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— all mandalas (c) Cat Charissage, 2016

Hello dear Friend,

I’ve been finding that I need silence more than ever these days.  I feel anxious and frazzled, and in mourning for the sufferings in the world.  I’m dismayed at the new level of permission granted in our culture for persons to be insulting and hateful, especially in the media, but also apparent on the streets and in stores.  While I’m mostly shielded from it due to privilege of my birth, race, and location as well as by my primarily home-based life, my heart just aches at the incivility of our civilisation.

Besides becoming and living the change I wish to see in the world, I’m always discerning what it is that I can do, or not do, to mend the world within my reach.  And right now, it’s to not do.  I sit, settle, meditate, and find the calm center out of which I wish to live.

Drawing and coloring mandalas facilitates finding that calm center.  I almost always start at the center and move outwards — the way I want to live my life.

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I find that it almost doesn’t matter how I arrange the different motifs or symbols; as long as it remains balanced it ends up being beautiful in its own way.  Just like my days.

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While black and white ones jotted in my “to-do and maybe-do” notebook are simpler and quicker to create than the larger colored ones, they too are worth doing.  Just like the simple actions of being calm in my interactions, or smiling at the clerks and secretaries in my rounds of errands —- worth doing.

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Sometimes the day, and the mandala, calls for planning and careful attention to exactness and detail.

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Other days, and mandalas, are filled with whatever life gifts — or challenges — me with.

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Have you ever played with mandalas?  Do you color in the new coloring books for grown-ups?  How do you find centeredness in your life in this world, now?

May this darkest time of the year (in my northern hemisphere) remind us that darkness can be either frightening or mysterious, dangerous or fertile.  May we discern well, and may we respond to it all with centeredness and compassion.  And always, to bring what beauty we can into the world.  Happy Solstice to you all, dear ones.

With much love,

Cat

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