Twenty-first Mandala – A daring Mandala

A daring Mandala: a glimpse beyond my usual territories, playing carelessly with new tools and bolder colours.

“Life Energy,

Beauty and Thorns,

Perfect symmetries and asymmetrical imperfections,

Through thick layers the light still softly shines for ever daring.”

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I’m working on this personal life coaching project using the Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer for guidance, as a map to navigate ab uncharted territory.

As first step I’m working with a beautifully challenging question that I’m using for reflection on my life and on the direction I will eventually decide to follow. The question is: “What I Ache For?”.

I have been playing with this question for few days, in my notes, in my mandalas and also plainly in my ordinary thinking. – I love asking myself questions more than trying to answer them. –

The first answers that came to mind are that I long for connection, intimacy with my life and the people and the world around me, for engagement and commitment, for challenges that bring me to be a positive and an active part of the community, to help others and, at the same time, sometimes I fiercely long for solitude, for anonymity and nothingness. These two opposite longings are keeping me stuck where I am and I think I need to investigate them farther, to look for the one that is real true for me before I try to get into the details of how I can translate any of them in practical day to day living.

When we start asking ourselves certain questions, it is important to continue asking, to go deeper. If we stop at the first answer, we take the risk to stay on the surface and we might never uncover the deep honest motivation that could really give us strengths and conviction to make the radical changes in our life we might need to do. In this process of deepening investigation, other beautifully simple but powerful questions can be “What else?”, “What will it gives me?”.

Recently, the suggestion to bring to my mind somebody that loves or loved me unconditionally  in a guided meditation (Heartscape- Lovingkindess – Guided Mindfulness Meditation, Series 3 – Jon Kabat-Zinn) opened up my mind to a series of questions and reflections that gave some direction to the self-investigation I was doing about my deepest longing. I started asking myself first who could be these persons and then why I found so difficult to pick somebody that I believed loves or loved me unconditionally. I used the word believed because, while, rationally, I think I have and I had people in my life that loves and loved me unconditionally , the big issue for me lies in my beliefs or lack of faith that I would be worthy of such type of love. I started wonder if this fear of being discovered not worthy of love then be at the foundation of my longing for solitude, anonymity and nothingness? If one of my longing is born out of fear, is it then an honest and true longing?

Then I started asking myself new more complicated questions like:

What would happen in my life if I dare to have faith that I can be loved, if I dare to have faith that I am loved and accepted as I am right now?

Can I let, or better, make myself be vulnerable and take the risk to deeply connect with the people in my life? To fully have faith in them knowing that our relationship will change, that I will lose them as I know them now, because life is impermanent and nothing stand still forever and change is inevitable?

Do I dare to have faith in myself to be courageous and open my heart and my life to joy and the suffering that will come from losing someday who I fully allowed in my heart and life?

And if I don’t take the risk of being fully committed and have faith, knowing that it is a risk that will eventually become a reality, does all the work I’m doing on myself to be a better me like coaching, meditation, drawing, writing make any sense? Or would all just become another more colourful and complicated attempt to numb, distract and to not feel?

If I don’t choose the path of courage, vulnerability and the pain that will come with them, what hope do I have that meditation can heal my deepest subtle anxieties and the depression that always shows up eventually? What hope do I have to experience and know real happiness?

And finally, does living a half-life controlled by fear and anxiety really protect me from suffering? Or would it only mean that I choose suffering without experiencing real deep positive emotions because it is impossible to lose something you never had from the start?

It is very uncomfortable and emotional experience to question one’s deepest beliefs and convictions. I started to experience lots of resistance from the part of me that is very comfortable within the familiarity of my old but tight and thick walls, even if these walls are causing me incredible suffering at times. Doubts are strong. I started to experience emotional turmoil, because nobody can tell me for sure what are the right decisions or directions, because it is an unchartered path and there are no instructions or certainties and because nobody can reassure me that is not my anxiety or my “tricky” mind talking and bringing me towards a breakdown instead of a meaningful path.

I am continuing my exploration, once we start certain adventures there is now way back, we can only continue to create our life with each single efforts, which is our most creative actions because nobody else can understand, live it or shape our life for us. I found this quote some time ago and I find it very inspiring: “I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.” – Muriel Strode

The Invitation Mandala is in the early phase, there is still so much to uncover.

The Invitation - Mandala

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The Invitation Mandala: a self-coaching journey – First Session.

This is the start of a journey, my first step in a self-coaching journey. I will use for map to navigate the unknown sea a book called “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (http://oriahmountaindreamer.com/). Each paragraph of the poem in the book inspired questions that I will use to reflect and to move forward in this journey while completing a Mandala about it.
My goal is unclear, my purpose is blurred and the frustration and discontent of the last months, possibly years, find their roots in the unmet needs, wants and desires that have not found yet a clear description, which had no voice for too long, in a Life purpose that have not definition at the conscious level but it is very much alive and restless at the subconscious level.
Any journey that hopes to have some degree of success and to reach a safe harbour somewhere needs to start from making an inventory of what you need to bring in the journey, what support you need to have and most importantly from where you will depart. For this reason, my first step was to draw my personal Wheel of Life and identify the aspects of my life that I believe are important to me right now, not what I think they should be or what I would like them to be, or what I think others would think appropriate, but what they are for me in the present moment. Once I choose my headings, the next step was to reflect on them and score my level of satisfaction for each of them and to link the dots. The final steps were to take a step back and look at the “Wheel” that emerge and reflect on the picture of my life that resulted, the bumps and the deep dives.
Once I have clear my starting point, before to clarify my goal, I need to clarify what is that I profoundly long for, “I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.” (From the Invitation). This is the first question I will reflect on. I will sit with the question without rushing into answering, letting the message sink in deeply. And as suggested in the book, I will then play writing sentence that start with: I need…, I want and I desire.
In few words, for this first coaching session, I will use the Wheel of Life to assess the here and now, my starting point, then I will reflect on my values and then I will work on identifying my needs, wants and desires so that I hope I can start delimiting my goal.
At the end of this Journey I hope to have completed a Mandala that I’m naming the Invitation Mandala, where the most external circle represents the first questions I wish to work on: What do I ache for? What is my heart’s desire?

The Wheel of Life
The Invitation Mandala- the first stage.

Twentieth Mandala – A Windflower Mandala

Twentieth Mandala – A Windflower Mandala

There is a flower in my heart.

I think is a fragile little thing that cannot weather the most severe seasons of Life, but I’m wrong.

It only appears fragile but it demonstrated me over and over, if I look carefully, that can blossom everywhere, that can spread softly and silently its beautiful scent in the wind multiplying its colours and odours until the darkest corner of my being is illuminated for short but essential instants.

It still blossoms in a soul that has become as arid as a desert because left without the water of attention and love for long, too long.

It bends sometimes when caught in the eye of the storm of its own fears and doubts but continues to live on even if a bit bruised and less certain.

It dies sometimes, or at least so it looks, but it renews itself again and again.

It is the flower of Faith. Faith in Life. Faith that there is a Life purpose that justifies everything. Faith that this, regardless of the many wrong turns and time wasted, is a path that leads somewhere, that my destination is a mystery worth of the tears, confusion, frustrations and efforts of a journey of discovery. Faith that I have all that I need inside me already. The ultimate faith that I am never completely alone because I am not really separated from everything and everybody else but we all participate together to the creation of the glorious and heart-breaking mystery of Life.

 

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Nineteenth Mandala – Mandala of A Dream

Nineteenth Mandala – Mandala of A Dream

After another sleepless night during my last episode of depression, one morning I woke up from a brief unsatisfactory sleep with the vivid memory of a quite different dream. I tried to grab its images that were quickly fading away from my memory because I felt that that dream was important, and I wanted to remember it in some way and so I translated what I remembered of that special dream into a Mandala.

I dreamed of a little boat in a stormy sea, a boat that had left a safe harbour to face dark immense and terrifying waves. A person is on the boat, in my dream, I fear for that person, I worry that she or he, I cannot see clearly who is, will become lost in that unfriendly sea. For a while, it feels like everything is lost for the person in the boat. Then, suddenly, everything becomes calm, the darkness disappear replaced by an explosion of vivid and shiny colours in multiple tones of blues, greens and silver and right in the middle of the sea sitting on a rock there is an ethereal glowing creature, maybe she is an angel or a siren. The person in the boat dissolves into the warm and peaceful embrace of the creature, her or his heart becomes part of that still universe and starts beating the same single heartbeat. At the end, there is space only for a profound peace that comes from having faced the darkest hour and navigated the stormy sea to reach a safe harbour.

 

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