2013: Section 9

Section 9, 2013 Mandala of the yearDownload 2013: Section 9

For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 9  focuses on “religion”  from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

Where do we even begin with this category. Actually the idea of “religion” is quite neutral and simple: the service and worship of God (or name of your choosing). It’s we humans who have given it all its power both negatively and positively.

For each of us our childhood experiences with religion can vary anywhere from having little exposure, if any, to the other end of the spectrum where it was all encompassing to the point of being controlling, obsessive, oppressive, and/or excessive…even to the point of causing harm to others in the name of religion and/or God.

As adults our attitudes towards/against religion are mainly based on said childhood experiences. Some of us tend to change our minds as we enter adulthood and start to question our faith or lack thereof. Some may even question if God really exists. While others go on spiritual quests to find the meaning of their existence on earth. And still others are so confident in their faith/religion that they find peace and comfort in the religion of their childhood.

As you ponder (and color) this month’s section of the 2013 Mandala of the Year, consider your answers to some, or all, of these questions:

  • Did you grow up in a religious household?
  • If yes, what role did it play in your everyday life? How did it help? What, if any, were the downsides of growing up in a religious household?
  • If not, do you feel like you missed out on being part of a religious community?
  • Did you grow up attending a faith-based school?
  • If so, what was that like for you? Any positive effects? Any negative effects?
  • How much is religion a part of your life today?
  • Do you belong to any particular religion or faith group?
  • If you practice a particular religion, what do you like about it? what, if anything, would you like to see changed?
  • Do you believe there’s a difference between being religious and being spiritual?
  • Have you had any exposure to religions other than your own? If so, which ones? How was that experience?
  • Do you still practice the religion of your childhood?
  • If not, do you belong to another religion?
  • Do you consider yourself an atheist? why?
  • Do you consider yourself an agnostic? why?
  • How important is your religion/faith to you today?

If you think of any other questions that would be helpful to add to this list, please enter it into a comment below.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

Be sure to download/color the September 2013 Mandala of the Month.

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2013: Section 8

2013 Mandala of the Year: Section 8Download 2013: Section 8

For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 8 focuses on the “aging” category from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

So this is an interesting one for me because this fall I start the next decade in my life…60′s. That just seems so ridiculous to me…how can that be? When I look in the mirror my body betrays the much younger age I feel inside.

Anyway, with this section’s topic we take a look at aging and what it means to us individually and collectively. Some questions to ponder…

  • how does the idea of aging affect you, if at all?
  • do you have people close to you who role model the positive aspects of aging or the negative ones?
  • do you ever find yourself negatively judging people who are much older or much younger than you?
  • have you experienced others negatively judging you because of your age?
  • does your current lifestyle support a longer, healthier life, or a shorter, health-burdened life?
  • how does the western “culture of youth” affect your life choices and how you feel about yourself?
  • are you resisting the aging process by doing all you can to look younger?
  • how does aging affect your self-worth?
  • do you wish you were younger or older?
  • have you found a way to be okay with aging? [please share :-) ]
  • do you plan to go with the flow when it comes to aging or are you going to fight it kicking and screaming all the way?
  • what are your thoughts on your own mortality?

Feel free to come up with whatever issues, perspectives, and ideas that best help you process this month’s topic of aging.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

Be sure to download/color the August 2013 Mandala of the Month.

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2013: Section 7

2013: Section 7

2013: # 7

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 7 focuses on the “sex” category from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

Sex can be a loaded topic on so many levels…whether we’re talking about the act of sex or sex as in gender…and every combination in between.

Regardless of age, sex affects everyone to some degree. As children little brothers and sisters sometimes become aware that they have different body parts…they compare notes…so to speak. Children find out early on that depending on their sex/gender their toys, their clothes, and their colors are usually different.  And, depending on the household environment they also learn how little girls are to behave and how little boys are to behave…also different.

Over the years some of these differences have begun to blur. As more parents become open to allowing their children to be who they are regardless of society norms, the separation of toys, roles, clothing and colors has diminished.

I know for me as a girl, I wanted the lincoln logs, the airplane models, and other “male” type toys. Instead I received kitchen sets, dolls, and “housewife” toys…which may explain my aversion to my role as a typical “housewife”…much to the dismay, I fear, of my husband.

This brings up the whole issue of sexual orientation and how that factors into how we relate to each other as individuals and in relationships. How does this figure into your life experience?

Then we come to the “act of sex”, sexual intercourse, making love, sleeping with someone, and all the other names we give it. How we were raised around the idea of the “act of sex” definitely figures into our attitudes and perspectives on sex.

I learned about sex from one of my girlfriends who learned about it from a boy down the street. My mother, unfortunately, had trouble even talking to me about menstruation (which I learned about from a girl scout mini-movie)…how could she bring herself to talk to me about sex? From her (the Catholic Church and the nuns) I learned that sex was dirty and bad until you got married. So when I got married for the first time, I expected the Holy Spirit to appear and magically make something that was bad now be okay…needless to say, it didn’t happen that way. Adios to my first marriage.

I’m sure we all have our stories to tell on how we learned about the birds and bees and our early to current encounters with sex. Feel free to share in the comments below.

So while coloring this month’s section of the MotY, I’ve come up with some questions for you to ponder and explore:

  • How did you find out about sex?
  • What was it like for you growing up as a girl/boy?
  • How does your current age factor into the idea of sex?
  • Do you feel like you’re treated differently because of your gender or sexual orientation?
  • What does it mean to you to be straight?
  • What does it mean to you to be gay?
  • What does it mean to you to be a girl/female/woman?
  • What does it mean to you to be a boy/male/man?
  • How did your parents relate to each other sexually? Was it open? Was it “not in front of the children”? Somewhere in between?
  • Does religion factor into your perspective of your gender?
  • Does religion factor into your attitudes towards the act of sex?
  • How important is sex to you? and in your relationship(s)?

I realize we could do a full year mandala on this topic with each section representing a different aspect of sex (gender and act). For now, it’s only this one section.

Hopefully you’ll be able to have fun with this one as you color “sex”tion 7 of the 2013 Mandala of the Year.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

Be sure to download/color the July 2013 Mandala of the Month.

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2013: Section 6

2013 MotY: Section 6

2013 MotY: Section 6

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 6 focuses on the “mental and physical health, including addiction” category from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

“Health” is something we tend to overlook and take for granted when we’re healthy (or at least think we’re healthy) and then it becomes all-consuming  when it goes awry.

It’s usually pretty obvious when something goes wrong with our physical health. Mental health is a bit more challenging to assess within ourselves. When something is off,  we may be in denial or oblivious to it. In our defense we think it must be something outside of ourselves that is causing us all this pain and misery. Finding the cause of it can be scary and daunting. Asking for help can be even scarier.

Speaking from experience, when living with poor mental health becomes even more frightening than the cure, asking for help becomes a whole lot easier. I can honestly say that the quality of my life is SO much better now than it was 25 years ago. It’s been quite an amazing journey (and still is).

When it comes to addictions, it’s even more challenging to recognize because we usually have to hit rock bottom before we realize we have a problem…even though loved ones may have been saying so for years.

Section 6 asks us to take an honest look at our overall health and well-being. Here are just a few questions to help us start exploring this idea.

  1. How is our physical health?
  2. Is there anything we can do to improve it?
  3. Are there things we do that sabotage our health?
  4. If so, what? why?
  5. What is the state of our mental health? Peaceful? Excitable? Tense? Joyful? Irritable? Depressed?
  6. Is there anything we can do to improve it?
  7. Do we recognize any type of addictive behavior in our day-to-day lives?
  8. Is there some thing or some activity that we crave that we would find really challenging to go without for just 24 hours?
  9. If we say “I can quit anytime” knowing full well that to continue with it lowers our quality of life, alienating us from our loved ones, why are we still doing it?
  10. Are we willing to ask for help?

When it comes to mental health, there’s also the social taboo about being mentally ill. We as a society have trouble looking at it and often turn the other way. When it comes to depression we often want to say to those suffering from it to “get over it” or “pull yourself up” or “snap out of it”. For some that may be enough, for others it takes more than a slogan.

We as a society and as individuals we need to show more compassion for those suffering from mental illness…and we start by showing it to ourselves for we’ve all experienced it to some degree at some point in our lives.

When it comes to improving our overall health, we have to start from someplace and the place to start is by taking an honest assessment of our state of being. Then…

embrace what is* and change what we can

As you color this month’s section, let’s ponder our overall health and well-being. Being grateful for what we already have going for us while seeking ways to improve those areas in need of our loving care and attention.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

 for help with the idea of “what is”…read the universal reading on “it is what it is”

Be sure to download/color the June 2013 Mandala of the Month.

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2013: Section 5

2013: Section 5

2013:    Section 5

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 5 focuses on the “parenting” category from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

When I first noticed the category for this month, I thought “oh…this is easy…I opted out of having children so there’s little to report on this topic.” Then a slew of issues came flooding through:

  • how I feel about my mom and dad’s parenting skills
  • how I feel about my dad’s parents and how they treated my dad and his siblings
  • how the ancestral parenting of the women on my mom’s side of the family still affects me to this day
  • how I feel about how other people parent their children
  • how I parent myself
  • how I parent our two greyhounds (sky & seti)
  • how I feel about passing on the opportunity to be a parent (although I did babysit for 12 years…that right there cured me of wanting to have and raise children)

For this month’s section, let’s explore all the different aspects of parenting…the good, the bad and the ugly. What worked? What needs tweaking? What failed miserably? And how can we rectify it?

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

Be sure to download/color the May 2013 Mandala of the Month.

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2013: Section 4

Section 4 2013 Mandala of the Year

Section 4 2013 MotY

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 4 focuses on the “family” category from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

First we need to define family…and for each of us it will be different. We have our childhood family that we were born or adopted/fostered into and the family we grow into as we age, which may or may not include blood relatives or in-laws.

We have a lot to explore with this topic. Here are just a few questions I came up with to help you explore:

  • What was your childhood family life like?
  • Was it nurturing or dysfunctional?
  • Was it fun or painful?
  • Was traditional or unconventional?
  • How has your childhood family influenced you now as an adult?
  • What’s your family life like now?
  • Do you have a family of your own?
  • Is there anything you vowed to do differently when you grew up? Did you do it? Did it help?
  • Who do you consider to be family now?

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

Be sure to download/color the April 2013 Mandala of the Month.

 

 

 

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2013: Section 3

 

2013 MotY: Section 3

2013 MotY: Section 3

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 3 focuses on the “motherhood and fatherhood” category from the twelve categories of shame list created by Dr. Brené Brown. Her research on shame-resilience and vulnerability demonstrates for us all, how and why to live a wholehearted life.

This is a loaded category on so many levels for me. It hits on my relationship with my mother and father and how I think they did as parents and how I wish they had done things differently…although I would have turned out differently as well…thereby making it a fascinating conundrum.

It also hits on my choice to forego having children and all the issues that raises because it’s so against the norm. I feel like I have to justify my decision (and myself) for making such a choice. The interesting thing about this decision is that all my siblings made the same decision. It speaks volumes!

So these are the issues I’ll be tackling while coloring this month’s section of the 2013 Mandala of the Year. How about you?

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

Maureen, The Mandala Lady
www.facebook.com/TheMandalaLady

Be sure to download/color the March 2013 Mandala of the Month.

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