I asked myself, "What will be my Advent practice this year? What will help me move out of the busyness to the beauty and the meaning of this time of preparation and waiting?"
After hearing a wonderful presentation by the author/artist Ann Gerondelis, in which she shared meditations and art from her book Open Our Eyes, Daily Prayers for Advent, I decided to create a mandala every day during Advent.
|"Angels Hov'ring Round"|
(Cut and Paste from National Lutheran Choir program)
I am not an artist and feel art-challenged. I may feel art in my fingers and see it in my mind, but the jump from colored pencils to paper is a very big leap indeed. And yet, over the years I occasionally have drawn mandalas, finding the practice soothing and enlightening.
Quite simply a mandala, which is Sanskrit for "sacred circle" is a symbol of wholeness, of healing, of eternity, of unity. Mandalas can be found in many cultures. The Medicine Wheel of Native American spirituality, for example, or in Christianity in the form of stained-glass window designs and labyrinths, where they may be used for teaching, contemplation or symbolic pilgrimages. In nature mandalas are easily found--snowflakes, flowers, ripples on a pond.
So did I fulfill my Mandala A Day Intention?
Not really. The one a day evolved into a Mandala Every Few Days. By the beginning of the last week of Advent I had drawn a dozen mandalas.
Each one was a prayer.
Sometimes a mandala took me more than one sitting. Sometimes I could feel a mandala taking form in my head before I sat at my desk with my materials. Sometimes I didn't have any idea what would happen after I drew the circle and was amazed at what appeared. Some times I knew exactly what my mandala prayer was and other times the meaning revealed itself gradually to me. Sometimes drawing a new mandala was quite simply time-out. A time to breathe.
I read someplace that the mandala seems to reflect a person's longing for wholeness and unity with the universe and God. That may be true, but what I know is that when I open the sketchbook to a new page, and I spread a wide array of colored pencils in front of me, and I whisper a brief prayer, asking God to be with me in my play, in my search, in this process. I open myself to Spirit.
Come, draw a circle and move into the center of your whole being.
What has been your practice this past month? I would love to know.