My response to the November terror attacks in Paris was to create an altar for healing, featuring “Accepting Grace”, “Always Love”, “Compassion Mandala” (standing) and “Transformation” (flat).
I posted it on Facebook, writing that we must not respond to fear and hate with fear and hate, but rather, love is the key. So the intention for the mandala was born.
It began simply enough, four hearts overlapping, joining in a spiral in the very center, the overlapping areas creating somewhat of a keyhole shape.
More hearts, eight in green, surround the center, four in purple border the larger heart shapes and twenty more green hearts complete the central portion of the mandala.
The message I received was written in the mandala journal…”We must all work to accept and integrate the marginalized and radicalized parts of ourselves (with love!) It is being reflected by the world that this work is vital! To attempt to destroy or further banish and exile these fragments will lead to more pain and destruction.”
This speaks to me as I know there are aspects of myself I seek to avoid, the jealous, angry, fearful, stingy, shameful, lazy and generally unattractive elements that I like to pretend are not part of the otherwise loving, kind, generous, charming, intelligent person I like to think I am.
I have noticed my tendency to seek diversion as quickly as possible when the difficult thoughts and feelings arise. This is further exacerbated by the “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative” philosophy that is generally touted as most likely to produce happiness. The trouble is, that is simply not the truth.
I am not recommending a long-term wallowing in the quagmire of suffering or dark thoughts, but rather, instead of rushing away from whatever difficulty is arising, practice turning to face it, allow the feeling to be present in the body, (as challenging as it might be), release the judgment and story around it, and allow it to move on its own, which really happens rather quickly, once it is acknowledged and accepted.
To reject what I am (honestly) feeling, and judge it as bad or wrong, creates more conflict and division within. It seems crystal clear to me that this method is not bringing about the desired results, within me, or in the world. Acknowledgment of the truth, with compassion, has far greater power for positive change.
I added Sacred Hearts, with wings, and butterflies that have hearts in them, that are actually made up of hearts themselves. There are in excess of eighty hearts in the piece. The keys, twelve in number, were added last as you can see.
Quoting John Newton now, “May we all love and bless each other, love and bless ourselves…be at peace with each other and at peace with ourselves.”
“Love is the Key”.