An Amazing Coincidence
It was a time in my life when I was searching for a career that would fulfill me. I was doing a lot of writing at that time trying to sort out what I really wanted to do. I have been a graphic designer and artist for over 15 years. I loved the work but I also had a driving passion for personal and spiritual growth. I felt torn between art and spirit. I couldn't decide which field I wanted to pursue more.
"The circle of spirit and creation."
One day I was reading a book called "Your Life Purpose." The author stated that mandalas were a great way of seeing how balanced or out of balance your life was in all it's myriad of forms. Not having any idea what a mandala was, I looked up the word in the dictionary. The term was not in there. (I must have a crappy dictionary or maybe I was suppose to create a meaningful definition for myself.)
Not to be discouraged I got on the Internet and did a search on the word "mandala". That keyword didn't produce many results. From the few web pages I did find, a mandala appeared to be a "pretty, colorful circle." None of the pages addressed the origin of the word or what to do with it, so I dropped the subject.
A couple weeks later I was reading a different book called "The Artist's Way" and she too started talking about mandalas! I got excited and frustrated at the same time. What the heck was the significance of these mandalas?!?
For 37 years I had never heard the term and now, in a two-week period, the word had popped up in two books I just happened to be reading. I felt it must mean something if it kept being pushed into my awareness.
As in the first book, she didn't go into much explanation about the history or purpose of mandalas, but spoke of its spiritual nature and the use of them in initiating change and clarity. I still had no idea what I was suppose to do with these "pretty circles." It felt like I was being sent a message but the communication was garbled and unclear. It was as if I was receiving Morse code, but I don't know how to read Morse code! I really wanted to understand but not knowing what to do next, I dropped the subject.
The following month I attended a week-long program called "Led By Spirit". The program was about learning how to turn up the volume on our "small, still voice within," and on trusting our own inner knowing. Most of us learn early in life that the safest way to live is by trusting the opinions of others more than we trust ourselves. We become experts at acquiring approval, direction, and confirmation of our choices, by referencing those around us.
Somehow I knew the answers to my career questions would come from inside me and no other. I had hoped the program would help me to better hear my own wisdom on the subject.
On Friday morning, the last day of the program, I was sitting on the balcony of my hotel room enjoying the view of the ocean and writing in my journal. I asked myself, yet again, "What is the significance of the mandala for me?" I hypothesized several possible answers but none of them felt "right". It was time for class so I finished up my last remaining thoughts and went down stairs.
The participants were sitting a circle and getting settled in when the workshop leader pulled out a big coffee table type book and said, "today we' re going to talk about mandalas." I threw my pen up into the air both in disgust and disbelief. "NOT THIS MANDALA STUFF AGAIN!!," I said to myself. "Jeez, what is going on here?!?!" I wanted to jump right out of my chair, grab the teacher, and make her tell me the meaning of these mandalas. The instructor saw my reaction and looked at me questioningly. I waved her off and told her to continue.
I tried to focus on what she was saying but my mind was still reeling from this truly bizarre coincidence. It felt like someone was tapping me on the shoulder but every time I turned around, no one was there. The exercise we did that day with mandalas was interesting but I left the program still not knowing its significance in my life.
One sunny, quiet morning a couple of weeks later I was sitting outside enjoying the beauty of our back yard. The sun was sparkling diamonds on the water. I looked in wonder at the different shades, intensity, and textures of greens in the grass and foliage. Everything was so amazingly beautiful, intricate, complex, and varied. I felt such a deep sense of appreciate and awe for God the Artist. I started thinking about how she is one of the most amazing artists I have ever known. Then it hit me.
The mandala message is so obvious to me now I don't know how I ever missed it. For the last four years I've been trying to decide whether I wanted to continue pursuing my love for art or follow my passion for spiritual growth. They both felt like very strong desires.
The circle represents the wholeness and eternity of spirit. The painting or drawing of the circle is the act of creation (art). The mandala represents a marriage of both Art and Spirit into one. Personal growth has always been a spiritual act for me. In my mind, they are indistinguishable. Figuring out who I am is figuring out God.
My work would be Spirit expressed THROUGH Art. My art would be FOR spiritual work. I don't have to pick one career over the other, I can do both of them!. I can combine both my loves into one career! Both contained within the circle.
Since that experience I have quit my job and have been designing web sites and promotional material for organizations and people who focus on personal and spiritual growth. The perks have been enormous. I get to use my creativity in art while at the same time be involved in the process of helping people create themselves anew. AND, I get to work with people who feel as passionate about the work as I do. I've even created my own web site (this one) where I share what I have come to know. It has been absolutely wonderful.
I'm not sure how to describe how I know this is the significance of the mandala for me. All I can say is something clicked into place when the idea of combining art and spirit first came to me. Much like it feels when you find the right jigsaw puzzle piece and it snaps into place. It feels "right." It feels significant and important. It feels like clarity. It feels directional.
Thank you God for being so patient and persistent with me!
next: Choices: A Story of a Tomboy ~ back to: My Articles: Table of Contents
Staff, H. (1998, March 31). An Amazing Coincidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/creating-relationships/an-amazing-coincidence