It has been a long year of reflection and working out the details of living with my wife Megan (Yay!!!). Time to get back on track and update the continuing work of Intention Generator.
I had the pleasure of designing an art activity for the monthly Second Sunday at the Hyde Park Art Center in January. Generally, you are encouraged to do something simple and easy to manage and clean up. My workshop was making Sand Mandalas. The basics were simple, brush or draw out some glue, cover with colored sand, carefully put sand back into it’s own container to not contaminate the colors, and enjoy your beautiful design. The fact that most of the participants were children made the resulting work and relatively easy clean up a pleasant surprise. Perhaps there is a kind of magic to mandala work…..
Using sand made it easier to encourage the kids (and parents) to work from the center out and give some thought to the colors before they started. The word mandala is sanskrit for circle and can mean both the shape and the concept of a whole and complete system. Most cultures use mandala, or circular designs, in artwork, spiritual and healing rituals, and community layouts. It is a mirror of a natural layout. Flowers, atoms, our solar system, galaxy, our universal understanding of where we exist in space all follow a circular pattern.
The American cultural view doesn’t place much emphasis on a circular view, seeing how you fit into a community, support and are supported by others. We are linear minded, with lens of constant progression. How do I build more, expand more, make more, feeling that moving up is the only valid way. But there are so many of us that make up the base for the few to reach really high success that doing a practice where you a paying close attention to how the full system complements and completes each individual part is really valuable. Not to mention that its just pretty cool too. Who doesn’t love delicately arranged patterns? And bright pink sand?!!? It really doesn’t get any better.