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Journal Mandalas

Journal Mandala

Today’s mandalas take on a different look and feel. I’m working “off the grid” and rather than arrange the colors and shapes in a radial balance, that is, from the center outward, I break up the plane in ways that feels intuitively right to me. These mandalas each tell a story, quite literally. The first two mandalas in this post were both drawn on the same day while traveling in Georgia. I had a day to myself waiting to check into a hotel and before the retreat started in the evening. Click on the mandalas for a closer look and you’ll see some of the journal writing that tells more of the story.


This mandala records the events of the morning.  Here is a look at the story (saga more like it) and some of the visual details to go with it:


The first hotel that I checked into was awful! There were stains on the furniture. The place was old, tired, and worn. I was afraid to take off my shoes, open my luggage, and sleep in the bed. I was exhausted from traveling all day so I decided to stay for one night. I pulled out my brown and rusty colored pencils to capture the feeling I had about this hotel.


In the morning, I learned that I had to contact Expedia to get a refund for checking out 4 days early. I put my luggage in the car and returned to the hotel to make the phone call. I was on hold for a long time. Although I used a cell phone, I depicted the phone conversation with a twisty phone cord reminiscent of the phones we used when I was growing up.


After contacting Expedia, I went to the car to discover that I had locked the keys in the trunk! Rats! More waiting!


I was parked next to a tree and decided that I would be more comfortable waiting for the locksmith outside than back in that filthy hotel. I pulled out my journal and created this mandala in the time it took for the locksmith to arrive. I found that it wasn’t so hot under the shade of a tree. I relaxed and felt myself get grounded listening to the birds while drawing the story of my morning.

It took several phone calls over the next two weeks, but I finally received a refund of 3 of the 4 nights that I didn’t stay at the hotel. I didn’t give up! I didn’t settle! I advocated for myself and it felt great. I learned a few lessons here: the reviews online are not always accurate and NEVER book with companies like Expedia. Book directly with the hotel. I was grateful that the hotel that I switched to was just what I was looking for and my week was fabulous! I wasn’t going to let this unfortunate event take away from my wonderful adventure.


It is fun to bring in a little sketching and art journaling into my mandala practice. This third mandala maps out my sleep cycle as denoted by the zzzzzz’s at the top. When my hormones fluctuate, I get less sleep. Underneath all of this is my calm center. I call this one, “Topography of my Sleep Cycle.”

I challenge your notion of mandalas this week. If you’ve been focused on creating mandalas that are perfectly symmetrical, I encourage you to break up the circle in a different way. Consider telling the story of your day in a symbolic or representational way as I have done here.

It’s Your Turn

This entry was posted in: Inspiration
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Kathryn Costa is an instigator of soulful and creative living. Her passion can be summed up in three little words: “create and connect.” Kathryn’s programs help people to find clarity, let go of fear, embrace their dreams, and explore their creativity. Kathryn has been an online community developer, teacher, and soulful guide for 12 years. Her unique teaching and coaching style integrates tools and practices from her training in Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, Soul Coaching, The Virtue’s Project, and Jaguar Path Shamanic Apprenticeship Program.

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