Sunday 24th March 2019

Observations in October #3. 2018.107.

Observations in October #3. 2018.107.

Regular readers will recall I love mandalas.

I liked making patterns and designs too, but somewhere in mid 2016 mandalas caught my attention, and I was onto them. Firstly I bought a book which helped me design my first few (and I remembered geometry taught in primary school!) and then I took off.

I made a promise to myself to make 100. I exceeded it. Mandalas made by me have gone to others to use as decorations or just to enjoy. I truly love sharing them.

Our dining table, when visitors are here,  is adorned with versions made with laminating tbat have become coasters, table places and mats. My Dad has quite a few in frames at his place.

This week I did something I have been looking forward to for a while. I began teaching a class of adults about the mindfulness of colouring and using mandalas as my examples.

By the time this is posted, it will have happened. I shall report back!

Reporting back! On Tuesday 8 people joined the class and that was awesome. Each told me they came for learning, to have a new thing to do and to chat with others. It went so well they are returning next week!

What I am hoping is that you, my readers, also begin to appreciate and see mandalas where you go.

I noticed these walking down one street in Wyong on Sunday.

Three of my grandchildren were delighted to see that I had left parts of a new mandala for them to colour (using my best markers!) and they did a super job.

From The Mandala Workbook – A Creative Guide for self-exploration, balance & well-being. by Susanne F. Fincher. P1.

What Are Mandalas?

 Mandala is Sanskrit for “magic circle” and in the most basic sense, a mandala is simply a circle. Since ancient times in many cultures the mandala has had a powerful role in depicting, containing and expressing the sacred.

 Mandalas can come in many forms, from stone carvings, to domed cathedrals, ritual dances and calendar cycles.

 No matter their form, mandalas often us a profound way to examine our inner reality, to integrate that understanding with our physical selves and to feel connected to the greater universes. 

 “The circle has been universally accepted as a religious image of perfection, a shape of total symmetry, hermetically closed off from its surroundings. It is the most general shape, possessing the fewest individual features but serving at the same time as the matrix of all possible shapes” Rudolf Arnheim.

 

Mandalas are everywhere and here in each ceiling at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is one:

I see them in nature. Everywhere I look.

 

Will you look too now?

Denyse.

Joining my friend Leanne and others who link up here for Lovin’ Life each Thursday.

 

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What I Have Learned Lately. 42/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.105.

What I Have Learned Lately. 42/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.105.

With a motto of “lifelong learner” there is always something I have learned lately.

In keeping with a lighter touch this week, here’s a random group of examples.

Example 1.

That even though it is around 4 years since I last made a powerpoint presentation, I remembered, over time how to do it!

Mind you, it is yet to be shown so I hope all the bits that need to be on the USB drive work. I will be doing the “show and tell” …not death by powerpoint I hope…this Thursday at the request of my local Head and Neck Cancer Support Group.

Example 2.

Party favour toys that look like they will work….often do not…and still I buy them. Sigh. No-one could get these going. Anyone remember the line in Blazing Saddles, where Mel Brooks is trying to make one work? That.

Example 3. 

Once I had my upper teeth prosthesis screwed into the abutments, I KNEW I had to follow the cleaning routine for mouth hygiene and gum maintenance. The best recommended tool was via a Water Pik. The top of the line one. It is going very well as long as I remember to press pause on the attachment before replacing it in the cradle. When I do not do it: water spout…and mirror and me covered in water as it keeps pumping.

Example 4.

Reluctantly (at first) I became involved with the various Head and Neck Cancer groups of support because maybe I was not ready or wanted to admit to myself I belonged. Now  I am and admit it so here is a copy of the latest patient and carer support book that I will be taking to the meeting on Thursday. Note the name: The Swallows. Something related to what many head and neck cancer patients have issues with way beyond treatment: swallowing.

Example 5.

You can never say never, according to the old saying. In my case, I cannot stop being a teacher. I also cannot stop making mandalas, so I got up the courage to propose teaching a small class of adults at the local library. The red tape that is part of local government ensured this took ages…but I did not stop hoping until no-one actually enrolled.

Then I learned another lesson:

Example 5.a.

Ask a local friend, and ask her to share the word. Now, this coming Tuesday my first of 4 classes starts!

Example 6.

Never be frightened to ask for help even when you think “I am being silly”. I do not have to let you into any secrets here but sometimes, even though we think we are going well, there can be a niggle or an inkling of something awry. So, I know to ask someone who can help me and then I know I get to feel better just for lightening the load.

That is my random list.

What have you learned lately?

Denyse.

Today I link with Alicia here: for Open Slather and Kel here for Mummy Mondays. Do visit them too and link up!

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 43/52. Quick Meal Ideas. 22/10/18.

 


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Mindfulness, Mandalas & Self-Care!* 2018.97.

Mindfulness,Mandalas & Self-Care!* 2018.97.

This post will eventually make sense…please read on. If you too value self-care.

Things have been pretty serious around this blog lately so with yesterday’s light-hearted post about my last purchase. See what I did and why here, if you want a bit of a laugh at me and my laminator woes.

And as if to give me a reason to relax more was necessary I had a somewhat disconcerting couple of days where my gut rumbled and I refused to listen (as I can do) until, some IBS** (also written about a lot here and here) decided to remind me about:

*WHY I NEED TO PRACTISE BETTER SELF-CARE.

From way back I have been an achiever.

I like to do and see the reward in the finished product or event or whatever it is.

I like to plan and see things through to their end.

In other words, I DO (not the marriage one) almost all of the time and until something stops me** I keep on keeping on.

Self-care of and for me is MY responsibility and coming out of a major life event as having cancer you’d think I would have it sorted. Things like this would be taken into consideration:

  • physical ability to carry out what I am choosing to do
  • physical ability and stamina to keep going with such activities
  • knowing when to take a rest and stop for a while
  • understanding that my ageing body is not quite at all like it used to be as it has also fought cancer
  • remembering that I “am retired” and much of my day is for me to choose how to spend it

And generally I do, until I don’t and that is what happened last week**…

Yes, I am getting to the mandalas & mindfulness soon!

It was not much at first, but for a day or two, I could feel my breathing being more about “sighing” as in things were an effort. I also found myself jumping from one self-determined task to another with a view to getting them done.

 No-one else had set me any tasks but me. At times, I am loving the busy-ness and the physicality of getting out and about, making the bookmarks for The Big Hug Box, getting the shopping done, making some meals for us both and blogging responsibilities along with deciding to learn how to do hand-lettering via a couple of on-line courses.

I loved driving an hour to catch up with a friend for morning tea on Tuesday and driving to the beach on Monday to walk down many steps to the rock platform. I was BUSY. I genuinely loved doing it too.

And by Friday my gut grumbled and sent me to the loo more and more until Saturday morning when it said “ENOUGH” and let me know it with some IBS.

OH. I know why, I silently said and did not get angry but instead I got grateful. For my body’s reminder when my mind would not listen.

I stopped. I calmed me with better breathing techniques. I sat with NO iphone near me and read two papers. I rested. I coloured a magical and big mandala and then I knew what to do …MUCH more mindfully engage with what I love.

One of these is making mandalas and the other is remembering to be mindful more.

I was brought into the present moment (the only one we experience!) and sat and contemplated this design started a week or so ago and how I would colour it. I spent some magical moments here doing so and then selecting the colours to do so.

My breathing returned to normal pace, my gut is quiet, my husband is pleased I have done this of my own volition, and I am chastened by it and know that yes, I can be the saboteur of my own self-care. I sat outside admiring the pansies and was uplifted by their beauty in my mindful state.

What about you?

What do you get as a sign you need to stop and do/be differently?

Since Saturday I have a social media & iphone free hour from 12.30 to 1.30. It’s going well.

Tell me more in the comments.

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie here for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Sue and Leanne for Midlife Share The Love Link here on Wednesdays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Create A Mandala 2018.75.

How To Create A Mandala 2018.75.

For those readers who have followed me here and on Instagram for a couple of years, you will know how much  creating of mandalas has helped me become:

  • more mindful
  • gentler on myself as I create because I have learned it is about process not product
  • aware of the place of mandalas in nature, in buildings, and of course in design
  • somewhat addicted in the nicest possible way to create first and foremost, an original mandala
  • and later to colour it with paints, crayons, pencils, markers if I choose
  • observant of the patterns within mandalas

Today, on the blog, I am taking you on a creation of one mandala step by step.

Paper size: A5

This is but one mandala. I started like this and maybe you already remember doing this in school Maths lessons. I know I did!

I make them in all sizes now and they are my go-to for mindfulness creatively. I often have one or two in stages on my art desk.

I have asked my local library if they would like me to teach a class as a volunteer. They seem to be keen. Getting me trained to be a volunteer is taking time. I am so hoping this does happen and I can share what I love to do with others as it has helped me through….this cancer time and before that it settled my anxiety.

I am using a photo of me (with teeth!) to add to this post and to add to my ‘little booklet’ I have now created from the above photos.

Do let me know if you are going to give this a go. I would love to see your mandalas!

Denyse.

 

Joining with Kylie here for I Blog On Tuesdays
And with Sue and Leanne here for Mid-life Share the Love linky.

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Why I Create Daily. 2018.65.

Why I Create Daily. 2018.65.

The answer to this could be…”to keep me well” or it might be….”to keep me busy” or maybe even….”because I love it”.

I reckon all are appropriate in their own way but the last nails it.

I do love it.

At times I get a bit stuck on ‘what will I create now’ but more often than not, some reflection time spent at my desk helps.

Since 2013 when I embraced the practice of creating an “Index Card a Day” via daisyyellow.com I can rarely have a day spent without something happening for me such as:

  • creating original mandalas
  • pattern making – within defined shapes e.g. square, rectangle, free form
  • painting – freehand or colouring-in my own designs – with watercolours or gouache.
  • cutting and pasting to make cards – thank you cards, best wishes, birthdays and more
  • stamping and printing on home-made cards – to personalise them

A range I did recently.

  • using my art-journalS. Yes plural. I have two sizes on the go. I have one in my bag at all times.
  • A3 books to play and create in – there have been 2 filled since I came home from hospital just over a year ago
  • A4 to do the same – at least 3 filled since hospital last year
  • and now, A5 where I am making 100 mandalas by the end of 2018
  • many of my larger-sized patterns and mandalas are laminated or framed. Member of my family have some in their houses. Others I have made into placemats for our table.

IF I feel slightly blue, a little anxious or a lot worried..it is NOT helpful to ruminate nor over-think. I used to do this a LOT until I found the power of ….the markers, the pencils, the paper and more.

In fact, just last week when I was a wee bit concerned at the drive ahead to Sydney and then a few hours of stillness in the dental prosthetist’s chair….I sat for 15 minutes and created. Instant mindfulness and anxiety dialled down enough to face the day ahead with courage and confidence.

In the past few months where my health has improved to the point of me seeking to do more I have created these for a purpose  and I have  a proposal. This is something I will outline another time, but I have approached my local library to teach a Mindful Colouring and Mandalas class. They are keen and getting back to me soon.

Many of you know how much I enjoy my beach walks and occasionally I bring home some pebbles and shells. I love playing with their textures and shapes and have made a cairn and used them in some flower pots. I also like to decorate them. My grandkids have done this too. It is COOOOOL Grandma! And when there was some greenery around and flowers at our old house, they made a great mandala.

Lastly, and this helps me set the scene sometimes. I am fortunate enough to have made a ‘creative space of my own’. At the last house we rented I had my computer in the shared living room where it was next to my husband’s desk. My art ‘stuff’ was shared in a room where we had two bunk beds for visiting grandkids. In this house, we have not made up a grandkids room in a bedroom, preferring to leave it as storage, and…my second wardrobe.

This space, in an open plan area is where I am located now for both computer and creative activities. Luckily we have lots of portable-type storage, and some on wheels and I have adapted to this space well. It might not have a great view outside as my other one did, but it is good to have everything in one place.

My retirement and then my cancer diagnosis was very much helped by my daily creating. I no longer am concerned about product as I was. I love the process. I did make a commitment as 2018 began to “create daily” and for me this is any kind of venture where I am doing something mindfully for the fun of it.

Do you create anything?
What are your areas of creativity?

Blogging is creative that is for sure!

Denyse.

Joining Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays here.

Joining Sue and Leanne for MidLife Share The Love Linky here.

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