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Prompt #4 - The Mandala Zone
Filling the circle
Mandalas have a long and rich history.
They are used in many religious traditions for meditation and contemplation. They can also represent deities, the cycle of life and death, or a spiritual journey.
They can be painted, or woven into fabric. In some Buddhist traditions, people spend hours or days creating intricate designs out of colourful sand, only to ritualistically destroy it afterwards. Talk about not getting attached to your work!
This week, we want to get into the Flow and create a mandala of our own.
The Activity: Create your mandala
I want to get one thing out of the way before we start: your mandala does not have to be symmetrical. The only thing it needs to be is round and filled with bloody joy. Ok, onwards.
Step 1: Make a circle
Get a piece of paper of any size that speaks to you today. Find a round object that will allow you to draw a circle on that paper. A salad bowl, a plate, a cup, or - depending on its shape - your buttcheek.
Draw a circle on the paper. There. Excellent work!
Step 2: Fill the circle
Using any medium you like, fill the circles with shapes. You can first draw the outlines. Don't think about it too much, just keep adding elements. Lines, circles, triangles, eyes, blobs, splashes, squiggles. Just go with whatever feels good.
Once you feel like you've filled your circle sufficiently, go ahead and add some colour to the elements you drew. You can do it all in one colour, or some lighter and darker shades, or - my personal favourite - use ALL the colours.
The important part of this process is that you can allow yourself to get lost in your work. In the shapes, the lines, the forms, the colours. Without having to think too much about it. Listening to music while you draw can also help along with that.
Step 3: Admire the circle
Once you’re done, take a look at your work. Awesome job! How did you feel while you were working on your mandala? Did your mind wander around like a crazy bouncy ball? Where you elsewhere worrying about [insert thing that won't matter in a year here]? Did your mind calm down eventually and focus on the piece in front of you?
I just love it when the silence kicks in.
If you've enjoyed this process, then keep the mandalas going! Try different sizes, different levels of detail, and different mediums, and enjoy the silence.
If you feel a bit intimidated by this exercise, I got you. I put the outline of my mandala up on my website for download, so instead of creating one from scratch you can simply print this one and skip straight to the colouring part.
Another giant disclaimer is necessary before you continue reading:
It's insanely complicated to draw a symmetrical mandala free hand. I can't do it. and also… Ain't nobody got time for that!
To create the mandala below, I used a drawing app on the iPad called Procreate which automatically repeats the pattern you draw in a symmetrical circle.
I then printed it on multimedia paper to colour it.
For comparison, here is a mandala I did free-hand in my sketchbook a while ago.
I found the Flow equally in both of these. So please, don't be intimidated by all the intricate mandalas you see on the internet or in adult colouring books. There are apps for creating those. Please go as detailed, and symmetrical or not as you want, which can also be not at all.
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