Self-Portrait Mandalas

Inspired by Bill Waldman's Portrait project (see above link), my cousin K has undertaken a month-long self-portrait project, doing one a day. She has been sending these to me each evening, and I enjoy them very much. I've also been sharing them with N, who was quite inspired one morning by her "Stick Figure" portrait (which was anything but stick-like, although it did not have facial features). N suggested that we do portrait mandalas, and I readily agreed.

N's first portrait mandala was titled "My Mama." She explained that I am saying "Hmm - the way you always do, Mommy!" because I am thinking about things. I love this one very much.
She next decided to do a self-portrait, "on a square of paper because even though you like circles, I like squares better." It only shows part of her because "I like going out of the picture because I am bigger than the picture! I am on my jumpoline [this is what she calls her little trampoline - the best investment we ever made!] and I call this portrait "Happy"!"
She pointed out that she had colored her face brown because she doesn't mind any more than her skin isn't the same color as mine, since she's decided she likes herself. Oh, this was a very good day!!! It's a good idea to click on this picture and make it bigger so you can make out all the joy in her face.

Her last mandala was very interesting. She said it was a goddess who was half-good and half-evil - hence the face that is split down the center with two expressions. On the right, you will see one of N's distinctive representations of God, watching over N and me to keep us safe. She said that she was inspired to do this picture by the music we were listening to - the Cirque du Soleil cd from "Alegria."
Incidentally, I mentioned to Z how interesting I find N's depictions of God - mostly an Easter Islandish enormous head. She's done a number of drawings like this of God, neither masculine nor feminine. I'm fascinated by this. Z's remark was even more intriguing. She said that she has always thought of God as looking like an Egyptian pharaoh - a female one. Remember that she became obsessed with ancient Egypt around the age of 3, reading about their gods & goddesses. And Tut was her favorite. She became acquainted early on with the theory that Tut was actually female. So this makes sense.

The entire time that N was drawing, I worked on a self-portrait mandala, too. It fit very well with the assignment to "create a mandala as a healing prayer for a personal concern," and as I have felt for as long as I can remember that I lacked the energy to be all that I need to be - for myself and for my family and friends - I wanted to make a mandala to re-energize myself.

I started by visualizing my bindu, my center, the core from which I draw my strength. Without that, I cannot do anything for anyone, including myself. Deep blue has always been my healing color, so that was what I was naturally drawn to, and the picture just came.

Around this, I drew swirls of energy that are generated just by my inner core. Then the green shoots that naturally grow from this as I begin to interact with other people - I am the kind of person who needs people, and when I am with others, it helps me grow.

The next circle points both inward and outward, showing that in growing, I generate energy to refuel myself and to energize others. The two circles that follow are a pattern I think of as energy or vitality lines. When I meditate on them, I feel revitalized, so I tend to use these in meditation mandalas when I want to generate excitement & energy (not for relaxation!). Moving outward to finish the mandala, all the patterns are outwardly-directed after that, showing that when I nourish my inner self, I have much more to give others. The "tassles" contain all the colors I used in the entire mandala, showing that people see on the surface a mixture of ingredients, but it takes going through all my "layers" one at a time to see where each part of me actually came from.

All of which I knew when I started, of course, but I need to remind myself of this, sometimes more than once a day!

This was an extremely useful mandala exercise, one of the most valuable ones I have done so far. I call this mandala "Self-Actualization." I need to find a way to hang it where I can look at it every day.


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