Forty-Sixth Mandala – The Heart of Life Mandala.

Forty-Sixth Mandala – The Heart of Life Mandala.

Even when everything seems to fall apart in my head,

thoughts and emotions spinning out of control,

with no vision beyond the small restricting darkness that clouds everything,

the jewel at the heart of life always shines even if I do not see it,  feel it or remember it.

And then, sometimes even if I know that the jewel is there,

I seem unable to find my way out of the darkness.

Prisoner of my own monkey mind, I fail, I try again, I fail again and I try again… to find my way to the Heart of my Life.

“...e ti accorgi che quello che senti ha radice nel posto dei santi,

ma tradotto nei gesti dell’uomo che sbaglia ogni volta si torna perdenti.

perdersi per poi riprendersi … siamo sostanza che non puosparire. (Il posto dei santi – Negramaro)”

 

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ps. the little gem at the heart was the touch of my daughter, a small but immense contribution in my eyes.

 

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.

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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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Eighteenth Mandala – The Mandala of Shadow and Light

Eighteenth Mandala – The Mandala of Shadow and Light

I forget how dark can be.

I forget how painfully real can feel the mental suffering when destructive voices cover everything.

I forget the power of the fear and of the desire to fade, to run and hide away where nothing can touch or be touched.

I forget the guilt and the blame.

I forget the lack of understanding and compassion I can feel towards this fragility of mine that I seem to be unable to really believe and accept.

I forget how dark can be when a night like this is far away.

I forget how, in these moments, small ordinary troubles feel impossible to face.

Doubts that nobody can solve for me reappear, would the medicines I don’t want to take be the solution?  Is it silly this stubbornness of not wanting to take them and manage the problem differently? Am I actually managing it or lying to myself?

These days are like this. I know that they will pass and the sun will shine again, that I will feel again pleasure and gratitude for the many blessings in my life and I will think I am overacting, that nothing was really wrong with me, just a bit of silly sadness.

Life is made of shadows and light, sometimes the shadows appear without apparent reason because they are the production of the mind and it is difficult to understand and accept that they are real even if not true. I’m learning to sit with my shadows, talk with them and wait until they will be blown away, knowing that they will come back to leave again, wondering if anything will ever really change, but continuing to looking for a path, mine.

The light is starting to shine again, even if a bit timidly.

At the centre of the Mandala, there is a pulsating heart, tears are breaking it, hope that things can change is weakened by the shadows which surround the core trying to expand towards the centre. But the heart continues to beat and faith to exist beneath all those dark shadows.

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