July 2016: Family

July 2016 MotM

July 2016 MotM

Download the July 2016 Mandala of the Month

We are family
Get up everybody and sing!

By its simplest definition, family means “a group of people who are related to each other.” Usually we associate “related” as meaning by blood; it can also mean by marriage, adoption or by common interests/traits/characteristics.

Essentially “family” is whatever unites us, brings us together. Of late we hear more about that which divides us, isolating us, keeping us fearful and fighting with each other. It becomes our goal, our quest, then, to find the “family” in everyone, the rose that unites us…thorns and all.

So of course it becomes necessary to include, as part of this post, the ultimate family song sung by Sister Sledge, written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards which also includes some additional family insights and guidance.

Here are the lyrics to the second verse:

Living life is fun and we’ve just begun
To get our share of the world’s delights
High hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight
We don’t get depressed
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong, oh-no
This is our family Jewel

Now you’ll have this song in your head for the rest of the day to uplift and energize you…you’re welcome.:-)

Ponder this as we color this month’s mandala.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

Be sure to check out Section 7 of the 2016 Mandala of the Year.

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Posted in 2016, Asymmetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

June 2016: Friend

June 2016 MotM

June 2016 MotM

Download the June 2016 Mandala of the Month

When we think of “friend” we usually associate it in relation to someone outside of ourselves. And depending on how we feel about that someone, would determine what type of friend and how close of a friend we are to that someone. Where we may be fair-weather friends to some, we may be best of friends to others, through the good and the bad times, in all kinds of “weather”.

In looking up the word “friend” in a thesaurus, I found this fascinating list of synonyms:

confidant, colleague, acquaintance, buddy, associate, companion, roommate, partner, cousin, ally, crony, cohort, comrade, chum, sidekick, compatriot, mate, schoolmate, pal, consort, alter ego, soul mate, classmate, playmate, well-wisher, bosom buddy

This month’s mandala invites us to look at this word (and its synonyms) from an inner perspective. How much of an ally are we to ourselves? Would we treat our pals they way we treat ourselves? Are we fair-weather acquaintances or best of buddies with ourselves?

It also gives us this food for thought: until we can honestly be wholehearted friends with ourselves, we limit our capacity to be truly best of friends with anyone else.

Ponder this as we color this month’s Mandala of the Month.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

Be sure to check out Section 6 of the 2016 Mandala of the Year.

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May 2016: Forgiveness

May 2016 MotM

May 2016 MotM

Download this Month’s Mandala of the Month

Probably one of toughest challenges as humans: offering forgiveness. We tend to want to hold onto our grudges, our victimhood, and our martyrdom; wearing it like a badge as if to say “look what ______ did to me.”

We let this badge define us and our actions. While doing so we lose sight of all the joy and wonder that thrives around us, holding us back from experiencing any further growth.

While deep in the throes of our martyrdom, chances are we are the only ones suffering. Our “transgressors” are probably clueless or could care less. How many stories have we heard where person A, years later, confronted person B about person B’s transgression only to realize that person B forgot it even happened or even realized that it hurt person A in any way.

We also have this mis-conception that if we forgive someone (or ourselves) it means we’re condoning what they did. In reality what we do when we forgive is really forgiving ourselves for making a decision, more than like unconsciously, to be angry/hateful/etc about this person or situation. And with that decision, we inflicting these negative emotions upon ourselves.

In A Course in Miracles it states:

We cannot be angry at a fact

A fact is a fact is a fact. Someone does something. That’s a fact. I do something. That’s a fact. How WE react to said “something” is our responsibility, our decision. If we choose to react with anger/hatred/resentment/etc, we subject that upon ourselves, projecting that outward with our words and deeds. If we choose to react from a place of peace/love/joy/etc, we subject that upon ourselves as well, projecting that outward with our words and deeds.

In the end, forgiveness has little to do with what’s going on outside of us. It starts from the inside when we decided to change our minds about ourselves, other people, or our experiences. It can start with thoughts like these:

  • It is what it is – we can continue to play the victim card, to continue to abuse ourselves, or we can learn how to see things differently, starting with seeing things from a “just the facts, Jack” perspective.
  • They are doing the best they can – based on their life’s experiences, what they know, and what they understand. Given the same circumstances, we would do the same thing.
  • I am doing the best I can – here too, based on our life’s experiences. Can I do better? yes, of course, certainly. For right now, though, this is the best I can do. Or, back then that was the best I could do. I know differently now.

Here’s yet another way to look at forgiveness:

  • Thank you “for giving” me this opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Thank you “for giving” me this opportunity to love/like/appreciate/etc you again.
  • Thank you “for giving” me this opportunity to love/like/honor/etc myself again.

Ponder this (and cut ourselves some slack) as we color this month’s mandala.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

Be sure to download the Section 5 of the 2015 Mandala of the Year

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April 2016: Freedom

April 2016 MotM

April 2016 MotM

Download this Month’s Mandala of the Month

We are totally free to do, think, feel or be whatever we want. And with that freedom comes taking 100% responsibility for ourselves, our choices, and our actions (positive and negative).

  • We are free to eat a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting.
  • We are free to finish our latest project.
  • We are free to be indecisive.
  • We are free to be on time for meetings.
  • We are free to skip a loan payment.
  • We are free to be happy with ourselves.
  • We are free to break the law.
  • We are free to love our family and friends.
  • We are free to spend beyond our budget.
  • We are free to be true to ourselves.
  • We are free to play it safe.
  • We are free to risk it all.
  • We are free to believe negative thoughts about ourselves.
  • We are free to believe positive thoughts about ourselves.

Freedom is neutral – without judgement, without blame. The question comes down to: are we willing to accept full responsibility for the consequences of our free will actions?

Our struggle occurs when we allow ourselves to become victims of our apparent lack of freedom. “I gotta go to work. I gotta pay the bills. I gotta take care of this. I gotta take care of that. If I don’t do it who will?”

This month’s mandala reminds us that we are powerful beings, neither the victim nor the victimizers. We always have a choice.

For example, if going to work feels like a “gotta do thing”…try this process:

  • what do I want to do today? answer truthfully …go to the beach instead of work
  • am I willing to take responsibility for following through …it would mean missing an important meeting or I do have some vacation days left or this would be the fourth day this month I’ve taken off-I could lose my job or I need to find a new job
  • now the most important part: consciously choose what it is I want to do …I’m going to take a vacation day today and while doing so I plan to review my work options and figure out how best to make work a better experience for me until I can find something better OR I’m going into work today knowing that I chose to be there…I can also choose HOW I want to be there–begrudgingly, happy, content, miserable, etc.

For another example, if we struggle to be around certain people who, for whatever reason, have to be in our lives right now we can apply the same process:

  • how do I want to feel about this person? answer truthfully …I want to feel annoyed, angry, frustrated, disappointed
  • am I willing to take responsibility for following through …it would mean raising my blood pressure or me feeling miserable, agitated or me missing out on anything else going on because I’m so focused on my feelings towards that person
  • now the most important part: consciously choose how I want to feel …I’m going to remain neutral with this person (I find repeating the mantra “I choose power” silently to myself, helps) OR I’m going to knowingly choose to be angry with this person and avoid her/him at all costs OR I’m going to do some inner work to determine what my reaction to this person is all about (people mirror for us that which we fail to see within ourselves). 

When we come from this place of choice, we gain our freedom. Rather than remaining victims, we empower ourselves. We may happen to be in a very oppressive situation and yet we are still free to choose how we feel about it and how we want to react to it.

Human freedom is not a freedom from but freedom to (Viktor Frankl 1988, p.16 Man’s Search for Meaning).

Ponder this as we color this month’s mandala.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

Be sure to download/color the April section of the 2016 Mandala of the Year.

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March 2016: Flexibility

March 2016 MotM

March 2016 MotM

Download the March 2016 MotM

This rather intriguing mandala begs the question: just how flexible are we?

When we go with the norm, with that which is comfortable and known, or safe, we prevent ourselves from stretching, growing and expanding.

We also end up resisting change, any change, including that which is ultimately in our best and greatest interest. And when we resist change long enough, we end up fighting it, being dragged forward kicking and screaming. Instead of coming from a place of strength and power we end up playing the victim, woe-is-me, card.

This month’s mandala encourages us to connect with our inner power to allow ourselves to believe and know that we can handle whatever comes our way. We’re being asked to take back our personal power, to take charge of our lives, to flow and grow.

Going from victim to empowered basically comes down to three steps (repeat as necessary):

  1. Acknowledge what is
  2. Assess the situation and possible options
  3. Decide to go with the status quo or choose something different

If it helps, we can also adopt this personal mantra: “I choose power”.

Ponder this as we color this month’s mandala.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

Be sure to download this month’s section of the 2016 Mandala of the Year.

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February 2016: Fantabulous

Febuary 2016 MotM

Febuary 2016 MotM

Download the February 2016 Mandala of the Month

Going from zero to fantabulous is a process!

Sadly in our culture we believe that “if at first we don’t succeed” we’re a failure, when in fact what it really means is that we need to practice, practice, practice.

Sure, we see or know people who seem to catch on sooner than others, some almost instantly; but what does that have to do with anything. That just leads us into a very dangerous head game of comparison and self doubt.

Comparison is the thief of joy.
                     Theodore Roosevelt

Instead of a box of chocolates (as delicious as that may sound), our life experience is more like a video game:

  • we enter a new level
  • new features appear
  • there’s a learning curve
  • our skills improve
  • we gain more confidence
  • we graduate
  • repeat

Keeping up this analogy…some levels go faster than others, some challenge us more than others, and sometimes we may even skip a level. Know that we progress as if on a spiral path rather than on a straight line. So what may look like we stepped backwards is really just an advancement to the next level.

During this process we tend to forget that once we enter a new level, that previous level becomes history. In other words, once we create a new and improved self, our old behavior becomes history.

While we want to continually move forward…once in a while it serves us to look back to take note of our progress (regardless of the time factor), to see that “wow…I really am getting better at this.”

Ponder this as we color this month’s mandala.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

Be sure to download Section 2 of the 2016 Mandala of the Year

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January 2016: Flourish

January 2016 MotM

January 2016 MotM

Download January 2016 Mandala of the Month

Why just get by when we can flourish! 2016 can be our year to make that happen. What one thing needs to change in order to make that shift? Most times, and usually all, it just requires us to make one little alteration in thought.

When feeling stuck or blocked from pursuing a dream or a goal and we catch ourselves thinking “I’m too old”, or “other people do it better”, or “it’s too late for me to ____”, or “it’s going to take too long” or any number of other low vibrational thoughts, our first step towards flourishing can be simply to stop right there to say to ourselves…”so what?”

Just saying that one little phrase can change everything. It’s our way of standing up to our block to let it know who’s in charge. In honor of that huge step, do one little thing that takes maybe 5-10 minutes to do that will help move us in the direction of that dream or goal. It could be clearing off a desk, or making an appointment with ourselves in a calendar, or writing down the dream/goal in a journal or a post-it note to put by the mirror. Just do something…even if it seems silly…do it!

By definition, to flourish means to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way.” This month’s mandala invites us to go after our dream, that one thing (or more) that makes our heart sing. And at the same time allowing ourselves to move at whatever healthy or vigorous pace works best for us.

Find at least five minutes a day to do one simple forward-moving thing. Know that the Universe wants us to flourish and to help us along the way…all we need do today is take yet another step forward.

Ponder this while coloring this month’s mandala.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen,
The Mandala Lady

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Be sure to download Section 1 of the 2016 Mandala of the Year

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