As we continue this summer to explore the art of the mandala – creating within a circle – our practices begin to intertwine. Our first workshop addressed how to release anxiety through the process of intuitive mandala drawing, which we featured in our “Mandalas for Centering Strength” post. During the workshop, we discussed the importance of recognizing the emotional and spiritual issues that walk side-by-side a cancer diagnosis, and our conversation turned to the importance of expanding our views of what gives us inner strength and what matters most in our lives.

Planting the Seed, Watching It Grow

A waterfall of strong, poignant words cascaded within our group through a free-flow writing practice. We took the energy of those words and began to create intentional mandalas for centering strength utilizing the method of radial symmetry:Radial: adj. arranged like rays in a circular, outward-reaching manner Symmetry: n. balance among structures or parts; symmetrical arrangement of elements, especially of radiating parts, about a central point

Starting by planting a seed — a dot in the center of the page — we imagined that seed as an element of who we are becoming. Symbolically, we surrounded our seeds with rich, fertile soil by encircling our potential for growth. From there, we drew empowering lines and shapes that radiate outward from our seeds.

Slowly, color was added with watercolor pencils.

Expressing Inner Strength

Everyone made different color choices that reflected the various, personal nuances of what it means to have inner strength.

There is inner strength that is vivid and fierce, bright and brave.

There is inner strength that is soft-spoken and quiet, fluid and full of movement.

Sometimes we need to follow our own direction and let the creation lead us where it may. The mandala to the right intertwines both techniques.

The creator of this mandala took an organic approach to drawing her mandala. After completing it, she made several unexpected associations. The golden center shape seemed lion-like, a fierce protector, while the figure it surrounded was embryonic, a newborn dancing outward from the sea.

She titled her mandala of centering strength “Becoming Whole Again.”

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