Mandala Stories, Practice
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Life as a Mandala: Discovering that you’ve come full circle

Do you see signs and patterns in your life?

I do.

Last week I discovered that I’ve come full circle.

Over Columbus Day weekend, I traveled over 400 miles down to Pennsylvania to facilitate a mandala workshop. It was just a few days before heading down that I realized that three years ago on the very same weekend, I was in Pennsylvania. My husband and I were driving when I thought up the idea for the 100 Mandalas Challenge and a how-to book for drawing mandalas.

When I think of the anniversary of this occasion, I’ve always focused on when I launched the 100 Mandalas Challenge, not when I thought it up. I mark the occasion with an online celebration called Mandalafest.

It hadn’t dawned on me the significance of the previous weekend until now. Keep in mind that in my adult life, I’ve only been to Pennsylvania three times and this was the third visit. So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed a pattern that I was heading back to Pennsylvania to the “scene of the crime.”

I didn’t plan this incredible weekend, it planned itself.

What makes this occasion even more incredible was that it was originally scheduled for a different weekend and my original purpose for going to Pennsylvania was to take my 81-year old stepmother to visit her family and friends. Scheduling conflicts changed the date and my stepmother backed out of the trip. Even with all of these changes that felt a wee bit chaotic, I was steadfast in my decision to head down for the mandala workshop. There were people who signed up and I wasn’t about to let anyone down.

I’m so glad I continued on this path…

Recognizing this pattern gave me the nod and affirmation that I needed to go as planned. This wasn’t any ordinary mandala workshop, it was a milestone.


It was a milestone that called for a mandala cake.

I contacted my friend who was hosting the workshop and told her the story. I asked her to order a cake and e-mailed her the artwork and instructions for the baker.


The 100 Mandalas Compass Rose was the perfect image.

Even now as I type this I’m in awe as I see all of the pieces falling into place. Back in January, I invite participants of the online January Mandala Retreat to contribute a piece to the annual 100 Mandalas Community Mandala. Each person is e-mailed a piece and asked to use a specific color. They embellish it and write in their word-for-the-year.

Each year the design is different and participants have no idea what it will look like. All they see is their shape. After coloring and embellishing the piece, they scan it and send it back to me.

The Meaning of the Compass Rose

The compass rose has appeared on charts and maps since the 1300’s when the portolan charts first made their appearance. The term “rose” comes from the figure’s compass points resembling the petals of the well-known flower.

Originally, this device was used to indicate the directions of the winds, but the 32 points of the compass rose come from the directions of the eight major winds, the eight half-winds and the sixteen quarter-winds. 

source: The Compass Company

The 100 Mandalas Compass Rose is a navigational tool to help you find your “true north.” Your “true north” is your unique path in life. Humor, acceptance, steadiness, peace, hope, focus, believe are some of the many inspirational words in the 100 Mandalas Compass Rose intended to help the seeker to find their way and know which direction to travel.


New Traditions Are Born

Each year the Community Mandala Project designed in January will be the artwork used for the annual Mandalafest celebration. Pictured above you’ll see the gorgeous mandala printed on two notebooks that are prizes for this year’s event.


Moving forward, I will also host a womens’ retreat on Columbus Day weekend where we’ll create mandalas.


It will be a great opportunity to create art, make friends, and in the quiet moments notice the patterns in our lives.

I have an idea for a location for the next anniversary mandala retreat that will be on Columbus Day Weekend (October 5, 6, and 7, 2018). I will scout it out and announce the date and location in November in my e-mail newsletter. Watch for it!


Turning Towards the Journey

I’m noticing even more pieces to this puzzle story. During Mandalafest, the featured lesson from the Great Round course is about “Turning Towards the Journey.” It’s a great theme for anyone who feels like they are about to embark on something new. It may be a new project, career, relationship, or stage in life.

For me the long drive home from Pennsylvania gave me time to ponder what’s next. I came back feeling renewed and excited. I have a BIG announcement as I “turn towards the journey.” The announcement is one that my mandala family has been asking me about over the last three years. I can’t spill it just yet. I hope you’ll be able to join me for the Mandalafest Finale on October 22, 2017. I have lots of prizes to giveaway and this is when I’ll make the announcement.

I’ve missed blogging.

One final piece to my full circle story is that I will resume sharing my stories and reflections in blog posts. Before I started the 100 Mandalas Challenge, I was a creative and active blogger for six years. These last three years have pulled me in the direction of supporting the 100 Mandalas Community that included the weekly newsletter, online courses and the Sharing Circle. I poured hours into writing and marketing my book, “The Mandala Guidebook.” I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed getting up early for my “morning retreats” to write about life.

Now feels like the right time to come home to blogging.

This is the first blog post. I’m not sure how frequently I’ll post but at a minimum it will be monthly. My blog posts will be about my creative and artful life and my philosophical take on it all.

I want to hear from you.

In the comments below, let me know if you found a nugget of inspiration in this post. Do you have a question you’d like to ask? Ask away! I may use it as the topic for my next blog post.

As always, it is a pleasure to connect with you in this digital space.

It feels good to come home.

{soul hugs}


PS – Mandalafest begins this weekend and runs all week. And, don’t worry if you can’t participate every day or in every contest. Show up when you can. Who knows, you may discover a piece to your “coming full circle story.”

PSS – If you want a closer look at all of the pieces in the 100 Mandalas Compass Rose, you can see them here.

This entry was posted in: Mandala Stories, Practice


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.


  1. Kathryn,
    This is so wonderful and I am so honored to be witness to this turn in your journey!
    Thank you for your years of inpirations ,


    • I had a great time in PA. Just now I was looking at the videos that were part of the Journey of the Heart Journal. I had forgotten all of the retreat moment videos. Wow! I look so young and it was only 4 years ago. Thanks for sharing this creative journey. I’ll be revisiting those gems from my earlier journey and will definitely bring them back.


  2. Smita Dancklefsen says

    Thank you for sharing your journey experiences. I enjoy your style of teaching, communication and mandala art.


    • Thank you Smita. It is great to hear how much you enjoy my style. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. You’ve put a BIG smile on my face.


  3. Great post and happy for you that you are blogging again. I am feeling inspired to continue on my own journey and to finally write that introduction of mine for my IG followers. Thank you for sharing your creative journey. The cake and the notebook look awesome!


  4. Fabienne says

    So happy to see that you are blogging again. I feel I would try, but I don’t know how to do it ! Thank you for all your wonderful ideas, you’re a permanent source of inspiration.


    • Thank you Fabienne! You’ve been a great cheerleader these last three years. I’m happy that we can continue our connection here. Thank you for your note. It’s so encouraging!


  5. Shefalie says

    What a wonderful reflection……so congruent with who you are…..and so helpful……to hear the roots behind the mandala mapping of your life…..and new growth for your blogging…..such treasures mined for us all……I felt I had stepped into your river of life reading it all……thankyou Kathryn… never cease to have inspirational ideas…….this first year with you has ignited a flame within me…..I love the Mandala Rose notebooks……shefali


    • I’m so happy Shefalie that you found your way to 100 Mandalas. It has be a pleasure connecting with you and getting to know you through your mandala art. There is a lot of amazing things on the horizon for our community in 2018. Stay tuned!


  6. Nathalie says

    It was a pleasure to read this blogpost. I like reading about your connection to Pennsylvania. I would love to participate in a real life workshop one day. The cake looks lovely.


    • It *WILL BE* incredible when we meet up in person to create mandala art. One of my dreams is to travel the world offering mandala workshops and experiences.


  7. Sandy Boreen says

    It is so amazing that life is a circle and brings so much wonder into our lives. Thank you, Kathryn for your blog post and I am so happy to have been a small part of the mandala journey. Keep up the good work and thank you again for sharing your amazing story.


  8. Killian says

    I love your book and all your beautiful art posts. You are an inspiration to me to just keep exploring!


  9. Kayla Vontess says

    Kathryn, you are my daily inspiration. It is through your journey that I can stay focused on my mandala path. Thank you for always sharing all of yourself with your mandala sisters. Whatever new idea you may manifest I will always follow. 😛😁


    • Oh Kayla, my heart is touched! You are going to love all of the new things that I have planned for 2018. I’m bursting with joy and can’t wait to share it all – right here, right now. But alas, time is needed for it all to unfold. As I work up the new offerings, I’ll remember that you’ll be waiting.


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