Monday, October 20, 2008

Passion & Peace (Mandalas for Peace Series)

The wellspring of peace lives within everything on earth, but it cannot flow freely when it is tended with apathy, rather than passion. Apathy causes us to detach from our passion and forget who we are; forget what we stand for…and, as I recently heard someone say, ”If you stand for nothing, you can‘t stand at all.” The indifference of apathy quenches the fires of passion.

Passion and peace….two dynamics that are seemingly very different and yet, peace cannot fully exist without the presence of passion. Passion is often thought if in relationship to fire and tumultuous intensity. Passion, in its true form, is the ability to live life fully; it is the quality of embracing life with joy; it is being fully present for each moment that is experienced; it is the quality of being committed to walking your walk and talking your talk. Passion does not have to be expressed loudly. It can be a continuous but slow burning fire that burns brightly, with occasional bursts of flames that can be seen more vividly.

Like the unending ripples formed from the action of throwing a pebble into a pond, your personal commitment to living your life with passion will activate an awakening within your soul, creating a deeper level of peace within you. The energy of your inner peace will ripple outward and into every aspect of your life and will impact upon the people with whom you interact. When you stand with passion and peace, you stand strong.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Seeds of Love (Mandalas for Peace series)

Several months ago, while checking out links on the web related to creative expression, I came across Cheryl Finley’s blog, Mandala Oasis ( ), which led me to her yahoo group site of the same name. I joined the group and have been repeatedly enriched by this connection. The group is comprised of predominantly women, but also include a few very creative men and everyone, male or female, is welcome. Over the months, I have found all of the members to be supportive of each other, incredibly creative and overflowing with stimulating suggestions for books to read , art techniques, supply resources and mandala prompts. The art presented for viewing in this group often takes my breath away.

Currently, many members of the group are involved in the creation of two Mandalas for Peace projects. One of the these is a card deck that 9 women have committed to produce. Each woman will create 9 cards that are symbolic representations of 9 themes: (Birthing/Transformation; Body/Mind/Spirit; Community; Creativity; Family; Ancestors; Nature; Right-Livelihood; Womanhood/Women/Woman) and the work will be completed in increments of 9 week cycles with a re-evaluation of the project occurring at the end of each cycle.

Yesterday, while facilitating a mandala group with six teen-agers in the residential treatment facility where I work part-time, I began to create the mandala pictured above. I find that when I create my own work with this group, it assists them to stay centered and focused upon what they are in the process of creating. My focus upon creating art that focuses upon going within to my center reflects back to them. The mandala, titled, “Peace Grows from Seeds of Love” reflects the birthing of peace and new possibilities that grow from a heart centered approach to life.

Love creates fertile soil for effective communication. Allowing seeds of love to take root in your life promotes the appearance of silver linings. When nurtured, seeds of love flourish to create a web of peace and strength that expands out from you and to everyone with whom you interact.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The other day I found a large colored pencil and graphite drawing I had done of my son, Jesse and my daughter, Annie, when they were ages three and 6 months, respectively. Because it was so large I had never framed it and it had become badly torn in places. I had always loved the drawing and felt that throwing it out was not an option. After getting past the sacrilege of thinking I should cut it up and create new, smaller and re-designed pieces from it, I picked up my scissors and cut. Once I started there was no option but to finish what I had started.

As I cut and pasted and altered the existing colors of the work, I thought of how each child had changed over the years and of how alike they still were from the way I had depicted them at that time. I contemplated, how my approach to creating art had changed since then. Tender thoughts of that time in my life flooded over me. The scent of baby lotion and talcum powder wafted up to me and I remembered the incredible softness of their skin at that age. As each thought emerged, I was shifted back in time, standing by the bed where they lay, sleeping, watching them with as much overflowing love as I had felt when I had originally been inspired to create the picture. I felt myself brushing back the dampness of their hair and listening to their gentle breathing as they slept.

The process of reinventing their portraits was validating and healing. It filled me with joy and re-connected me with a precious time frame I had forgotten. With each piece of the drawing that I cut and evaluated new placement and then glued into place, I felt a deep satisfaction at the significance of these changes: filling in some of the negative spaces with warmth and brightness; honoring and appreciating the details that created us as a family and re-designing old ways of interacting with each other to construct a new way to express the fabric of our lives.