Like Carl Jung, who famously documented his inner world with a series of mandalas, I have taken to drawing a daily mini mandala as a means of staying connected to myself and to express some of those emotions that can take up a lot of energy if not acknowledged and released.
The beauty of these pint sized circles is that they take only ten minutes – perfect if you are struggling with low energy, have limited materials, are feeling creatively blocked or are time poor. At the start of the week I will trace 7 circles into my visual journal so that the form is there to remind me each day...”fill me with your story”.
It’s surprising to see the variety of emotions and energy from day to day. This can help us to not get overly identified with one state, be it depression or anxiety, excitement or calm. If acknowledged and allowed to be, uncomfortable emotions will eventually release to be replaced with something else.
Interestingly, art making can sometimes reveal bodily states that we are not yet conscious of.
For example in mandala 5 I was experiencing severe abdominal pain. I drew convoluted red intestines and noticed that a black dot appeared on one of them. I hadn’t put it there intentionally (it had leaked through the page from my previous mandala) but there was something compelling and slightly discomfiting about it. I wanted to erase it, but found that I couldn’t. It needed to be present in the image. Three days later I was in hospital with appendicitis. The scans they took of my abdomen revealed a black enlarged spot–my swollen appendix.