The Four Seasons
Winter (Stillness) was about finding the quiet place inside myself, wrapping myself in a cocoon of silence, of safety, of protection. Finding imagery to echo Stillness was quite a challenge. But the most important lesson was to discover how much movement there could be within the Stillness of the winter months, how much opportunity for growth and change. How bright it all really was.
Spring (Tolerance) held the idea that somehow everything and everyone could work together toward growth, cooperation, and the promise of blossoming. But really, nature is messy, free and wild. Tolerance can be unruly. Things are popping up all over the place, yet they all seem to know when and where to grow. My lesson was strong and clear. Get out of the way and let it happen.
Summer (Trust) was a way of finding renewed strength and confidence. I always love summer, as I was born at the end of July and feel my happiest in the heady part of summer that Leo rules. This year, I learned to Trust my body more and to be more grateful for it. In return, I was able to garden, to be creative and to keep learning about life and love, about getting and giving support.
Fall (Vulnerability) took me totally by surprise. Originally a leaf was in the center, but it changed to a Falling Figure (a motif I painted years ago). The figure demanded to be seen, just as everything is revealed in the Fall. As the leaves fall, we see and are seen. Both make us more Vulnerable. I mourn for what I have lost. I rejoice for what I have gained. It is a bittersweet time. And I learned that being Vulnerable is okay. Not always fun, but always okay.
My Other Mandala Images
Clarity. Clarity feels like the proverbial carrot dangling in front of my wide open eyes. always just a little out of reach. Or for an instant I feel it with all my senses in every cell in my body, but then it soon vanishes again. This idea is reflected by the many small yellow circles that lighten the layers of the mandala. It is nice to strive for Clarity and that is represented by the numerous triangles in the mandala. While working on this, I have realized that the goal is not really about attaining Clarity, but about learning and listening for signs of it.
Grace. In this mandala, the forms and colors feel like Grace. But when creating it, I wasn’t feeling graceful in my emotional being and this was manifesting in my physical presence as well. So I knew that I really needed to do this piece. And I was given lessons to help me realize that there was Grace in all of that as well. Here’s a good example. Sadly I broke one of my favorite glasses, and that led to the bright orange jagged burst just outside the central image of the delicate flower. The two sides to my own life, coming together to form a whole.
Connection. The imagery in this mandala is more literal than in many of the others in this series. The concept of connection is so important to me and feels so palpable when I can achieve it; so perhaps that it why the mandala came out this way. It’s all a huge challenge for me, of course. But creating this mandala helped me to trust that the connections are there, that I can feel them, and that I can choose them as often as possible.
Communication. Communication happens when I least expect it, and sometimes totally eludes me when I am feeling most in need of it. How much or how little to share? What is appropriate to communicate and what isn’t? To really communicate honestly, I continually have to grapple with those questions, and that often entails going to that dark place within myself. That place is represented by the black curving line that is the center of this mandala.
Faith. Life hardly ever proceeds in a linear fashion, at least my own does not. So when I am feeling worried or closed off, I need to know that whatever happens, it is all OK. I can just plunge in and take the next step even if it seems risky. In this mandala, putting the lime green color in the outer ring became a metaphor for faith. I hesitated about it for so long and felt that it possibly could ruin the whole thing. But nothing else felt right, so I gave in, had faith, and voila…it pulled the whole circle together.
Gratitude. OK, there are lots of things that I would like to have or to change. But for the most part, I am truly grateful for my life and I most often feel fortunate beyond measure. But, of course, at times something will upset this beautiful balance, and I feel disconnected. Doing this mandala was a reminder of the lightness and sense of play that comes when I am feeling truly grateful. The imagery in the mandala is all about flow and reflects that peaceful, floating state of mind that comes with feeling blessed.
Partnership. The idea of partnership is always somewhat thrilling. The desire for the support and connection it provides bubbles up from deep within us as something not only delightful, but also quite necessary. Yet it is not only very hard to attain, it is even more difficult to maintain. While creating this mandala, I made several mistakes and had to make adjustments, so I gave up the idea of perfection. There were a lot of starts and stops along the way, and I hoped that I would be able to regain the original rhythm. Hmmm, this was turning into quite the mirror.
Prosperity. I owe this mandala to my wonderful friends and fellow dancers. We call ourselves the Sisters of Prosperity, and have bought lottery tickets together every week. We share our dreams and visions. And so this mandala was born. For me, prosperity is a thing of joy. It is about integrity, generosity and love. The joy is reflected in the flow and looseness in the mandala, and in the bubbles that spill over from one level to the next. Winning the lottery would be great. But I am prosperous beyond measure right now. And I choose a bubbly and joyous life!
Acceptance. There is something very luscious about acceptance, much like the red flower in the center of this mandala. The more I accept myself and stand tall at the center of my own world, the closer I can get to the embodiment of that brilliant red flower. The imagery in the mandala is about developing a better sense of my own inner light and the many ways I have of expressing it through art, spirituality, and life.
Hope. When I radiate hope, I feel powerful and positive and protected. My inner light is activated and is sending that message to others. There is a ring near the outside of the mandala that resembles a person, surrounded by yellow light and protected in that glow. It is the glow of hope that I would like to radiate within myself and to summon up with the creation of this mandala.
Joy. When I started working on this mandala, my sciatic issues acted up, and it gave me the opportunity to examine Joy while being in physical pain. I learned that even within the deepest sadness there is the promise of joy. And in the midst of the most exquisite joy, there is the hint of profound sadness. I learned that Joy was living within me no matter what. That idea is embodied by the orange dot at the center, protected by the concentric circles surrounding it. Joy exists as equally in the fully open flowers on the outside of the mandala, as it does in the small, private buds that are close to the center.
Creativity. The central image comes first for all my mandalas. It is the spark. This time it took weeks to discover that spark. I drew so many new ideas! Finally, I connected with one drawing in a new way. Simple little orange circles with a green border, orderly and random at the same time. They were eggs. They were beginnings, and they had been there all along. I also included words for the first time, exposing my process on new level. So in the end I learned that I need to: Breathe. Move. Stop. Think. Work. Relax. Trust that ideas will come from my heart. Then let it all flow so that I can change and blossom.
Honesty. There is a lot of purple in this mandala, the deeply spiritual color which reflects the deep quality of honesty that I believe is possible to attain. Above all else, I am always trying to be more honest with myself. The many levels of honesty always open up the opportunity to go deeper and deeper, knowing that there is always more to learn. And it keeps coming around. So in this mandala, I began with the purple flower and ended with the purple flower as well.
Beauty. While I was working on this piece, so many of my personal feelings about beauty came up for review. I was reminded once again that beauty is impermanent, like a leaf in the wind, and like the leaf motif in this mandala. But when it comes from within, it has an effect on everyone who is able witness it; for I know that I cannot see beauty in anyone else if I do not recognize it in myself.
Balance. Since these mandalas arise out of my personal experiences, it was inevitable that balance would need to be one of them, as it is a lifelong issue for me. As the feeling of balance deepens in my life, there is also a sense of safety and lightness. I am learning that with a balanced mind and a stable body, all changes can be welcome. The rings in this mandala are all relatively narrow. Their closeness to each other seem to echo the feeling of balance and connection that I seek.
Strength. Feeling strong is very important to me. I began working on this mandala at a time when I was very overwhelmed and felt as if my physical and emotional strength was ebbing away. Starting the mandala was a conscious decision to reverse the process and to regain my core strength. There is a strong sense of contrast in the colors of this mandala. They embody the sharp difference between feeling strong and not feeling strong. When I finished it, I felt different and more powerful.
Health. This was the very first mandala in this series. I made it while I was recovering from a bad case of the flu. I had been way too busy and was needing time to rest, so it was no wonder that I got sick, proving once again the deep connection between our bodies and our minds. It was as if the idea for doing these mandalas came directly from that time to rest, think, and rejuvenate. As the imagery in the mandala suggests, it was a time of flowing and flowering.
All the Mandalas pictured here are available as giclee prints, tempered glass platters, glass night lights, and as sets of coasters. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about these products.