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My Word of the Year: Intention


tangles used: crescent moon, fescu, florz, and the word: intention


Mandala Monday is back! YAY!!!

Hmm... I'm not even sure where we left off with Mandala Monday. I'm guessing it was sometime in November before four billion tasks rose to the surface and begged for attention in December...

I missed Mandala Monday. I LOVE visiting The Bright Owl for Erin's templates and using them to create cool Zendalas. I also found that when I stopped doing this I more or less stopped tangling altogether. That just won't do. Zentangle as a practice is very important to me and this is a great way to supplement my practice. So, away we go!

Erin (Erin is the author and artist at The Bright Owl who posts a new Zendala template each week) wasn't pleased with her template and she challenged us to think BIG, then bring those plans to fruition. As I sat with my template all I could really think is that my stomach hurt. I decided to start with the tangle: crescent moon. I thought it might be fun to only use crescent moon for the entire Zendala! I didn't think of it at the time, but I think crescent moon appealed to me because my belly is sticking out like a crescent moon today! I stuck with crescent moon in the beginning, which was the center for me, but then the rest of the space seemed too big to continue so I introduced a few additional tangles and my word of the year: Intention.

When I was all finished I turned to my assistant and very best girl to ask her opinion. Do I keep it black and white? Or add some color? She stared at my Zendala for a good 15 seconds.

We spent a lot of time like this today. She coughed and I belly ached.

Then she said, "I think you should make the whole thing purple."

As is most often the case, it would have been hard to do anything BUT what my almost five year-old purple loving artist daughter suggests, and so I pulled out my new chalk-pastel coloring pencils (which I love madly, by the way) and colored the whole thing purple. Voila!

So, this word of the year thing. Yes, I have heard of it in years past and no, I have never chosen a word of the year before. It sounded very intriguing to me. I spent a lot of time thinking about just the right word and changing it around before I settled on intention.

in·ten·tion
1   a determination to act in a certain way: resolve

3
a : what one intends to do or bring about
b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

Thank you Merriam-Webster.com.

Zendalas are all about intention. You can set an intention before you make one or as you take a look at one, a lot like walking a labyrinth or working on a maze. You would set an intention in the same way you set one for meditation or before yoga practice. It's the perfect way to empty your mind of all its confusion, focus on one task, which in this case is repeating patterns with deliberate strokes, and end with some clarity - another reason why I love Mandala Monday. It's a wonderful way to start the week.

I want to act with resolve this year. I want to be very deliberate, thoughtful, and mindful of what the choices I am making and who I am being each day this year. In 2012, I went balls out. I was all over the place - learning, trying new things, meeting new people, and moving at an often frenzied pace. I missed appointments, forgot things, and stopped taking really good care of myself (which is important to me because I want to be able to play on the floor with my grandkids one day). It was a GREAT year! (hee hee) Really and truly it was, but now I need to be a little more careful. I need to figure out what is most important. Sacred even. And move forward with intention in the spirit of supporting those sacred things. It will be another great year and I am SO excited about it. I am really excited about my word too. Intention and I... let's just say we go together in 2013.

For Mandala Monday, I invite you to set an intention and if you aren't ready to make a mandala, spend a few minutes looking into the purple, letting go of the confusion in your head, and paying attention to what comes up for you. It might look like this:

1. Set an intention, let's say to be grateful.
2. Take a deep breath (breathing is a great practice in general).
3. Quiet your mind... maybe draw circles over and over again, stare into the purple, or do nothing...
4. Wait. Listen. Take note of anything that comes up.
5. You're done.

You may not even realize it, but deliberately choosing to be grateful for those few minutes was of benefit to you. You may have relished in the image of someone who graces your life with their presence, and like a little prayer, your gratitude warmed that person. It's a lot like prayer.

Try it. It works! It may take some practice, but it definitely works. I like to begin a Zendala with the question, "What do I need to know right now?" By the time I'm finished I often have an answer to something I've been wondering about. Answering the questions that plague us is so much easier when we stop trying so hard to answer them with our minds, and instead quiet our minds and open up to the messages in our hearts. No stress, no worries - just have fun with it.

Thank you! xo

Epilogue: after all my talk about intention and hitting Enter on this post, I immediately left to take my girl to dance class. We were running very late. I was so intent on getting there that I DROVE RIGHT BY HER STUDIO! I didn't even realize it. Okay, it was dark oustide, but geez! These are the types of mindless mistakes I'd like to minimize in my life! Thank God for practice. Maybe I ought to add "practice" to the front of intention? But that would be two words. Sigh...



Trust

This morning I tackled a collection of piles I've been keeping in my bedroom. Every little piece of laundry put away and everything else relocated. I'm so proud of myself, I don't know what to do next! The day is flying by now and I'm feeling a little lost in the wind.

My eyes keep wandering back a little project I just finished, so I decided to tell you about it.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for years at a wonderful yoga studio in my town. The studio is run by one of the loveliest women in the world. When I first shared some of my art with her, not long ago, she graciously invited me to try selling a few things in the yoga center's boutique! I was completely blown away by the idea. Then, before we had even placed everything on the shelves, someone bought this sweet little piece...


I was so amazed that someone would buy something I created. I am still amazed. It is the most incredible feeling to know that something I made touched another person. I am trying to think of a good word to describe that feeling. I keep coming back to, surprise surprise... CONNECTED.

So, I didn't realize it at the time, but that same lovely someone contacted me the other day and asked me to do two custom pieces for her. Again, I was amazed. Then, scared. To. Death. As she told me what she wanted, I nodded and visions danced around in my head and slowly, I became so afraid of screwing it all up. I didn't want to disappoint her. I wanted her to love it. She seemed so confident in me though, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe she was right, and maybe, just maybe, I could pull it off. Then, she said she wanted me to incorporate the symbol for OM.

UM...

I didn't think I could do that.

But, guess what? I did.

 I started with a red background...



Then I used a stamp to embellish the background.

Eventually, I painted that OM sign! Painted. P-a-i-n-t-e-d. 



I know, right? I can't believe it either. I practiced quite a few times before I actually tried to paint it. I still can't believe I did it. Crazy.

And, now, it's all finished! Custom made art for a woman named Anna (great name, huh?)


I added some extra angel love, just for her. I hope she likes it!

Art is such a great metaphor for life. Art provides endless opportunities to try new things. To practice when you don't get it right the first time. To start over. To trust that IT, whatever IT is, is not about the outcome, but the process. Life is art, really. I do believe that. It's part of what I need to believe in order to support my belief that we are all artists. 

A year ago, I was still drawing the same stick people I began drawing when I was in kindergarten. No joke. Now, I'm painting angels. I'm excited thinking about how my angels might evolve, wondering what they might look like in another year, hoping they will reach out and touch even more people with their messages of love and hope and glitter, and all the while... I am trusting in the process.

xoxo