― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Mandalas have helped me hugely through difficult times in my life. They have calmed me and allowed me grow as a person. They have let me get in touch with my feelings, with my body, and with my heart and my spirit. And I hope that I can share with you this tool to give you this experience too.
I'm keeping this simple. Because simple is good in difficult times.
The materials you will need for these sessions are probably lying around your home. Please don't venture out specifically to get materials! You might pick some up during your next necessary grocery shop. You can use markers or gel pens. If you don't have those, you can use pencils, even biros! Even if you only have one coloured biro, use that and play with the tones, with the dark and light to complete the mandala.
How the sessions will work
In each session, I am going to share with you a printable mandala colouring sheet from my first book. You can print it out as an A4 page and if you have a printer that can print it out as A3, all the better. If you can already draw mandalas, draw one from scratch for yourself, using this session as your prompt. If you aren't familiar with how to create a personal mandala, then please use the colouring PDF.
The idea is for you to set a sacred and quiet space for yourself where you will engage with the mandala. You can do this simply by lighting a candle or burning some incense. But do set aside a special space and time with intention to do this work. Treat this time for yourself as a loving inward time dedicated solely to you.
In each session, I will also pull a card from my beautiful Alana Fairchild Rumi oracle deck to see what wisdom it holds for us. And I will also be guided in the sessions by my own intuition.
The Card for Session One
I had already decided on what our first session would be: Feeling our fears and allowing them to surface without judgement. Scott Peck says "Feel the Fear and do it Anyway". He didn't say, "Feel the Fear, then Stuff it Down!" It is so important right now that you acknowledge how you are truly feeling with acceptance. So today I pulled the card and it was:
The card is 'Laya' and the quote is:
"Put aside your clever schemes!
O lover, be mindless!
Dive into the heart of the flame!
Become fearless! Be like a moth!"
"This oracle brings you a message. You are moving through a period of not knowing, of time in the great void or womb of the Divine Mother. It is in this place the seed can crack open and take root. This cannot happen in the light, where all is seen and recognised. It must happen under the cover of darkness, where only trust can assure one of success. This is the way of nature, the way of life, and it must be honoured."
What a card to have pulled eh? Exactly where we are at right now. The card says to me to fear not the dark, but to enter willingly into it. That in this dark forest, there is indeed a path. And this path we can travel together. It says that in this moment there is darkness and that this darkness is necessary for the light that is on its way.
Instead of battling the dark feelings, the fears that you have at the moment, in this session I invite you to embrace them. To allow them. To bear witness to them within you.
Set the intention of becoming acquainted with your fear through this mandala. Ask your fear permission to do battle with it and through that process, get to know its ways more readily. Sit in your sacred space and allow your fears to surface. Feel into your body and where the fear is manifest...it might feel like tension or a swirling stomach or aching abdomen/solar plexus. Recognise how it is manifesting in your body.
Allow your tears to come. Allow your anger to surface. Whatever that looks like for you. Hold acceptance and a space within yourself for these feelings. They are not wrong. They are perfectly natural.
While you are working on the mandala, use the it as a container for this energy, and by doing so, you can transmute it instead of bottling these shadow emotions within, where they will boil and eventually bubble or burst up to hurt either yourself or others. Notice how the dark and light plays out within the mandala as you colour it in or create it. Realise that both the light and the shadow are necessary in order for the mandala to be seen. Recognise how natural that is.
Understand that you now know your fear a little better, and how it manifests for you as an individual. This understanding gives you more power over it. So for example, you feel that familiar swirling or ache in your body...stop what you are doing and ask yourself "what just triggered that feeling?" It might be that you are scrolling through a newsfeed for the last hour, or that you've just spoken to somebody who has ignited the fear response in you. Now you have power. You have agency. You can recognise the feeling. Minimise the trigger by spending less time scrolling or less time with that particular person for the time being.
When you feel your mandala is complete, feel free to share the image and your experience with the practice in our closed private Facebook Group which is a safe space in which to do this work. It is beautiful to bear witness to each other, to stand together in our collective experience. I ask you to honour, respect and support each other within the group. I will link below for you to join.
When your mandala is complete, be still. Notice how you are feeling.
Notice how you are feeling in your body.
Notice how you are feeling in your mind.
Notice how you are feeling in your heart.
Notice how you are feeling in your spirit.
I am sharing below an inner child meditation as I feel this is the right meditation to do after doing this particular mandala practice....which has been rather a dark one to start you off with! But necessary. Don't worry ... we will move towards light. But right now, it's important to acknowledge what is and not to spiritually bypass or try repress or stuff down what feelings are coming up for us.
Please do join the Facebook private group where I'll be popping in to do some live videos and I'd also like to do a live meditation to connect us together, heart to heart, in light as we travel this path together. I'll wait a couple of days until most of us are in the group.
I am working on these sessions very intuitively....kind of like I do with my paintings and with my practice in general. So I will be keeping this informal tone...I won't give you a list of where we're going with this and what I'm going to cover, but rather I will work with the zeitgeist and feel where it is leading us as a collective and just let that energy move through the sessions.
Your Completed Mandala - Keep or Destroy?
When completed, you can either keep your mandala somewhere where you can see it. Allow it to give you further insight. You might perhaps meditate on it. Often they deliver you wisdom as you walk by them, glancing at them as you are going about something different!
Alternatively, if you feel to - and you know best - you can create a ritual, releasing the energy of what came up for you by burning your mandala. Please do this in a safe way either in your fireplace or stove or outside in a safe place. Burn the mandala with the intention of letting this energy go, of transmuting it to a higher power. Allow yourself to release any further emotions that might surface during this process.
So....that is it for session one! It is brave work, and you are courageous for showing up to do it. It is my belief that when we heal ourselves, we heal all around us. That we are not powerless, and we have agency to do our inner healing work which has such a wide ripple into the world...a ripple that you could never even imagine.
I would very much appreciate if you can ask me questions or connect with me in the Facebook group rather than by email or by private message. It just gets too overwhelming and I really want to be able to give you as a group the best experience that I can. Thank you for understanding!
The Mandala above is called 'Earth Goddess' the Great Mother who holds both dark and light aspects. I feel this piece is very relevant at the moment. A great piece to meditate on.
Limited edition prints are available at https://www.healingcreations.ie/shop.html
If you would like to donate to keep me afloat, you can at the link below and of course it would be very much appreciated but please don't feel you have to!
Earth Goddess Limited Edition Print
Meditating on this mandala is earthing and grounding.
All prints are limited edition fine art archival pigment print on acid free paper. This means that the inks used will not change colour over time & will last 80yrs + under archival conditions. Each print is signed and numbered in a limited edition of 100.
The smaller print measures 30cm x 30cm (12" x 12") and comes beautifully mounted (16" x 16")
The larger print measures 50cm x 50cm (20" x 20") and comes safely rolled in a postal tube.
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