2014: Section 4

Section 3: 2014 MotYDownload 2014: Section 4

In honor of the Chinese Year of the Horse that began January 31, 2014, I’m dedicating the 2014 Mandala of the Year to the Horse. Each month we’ll explore a trait or symbol of the horse to explore how we can incorporate it into our lives.

In Section 4 we embrace the horse energy of loyalty.

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then this video of a little girl and her loyal horse is worth a million.

 

Some questions to explore as you coloring section 4 of the 2014 Mandala of the Year:

  • what does it mean to you to be loyal?
  • how important is loyalty to you?
  • how do you express loyalty to your family? to your friends? your life?
  • how do you want others to express their loyalty to you?
  • in what ways am I disloyal to others?
  • in what ways am I loyal to others?
  • in what ways am I disloyal to myself?
  • in what ways am I loyal to myself?

Ponder this as you color this month section.

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

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

Be sure to download/color the April 2014 Mandala of the Month.

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2014: Section 3

Section 3: 2014 MotY

Gentleness

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In honor of the Chinese Year of the Horse that began January 31, 2014, I’m dedicating the 2014 Mandala of the Year to the Horse. Each month we’ll explore a trait or symbol of the horse to explore how we can incorporate it into our lives.

In Section 3 we embrace the horse energy of gentleness.

When we think of horses we often think of their power (vehicles: horse power) and their strength (pulling wagons, carrying lodes, carrying riders). For this section we look at a very important attribute of the horse: gentleness. For without its gentleness, the horse would be seen as just a beast. Even with its strength and power, horse shows us that at its core, it is a sweet, gentle being.

The obvious way to go with this section would be to look at ways in which we are, or need to be, gentle with others. And while that’s important, it’s far more critical to look at the ways in which we are (or fail to be) gentle with ourselves. BECAUSE…when we know how to be gentle with ourselves, we will NATURALLY be gentle with others.

Take are of the inner and the outer takes care of itself.

Section 3 encourages us to be very aware of how we treat ourselves, both in thought and deed.

  • what’s our inner dialogue like? supportive? or destructive?
  • are we forever beating ourselves up?
  • do we deprive ourselves because of our supposed lack of worthiness?
  • do we deny ourselves for fear of coming across as selfish?
  • what actions do we take that translate into self-sabotage?

While coloring this section, let’s take look at ways in which we can turn this around so that we are more gentle to ourselves…treating ourselves the way we would treat our very best friends.

It’s time to be our own best friend

How can we do this?

  • take care of our needs.
  • question the authenticity of the inner criticisms and judgements; are they true or false representations?
  • say “no” when we really want to say “no”.
  • say “yes” when we really want to say “yes”.
  • acknowledge our fears; tap into our inner power to help us with moving forward through them. How would we help a best friend who is struggling with fears?
  • acknowledge our positive attributes…remind ourselves often.
  • acknowledge our perceived negative attributes…decide which to keep and which to change

When all else fails, remember this:

We are the Light of God; whole an complete just as we are.

joyfully,

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2014: Section 2

Section 2: 2014 MotY

Section 2: 2014 MotY

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In honor of the Chinese Year of the Horse that began January 31, 2014, I’m dedicating the 2014 Mandala of the Year to the Horse. Each month we’ll explore a trait or symbol of the horse to explore how we can incorporate it into our lives.

In Section 2 we embrace the horse energy of strength. One segment of Merriam-Webster’s definition for strength:

…having the capacity for exertion or endurance…

How do we experience strength in our lives? Where do we seem to be strong? Where do we seem to be weak? Where can we use more strength? Where can we use less strength?

Physically

  • Do we take care of our bodies by working our muscles, doing resistance training to build up strength?
  • Do we make our bodies stronger to be able to endure more physical activities?
  • Do we use our physical strength to hurt others or help others?

Mentally

  • Do have an inner coach that helps us to keep going even when the task at hand seems daunting, tedious or boring?
  • Do we have the self-discipline to do what we need to do to accomplish our goals or do we concede too soon or let our over-thinking squelch the deal before we even start?
  • Do we have the mental strength to face and work through the mind chatter that tends to keep us down?

Emotionally/Psychologically

  • Do we have what it takes to face our fears, allowing ourselves to move forward or do we back down because it seems to be safer or easier?
  • Do we have the strength to face our inner “demons”, freeing ourselves of their hold on us? [knowing full well that our inner “demons” are in fact safety precautions we put in place long ago as a way to protect us and have now outlived their usefulness (they were only doing what we asked them do)…time to thank them and let them go.]
  • Do we have the strength to say “no” when we really want to say no?
  • Do we have the strength to say “yes” when we really want to say yes?
  • Do we over-compensate for our own insecurities by over-powering others to “prove” our strength?
  • Do we allow ourselves to embrace ALL of our emotions in a healthy, creative, and positive way?

Spiritually

  • Do we allow ourselves to believe that we are strong spiritual beings capable of achieving whatever we want to create in our lives?
  • Do we know that asking for help when we need it shows more strength of character than proving that “we can do it ourselves”?

A good exercise to do while coloring this month’s section would be to note our strengths and weaknesses.

  • How do they each serve us both positively AND negatively? (i.e.: we like to talk…but maybe we talk too much or fail to listen to others?)
  • How can our strengths help us with our weaknesses? (i.e.: great sense of humor and fear of public speaking: consider being a comedian)
  • How can our weaknesses be of service to our strengths? (i.e.: have trouble reading and/or memorizing music…love to entertain people: make up your own songs or learn how to improvise music)

When we know and work with ALL of our inner resources, we have the strength to handle whatever comes our way.

joyfully,

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2014: Section 1

Section 1: 2014 MotY

Section 1: 2014 MotY

Download 2014: Section 1

In honor of the Chinese Year of the Horse that begins January 31, 2014, I’m dedicating the 2014 Mandala of the Year to the Horse. Each month we’ll explore a trait or symbol of the horse to explore how we can incorporate it into our lives.

For Section 1 we look at the horse energy of freedom. When we visualize a horse, it’s usually in varying degrees of freedom:

  • running wild
  • moving freely
  • tame
  • restrained

When coloring this section, examine where in our thoughts, words, deeds and feelings we are

  • freely expressing ourselves
  • holding back, restraining ourselves
  • all over the place, out of control
  • at ease

For 2014, we seek a healthy balance with respect to freedom.

  • Where in our lives are we out of control…what can we do to rein it in?
  • Where in our lives are we feeling restrained…what can we do to free ourselves?
  • In what areas would we like to feel more at ease?
  • Are we moving freely or limiting ourselves?
  • Are we making best use of our free will? Is it serving us or harming us?

While coloring this section, call in the horse energy of freedom. Put freedom into play here by allowing ourselves to do any or all of the following or feel free to choose something completely different:

  • color all over the place regardless of the lines
  • color within the lines
  • color it with just one or two colors
  • carefully choose and plan out a color palette
  • pick colors at random
  • color this section more than once…experimenting with different styles and techniques
  • choose from a variety of media to use: color pencils, crayons, ink, markers, paint, collage, mixed media, etc.

As we begin 2014 and the Year of the Horse, may we embrace the horse energy of freedom.

joyfully,

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2013: Section 12

2013 MotY: Section 12

2013 MotY: Section 12

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 12 focuses on “Being Stereotyped and Labeled”  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.

From the day we are born we are labeled (human being, baby, boy, girl). From that day forward we continue to be labeled (sister, brother, son, daughter, student) and in turn learn how to apply them on others.

In general, using labels helps us to quickly learn and understand the world around us along with making it easier to communicate. Trying to describe a tall organism with a brownish hard center structure, woody limbs with green foliage would go much faster and easier if we were just call it by the label assigned to it: tree.

On the one hand labels save us time; on the other hand, they can make us lazy and often times hurtful, especially when it comes to other people…where labeling turns into stereotyping.

Two sides of the stereotyping coin need to be explored here:

  1. when we label and stereotype other people
  2. when other people label and stereotype us

Have we ever formed an opinion about someone just because of their…

  • gender
  • age (youth, middle aged, elderly)
  • race
  • religion
  • politics
  • culture
  • appearance
  • job title
  • money or lack thereof
  • sexual orientation
  • health status (physical, mental, emotional)
  • food choices (vegetarian, meat-eater)
  • lifestyle choices
  • nationality
  • neighborhood
  • profession
  • friends
  • family

On the other hand, have we been on the receiving end of stereotyping where people judged us solely by one of these aforementioned labels without ever taking the time to really know us? Did we accept these labels as gospel, thus setting up self-sabotaging limits to subconsciously prove these labels true? How much of our negative actions can be attributed to the shame we feel for buying into these labels?

An example for me is the “artist” label; in particular the idea that you can’t make a living as an artist. It still amazes me when people ask me what I do for my real job? Can you imagine going up to a lawyer to ask her what her real job is?

Because I bought into this particular aspect of the “artist” label, I find that I have struggled with making a living doing my art. I’ve looked at how I sabotaged my efforts in order to fulfill this artist label. Now that I realize this, I can change my beliefs and allow myself to be my full potential as an artist.

Now this begs the following questions:

  • In what areas of our lives have we bought into the labels that have been assigned to us?
  • In what ways do we limit ourselves from being our full potential just because we decided to believe a label to be true?
  • Are we willing to defy the labels in order to be our full potential?

Need some inspiration from those who defied their labels?

  • Erik Weihenmayer: blind, climbed Mount Everest
  • Helen Keller: deaf & blind, author, political activist, and lecturer
  • Lauren Kornacki: 22 year old female college student, lifted car to save her dad
  • Diana Nyad: 64 year old woman, swam from Cuba to Florida
  • Nelson Mandela: first black South African to hold the office of President of South Africa, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election.

This month’s section asks us to explore both sides of the stereotyping issue. Chances are we’ve experienced both. Now is the time to become aware of how much we judge others only by their labels and how much we judge and limit ourselves for the labels we believe to be true about ourselves.

May you find clarity, understanding, and acceptance while coloring the last section of the 2013 Mandala of the Year.

joyfully,

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

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

Amazingly powerful books by Dr. Brené Brown (I’ve read all 3):

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2013: Section 11

2013 MotY: Section 11

2013 MotY: Section 11

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 11 focuses on “Surviving Trauma”  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 it comes to surviving trauma, it really comes down to two simple options: we can choose to continue as victims or we can find a way to rise above it. As Dr. Brown states, we can come from place of powerlessness (stuck) or from a place of hope (resilience).

From Guidepost #3 of her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, she states that the very foundation of resilience is spirituality which she defines as:

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”

Along with spirituality were these three other factors:

  1. cultivating hope
  2. practicing critical awareness
  3. letting go of numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability, discomfort, and pain.

For more on this topic, please read both of these Dr. Brown books: The Gift of Imperfection and Daring Greatly

And by all means…if you are struggling at all with surviving trauma of any kind, please seek professional help and care. While what we offer here in this post is a good start, it’s always best to work with professionals.

May you find some comfort in coloring this month’s section of the 2013 Mandala of the Year.

joyfully,

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

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

Amazingly powerful books by Dr. Brené Brown (I’ve read all 3):

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2013: Section 10

2013 MotY: Section 10

2013 MotY: Section 10

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For those of you following along with this year’s theme, section 10 focuses on “Speaking Out”  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.

How often have we held back from speaking out for fear of what others would say or do? Or worse, that they fail to even hear our message?

From another perspective, how often have we judged and/or shamed others for their efforts at speaking out? How dare they? Right?

And from yet another perspective, how often have we spoken out when our motive for doing so came from a place of wanting to hurt others?

The three key components for this section:

  1. Allowing ourselves to speak our truth, from a place of truth
  2. Allowing others to speak their truth, from their place of truth
  3. Letting go of our fear of how others will react…trying to control the reactions of others is as futile as trying to pick up water with a fork

In order for us to speak our truth, we must reconnect with and recognize who we really are, letting go of the veils of false personas and fears that hide the precious gems that we really are inside. By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in this way, we free ourselves from the burden of maintaining these illusionary veils.

Yes, we risk the backlash of others for whom our words trigger their own burdensome veils. And yet when we come from a place of truth, most people will stop and take note, connecting with us on an energetic level…recognizing the truth about us and ultimately about themselves. From there they can either run and hide or be inspired to discover and speak their own truth.

One way to reconnect with the truth about ourselves, is to be ever present as we go about our day, determining whether what we are doing, being, saying is really who we are. Do we really believe what we’re saying/doing/being? Do we know if it’s the truth about us or just a role we’re playing out to make others feel safe or good about themselves?

Ponder this as you color this month’s section of the 2013 Mandala of the Year.

when we speak our truth,
we allow others to do the same

Happy Coloring!

joyfully,

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

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

Amazingly powerful books by Dr. Brené Brown (I’ve read all 3):

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