Still mind mandala

Many current feelings… a lot of fear, tiredness… fear of so many things… personal stuff, work, every time I visit my country I worry if I will be able to come back to the USA. The frustration and all of the not good feelings are there. I don’t want it to go all over the place, but the yellow is all over too, and this is the part that is sustaining. There is a line of hope. I feel alone, but I am not alone. This tiny little thing looks very big right now but I am one of tiny little things in the universe. The outside part helps me, no matter what. 

The black dots felt still like stars in the sky but now it doesn’t feel still except the cauldron in the middle. It says confusion and burning. The purple is the somber mood of lent, but it is beautiful.  What is the black spreading out? Yellow is the intentional calling upon grace or belief. 

I allowed myself to make a mess in this watercolor piece because the rest of my life I am working so hard to order and I feel like a mess. From this mess came this beautiful organic growth, and this could be a reminder not to push too hard and let things happen naturally. I like this little dot as a reminder that I am just a tiny piece in everything.



Heart landscape

My heart is compartmentalized…lost and dry, lost in wilderness. I haven’t felt this way before.  At the same time there is hope, so many things are starting to happen, though it’s a giant stack of books that is precariously placed and would start to crash, but I do have the ability to build up.  There is a pearl of great price inside of me.  It is important to take care of myself.  My kids are just as important.  Structures surround my heart…so many possibilities, people and things holding me together even though I feel broken.   The energy is good for me and I am getting better, slowly.

Maybe on purpose mine is empty because there are so many things unknown.  Many things on my heart…I don’t have a life-long companion.  Is that over for me?  I’m taking a time out to figure things out at the center of my being.  Just being aware of what society says, which to be respected and esteemed, you should be an executive.  I like taking care of people.  I am a caretaker and homemaker at heart.  Everything feels like my first steps.  Everything feels so new to me.  I don’t know which way is up or down, what is good or bad anymore.  Sometimes I just throw things out to see how I should feel about them.

These are my children…they are always in my heart.  They remind me of the important things in life, not just myself, but others as well.  All of the people around me are in my heart- the immigrant community…whole families not knowing what to do.  They are always on my heart.  Opening a space to speak up and listen to one another and to alleviate the tension and sadness.  It is a time of resistance as well. 

I am trying to recognize my life in the light.  I remind myself of who I am in the beginning and don’t ever forget who I am- pure, compassionate.  I love to listen to people.  I love to learn.  My ability for empathy will always cause me suffering.  I like to recognize that suffering is just what makes the life come out.  The surprise and amazement about things around me, a new day, helps me appreciate each moment in my life.  This is the fight- the capitalistic, materialistic world of work, schedules, all about money versus the world of compassion with fresh air and water, nature.  How to balance this?

Remove the ashes of the world and always bring to life the beginning.  Nature is pure.  Don’t get trapped in the other world- we can easily get trapped.  I feel I am not trapped because the support system around me.  I won’t work in the same way without this support system.  God is amazing.  God’s grace sustains my life.

There is a wild and new yet familiar piece in my heart that is making me uncomfortable but there’s only this tiny bird to speak for it because I can’t put most of it into words.  There is wonder and freedom, deep darkness, and a tiger to guard it.  The tiger is guarding this new tree and flowers- new healthy growth.  This lone wolf makes me feel free but also concerned about wanting to be alone forever.



Emotional landscape

My anger is always on the outside, not connected.   When I am really angry I shut down and I don’t say anything.  My sadness easily spreads out when it comes down.  The flower and eyes open represent joy.  The yellow is shiny but it is not reaching the anger part.  Love of others is recognizing who they are as individuals, and affirming their differences.  In all feelings and emotions I am there, and I am recognizing that all of my feelings and emotions are not one color anymore.  Now I don’t hide my emotions, I let them go.  I let the emotions manifest themselves as a way to love myself, as a process.  Everything is moving.

The anger is tight and clenched.  I want to open it and let it out, and it grows when I can’t let it out.  The love for myself is just a little drop of water.  Joy is represented by my baby.  He brings me joy.  Sadness is a spikey tree with rocks coming out of it and isolated people.  The love for others is like stars, and a support for a healthy heart.  My fear is really huge, especially for my children.  I fear so much for my kids thatwont let them go anywhere.

I have discovered the joy is everywhere but I don’t always see it.  My love of others naturally is there, but my love of self is something I have to work at.  When my anger focuses inward it turns into depression and is connected to my sadness.  There is this silkworm of fear that was in a dream I had last night.  The anger sharp but the joy reaches all around.



Values box

What I value most is my heart.  The soft, central part is what keeps me alive.  How I take care of my heart is what I value- the earth, thankful for the first humans who were taking care of the earth, relationships with everyone, all people and animals, our relationship with the whole world is what I really value.  The times of my life- storms, moon, stars, dry and green lands.  I wouldn’t be able to appreciate all of it without my relationship with others.

Not having the earth around me is hard.  My new place in Houston is beautiful, but it is not the same as being on the land.  I am away from my element.  I accept that things change.  I am going to be happy because of this church.  When I wake up I’m alone.  Now I know what to do.  Its all an adventure and I’m going to find it here.

My box represents being at one with the universe…around the sides is the spiritual part, and the physical. .. the musical flow of life.  The seashell is the tangible part, the earth, trees, and physical world.  I have become more aware of the contempt for the physical world around me.  The heart is the love that I seek and that I try to give.  This string of life is tied like a clover to represent faith, hope, charity, and luck.  I am trying to put these principles to work.  These marbles are to represent how they roll and flow with life.

My box has an element of freedom.  I am starting to feel free again.  The inside has clouds representing the mystery and unknown, but also the bandages of healing wounds.  The center is the relationship with my kids.  The bright colors are because I am feeling alive again.



Container for worries

The heaviest part, the rocks, are the ideas on my head.  All in my head needs to go away.   I want my senses open, open eyes, and more alert, more intentional in order to live.  The body is not completely wrapped- to be more honest with myself.  Letting go parts that don’t let me breath and do the things I enjoy.

Talking about identity, who am I?  Am I anything more than my roles?  I want to figure out who I am.   She is bound up pretty tight, and this is how I feel- paralyzed.  She is carrying my burdens.  So many things in my life keep me very tight. 

The worries (shells) on this person keep falling off.  It’s a reminder that all of these little pieces/worries pass.  The anxious energy is only coming from my head.

If I am strong with God then I feel fine with putting up a boundary.  I also question if I am putting up the boundary because it is a necessity or because I just can’t handle the situation.

I appreciate that as we work on it, eventually our healing will come, and our vision will be wider, and will help us not come back to or village of roles, responsibilities, and lists we create in order to live.  I believe our visions will eventually help us go back home and fine ourselves in who we are, and recognize new perspectives.

Vision is so important in spite of everything.  We may be blind to so many things around us.  We may need to get out of the village that binds us and let the spirit of God inside us find a new vision.

That is the hardest part because we want to know what is going to happen and how long it will take.  We don’t want to be blind forever.

Using Bible stories to keep you in a certain place is not the Bible being used as the word of light and life; it is oppressing you.  The Bible is to bring life and light.  We are beautiful from the beginning, with an ability to create and re-create.  If the village we are in doesn’t help us to be life, light, and salt, we need to be more critical and not accept the words that destroy.  Only keep the words that build us up.

The vision is still there, and makes me feel hopeful.



Letting Go - Sand Painting

The more structure I put on the chaos of the sand, the more it would fall apart.

My fear closes my life off…these are my emotions as they spew out, a swirl of bewilderment.  The more frightened I am, the more suppression I create.  I realize that when I let go, it’s going to be like jumping off a high dive.  That moment from going from platform to free fall, I need to embrace it and experience the fear of falling.  I’m not worried about the landing, just the fall.  I’m not going to not fall.  Keeping control hasn’t worked, so maybe letting go will.

This is what it looks like while I’m working through everything as an observer and participant in a willing partnership with my grandson’s addiction struggles.

The turmoil I am embracing, the bruises, the gut wrenching not knowing…I spent a lot of time in that cloud of not knowing.  These are the bruises that are healing.  There is a pattern of how I get into this is my thinking that I am controlled by my emotions.  Put the light in my sand as the light of God.  I’m just a soul having a human experience.  What can I be open to receive?  This is the light and love of spirit, and my own wisdom and sitting with it.  Knowing when a seed gets planted, it needs to be nourished.  I feel like there’s going to be a transformation.  How they transform through myself.

I am very used to letting things go.  It’s a daily event to let go of emotion.  I learned to put my life in the center of it and reflect on what life really means.  In the midst of distractions, brokenness, and pain, I know who I am.  When I get lost I just keep looking.   Letting go of everything that doesn’t promote life is an everyday experience.  Letting go by creating space for these emotions.  By crying when I need to, fear when I need to, and letting those feelings come out.  My life is still in the center…the yellow is the life in all of the emotions.  The fear, brokenness, and uncertainty is what makes up my life.  All of what I hate is what makes up my life, and brings me back to the love of who I am.

I am letting go of pieces of relationships, scars, hurt, lost pathways and the darkness that goes with it.  I feel free again to be myself, and look for the light.



Self-awareness painting

I think of being free, no control, no constraints -- a butterfly.

I found a Buddhist meditating figure but also a juggling figure. 

I tried to wash out area surrounding the tropical plant to focus on the vibrant colors, but as I tried to work the paint it became more smeared. There is a point here, that I am limited in what I can do, and also to accept the beauty that is here.

I title this “The Crucible.” My thoughts are on the 1 year anniversary of my wife’s death. I was told I would focus more on the positive memories and less on the sickness and badness of her passing away, and this is true. I created this tree of hope where the green is. This sacred heart image is a reminder that God really cares. God transforms the sadness into awareness of his love.

Accepting beauty where it is and not trying to change it.



Healing mandala

What do I need to give up right now? So many things that I need, so I am leaving it up to God.  I need the balance.

I need energy for the cold blowing winds in my life.  All kinds of things on my mind and heart.  I want to affirm all of my feelings- sad, afraid, wonder…The energy comes out of all of these pieces in my life.  The energy will come out as I work on respecting the diversity inside of me.

What I need is love.  I need to feel it.  My feelings are evoked by music, certain songs- “wash away my shame with the rain” and “purple rain.”  Heaven is thought of in the 7 layers of the rainbow, and purple is closest to heaven.  I need this purple rain to wash down on me.

The blossoms are coming out of the cracks where my life is pieced back together.  Some pieces are missing, and there will always be missing pieces to this puzzle.  My focus needs to not be on the missing pieces, but on nurturing the blossoms growing from these cracks.



Difficult emotions

I was meditating on the “Stump of Jesse” passage.  All week I’ve been seeing this little green leaf image and I had to get it down.  I am searching for the next step.  I meditated on where the leaf may go in this image of a burnt out stump, and found it in the middle of my heart.  This did put my emotions on paper, and I am moved to an epiphany moment so now I am having more questions for ministers.

For now the waves of difficult emotions are not overwhelming me, and with this perspective I can see there are some small sprouts of growth from the most difficult part.

I am asking the Lord to help me fight this battle between the anger and ego versus the peace and victory.

Behind this fire and water image is fear…Fear of not being able to love with clarity.  Fear brings up something new…relationships we can never imagine will flourish.  The water is peaceful and the fire is creation, activity.  In spite of the fear, movement and creativity will come out of it.  The fear will help create something new.

I created an Easter/Christmas egg.  I sealed myself off in the darkness, then it fades out.  I created this shell around me as a child, and it is now limiting me as an adult.  It really handicaps me.  I am wanting to break out of the shell.  It now looks like a planet spiraling in the universe, and the Earth is within.  I am now safe in it, but I won’t grow unless I go through the darkness.  I don’t know what is past the fear.



"Happiness" wisdom

What makes you happy/ What is positive in your life? 60’s folk music sung by women musicians, touches me, but not necessarily happy, something ethereal about it…

New life…human life is the hardest life to take care of, always needs care…a baby moving and discovering…the seasons of our lives.  Our lives are rooted in the love of God.  The new life is protected, moving, and developing…the mystery that sustain us.

By using both hands I created what each hand wanted [in this image] …spirals are found in basic theology, relationships, everything…I was led to create this image by intuition and also feelings of hope and faith because I try to live there.  We really never can go back, we are always moving in a spiral.  I’m thinking this could be about my grandson and the journey we are having together…How to do this dance, but not enabling… This is very interesting and very healing.

Began with baby in the womb…Joy is also fear and pain…two colors hit each other, created a splash…the feeling of music, grounded this with faith- can not see it, but can feel it.  Jesus in the physical presence of other people…putting the unseen with the seen

Happiness with a big H and a small h:  Love of the Lord, grace of the Lord, blessings in life….not completely happy until forgiven and up in heaven with wife.

Focusing on the moment, enjoying time with my kids, happy about being able to start over, but not the how or the why.



Emotional energy

God is in control no matter who is president.

Feeling empty, not like myself. Feeling deep gratitude today and very supported in this circle.  This is what I really needed. I’m feeling bad about the feelings I shared, and this has given me peace.

Feeling love and hope in the midst of everything… running out of time, tension, these feelings fall away like the petal off of the flower. Great things will come out of everything. The hope and excitement doesn’t end, it spreads out, shines in my picture.

I painted colors of fear with the rainbow trying to perk outMakes me think of the new president, of his strategy. To see that no one is perfect, and try hard to make it better. God is the only thing we have that is perfect.

When I do have waves of anxiety, rather than acting on it, I realize it will pass like the petal will drop, and I have to ride the wave for a little bit. Then it will pass.

There is always a door that opens. God hasn’t failed me.

I started with creating an image of anxiety, but then I realized the image was actually about feeling new, fragile, and rewiring myself. There is bruising and healing in this image. The anxiety pieces are actually smaller now.




Images seem to tell me I am wanting to go and wanting to stay… feeling pulled to travel and re-center in one place, a home. Wanting to see color and art in everything.

Breathing it all in… water and grapes under all of the other pictures meaning abundant life. Crying and lamenting is life-giving as well.

These pictures represent memories, things I’ve seen or done… looking for the onder of God’s creation. I want to revisit these places that I sterilized as a child. The train is so small in the midst of the mountains… the dolphin is always moving, never resting… balloons, to relax and be at peace. The butterfly spent so much of its life as a caterpillar and in the cacoon, and only spends a short amount of time in the sun. Its life is just a moment in the sun between the darkness of eternity.

So much is strange and unknown in my collage. Trying to accept my current situation for what it is. It seems in this picture I am looking at the past but tied to the future, and hope and blessings surround me.

This image represents 3 songs:

1) “The Autumn Leaves”

The falling leaves drift by my window,
The falling leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold.

 Since you went away, the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song.
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.

2) "You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high,
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm is a golden sky,
And the sweet , silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed, and blown.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone.
You’ll never walk alone. 

3)" I’ll Walk with God” from The Student Prince

 I’ll walk with God from this day on.
His helping hand I’ll lean upon.
This is my prayer, my humble plea:
May the Lord be ever with me.

 There is no death, tho' eyes grow dim;
There is no fear when I’m near to Him.
I’ll call on Him forever,
And He'll forsake me never.

He will not fail me
As long as my faith is strong
Whatever road I may walk along.

I’ll walk with God;I’ll take His hand.
I’ll talk with God, He’ll understand.
I’ll pray to Him, each day to Him,
And He’ll hear the words that I say.

His Hand will guide my throne and rod.
And I’ll never walk alone while I walk with God!



Fragments and becoming whole

Asking who am I, who is God, who are we together? Is God present in the world? This is God’s presence in all of us. All of us together is what makes God come alive to me. 

I do feel whole on the inside. All of the pieces…frustration, wonder, joy, sadness, all emotions… good and bad, make me whole and help me bloom like a flower. Wholeness is not one emotion or sensation, it is all of them. I believe that God is in me and helps me understand that it is a part of being human. 

Trying to focus on the idea that this process of experience is a gift. Sometimes it is very hard.  Coming into your own spirituality is like a spiral experience, like the seasons. It is an evolutionary process, like a butterfly, how are lives are always in this process. It doesn’t stay in one place, and it goes beyond what we can understand.

When emotions pop up like bubbles…when I focus too much on the emotion, it is hard to step back and think things through. Can’t just focus on how I feel, but also put forth effort for changes in myself and the world.

The emotions may pop away like bubbles, but the love is stronger.

All of one’s emotions and experiences in life can be chosen as useful to grow one’s authentic self. 

Being able to identify and recognize the different fragments in myself is healing. I am discovering the different pieces as elements of creating a new wholeness.



Addressing challenges

Looking into our images of our personal Strengths, Challenges, and how to address the challenges with our strengths:

Church as main strength…I feel like I am hanging on a rope…looking at ways to go through a forest and figuring out how to make life beautiful again for our family. In the midst of this, being proactive, and letting my family members carve out their own path. It’s a delicate balance…trying to keep the bigger vision and not being caught in the little things. As a family finding a spirit of place at St. Paul’s and having much strength and support to give. Creating a new, refreshing, and everlasting life here with them.

Strengths include finding light in a dark situation…I’m always trying to help others out without giving time to myself…creating time for my kids as my top priority… Faith is the light in the world, even if not able to physically be in church. I just keep swimming through life, and life is hard…always trying to work toward solutions, but also very cautious. Trust is very important.  God is at the center of everything, and God can only help when we do our part. I need to be working on the crisis we are in… I see God as Infinity…the ring I wear with the Shakesphere words “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Keeping my very spiritual beach walk close to me, and knowing that everything will fall into place. When it is hard or tough, we are making memories. On the other side of this challenging time, we will look back and have this as a memory.

Greatest fear is retirement, finding justification for studying, being in the autumn of life, having issues going on without you. The fear is of irrelevance. The answer to it could be in technology- this is a strength of mine also. The metaphor for me is the church. All revolves around the church for me. Finding a way to be supportive of my family’s concerns. Feeling confident that this will happen. Working on being able to reinvent self and where do I fit in my own skin as well in this. 

I dream in a world that colors are a part of who we are and we welcome all kinds of days-- stormy, shiny, etc. I am concerned about connecting, concerns about stopping connections, concerns about caring for our world. Remembering I need to breath. God breathed life into us…instead of being concerned and worrying about so many things, need to stop and take that deep breath. In life I am not alone. There is so much history, so many people and emotions…and I am the only one in my life to open my door to welcome emotions, diversity, and create this vision of my life. Having the openness between strengths and concerns is what makes my vision grow…listening to what seems like differences and appreciating the beauty of life.

Discovering the landscape of my journey is changing…it is not as fearful and difficult with God, and using my strengths to address the journey.