When the Soul wants to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.
This morning, just before sunrise, I sat down in the kitchen to start drawing my daily mandala. The kitchen gets the best light in the morning and into the early afternoon, and it’s the most comfortable place for me to draw. There is room on the table for me to spread out, to scatter pencils, pens, erasers, sketchbooks, paper I use for drafts or to put behind the page I am drawing on in my sketchbook, a pencil sharpener, my tablet (in case I want to look something up), and a compass. I use the overhead light until the sun has risen high enough to provide better lighting.
I start by drawing the circles. I never know how many circles I’ll draw. It depends, in part, on how well I am handling the compass. Some mornings my hands and body are stiff, and I try too hard to control the compass. Other mornings, like today, I am loose and the compass with pencil flows around and around. Sometimes I draw lines, dividing up the circles, never measuring. I just eyeball things and so, the sections are often uneven. That’s okay. Life is often uneven. Sometimes I don’t draw lines. Instead, I allow myself and the circles the freedom to flow and ripple with whatever comes up from my mind or, at times, through my hands without help or thought from the mind.
This morning, for unknown reasons (the mind is a mysterious place and doesn’t always explain its thought processes), I was thinking of winter wheat planted in the fall and turning large swaths of land here on the Eastern Shore a gorgeous shade of emerald green as the small plants stay dormant throughout the cold months, waiting for spring to resume their growth. Did you know that winter wheat has a higher gluten content than spring wheat?
I drew what I hoped would look like three stalks of wheat with seed heads at the top. It looks more like three arrows shot into the same spot in the ground. No matter. I know what it’s supposed to be, and the title (I title each of my mandalas) will let me know what it was supposed to be if I should happen to go back and look at it someday and wonder. The daily mandalas are snippets of my morning thoughts and maybe, with practice, I’ll be able to draw those snippets so that I won’t need words to recognize what the pictures represent.
I’m using pens to color the mandalas instead of pencils. The pencils were all well and good, but the colors from the pens are much more vibrant. I was given a set of Letraset Promarkers, in gray tones, for Christmas (a big thank you to my oldest son and his wife!), and I love using them. In fact, I enjoy them so much that I’ve ordered a set of the vibrant colors. In the meantime, I have Sharpies. A friend gave them to me sometime last year. She didn’t want/need them, and I said yes when she asked if I’d like to have them. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. I briefly used them to color on the walls in the yoga/meditation/exercise room, but that was just a temporary, fun, thing to do before the wallpaper was stripped and the walls were painted. I put them in the art desk drawer where they have been forgotten until last week.
The pens require a careful touch. The colors will bleed, and I can’t erase any mistakes I make with them. I start with pencil, lightly drawing the design. Then I trace the design with Pigma Micron pens. Sometimes what I draw in pencil is changed when I start tracing with the pen. Once the design is drawn and outlined, it’s time to add color. Most of the time, I don’t know what direction that will take until I start. That approach often works, but there are days when I don’t like my color combinations. That’s okay. Life is that way, too.
This morning I wondered if taking up drawing mandalas was a way of avoiding other things so on my list of goals for this week is to open up my novel and start work on it again. I was waiting on a book I needed to do some research. The book arrived about the same time I took the Five Days of Mandala Magic course with Julie Gibbons. I haven’t taken the time yet to read it, or at least flip through it to find the information I need. The research is for a story within the original story, and one of the decisions I will have to make is whether or not that story stays within the story. The last time I sat down with it, the story within the story was growing by leaps and bounds, and it might be better off on its own. Perhaps as a children’s book since it involves history with fairy-tale qualities although there’s no reason why I can’t be an adult story if I want to take it in that direction.
I took a break from writing when I took a break from blogging. Sort of. Public writing, at any rate. I’ve been doing a lot of personal writing, working through some things, and that has been eating up most of the time I usually devote to writing (including here at the blog). Now that things are settling down, there should be more time for the novel. I’m kind of excited about working on it again.
It is clear and bright today. Windy and cold, too. If you’ve been following me since my Bogs blog , you know that Mondays are usually laundry day for me ((follow that link and do a search for “laundry” and you’ll find numerous blog posts about my trials and tribulations with laundry as well as photos of laundry hanging on lines on Amish farms in Lancaster County, PA). Not a “blue Monday” since the wash doesn’t take up the whole day and is not the grind that it used to be now that we have washing machines and dryers. I did hang out a line full of laundry after I finished drawing the beginnings of today’s mandala. The cold and wind bite at the hands when I hang laundry outside in the winter months, but the laundry dries quickly and tonight I will enjoy the scents of fresh air and sunshine as I drift off to sleep.
It has been a while since I’ve done a search for “blue Monday,” and was surprised to find something new (that is really something old since it involves history). Years back, all I could turn up was an article about the backbreaking work of laundry during the days when it was done by hand, and Mondays were usually laundry day. Today I found this article which claims that the roots of “blue Monday” come more from a weekend of debauchery (drinking potent potables) than from the hardships of doing laundry. It’s a fascinating look at the past. Go have a look if you’re interested in such things.
Well, three loads of laundry are done, I’ve managed a quick clean-up around the house, washed dishes, put away the clean dishes that were in the dishwasher, scooped the litter boxes, played with and brushed the cats, and it is now time for me to go out for a quick walk before I start thinking about what I’ll be preparing for dinner tonight. With this cold weather, a soup or stew would be wonderful. Or a spicy curry. I’ve been eating a lot of curries lately. My skin probably smells like the spices in the garam masala I use, the scent coming out through my pores. Even breakfast has involved a lot of spices and spiciness.
Thank you for dropping by today, and joining me on a bit of a meander through my morning and my day. Some of the photos of from this morning in the kitchen, and the rest are either from weekend walks or sunset at the Point yesterday. I’ll probably go out to the dock to watch it this evening. Join me if you like. It’s at 5:02 PM. Wear layers. The winter wind cuts right through your coat if you don’t.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂