So much for posting a blog post every day this month! My life has been a bit of a paradox lately by being turned completely upside while still remaining the same. I am in this holding pattern right now which resonates with Mercury Retrograde which means while I am here ready finally and itching to move forward, I find myself stuck and waiting. In the void so to speak. Which is perfect for this months Great Round of Mandala study which is of The Void.
If you’ve been following my blog or just know me personally you will know I love mandalas. Creating them, teaching about them, sharing them. In my journey I came across The Mandala Workbook which you can find here: http://bit.ly/1xQw2gi It has exercises and information all about the Great Round of Mandalas and one of the most recommended mandala books if mandala work is something you wish to explore.
See, Mandalas can be a number of things. Anything that is contained within a circle is technically a mandala, as the sanskrit word for circle is mandala. A mandala can be just a piece of art, it can be a piece of art you meditate upon, it can be a view of your world, it can be a view of your INNER world where you can explore what is going on inside and find what needs to be healed or hear what your soul is yearning to tell you. It is the latter part that I am doing this year with the help of The Mandala Workbook, as well as the https://www.facebook.com/100Mandalas?fref=ts facebook group here and lastly with the guided help of Julie Gibbons who is running this very course for the year, you can find her here: http://www.juliegibbons.com/
So this month is the void. The void represents all sorts of things and one of them is winter which is also where I find myself in a bit of a paradox because it is the middle of summer here!! However, the part of winter the void represents is the hybernation part, the going within, the long dark… summer is so hot her that a lot of us end up going within as well, if only to seek respite from the heat! Despite it being Summer I find myself very much in the void right now. Like being in your mothers womb awaiting your birth. So studying the void is very fitting for me at this stage.
Thanks to Effy Wild I will never buy myself another journal again. I have way too much fun making my own, deciding how many signatures to put in each one, if it has a flap or hangy bits… in the end it makes it more personal. More my own. Since I do have such a big passion for mandala work I decided I was going to make a really BIG journal. I am not used to working this big! I know I will probably work on some big stuff within the pages though. After I bound the book (I am going to wait until it’s finished before I decorate the cover) I began to work on my title page, which is also my intention page.
The mandala may seem a little plain compared to what I usually do, however I wanted to leave all that space for all the journalling I did within the container of mandala. In the very middle where the seed of life is I realised there was exactly enough spaces to write the word MYSELF. It took me a lot longer to do this piece than a work of art usually takes me. I find I often do things quick, rush things. The whole time I was doing this page though I kept getting the message to SLOW DOWN and TAKE YOUR TIME. It’s ok to go slowly, not to rush, at this time. So every time I felt myself with the tension of wanting to rush through the process I consciously made an effort to breathe and slow down. So it is my intention for the entire book to go slow. Something new for me!
The next page we were invited to do a ‘self-portrait’ which is something Julie Gibbons teaches in the Radiant Faces course on Effy Wild’s site. I absolutely loved that class and have done a few of them since then. Julie Gibbons goes on to say that every portrait you ever do is just another aspect of you, which I whole-heartedly agree with. It is why, even though the faces I draw may be different, I often look at them and feel like they all look the same. It is simply because they are just another aspect of myself.
This one was such a ‘what if?’ process. I get a lot of what ifs as I am doing art, some I listen to but most I push aside and think later, I’ll so something like that later. Well, not this time. This time, in honour of delving deep and exploring what is within me, I did every single what if that popped in to my head. What if I put flowers on her cheeks? What if I gave her rainbow eye-shadow? What if I put pearls through her hair? What if I put a spiral within her pupils? Then as I was nearing the end I had the message to Shine your brightest no matter what. A timely message for me. I often find myself dulling my shine so other people are more comfortable, however lately I find myself reticent to do that. More and more I just want to shine as strongly and brightly as I possibly can. The more I shine, the more courage the people I love will have to shine as well!
So I really enjoyed how she (I) turned out. So much so that on the next page I’m doing a bunch of aspects of me mandalas, which is being an interesting process. Before I started that however I did a warm-up lesson on the void. The void is about simplicity and darkness so a mandala that represents the void is usually of a solid dark colour. The warm up lesson is about sitting and closing your eyes for 15 minutes with some charcoal or crayons in each hand and drawing two voids at the same time with both hands, then exploring how that made you feel.
I found my hands kept drifting away from each other to the outside of the page and I needed to consciously bring them together which I found interesting as either side of your body represents the masculinity and the femininity within each of us. Mine seem to be poles apart but I have this desire to bring them together. It has been an interesting process so far. Next I will do the actual Void Mandala and journal about that process. I really love anything that focus’ on self-discovery and self-awareness, especially if it leads to growth or healing. We don’t have to be broken, you just need to commit to doing the work and the healing. Are you willing to heal the hurts within and forgive and thank those who gave you the opportunity to experience the entire process? It’s no easy feat, forgiving those who have given you an experience of pain, but it is worth it, because the only person suffering from your feelings… is you.