Viewing entries tagged
mandala

May Mandala Meditation



When I realized it is May 1st today, I started thinking about how quickly 2013 is flying by. I keep telling myself that it's okay if I'm a little scattered because I'm still recovering from the holidays and the start of the New Year. Um. Right. I've had four months! Maybe I'm just eternally scattered, and I need to accept that?

The great thing about today is that it is absolutely gorgeous outside. I think Spring has finally arrived here in Michigan! We had a very long, grayish-white winter so Spring comes as a huge relief to me. Today the sun is shining and the birds are flying about singing their songs. I am so happy for the birds! I am so happy for all of us!

To celebrate the sunshine and birdsong, I am offering a mandala mediation for May. Meditation is one of my favorite ways to be still and listen. I think it may intimidate a lot of people though because nobody wants to do it wrong. This is a short and sweet little meditation that I hope will serve as a breath of fresh air for you. Anyone can do it.

I created the mandala shown above in the spirit of promoting self-compassion and love. I am finding in my scatteredness that it is more important than ever to be gentle with myself. I am human after all. I am flawed. I make mistakes. I forget things... Sometimes I can be really hard on myself. Unforgiving. What I'm learning is that when I let go of my mistakes and forgive myself for making them, I open up a lot of space in my head and my heart to do more meaningful things. Like make mandalas.

So, take a look at the center of this mandala and notice the little hearts I drew there. They represent the LOVE that is at the center of everything.





Click play to listen to the guided meditation.

Close your eyes, and get comfortable in your seat or lying down. Take a deep breath and relax all your muscles, your limbs, and your face. Take a few deep breaths, and enjoy the meditation...

You are sitting alongside a creek on a bright Spring day.
Birds are chirping all around you and you can hear the water moving next to you.
A warm breeze blows over your face.
Imagine that in your hand you hold a small pile of seeds.

Each seed represents something you could release, something that no longer serves you. 
One seed could be regret over disappointing someone you love, or a grudge against yourself for a mistake you made. One seed might be a bad habit you've picked up, or a self-limiting belief that is holding you back. Take a deep breath, and on the exhale, blow your seeds into the creek.
Watch as the seeds fade away into the water, to be recycled into Mother Earth.

Feel the lightness that comes over you. You are no longer weighed down. You are free. Sit still as the new empty space inside you is filled with love. Let the love wash over you. Take a deep breath in slowly, taking in the love. Exhale any residue left behind from the seeds you released.

Take another deep breath. Let it go. You are loved. You are worthy of receiving the love you give so freely to others. Let that love into your heart. Embrace it. Wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze yourself into a warm, loving hug. Take a deep breath. Let it go. Wiggle your fingers, and  your toes. Come back to your body, and get ready to go back out into the world...
What will you do with all that love?


I hope you enjoyed that little treat!
Take care my friend!
xoxo

p.s. Special thanks to my mom for the beautiful forsythia she brought to my house today, and to Tara Catalano for allowing me to use her gorgeous art in this post!

p.p.s. I've never made a video for a post before! I'm letting myself off the hook for its amateur quality, and I hope you will too! :)

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...



Loud, Messy Family Love

tangles used: poke leaf, perfs, and lots of flowers and variations of crescent moon.


It's Mandala Monday at Heart Connected. Here is today's mandala...the template comes from Erin at Zendala Dare. I decided to try a little color this week. I love the stark contrast of black and white, the Zentangle standard, but I have some new pan pastels that I wanted to dig into. The tones of the colors are more muted than I expected. I am okay with that though. I almost ditched the thing at one point. I wasn't liking the way it looked. But I remembered... it is about the process and I just changed my direction. I cannot say enough how much I love the fact that tangling, the method used in my mandala, mimics life in that way - not loving it, don't ditch it, change direction.

Over the weekend I spent a night with my cousins and aunties and my mom and sister. It is a tradition - the gathering of the Secret Pals! It all started with a gift exchange, but now I think the gifts are just a cover for a night of crazy family fun.

Through my mandala making process, my wandering thoughts kept making their way back to family. 

I read this blog post today, by Glennon of Momastery. I really love her and her message. The gist of today's post was that the family we see, on Facebook or on a person's annual Christmas card, isn't the whole family. There is the family we see, and then the family that exists beyond the picture. The family that can be messy and loud and sad and angry and not always clean and smiling for the camera.

That loud and messy family is CERTAINLY my family, even though I do enjoy our annual photo shoot for our Christmas card. My husband and I figured out that the secret to getting our kids to smile all at once is to make fart noises. It works every time. It only took us about 8 years to figure out that little gem. He stands over my head making fart noises and I snap like crazy. I take a ton of pictures for the photo shoot and then we narrow it down to the one that says LOVE the loudest. It's hard to depict love, of course, but we can usually find one picture that captures the sparkle in each child's eye and the endearing look that says, "I love my dad. He makes the BEST fart noises!"

Shortly after I read Glennon's post, my mother-in-law called. She had seen a few pictures of my aunties and cousins and me on Facebook and said, "It looks like you had a good time this weekend!"

We were all smiles. I did have a good time with my cousins and aunties, my mom and my sister. We laugh a lot when we are together. It is lovely to spend that time with them and beautiful to capture our joy in being together on camera. It is fun to post the pictures on Facebook for the rest of our very large and spread all over the country family to see.

While we had fun and we are indeed smiling for the camera, and without a doubt, there is so much the camera can never capture. That's the stuff I kept thinking about today as I tangled within the bounds of my mandala. I kept coming back to the fact that in the near future my aunt will undergo a stem cell treatment. The fact that the oldest auntie, my Aunt Maryann, has already passed on and her absence is always obvious at our Secret Pal gatherings. And, of course, that my grandma, who was there when it all started, isn't with us either. That in the group of ten of us, we have experienced many, many losses, divorce, anger, lots of anger, heartbreak, devastation, tough times... all that loud and messy, sad and angry stuff that life is made of.

And yet, we smile. 

We have a great time. We laugh and we love each other, even though we are a loud mess sometimes. Okay, in my case anyway, we are a loud mess a lot of the time. 

Today, if you do these things, take a minute to look closely at the mandala... look closely at the round boundary of this circle, and consider it a warm, sweet hug around your neck. Feel the hug and know that whatever is happening in your life, whatever it is that the rest of us cannot see, it doesn't change the fact that you are loved. Loved like family.

Take care! xo

What it Really Means to Keep it Simple

tangles used: Fife, Fescu/Opus variation, and Socc (sort-of)

This morning I was thinking about everything I need to do to prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner at my house on Thursday, and Pierogi Day (an Oginsky Family tradition) here on Friday. The list is a little daunting. I have been resisting the whole thing and having flashbacks to the sheer exhaustion I felt last year after this series of events took place at my house. It is all delicious, glorious, joyous fun, without a doubt, but it is exhausting.

I thought about my vow to keep it simple this year. I thought if I can just get through this weekend, THEN I will keep it simple. I took a deep breath and I kept moving. I noticed something strange. Even in the midst of my resistance and fear of exhaustion, I wasn't feeling even a little bit nervous about the coming days and my list of things to do to get through them. This is odd for me.

Then it clicked. When I vowed to keep it simple, I thought about taking it down a notch or two in the volume of what we do...what I buy, what I wrap, what I bake, what I prepare... What I realized today is that while those choices play a part in keeping it simple, the beauty of keeping it simple, lies in my ability to SIMPLY BE. No nerves, no worry, no fear of not meeting everyone's expectations, just showing up to stuff the turkey and put it in the oven. With my intention to keep it simple, I must have let myself off the hook a little. I gave myself the gift of being different this year, in addition to doing things differently. Being. Doing. There is a difference.

So it seems that keeping it simple has less to do with all the variables, all the stuff that gets in the way of really enjoying the holidays, than it does with SIMPLY being present. The turkey essentially takes care of itself. Why worry? What matters most is not what we eat or how the table looks, or even how I look, but who shows up to share it. For me, keeping it simple means showing up as-is and pouring myself into the people who showed up with me. My people. My sweet little, lovable people. Now, I am even MORE excited to keep it simple!

For Mandala Monday (which is actually Tuesday, I know), I invite you to take a minute and think about the plans you've made and all the variables that those plans encompass. Now take a deep breath, and blow it all out the window. Think about your loved ones and what they care about most this holiday. It is not really what you do or how you do it, but that you are there with them. No worries. Simply show up.

Happy Thanksgiving!
xoxo

p.s. I LOVE this Zendala. I wasn't going to participate this week, but when I saw Erin's template, I knew I just had to do it anyway. I tried the tangle, fife, which was inspired by the Flower of Life and I think I might have experienced some enlightenment. Wow. More about that some other time...

Tangling: Food for My Soul

tangle used: a variation of Pixie

Mandala Monday was almost Mandala Tuesday at Heart Connected.

I had one of those days... I woke up late, which was very unfortunate because I had no time to wake up late. Fortunately, my husband took my oldest to his bus stop. But then, my two little ones and I were late getting out the door, making them late for school. I was late all day. And, there was an emotional tornado of sorts striking at my heart today, stirring lots of muck right up. It wasn't a bad day, I just felt heavyhearted. And late.

Early this evening, before dance class and Cub Scouts and kind-of in the middle of dinner, I began to tangle. With each stroke, my heart rate decreased and by the end of my Zendala, I felt brand new. I kept it simple with the tangle. It is some variation of Pixie that I concocted. It looks like a poinsettia to me. Could it be the influence of the holidays fast approaching? Maybe. One thing is for certain though, tangling is good for my soul.

For Mandala Monday, I wonder, what might be good for your soul? What could you squeeze into your day - something little that might make a huge impact on your mood or your state of mind? Could you whip up a colorful meal? Bake some cookies? Tangle. Figure it out. Then, fit it in. You deserve it.

Have a great week!
xoxo