As I stand here, (I stand up to write) I am thinking of all of the artists that I have worked with over the last few years and I am thinking what brave and beautiful souls...working in an industry that doesn't, from the outside, seem to have any idea of how to nurture those that keep the industry running...so maybe to remove the word industry, and name it "A Calling" so that we move away from the business model...we have spent so long moving towards the business model and I cannot see how it has improved things in the least. It has caused so much stress and confusion. Artists are now supposed to be business people as well as artists: they are required to promote, advertise, network...the list goes on...so today, as you sit to create your chaotic mandala, forget the expectations and pressures. This is your time.
What if we call this project "The Mandala journey, letting the light in..." reminiscent of Leonard Cohen's famous expression.
If you look up Mandala you will find it means
"a symbolic diagram used in the performance of sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation. The mandala is basically a representation of the universe, a consecrated area that serves as a receptacle for the gods and as a collection point of universal forces. Man by mentally "entering" the mandala and "proceeding " towards its centre is by analogy guided through the cosmic processes of disintegration and reintegration..." (from Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Mandalas, for our purpose, could be as simple as "a container for psychological and emotional chaos" (Shackelford, 2014). Some of us may not like the word "chaos" so we could substitute the sentence with: "a container for psychological and emotional experiences". Many disciplines use mandala drawings as a way of moving towards health and an increased self awareness. The mandala could be seen as "a map of the cosmos...developing an understanding of oneself within that cosmos (Tucci in Mahar, Iwasiw and Evans, 2012).
As a practitioner who is always on the alert to creative ways of healing in everyday life(if we can do it everyday we have less need to seek professional advice, though sometimes that is necessary and desirable) I find mandalas help me arrange my experience and move it to clarity:
1. I have created a small circle (the size of a bread and butter plate) to express what I am feeling right now.
2. I pick up my pencils and wonder what will result. I place them on the paper and watch as the image emerges.
3. It is as though I am applying ImpulseTraining through the pencil onto the page. Those of you who have worked with me know what i mean by ImpulseTraining, a way of responding through the body rather than through the intellect.
4. Beside each mandala I write what I notice. These words then can be used to write a poem or stream of consciousness writing, or they can just be, flirting with us through the day (I leave my mandala open on the table so that every time I walk by I can be influenced by what I have drawn).
Time to write, so I will return to my studies, leaving you to doodle away, creating magic and embracing the opportunity to reflect and dream.
Here is a beautiful sculpture that overlooks my desk area: I call her Emma, she was lovingly created by visual artist and arts therapist Gemma Garcia. http://www.gemmagarciavisualartist.blogspot.com.au