Squaring the Fear


Journals have been a constant companion and a safe place to write out the fear.

About a year ago, I did a 21-day Ayurvedic cleanse and kept a journal to record the experience and take notes about what I was learning. What makes my journal different than most is that I drew a mandala each day.

I’m often asked, “How do you interpret your mandalas?” Creating mandalas for insight is my favorite aspect of my mandala practice. I studied with Susanne Fincher, author of 14 books and my favorite is “The Mandala Workbook: A Creative Guide for Self-Expression, Balance, and Well-Being.”

I had the opportunity to travel down to Georgia twice for two week long intensive trainings to explore the meanings of our mandalas in a framework called, The Great Round. Here I learned about 12 stages that we all experience in life. It was a fascinating study as it gave me a new way of looking at past events and a lens to help me navigate the challenges and exciting milestones in my life.

In this study, we learn how different colors, shapes, and arrangements of these elements come together to reflect what we experience. We intentionally create mandalas to learn about the stages and the various elements.

Sometimes when I create mandalas, I consider what I’ve learned from Susanne Fincher. Pictured above, is my journal entry on day one of the cleanse where fear struck hard. I was worried about the physical symptoms that I might experience.

“Will I have energy?”
“Will I have headaches?”
“Will it be hard?”
“Will it be difficult to get my work done?”

In my panic, I wanted to create a mandala to color. Coloring is known to be relaxing and it seemed like a good way to start this journey. As for the mandala design, I chose the “Squaring the Circle” pattern where you draw a progression of circles and squares.

I find comfort in this design. The squares with their straight edges are very grounding. The circles lend a feeling of movement and softness to the design but they are not floating as they are held safely by the squares.

The squares create an element of four in this design. If you were to stand in the middle of the mandala, you’d be standing four square. This refers to knowing where you are at. On day one of my cleanse, I knew where I was at, the beginning of this 21-day journey. I had some choices to make. I had the choice of starting or backing out. I had the choice of how I was going to accept this challenge. I could dive in and play full on, or I could be less strict and perhaps, the detox symptoms wouldn’t be so harsh. I had some decisions to make.

You may be thinking, “So what happened?”

I decided to play full on. I didn’t let my fear stop me. I wanted to learn about Ayurveda and I was curious to experience this cleanse. I was faithful in following the regime. I made it the 21 days and I recorded each day in my journal.

You can see that I never colored in the first mandala.I saved the coloring for another time when fear might strike. Drawing the mandala and recording my feelings was just what I needed to acknowledge and release my fears. The squares in this mandala created a safe container to hold the fear. It also feels good to create a little beauty and order during scary times.

The last line in my journal entry says it all, “I know that I am like the flower in the center and will blossom with the right gentle care.”

Here I am a year later feeling ready to begin another Spring cleanse.

Curious to Learn More?

Visit Susanne Fincher’s Creating Mandalas website

Read The Mandala Workbook*

See Kathryn Templeton’s Big Spring Cleanse

I teach a six month Great Round course that starts each January. I’ve been thinking about offering a shorter “lighter” version that would be an introduction to learning how to interpret your mandalas. Shoot me an e-mail to let me know if this would interest you. Sign up for my newsletter to learn when this and other fascinating courses open up.

Amazon Affiliate – Kathryn Costa is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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