ZEN TIP TUESDAY #18
Today I’m so pleased to welcome Denyse Whelan as our guest poster for ZTT #18. I’ve known Denyse (virtually) for many years now. Denyse is an Aussie blogger and retired school Principal. She has quite a few stories to share and if you don’t already know her, you can get to know her over at her blog (you’ll find the link in her bio at the end of this post). Denyse is one of the most generous, kind and caring people you ever could hope to meet. In the Aussie blogosphere she’s well-known and very well thought of, and deservedly so! Today she’s sharing how the creation of Mandalas has helped her reach Mindfulness and Zen during times of stress and difficulty. I hope you enjoy the read!
If you’re joining us for ZTT Link-Up #016, welcome and I look forward to reading your post!
In 2016 I began creating mandalas using my ‘old school’ compass, pencils and paper. It all came back to me learning about making a ‘flower inside a circle’ from Year 6 geometry. I bought a book. Then another. I was bitten by the mandala bug!
I have used creative activities as a means of relaxation, stimulation, mindfulness and more in my post-retirement years and it helps me greatly through times of stress and worry. I found continuing to design my mandalas in hospital after cancer surgery in 2017 gave my focus to the creation. It was very helpful. It still is. I often have a mandala started so when I need to ‘shut out’ what can be distracting or stressful, I sit at my desk and am immediately calmed by doing “just one thing”. I come away more zen-like and able to manage my emotions better.
Each time I create a mandala or I notice one in nature out in the world I stop and admire it. I am literally attracted to them and can ‘see a mandala’ where others may not. Flowers, shadows, furniture, outside on the pavement, succulents. Once you “know” about mandalas you too will notice them.
How does noticing a mandala help?
It focusses me on just one thing.
It is, for me, the ultimate in mindfulness.
It is, in the spirit of this guest post, putting me in a zen moment or more.
But What IS a Mandala?
A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a centre point. Source: Wikipedia.
The word Mandala basically means circle and it represents a wholeness in a cosmic diagram that can remind individuals of their direct relation to infinity. Mandalas extend beyond their form and write into our minds and our bodies. These are symbols of great power and actually appeared to humans in almost every aspect of our life including the moon, the sun and the earth. These circles encompass not only physical forms but communities, family and friends. Source: youramazingdesign.com
The second (see ‘Resources’ at the end of this post) teaches much more about the spiritual connections to us via mandalas. This is for those who want to go further in learning about mandalas.
How I create a Mandala
I used this first book, as noted below, in my early learning stages. It was once I was established and more confident of my designs that I began to do more. In fact, I made over 200 in a year or so. Some are A3 size, now laminated, and are placemats or framed for viewing, and the smaller A4 ones, give others enjoyment as I display them on-line and give them away!
This link, takes you to my “how to make a mandala” post on my blog.
I hope if you do give making mandalas a go, you too find the joy and fun they can be. Remember, if you learned to do one of these in school, then you can do it again now!
Last year I did a free 4 week course at my local library on Mandalas and Mindfulness and each of the participants felt more relaxed and ‘in the moment’ as they created they told me.
Resources: both of mine were purchased from BookDepository (not sponsored)
- The Mandala Guidebook. How To Draw, Paint and Colour Expressive Mandala Art. Kathryn Costa. North Light Books. createmixedmedia.com 2016.
- The Mandala Workbook. A Creative Guide for Self-Exploration, Balance and Well-Being. Susanne F. Fincher. Shambala Publications. 2010.
Denyse is a retired K-6 educator from Australia who is married and has two adult children and eight grandchildren. Denyse began blogging in 2010 as a means to greater connection socially after retirement. In 2015, moving away from the family and finalising her work as a part-time University tutor, Denyse found these transitions to a new life, a new place and a new lifestyle a challenge. Always looking to help herself, art pursuits are a balm for her. However, a major upset to the retired life was a cancer diagnosis in May 2017. A rare squamous cell carcinoma in her mouth meant major surgeries and re-constructions in the past 2 years. Denyse loves the social aspects of blogging and is always keen to support others. She has a Monday link up on her blog called Life This Week. Optional prompts are provided but come on in, old posts or new are welcomed!
ZTT LINK-UP #016