster-sized’).
2. Set your parameters/framework. *use a pencil* To do so place a dot ¼”-in from each corner and trace a light line from dot to dot creating a border. If you like a deeper border or a thinner one take that into consideration. Your image will be within the border.
3. Drop-the-string! *use a pencil* OK so this can be a little vague but what the experts indicate by dropping the string is to ‘carelessly’ create some overlapping lines through the drawing space. As many or as little as you’d like. What you’re looking for is the spaces created by the intersecting lines ie. The more lines the more sections and the less lines the less sections.
4. Inking. *from now-on use a pen* I prefer a fine-tip sharpie. Now the fun starts. You can either choose the shapes you like and outline them or use the pencil lines as guides and plan to zentangle between the pencil lines and erase the pencil later. Experiment with both. Whether you look online for staple patterns use your immediate surroundings for inspiration now it’s the time to put the pen where the paper is. Create a different pattern in each section using the pen. This means no erasing and lots of concentration. Which is the point!
In Nicholes’ doodling she noticed that she needed more effective boundaries. From her past studies as an art therapist (and probably before) she knew of the inherent benefits the mandala could offer and so it was not at all shocking (to me) when her Zentangle turned into a zendala. She indicates that exploring with patterns within the mandala’s contruct allowed her to ‘let-go’. I find the mandala to have stickiness to it. In that once you learn about it chances are you will come-back to it. Yes, my perspective may be biased but I do find myself time and again doodling away and finding that I’ve once again sketched the beginnings of a mandala! (It seems I may not be the only one!)
Challenge for this week: Google Zentangles and try it.
I have used them as a means to practice mindfulness for myself and within my groups. If using it with clients make sure you bring-in and share some examples of patterns (try printing a variety from simple to complex). Like with Sara’s coffee-cup mandalas and my 6” mandalas the selling point is portability. In our never-stopping-break-skipping ultra fast-paced day a small 3”x3” doodle doesn’t seem like much in terms of investment. So go ahead and try it (I triple dare you!). I can’t honestly say that it isn’t habit forming, but if/when the addiction takes hold you will reap the benefits of a good chocolate addiction without the caloric intake!
P.S. – Don’t forget to visit Nicholes’ amazing blog and Etsy store: www.MagpieTree.com