Twenty-fourth Mandala – Angles and smooth curves: A Mandala of Life. 

Twenty-fourth Mandala –  Angles and smooth curves: A Mandala of Life. 

Angles and smooth curves;

Confident and shaky lines;

Darkness and lightness;

Full and empty spaces;

Finding sense in the uncertainties.

Bringing the light of understanding to lose it and find it again.

Finding what matters, forgetting it and remembering it to forget and to remember again.

Learning to focus, becoming distracted to focus again.

It is an expanding circle, it is a deepening circle.

The energy moves from outside to inside and from inside to the outside.

At the centre, silence that is full of meaning,

Emptiness that is fullness,

My own Truth.

Mandala - 24Life is made of smooth straight lines and sudden narrow and dangerous curves hidden away in beautiful scented pines forests that allure me with a false sense of familiarity to become hard trails with not clear direction.  Sometimes the arrival is clear in front of me for few precious instants but then suddenly I wonder if that sense of clarity was just an hallucination, what is truth?

Sometimes I waste too much time lost in activities that were never in my list of priorities because I let old disruptive habits and misplaced sense of duty clouding my ability to see all the different choices I have in front of me and see all the choices I take without mindlessly. to stop and ask myself the important question about what is the most important thing right now and right here?

Re-gaining focus and a sense of direction after these detours is hard, it requires time, discipline, patience and faith that even if the goal is not visible or the purpose of these efforts is elusive they both will eventually become clear and defined.

Life feels like a journey, quite convoluted and blurred at times and clear and easier others, like a continuous movements between remembering what is important and forgetting it to remember it again which will eventually converge towards my core own truth.

21/07/2016

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My self-coaching journey – second session

Almost a month ago I started this self-coaching journey, I am in a phase of my life where I feel I need to re-valuate and re-consider the direction I’ve been taking with my life and this type of journey is far from being easy or straightforward and these first steps are taking longer than I expected  landing me temporarily in an even more confused situation than before without a clear sense of my direction and with doubts appearing along the way about what I am doing and its relevance for my ultimate goal of living a meaningful and happier life.

The possible self-coaching process I envisioned for this personal journey was going to go through an ideal set of steps: during the first session, I was going to assess my current situation “my here and now” using the “Wheel of Life” with the underlying vague sense of my ultimate goal as a compass for the process during this preliminary phase, then in time for my second self-coaching session I planned to have investigated the values, beliefs and aspirations (needs, wants and wishes) which are the foundations, the borders and the background of my life and for my goal. By the third session, possibly by the end of the second month of this journey,  I thought I would have defined an action plan, following the clarification of my Goal possibly using a SMART approach during the second session, which would have implied an in-depth revision of the Specific goal (who would have been involved, what I wanted to accomplish, where it would have taken place, why I was doing it, what would have been the constraints/requirements that needed to be considered), the necessary Measures of my progress and ultimately my success, its practical Achievability and its Relevance or its being Realistic  in relation to my needs and my personal situation, the Timeframe within which I could have realistically achieved my goal. Along the way, I thought I would take time to assess my level of success to make adjustments where necessary and, if necessary, considered some support systems to use in the moments of doubts or difficulties that I could have used also after the coaching process was completed. I also expected that I needed to do lot of work in between session to be able to progress to the next stage.

In reality, I reached my second session without having fully completed the homework I had give myself and with still quite  a confused picture so not ready to work on the specific aspects of my Goal.  This does not mean that the self-coaching process is or would not be effective, but it only highlight a need for continuous adjustments to fit the reality of life. I believe that this process is effective because it provides practical tools and directions instead of generic guidelines or principles, but that is also effective only as long as I trust the process and myself, I am fully honest with myself about what I want to achieve and the commitments I can realistically make and I am really engaged.  In fact, I believe that the effectiveness of any process to change my life will depend on me, not on my coaches, therapists, mentors or even doctors, because there is not perfect solution that can fit everybody’s life and condition and nobody else other than me can have the solutions for my life or hold the Truth about my own life.

This  self-coaching process is far from being  an easy quick fix  and at time, it can even feel awkward, confusing and hard because it might make us face situations that needs healing. I see  any coaching process as a healing process, because I believe that if we feel that we need to change something in our life it is because something in our life is not in harmony with our deeper self needs and values. On the surface, it might look like that we “simply” feel stuck, mildly dissatisfied or demotivated at work or in our personal life but these feelings very often are the symptoms that something deeper is not ok for us and needs to be brought out in the light and healed.

During the last weeks I have been working on my values along with the beliefs that are holding me back from living the life I desire, investigating what is missing from my life, what I need, what I want and what I desire and especially the false desires, wants and wishes that do not really belong to me but to convictions and ideas I inherited and made mine but only on the surface from my family, my education, the society. I started questioning the nature of the subtle fear that clouds and have clouded many of my choices and prevented me from taking the risk to live the life I desire. This investigation is not a one time reflection, I sat several times reflecting on all this, but more importantly I left my heart and mind open to reflect on this anytime that something inspired me some further, deeper reflections. I sat for sometime with all the questions that emerged as a result of these reflections without even trying to answer them for a while, but simply making them to myself and let them lead my thoughts to possible new avenues that I had not even know before. It is a long process and it is far from being completed, I will continue for a little while longer to work on this investigation before I proceed to the next phase of this journey, but during this period, I realised some important things for me:

– That there is no magic or simple solution for me in the near future, but I don’t need to despair because it is ok to take the time I need, because nothing of what I’ve been learning and did in the past is either wasted or useless but it is what has brought me here to this point of my life and even if some of the practice I’m doing might feel ineffective or confuse me, everything will become clear eventually, when the time is correct.

– That this is a life journey, that happiness needs our constant presence and awareness about who we are, where we are going and what we want so that  we are ready for the changes that happens all the time in life;

– That I need to take the time to re-learn about my priorities, what is really important for me and the reasons behind my choices and even challenge some perceptions I have about myself and my level of unhappiness;

– That even though the big solution is not possible in the next months there are actions and projects I can put in place that not only can bring me closer to my big goal but can also make the present life happier and more fulfilling, because while being able to have project for the future is fundamental, living our best possible present with what we have right now is as fundamental and might be the only thing we have.;

– That is ok to take it slow and enjoy the life and the world around me while I move forward, that I don’t need to rush anywhere or into anything because in reality nothing counts more than this moment I’m living now so I need to trust that whatever the next moment will bring while I cannot control it I can manage it as I did in the past;

– That if I before doing something I ask myself the question “what would I do in this situation if others’ opinion did not exist”, I can in those moments maybe behave differently and more freely from what I did in the past, letting the fear of others’ opinion cloud my ability to choose the best path for myself and stopping me from enjoying simple pleasures.

So my next step is to continue to work on the big picture, keeping my mind and heart open to the inspiration that can emerge from my life and the practices that are now part of my life:

– Meditating and journaling almost daily to manage my feelings and thoughts

– Drawing mandalas and continue to publish one drawing and a post at least once a week,

– Have a weekly virtual meeting with myself to assess my progress and define possible action to continue to move forward.

– Have another self-coaching session in a month time.

While this might look like a big list, in reality it requires approximately less than one hour a day for the daily task and possibly another hour a day to complete the other weekly tasks and  that is a realistic commitment for the next month.

Twenty-third Mandala – Getting un-stuck.

Twenty-third Mandala – Getting un-stuck.

This mandala and this post were difficult because I didn’t feel I had something to say or that I was particularly inspired while drawing, so I was a stuck in a place of self-judgement, then I decided that I had to let go of my self-consciousness, of my need to be taken seriously and not laugh at, that I had to take the risk to look like a “fool”, of not being understood, of looking like an imperfect average person that can write with incorrect grammar confused thoughts and stories, can draw skewed lines and average, not-inspiring even ugly Mandalas.

Sometimes I feel I have something to say, sometimes I feel like what I draw is beautiful, other times I feel stuck with not inspiration but I continue doing it, because there is always some lights that can shines brightly through an average non-inspiring drawing or posts, because if I only write or draw something when I think I am inspired or I can do something good I might end up questioning all the times what I do and I will eventually let the fear of what others might think of what I do dictate my choices and erase all the enjoyment I feel while writing or drawing.

In the middle of lots of average moments, writings and drawing a light can start shine anytime, and I cannot know if and when this will happen, for this reason, I will keep going and I will continue to fight against my natural tendency to compare what I do with others and to judge myself and my efforts and just do what I wish to do, write or draw for the sake of doing them, for the pleasure they give me, and why not for this week just to get un-stuck.

Twenty-second Mandala – A black and White Mandala

Twenty-second Mandala – A black and White Mandala

 

Black and white demands courage and a certain degree of self-confidence.

It demands trust in my still beginner’s ability to draw confident lines, to connect the dots without too much arrogance or too timidly with control and concentration.

It demands trust that I can choose the right lines, to draw the right shapes that combined together create a harmonious picture, that I can create the right balance of blackness and whiteness that the picture does not feel empty, but that I can stop in time with the marker that the shapes are not lost in a single black circle.

It demands trust that I can use the right line, the right depth, because not all mistakes and uncertainties can be easily covered by a change of design or direction or by a simple eraser.

Black and white demands courage to let myself go with the flow and trust my intuition and my shaky and beginner hand to find the right balance, trust my awareness to recognise the right time to stop or to continue with my marker.

After few months of this Mandala project, I realise that my lines are now more confident, the patterns are becoming in some way richer and as it happens with other creative activities, the more I practice them the more ideas and image come to me of what I could do.

A creative process requires the courage to be in front of an empty page and believe that I can create something to fill that the page with words or lines, to be in front of a handful of small crystals and trust that I can create a harmonious combination with all those small separate parts and in this way give life to something that was not there before not even in my own mind.

Like with this Mandala, very rarely I know where I’m heading when I start drawing and  even when I have a preliminary idea the final picture is always a surprise full of ideas to reflect on.

Mandala - 22 - A Black and White Mandala

What I am learning thanks to this project but also from various courses I’ve been attending in life coaching, mindfulness and Buddhism is that as I can cultivate my awareness and my lovingkindness, I can cultivate my Faith and my Creativity and therefore that some limits that I believed as given and impossible for me to surpass in reality they can be surpassed with practice and an open-mind. That, yes that there is lots of people that is born with very special talents above everybody else, but even if I was not born with any special talent or passion, I can still choose to cultivate my own set of gifts and regardless if I can become at any stage a recognised writers or artist or earn any sort of income from my efforts, continuing to cultivate these gifts has a worth in itself completely separated from any utilitarianism concept, it is part of my path and it has nothing to do with gaining any success but  with my realisation of my potential as a person. For this reason, I will keep drawing these mandalas regardless if anybody else likes them or if they look like a mediocre attempt of a beginner, I will keep writing my thoughts regardless if anybody likes or shares them or if they are grammatically incorrect or sound silly, because these practices are feeding a need inside me for creating something and they are my way in this phase of my life to embrace my vulnerability and to risk “looking like a fool for the adventure of being alive”,

 

“I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.” (From the Invitation of Oriah Mountain Dreamer)