#mandalamonday is better late than never. Gratitude for a weekend away, nestled next to a tiny lake with a few of the best people I know. Gratitude for a weekend without cell service and time to be absolutely present. Gratitude for a magical evening where trees danced, auras glowed brightly, and nothing but love was expressed and sent into the Universe. I’ve never seen the world and life more clearly. xo.
A lot of people have recently asked me about the flower mandalas I post on Instagram (and sometimes Tumblr) every week and what they’re all about. In short, I create them as a weekly practice for expressing gratitude for everything happening in the present. But there’s actually a lot more behind what keeps me at it every Monday.
Life moves quickly and it’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity and routine of it all, or to even just forget to be still and let yourself BE. So I have begun using mandalas as a way to consciously express gratitude for it all—the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the tragic, the joy, the quiet, the storms, anything and everything that comes to mind while I let myself just be in the present.
I express gratitude for mistakes I’ve made because of the lessons they help me learn.
I express gratitude for people in my life who challenge me in sometimes hurtful ways because it teaches me forgiveness and builds integrity.
I express gratitude for days that just don’t go right because it forces me to be in the flow of it all and, for me, that is an important place to be.
I express gratitude for traffic jams because it provides a lesson of patience and letting go of control.
I express gratitude for little things like the sun warming my skin and for a breeze that fills my lungs because living on Earth is a blessing most of us take for granted.
I express gratitude for very significant things like loved ones who bring a constant positive light into my life on a daily basis because, goddamn, I’m just so blessed to have them.
The more gratitude we express on a daily basis, the more joy and optimism will come into our lives. I’ve noticed that when I consciously express gratitude for situations or people that would have typically created a gray cloud in my life before, that I am now able to see and accept how temporary it all really is. I can be more open to accepting the lesson that the moment is providing and then be grateful for the heart of the matter and for the process of it all.
We must learn to follow the flow of life and to be grateful for it all because none of it is going to change. The only things that CAN change are our thoughts and our approach. Mandalas help keep me presently aware that life is consistently beautiful, even during trying times. Creating them has changed my life in ways I never expected and has given me an all around brighter and more proactive outlook during my day-to-day.
I love sharing them with this little community here because the internet can be very saturated with hate, negativity, jealously, bullying, and other unnecessary bullshit, and it feels good to put something beautiful and positive out into it all.
Eat food from farmers markets.
Drink good tea each morning.
Read books that make you feel.
Paint, even if you’re awful.
Write, even when you have nothing to say.
Sit in the fresh air outside.
Go on hikes.
Swim in lakes and wade in streams.
Sleep as long as you need.
Work hard at what you love.
Work hard at what you hate.
Love unconditionally and wholeheartedly.
There must be something innate about maps, about this one specific way of picturing our world and our relation to it, that charms us, calls to us, won’t let us look anywhere else in the room if there’s a map on the wall.
Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin.
Very easily my future. Once I build up the courage to actually learn how to surf.
Somebody loves you if they don’t mind the quiet. They don’t mind running errands with you or cleaning your apartment while blasting some annoying music. There’s no pressure, no need to fill the silences. You know how with some of your friends there needs to be some sort of activity for you to hang out? You don’t feel comfortable just shooting the shit and watching bad reality TV with them. You need something that will keep the both of you busy to ensure there won’t be a void. That’s not love. That’s “Hey babe! I like you okay. Do you wanna grab lunch? I think we have enough to talk about to fill two hours!” It’s a damn dream when you find someone you can do nothing with. Whether you’re skydiving together or sitting at home and doing different things, it’s always comfortable. That is fucking love.
Honest to goodness gratitude for all the turmoil I felt today because it keeps me present and provides realistic expectations. But mostly gratitude for my mama (@sandisueparker) for finding me a place to have a couple glasses of wine right next to the Puget Sound and for giving me sound advice, and above all else, believing in my crazy dreams. In no way did today go the way I planned but I have infinite gratitude for how it went and the lessons it provided. #mandalamonday