My fifth Sunday practice is to take the day off from my usual mandala making to reflect on the practice and whatever life has happened along the way. Indeed, life happened. Lots of it. My usual habits and routines were completely disrupted over the past three months, with May being a time of celebration and life transitions.
The month began celebrating my eldest son's graduation from college, and culminated with my own wedding. My youngest son also moved back in with me temporarily. He was settled into a good job and home in Knoxville three hours away, but a deep longing to be near family had taken hold in his heart. So, when the opportunity to take a job in my county was offered, he jumped at the chance. So, he'll be living with me for the first time since he left home nine years ago until he gets the sale of his home finalized. In the middle of all this, I celebrated Mother's Day with a wicked case of the flu that took me down for almost two weeks.
My Sunday Morning Mandala practice remained as the primary point of creative practice through this happy, albeit chaotic, period.
After a lovely week-long honeymoon in Cape May, I returned to my new husband's home in Pittsburgh for a month so that we could enjoy a true honey "moon" together before returning to my home in Nashville. I was grateful to be able to work remote so we could have this special time together. He was transferred to Pennsylvania for work after we met, but it is only temporary until he can take early retirement. All the June mandalas were created during my time with him.
By July, I was back at home and trying to reign in the chaos after such a busy May and being away for all of June. As you might imagine, I left my home in a state of disarray. Then there was the matter of changing my name, which actually takes a good bit of time and effort. I'm still sorting through it all even now. All of this while working hard to catch up on coursework for Dream Leader training, dealing with a roof leak and replacement, and getting ready for a bathroom remodel. Oh, and if that weren't enough, it has become abundantly clear that I must move my blog to another hosting service or risk losing everything I've created so far. So, I'm frantically working against the clock to get this done.
Even so, order is slowly returning. I've been able to reclaim my Saturdays as Sabbath and am learning to maintain a soft gaze towards all that is undone while I take time for rest and creativity. To that end, my eldest son helped me do some major reorganization of my basement studio space this month and we've come up with something that is working better for me. As a result, I've been able to spend some time art journaling, painting, and making SoulCollage® cards.
Looking ahead to August and beyond, it doesn't appear that life will get any less busy the remainder of the year. Much of my creative energy will be going into my final project for the Haden Dream Leader program, which is focused on combining SoulCollage® with dream work. More on that later!
If I've learned anything during this period, it is the value of a sustainable and regular creative practice. My Sunday Morning Mandala ritual has proven itself to be that for me. No matter where I am, how busy, or even sick, it is always possible to step outside, collect a few items provided by our Creator, and make an offering of gratitude for the beauty of the present moment.
It is a practice that is not only sustainable, but sustaining. For a contemplative living and working in the world, it has made all the difference.