The Road to Mandala

Well, here's my first-lesson, first mandala. I had fully intended to begin on Monday, but I told myself that it will happen when it happens, and no pressure. N and I sat down to create together. I cleared the table as best I could, rucking up the tablecloth so as not to create indelibly all over it. We lit the candles and put on one of our favorite cds.

I began by marking the bindu. I'd read about it in a small book I have about mandalas (which I don't have at hand at the moment, so I can't cite title and author). The bindu in a mandala is the center. I'm still not sure whether one is supposed to start with the bindu or end with the bindu, but I started with it. Mine's very small, but I really wanted it to be larger. Not sure what happened there . . . .

My idea was to create a safe place mandala - one that made me feel secure and comfortable while I was making it and when I looked at it. This was important to me, because I feel very much that I'm going out on a limb by trying something artistic. I've got three very artistic children (two who plan to make their living in the arts!), a brother who is a professional artist, a mother, uncle and cousin who are professional artists, an aunt who was. I'm surrounded by them, and I've never been able to create beauty, though I've always wanted to. So I thought that while I was doing something that felt dangerous, I'd at least try to make it come out giving me a sense of safety in the end.

Twisted logic, I know.

N told me that she planned to make a little wooden doll in the center of hers, "with a round, round face and round, round eyes, but a very pointy nose!" We both chose circles, for the obvious reason that we were working inside the circular outlines provided by the lesson plan - though you will notice that neither of us filled them in with circular patterns. I played it "safe," I noticed, by tracing around little round objects instead of freehanding, and I discovered after a few minutes that I was sitting all crunched-up, so I attempted to loosen my muscles somewhat.

We were fine, until Loreena McKennit began singing about "The Highwayman." By the end of the song, all my lovely circles, which I'd originally planned to fill with filigree patterns, had turned into moons (the one that isn't a crescent is the full moon)! I didn't do it consciously; it just happened, I'm sure, because the road was a ribbon of moonlight. I wasn't really listening to the song, but I had to memorize that poem in 6th grade, so I know how it goes . . . .

And N's!!! During the last verse of the song, she announced, "I don't like that song. It's sad. Now my mandala is called 'Sad Girl' and the little girl was mean to her wooden doll and drew her with big tears and put her away in the attic and doesn't play with her any more because she is all grown up and doesn't want toys." I looked over at her mandala. I was both impressed by the detail and artistic ability, and deeply shocked by the graphic horror it conveyed.

I find it profoundly disturbing. So did N, who said "You can put it on the mandala blog, but I don't want it any more, it's too sad." We decided we were done with our first mandalas. We also decided that it really does matter, very much, what music we listen to while we are creating! So tomorrow we will choose something completely different. We are also planning to use an entirely different medium.

In other news, I've spent (with the help of Rabbit's many friends & relations) hours & hours moving virtually all the books (and bookcases) from the bedroom down to the study, and my computer desk and computer up to the bedroom. Things are still at 10s & 3s (not so bad as 6s & 7s), but for the most part it's finished. And I am delighted with the result!

There is still much to be done to prepare for the upcoming semester which, for me, begins Tues. 1/16. C starts on Monday. Z, on the other hand, will finish her fall semester on Friday 1/19 and then take a one week break (during which she will work frantically on her Chinese). N went back to school on 1/2 and has been busy every afternoon for almost two weeks already.


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