‘Mandala’ pronounced [muhn-dl-uh] is Sanskrit for “circle” and is thought to be a visual metaphor for “never-ending life.” The circular shape of the mandala represents the earth and all that is contained within it, as well as, the universe that surrounds it. Central in Buddhist, Hindu, Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan beliefs, mandalas are objects of worship and meditation, enlightenment and fulfillment.
Mandalas embody balance and perfection, and provide a path to achieving these qualities, while encouraging acceptance and understanding of one’s inner and outer selves. The mandala is a symbol of one’s own center, providing a path for understanding oneself, accepting oneself, feeling comfortable with oneself, and completing life with oneself. The noted psychiatrist Carl Jung encouraged his patients to draw mandalas as a method for getting in touch with their thoughts, dreams and hopes, for unlocking and exploring their subconscious, as well as providing a means for creative outlet, all leading to a unification of self. They are circles of life
Many of us have watched eagle nest and owl box cameras online seeing a magnificent life journey unfold. Because of my love for owls, particularly barred owls, I have over the years monitored a few established woodland camera setups through the Cornell Lab and other destinations across the US including my home state Indiana. In nature, life circles are depicted in the passing of one generation to the next.
There is amazement in the interplay of genes instilling instincts to care for another life, parent birds carefully tiptoeing around their nest, watching over their emerging chicks from eggs, sharing parenting duties, feeding their squirming and fluffy young, instinctly knowing how to do these loving tasks for helpless nestlings, and later witnessing clumsy fledglings doing their own tiptoeing on a tenuous tree branch anxious to take flight and turn into a confident and willful soaring birds. And the next generation continues.
Artists are “next generation” too on missions of passion and purpose, to explore and navigate the world and interpret it with a brush stroke, a poetic verse, a musical note, or a dance move. We all have a quaking desire to create. We can’t help it. It is in our DNA. It IS our DNA. It is our machinery of life. It is a squirming urge to interpret everything we see, smell, and touch, to hint at silently or shout out for the world to hear. Life is full of serendipitous moments of creativity if we can un-tether our minds from rigidity. Tapping into our artistic creativity often means throwing off blinders and kicking our inner critics to the curb. Moments of clarity and inspiration clear spaces in otherwise cluttered rooms. On tenuous branches, we then share our creations with the world in the hopes that they will soar and resonate and inspire others to do the same. If you like my barred owl circle of life you can find it in my shop where multiple print sizes and surfaces are available as well as many other varieties of other owls and many beautiful birds.