My Four Seasons

The idea of creating a mandala for each of the four seasons came to me last January, at a time when I had been feeling pretty sure that I was finished making them.  And then, the concept just popped into my head, complete with subtitles for each of them, so I felt that I had to go through with the project.  Each one was worked on and completed within its own season.  Much to my surprise, it turned into a labor of love, and has been an amazing and healing way of learning about myself and how I feel, as each of the seasons revealed their sweetness to me  and yielded its position to the next in line.  Four circles (cycles) sitting inside the larger cycle (circle) of one year.  Perfect for a person like me who loves looking at almost everything in terms of circles and time passing.

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 a kernel of an idea that somehow everything and everyone could work together toward growth and cooperation, toward the promise of blossoming.  But in reality, nature is messy and free and wild.  There is an unruly aspect to Tolerance.  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) became a way of finding renewed strength and confidence.  I always love summer, since  I was born at the end of July and feel my happiest during 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, it allowed me to garden and to be creative and to keep learning about life and love, about getting and giving support.

Fall (Vulnerability) took me totally by surprise.  Originally, its subtitle was Surrender, but I realized that Vulnerability was more appropriate for what I was feeling.  It was supposed to have a leaf in the center, but that changed to a Falling Figure (a motif I painted many years ago).  I tried to turn it back into a leaf, but the figure demanded to be seen.  It is about everything being 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 what I have learned is that being Vulnerable is okay.  Maybe not always fun, but always okay.

Stillness (Winter)

In early January, I decided that I would make a mandala for each of the four seasons, and that I would complete each one during the actual season it represents.

True to form,  I finished the one for Winter on the first day of Spring.  OK, so I was one day late, but I think that’s not bad.  And the weather cooperated with me totally.  Here on Orcas, it was a gray, cool day, with high, howling winds.  A perfect day to sit down with a hot cup of tea and, work in the small, tight way that these mandalas demand.  A perfect day to finish this project that I have been pondering, doing sketches for, and finally drawing for almost three months.

It was the kind of blustery day I have been longing for all winter.  We have had a pretty mild winter, with not enough of the drama that I look forward to so much.  No loss of electricity since Thanksgiving.  No cancelled plans.  No sense of that deep quiet that I count on for renewal.  No compelling reason to rest.

It has been a challenge to sit down and find that place of deep winter stillness within myself, and even more of a challenge to figure out what that “looks” like.  Isn’t the whole concept of stillness the absence of imagery?  How could I make something that is still and visually interesting at the same time?  Within that challenge, I got to a place of conditional peace.  Within my busy mind, I willed stillness to come to me.  I breathed it into my yearning heart.  I wanted this mandala to be dark and a little mysterious as I perceive winter to be.  But of course, I wanted it also to reflect the promise of light and warmth both inside and outside my true self.