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.