The MAKING OF MY MANDALA: Going WITHin A story in part…
In baseball lingo three strikes are an out. I was blessed when I struck out twice in my search for a graphic designer or an artist to help me with the creative process of designing a template for a logo for my small business KaivalyaBound. Undertaking the endeavor on my own was frustrating me and Bonnie Gold Bell and David Sun Todd were my saviors. I was quickly assured during my first phone call talking with Bonnie that the work they could accomplish for me would be wonderful and that we could work together until I felt that to be the case. It did not seem to be clever marketing packaged, but rather an authenticity that I believed and in retrospect I can describe the resulting mandala as a fusion arising from what seemed to be at times, confusing aspects of my own life and a mix of living fully on a day to day basis with the hand dealt me and those close to me and embracing what source was providing. The time that it actually took us to bring the mandala to completion added, as Bonnie had made mention and I agreed, a depth to the mandala. Family fun and tragedy shed light as both the principles of polarity, the yin and yang, duality, or dichotomy and one pointed focus, a place where thoughts cease and beauty unfolded as life emerged. Bonnie always put me at ease no matter the dynamics. Her voice had a human quality depicting the virtue of patience not unlike my own, but without the indecision I feel at times when making attempts to bring a project to completion. Bonnie and David worked diligently, guiding me toward the final mandala available to gaze at if you wish or also for purchase if you inquire.
( To find out about their work and custom services, visit http://www.gaiastarworld.com/ )
The creative process and finishing touches took several months. I was not in a hurry and my artists were never pushy or impatient with me. Letting source be my/our guide, I trusted in spirit and I felt blessed by the many twisted turns and events that my life had taken in the past. We evolved and transformed during the course of the year and I found my way into future and always at home in my heart. The gifts of light and shadow, darkness and depth, color and form, took shape as the formless turned into a collage of magnificence, a show of life. My own life, and the life of those close to me, imbedded in some strange and easy way within the final piece of art. Each addition to my mandala that I can now share with you has a story much larger then I can actually tell or describe in words though I attempt to convey some of it here.
The initial blowhole photo taken along the coast in the west Maui mountains north of Honolua Bay and Napili was taken by me on one of my many trips to Maui with my life partner and closest friend, Dean. A place I love and with a person I love. I am attracted to and loved these blue colors, depicting sky and infinite space. I love the contrast of the earth and the water and the sense of spaciousness. It was a starting point along with this original list of totems and articles of nature that I seem to connect to all ways. What follows is a portion of an initial request. A list and brief paragraph that I had included in a first email depicting the various artifacts and symbolism that I wanted to incorporate. Narrowing down was arduous but would be required and ultimately worthwhile. In the end my desired intent was fulfilled.
Feather: The lightness of being, link to the heavens...
Dragonfly: simple beauty
Cross: Intersection, our cross to bear...
Wave: water element... flowing nature of things
Heart: Connection, Pulse of Life
Dove: Peace, Tranquility
Lotus Feet; Transport, Guru's Sandals
Skull: Impermanence, Security, Bhava (fleeting events)
Smoke/Fire: Again the elements...Inner fire and desire...
Serpent: Serpentine like qualities... male/female
Triangle: Chalice, Shakti, Mother Earth/Father Sky
And then before I get hooked on the idea... Is there a possibility that the mudra of wisdom could be place atop, similarly to how you've used the deities on some of your work that is posted on your gallery page?
I sent the photo to Gaiastarworld and they began to spin the magic for me, 4D or 3Ding, bringing to light and unveiling the most important facets. in a kaleidescope fashion, pictures within pictures. The result of the first draft brought forth a cross in the middle. This seemed interesting and I was thrilled since it was on my list. I believed this was the place for a perfect beginning. Was a perfect beginning. The masculine linked with the feminine, a religious symbol and a crossroads where we are all at typically. Also like a compass showing the quadrants of the universe or the directions of north, south, east & west. I did not find it peculiar that the skyline of the photo manifested a perfect cross. This was to become a medicine wheel for healing. With my deep affinity for feathers, a sacred connection which often links the heavens to earth we choose Pheasant feathers and they were added. Some believe pheasants to be a sign of fertility and family, a source of support. I was looking also for the depiction of movement or flight, as I stated in my list, the incredible lightness of being, and a sense of stability and strength aside from the fact that aesthetically I liked the look of the feathers as a frame. I thought, contemplating for what seemed an eternity and decided at Bonnie’s suggestion to narrow down and pick three words in the process of evolution, transformation and life. I already had three words picked out for my business card and so I decided to use:
Movement ~ Knowledge ~ Freedom
My business card was coming to light as well…parallel and paradoxically…
Here is another quote from one of my first of many emails to Bonnie and David…
"Greetings David and Bonnie, Yes, Yes, Yes... This is a great start of an "interpretation" of what I've attempted miserably to describe but then by all accounts is being born."
I had thought to dwell in possibilities, my frustration shining in a lower vibration of negativity but eventually tuning into the positive as I learned to radiate in my heart and manifest. Trusting in the infinite and in the often times indescribable was going to be difficult if not impossible yet finally bringing a logo to fruition became a possibility as you can see. All of this before the movie “The Secret” was even produced. Making sense of what was not reasonable or sensible prevailed. While I waived at times between a lack of self-confidence and an abundance of my own assurance that this could be done I found my creative process was being further inspired. I felt compelled to have more color, something needed to vibrate and resonate on a deeper level for me to share and to later represent my company and ME. Following the frame of the pheasant feathers I felt that an addition of the color green, color of the heart chakra, fourth color in the rainbow spectrum would be a necessity along with some reds for root chakra and stability and would represent the element of fire… something strong. Manipura and Anahata Chakras… I passed this vision along and the process continued.
The accuracy of deciding on the border of the pheasant feathers as a clever decision was again confirmed recently. This occurrance was during this past winters christmas holiday, when oddly a lone pheasant was observed for several minutes in the backyard of my family’s home in Millersville PA in a residential neighborhood. Ultimately a cat began to taunt it and chased it away as my thoughts turned to the completed mandala and I thought WOW and smiled, later looking into the book Animal Speaks and my Animal Medicine Cards.
Nature and nurture are inherent I believe and certainly they were not lacking during the entire time this mandala was being created. Although many a varied situation occurred, as I state this is a story in part, and I will portray renditions of only a few, not necessarily in a chronological order. Somewhat like a vignette that prefaces or ends a chapter shading or coloring the edges the stories go both inside and outside the lines. In early August I traveled in the mountains of Vermont for a fun gathering, a family reunion of both my mother's side of the family on one day as well as my father's side on another. Along with siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles that I had not seen in so many years we met in the state where I had been born and raised. I was in awe during a morning walk of the green fields and splashes of yellow flowers and the burning sun. Although this picture was taken in the rolling hills near Strausburg PA it is indicative of what I am writing here. Yellow has brilliance. To do things brilliantly is an aspiration of mine. Yellow could continually provide the power of positive suggestion. A boundary like an auric field that shelters and protects, yet attracts and magnifies and catches ones eye.
So the color yellow was a mandate as well. I didn’t know how we could add it and the notion was put aside while the tweaking of other thought processes took precedent. Color seems to represent freedom. A spectrum beyond black and white and I wanted a lot of it splashed and dispersed. Hues like in every day life.
My talented friend and photographer Sue Walden was kind enough to shoot several photos of my hand in ghyan mudra, or jnana mudra the mudra of wisdom or knowledge and after selecting a couple of favorites it was placed in several various ways atop of the mandala before I felt content. Sometimes it seems angle is everything and at times it was a bit frightening to see a phantom limb atop of a beautiful mandala. It reminded me of one of my favorite Wendell Berry poems and it took many tries for me to agree to the positioning of my own hand in this beautiful mudra. Truly and amazingly it does create a physiological response just by touching the index finger to the thumb. Yoga is already in each one of your hands.
By Wendell Berry A Timbered Choir
The Sabbath Poems 1979 – 1997 I
Here where the world is being made,
No human hand required,
A man may come, somewhat afraid
Always, and somewhat tired.
For he comes ignorant and alone
From work and worry of
A human place, in soul and bone
The ache of human love.
He may come and be still, not go
Toward any chosen aim
Or stay for what he thinks is so.
Setting aside his claim
On all things fallen in his plight,
his mind may move with leaves,
Wind-shaken, in and out of light,
And live as light lives,
And live as the Creation sings
In covert, two clear notes,
And waits; then two clear answerings
Come from more distant throats---
May live a while with light,
In high leaves, or delayed
In halts of song, submit to making,
The shape of what is made.
I knew it was my hand, but somehow I felt, I also feel like it is the hand of something greater and more powerful then my own, aiding and abetting. Most definitely there is always support from a source greater then me, which makes things a bit frightening and on the same realm a bit more secure.
Progress was being made and a tragedy followed the family reunion I had just attended the weekend before. Life has ups and downs, from work and worry, compassion and understanding. A great love went missing. Thus a trip to Florida became a necessity and I sent the following email which I will share openly as interestingly the ocean was already a huge portion of this mandala as well as the prayer plant and stargazer lilies and all that they reflect. Later on the yellow roses were added as an embrace, as a final touch for me. It seems at times we know more then we know.
I wrote to Bonnie and David:
An interesting turn of events has occurred in my life with a tragedy here in Melbourne Beach FL where my boyfriend’s brother was living and doing Turtle Research with the Univ. of Central FL. In light of this mishap I've flown here and have intermittent access to the internet and have encountered some further techie problems when sending (or not sending) the hand photos....
I appreciate your patience. Can you let me know if you get these emails. I'm a bit more distracted and am putting my energy into healing with my family. We'll need to get through the next few days, and months! But I am going to keep in touch with you and we will get this accomplished. Thanks for the email. I'm sure you are wondering why I was so quick to respond and then now nothing for several days. I've also had so many phone calls, both incoming and outgoing that I did not have your phone number stored any longer. I will call in a day or two and hopefully will get back online soon.
as always, graciously, Bobi
“August 11, 2006
Sea-Turtle Researcher Vanishes Off Florida Coast
A graduate student from the University of Central Florida disappeared at sea on Thursday, and is thought to have drowned, while attempting to capture and tag a sea turtle, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Boyd Lyon, who was 37, was a member of a research team led by Llewellyn M. Ehrhart, a vertebrate zoologist and professor emeritus at Central Florida who has been studying sea turtles for decades (The Chronicle, August 31, 2001).”
Priorities change when situations change. You may understand more of my story now as to why this event added a great amount of depth to my mandala and to my life. My good friend Boyd and younger brother of my partner in life had his life abruptly ended and measures were taken to connect and heal.
There are many websites that can be found if you Google: Boyd Lyon sea turtle, you will find many websites with information as well as scholarships that are now given in his honor and memory...
As time went by and the mandala was taking shape I changed my mind often. I laughed when Bonnie said I was not a difficult client. She is a god(dess).
Here is another of my earliest emails while exploring and narrowing my choices:
Hi one more time...
In rereading the just sent email after working so long at this I must admit you will have to be ingenious to decipher what I have drawn and where I went back in to correct I made more of a mess...
So putting things to scale will have to come from our conversation. I will be at work tomorrow from 9:00 Am until 9:30 PM. There may be a time that I can converse during an approximately hour long break... . about 3 PM your time... 6PM East Coast time...
I don't have a computer at work but I will bring my copy along with me... or I could wait until I get home and then we could talk. Which would be about 6:45 PT.... Do you keep 9 - 5 hrs? I noticed your email was sent at a later time so what is good for you?
What do you think of the mudra drawing.... And here is one more rendition.... I think made more clear...
Movement: Feathers for color.... Air.... moves water makes waves..
Knowledge: Ghyan mudra or jnana or chin mudra... pix on earlier email...
Freedom... the path.... We can be free on this earth.... in this body! I'm done for now.....
More about colors on previous email.... I'm still feeling like this is problematic but hopefully I've given you enough to vibrate across the continent....
This reflects the more then one time that I sent something and then in the next 3 minutes or less sent another email with another thought process.
Like in life, time moves forward and backward, present into past, into future and back to present. My sense of being all over the place, of being in all places at one time was heightened. Still I was becoming more clear and better able to communicate my desires. Yoga practices were helping with this as well. Establishing oneself in time, on a time line invented for mankind’s purpose of creating deadlines as opposed to God’s invention of time can be problematic and situational. At times there is an abundance of it while at other times we are short of it. It is fleeting and it is precious. Life is full. We, as human beings are chalices for it to flow through. It presents its difficulties and gifts. The option to embrace and learn, to be present and share and engage is available. Being open to the power; yours, mine and ours, is a sweetness not matched. Be brave. Source will provide. We are each blessed. One time when I wrote this someone asked me, "Who is ED? You wrote bless ED!". ☺ Trust in a power bigger and greater and higher then oneself. BE the power, the realized individual and find the joy and pain in the process of living life teaching tools. I've decided that self-actualization is not something we can arrive at but something we already are? We are our selves actualized!
With all of my demands, what felt to me like complicated requests, a final draft was sent to me. Of course each one was perfect in its own way but my personality always wants to tweak this perfect place and grab just a bit more. I agreed, the mandala was finalized. Finally I felt absolute perfection. This is/was a grandiose feeling, an AHA moment, and thus this time, there really were two clear answerings, from more distant throats.
I now continue on my path of KaivalyaBound, which I will lovingly share with you if your heart so desires.
What follows is not a last email as I still maintain my connection with Gaiastarworld, with Bonnie and David, but for now I finish my story of the making of this mandala with this accolade for the grand masters…
Dearest Bonnie and David,
This is my readers digest condensed version! … Brief is hard for me... Love everlasting...
“Sensing a compulsion to share my soul I opt to energetically breathe life into what I had little difficulty defining or labeling; KaivalyaBound.
Conceptually three words: Movement ~ Knowledge ~ Freedom
This notion, a continuum creative process needed to be further identified. I believe the missing link was a visual element and an invocation procedure ensued. In my illusive world of mystery, consciousness, coincidence and synchronicity, Bonnie Bell and David Todd, master artists and ingenious human beings, were unveiled to light my way along the path. Despite personal life events or many a complex thought process on my part, the very first telephone conversation with Bonnie revealed both Bonnie and David’s charisma, instantaneous understanding, artistic abilities and willingness to juggle their life to fit mine as our exploration of trust and guidance illuminated the unfolding truth. During the entire process they always seemed magically and fully available to help me. Their efforts afforded me/us (if I can speak for them) a joyous journey towards a tangible, but otherworldly, multidimensional identity that I claim truly represents KaivalyaBound. Seemingly, this work was done entirely via telephone or email communication and our ever-expanding qualities of acceptance, gratitude, and love are what brought words, objects, colors, and metaphors into a simple to digest visual message that conveys I am, and hopefully if you want to be as well, KaivalyaBound. “
Thank you for being there with and for me. I hope you are feeling blessed and loved.
As always, I am appreciatively yours, Bobi
IN my personal process of discovery I find that people heal and deal in many and varied ways. Some make light, some dwell in darkness. Mostly we gravel. Doing that with someone is much nicer. Life does not come with the instruction book. Layer by layer we become clear and conscientiously make better decisions. We make attempts to abide by the golden rule; "Do unto others as you would do unto yourself." We try to do the most good for the most people in most situations acting in non-harmful ways whenever possible, a yogic practice called ahimsa. Consider the following; Grief, being a huge part of life, only means that love exists. Life’s polarities, dualities are Maya… Illusive qualities, like grasping for the ring on the carasoul just out of reach. When things are out of reach times are tough and though more then ever it may be the time we need one another there are time when we just want to be alone. Find your center in your heart and link with the divine finding strength and power on the inside. Going within is a great and sometimes painstaking task. I say tune in and tune out or alternatively listen to your Itunes… So this in part is the story of my mandala… of right efforts to create the template of my life, of the busy ness of life, as well as the simplicity and the fullness and experience of joy and or the processing of pain while contemplating what visually will always objectify my spiritual endeavor of KaivalyaBound brought to fruition. JAI MA!
As Bonnie and David of Gaiastarworld did for me, I hope you will consider KaivalyaBound to help you find the right tools to stay on track on your path. Embrace your possibilities and manifest dreams into your reality.