As the month of October has come to an end, so has my mandala a day experience. What I’ve learned is that keeping a mandala journal is an effective, creative, and non-traditional style of keeping track of your daily life. At the beginning of the month, I was using my journal as a means of documenting my day as well as the emotions I had been feeling. As the month progressed, I noticed I was creating art as a means of releasing emotions and creating a mandala as a mindfulness exercise. I would set a time limit of about thirty minutes to create a mandala as well as relax and unwind in the process.
Throughout this project I picked up on symbols and designs I used frequently and related them to the emotions and events I was experiencing within my life. For example, I noticed that if I was experiencing a lot of anxiety regarding school or just general life, I would draw a bunch of tiny circles next to each other. If I was frustrated or worried about something, I would draw large spirals. On days when things went well I used a lot of free flow ink drawings or geometric designs. Using ink proved to be a really effective means of calming any stress I was experiencing, and allowed my to focus more on the present moment.
One of the reasons I chose to do this experience for myself was due to the fact that as an art therapist I will expect my own clients to put similar work in. By doing this directive myself, I’m able to experience what a client might feel.
Carl Jung was a psychodynamic therapist who believed in the power of art in psychotherapy. He held a strong belief that the mandala was a symbol of the center and through working in this format the creator would be able to find one’s true self. Since I would like to work with populations who struggle with self acceptance and identity, the mandala is a great format for helping individuals with these challenges.