mandala stories, mandalas, musings

Mandala Story: 14 Ways of Grieving

The holidays can be particularly tough, especially if are missing someone special in your life.

My heart strings were pulled this week when I received the following e-mail:

Dear Kathryn,

I know you are aware that I have struggled this year with the death of a beloved friend and that I have used mandalas as a way to express and deal with my grief.  But, I have not been able to write about it.  Until after the heart chakra workshop.  I realized that writing was what I needed to do.  So, I have combined  some poetry with mandalas I created in the last year.  I wanted to share this with you as a way of thanking you for showing me this way.

She asked to be remained anonymous, but gave me permission to share her mandala story with you.

14 Ways of Grieving

If the wounds let in the light, 
Then I am a flaming beacon.

Turning back
at the last minute,
to hug you again.
If I had known this was the end,
I would have held you longer.

At the Funeral
Softly, in your cold ear,
I whisper
The words you would not hear in life:
“I love you,”
wishing I had said them every day.

At Church
In the last pew,
hiding tears behind my hands,
no communion soothes my grief.

At the Symphony
Soaring music
does not fill
the empty seat beside me.

At the Ballet
In the brilliant light,
dancers float across the stage.
In the darkened balcony,
I cannot see them through my tears.

Art Heals the Soul
Can the blooming
of a hundred mandalas
that I am not the one who died?

On the street
I fold one hand
against the other,
remembering your hand
helping me over difficult crossings.

Truly, I want to rejoice in your translation,
But my hallelujah is broken by my sobs.

Photo Album
For all the happy memories,
Gratitude —
and tears that you have
travelled on without me.

Even though you fell a little short of 70,
I celebrate you anyway,
every blessed minute I shared with you.
Is there birthday cake in heaven?

At the Train Station
As the train pulls in to the familiar place,
no beloved face waits.

I have gone across the world,
to hear Grief speak your name
in every language.

She says you love me
from the Great Beyond.
Perhaps she says that to everyone.
I want to believe her.

Here are some questions that I’ve received over the years.

“Does the process of creating a mandala help you with your life issues?”
“What is a mandala story?”
“How can creating mandalas be a spiritual practice?”
“How could a mandala practice help me?”

I think this post certainly answers all of those questions, but if you are looking for more guidance consider these offers.

Get instant access to the Heart Chakra Workshop that includes a beautiful Soul Journey guided meditation that you can download and listen to any time you are feeling heavy hearted. This workshop takes a creative approach to working with the heart chakra and includes a beautiful envelope that you get in the mail. Learn More

Want to explore your mandala stories? The Great Round online course is a 12-part series that explores the meanings of our mandalas. It is a rich study of the meaning in colors and symbols that touches on various aspects of our lives from celebrating a milestone to navigating life’s challenges. Next session begins on February 1, 2019. Enrollment will be opening soon. Subscribe to my newsletter to stay informed.

Do you have a mandala story to share? I’d love to feature it. Email me at Your story may be focused on a single mandala or a series like the one in this post. You’ll get full credit for your story with links to your website or if you prefer, you can remain anonymous. 500 words or less. All submissions considered for publication as my schedule allows. I look forward to hearing from you!

May you all find peace this season in your mandala practice and other creative pursuits.

{soul hugs}


3 thoughts on “Mandala Story: 14 Ways of Grieving”

  1. Thank you for this beautiful sharing. I wish I had thought to do something like this when my dear friend passed 4 1/2 years ago. I miss her always.

  2. I have been drawing many of similar designs….Lots and lots of them…
    I lost my wonderful hubby of 42 years in May 2019….I love to do artwork anyway….but this is easy and looks so detailed when I’m done…It takes up lots of time and I don’t cry when I’m doing it because I’m only thinking of the design at the time..
    I thought I was going crazy doing these designs so much…
    They all have the same pattern but all look different ….
    Thank you…now I know I’m not alone
    Drawing these…
    I miss my best friend terribly but this therapy has helped…❤️

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