Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The lesson in my mandala

I'm new to mandala drawing but I've learned something already: every time I draw one, I love the process even more than the time before.
 



Last Sunday afternoon I sat outside and drew a mandala. I always like to choose an intention or pleasant thought to hold while I draw mandalas, but this time the subject matter chose me.
 
Sunday's date marked a significant event, and my mind was occupied with memories of an important relationship in my life - a relationship that was never balanced - one filled with deep love and a whole lot of mixed up heartache.



While working on the outline for my mandala, my thought soundtrack sounded something like this: "Ugh - my pen was too dark there" and "Shoot - my lines are uneven" and "$&#*, I messed up the pattern." My thoughts were jumbled and my drawing was edgy. I was so tempted to start over, but I resisted the urge to turn the page. Instead I stayed with it, curious to see where it would take me.
 
A few slow, deep breaths...
 
I thought, "Maybe some color will help." And that's when things shifted.


I recalled my focus {that relationship} and marveled at how much my mandala resembled it. There were waves of joy and smooth lines amidst the mess-ups. There were rounded curves peppered with bumps here and there. There were parts that I hated, but not enough to call it a complete failure, or even to turn the page.

As I continued to be with my mandala, there came a sense of acceptance and forgiveness in the process. Adding color felt so symbolic for me - like I was taking charge and bringing a piece of myself into the mix - to heal it in a way.

I colored and filled in and fixed a few lines. I allowed the mess-up's to exist with the parts I accepted as good enough. I added shapes to the edges that expanded its realm, and I recognized the entire process as a whole instead of focusing on a line that I once thought was too thick.




After all the colors had been added, once all the uneven lines were acknowledged and allowed, I felt a sense of relief - a deeper sense of understanding for what was. That relationship so meaningful to me, the one that was never meant to be a safe haven, is really just part of my journey. All those flawed lines and shapes, those bumps along the way, make up who I am today. And even though my mandala isn't picture perfect, it's deep and complicated and effortless and beautiful in its own way. Kind of like my life.

So, so awesome.

11 comments:

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a beatify meditation Deb.
I have a mandala drawing question. Do you need to connect the dots in a certain, set way for the first step in your tutorial?

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Thanks for your comment/question, Rinda. There are no rules or guidelines for connecting the dots. I just start putting them down on paper and mine are different every time. :o)

Sian said...

It is awesome. I was actually talking to someone recently who had been offered a class in drawing mandalas as part of some ongoing therapy. Now I've seen a little bit of that in action and it's very moving.

alexa said...

It has been a moving read, and a gentle weaving together of the feelings and thoughts and art - the best kind of therapy :). Glad that it has helped resolved something for you.

Rhona said...

As I was reading this I thought perhaps the bumps and uneven-ness could reflect that relationship you'd mentioned as I continued I see that was your conclusion too. This is all very new to me but I love the thought of this process and the peace it brings.

debs14 said...

Absolutely beautiful. Words and picture weave a wonderful story. A lovely post Deb x

Audrey said...

Oh Deb, that is really something! We have a beautiful mandala coloring book that I bought for Sophie. It is quite amazing and I find it therapeutic to color in that book particularly. Yes, I sometimes do even when Soph isn't around. Ha! But I think you're inspiring me to pick up a pen and draw my own. (smile) Hope you're having a nice week, Deb! XOXO

Miriam said...

Happy New Year to you Deb. I love this post, and am in awe that you can write like this. x

Karen said...

What a beautiful pattern x

Karen said...

Beautifully written, Deb, and very moving.

yogamatsandcowboyhats said...

Oh my goodness! We should draw mandalas at lunch this weekend. I just bought new, colorful pens and I would love to learn some new techniques!

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