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Lift the Weight

The year-end holidays can take a toll. With so much to accomplish, I find myself speeding through days and at night sinking into sleep, weary to the bone. I’m guilty of two things, underestimating how long a job will take and the number of steps/ingredients/materials involved. Often, I add, adapt and upgrade so much that I turn a straightforward project into a major production. With passing days, when calm descends, I vow to simplify holiday preparations for the coming year. (How do you think that works out?)

One method for unwinding is to create a mandala. Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle and is a time-honored meditation device. You choose and repeat configurations, filling blank spaces with; circles, triangles, bells, diamonds, flowers, suns, etc. Buddhist monks build huge mandalas of colored sand, using funnel-like tools to place dabs of sand. My preferred method is a fine line Sharpie, colored markers, and watercolors with a pointed brush.

Get started by tracing, in pencil, around a 7- or 8-inch dinner plate to make a circle on a piece of watercolor paper. Inside the circle, create concentric circles by drawing around a salad plate, a saucer, and for the bulls-eye or tiniest circle, use the lid from a small jar. With a ruler and pencil, from the center point draw spokes. While the traditional number is eight, I divide this pie into as many pieces as I wish. Then, the fun of drawing and repeating small figures within the circles begins. Little concentration is required so, while the work is repetitive, momentum helps the design emerge almost effortlessly.

For your convenience, at the mandala outline is provided. In our journal, Doodling Shapes, jump right into designing using whatever dry media you have on hand.

For the monks the mandala is a reminder that all things are temporary so upon completion, they erase it with their hands. Creating a mandala can remind you to slow down, take a break, and enjoy peaceful fun while expressing your creativity. Not for the greater good, but for your personal satisfaction.

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