Yesterday was a rough day. Let's just say grief, the stress of work, everything, it all got a bit much.....it happens. So I reached for my toolbox of survival strategies and today I chose art.
I'm currently subscribed to Shelley Klammer's most wonderful 100 Days of Art Journal Therapy. The task for the day was quite straightforward, to colour in a pre-drawn mandala pattern. "The colouring of a pre-drawn mandala pattern can be surprisingly soothing especially during times of emotional distress."
Perfect, I thought, here comes my blanket of peace, my safe retreat. But it's at this point that I note I have no pre-drawn mandala pattern, yet for some reason I have become very focused on this task as the only route to my inner order. I know, I will draw my own. I know I have an ancient school compass in my art pencil-case. I don't think I've actually used it since trigonometry classes many moons ago. I awkwardly screw the pencil into the compass and begin to make my circle.
But the screws on the compass are loose and my marks go wide of their mark. My perfect mandala is not so perfect and I begin to feel a ridiculous level of distress. It's not the mandala. It's me. I am so desperate to exercise control over my universe that this trivial event becomes something epic and something monumentally painful..... because my Dad is dead and I cannot get him back. And I start to cry and the tears fall and I feel hopeless. And at some point in this sadness I let something go and I look at my not so perfect mandala and I think maybe it's not meant to be so perfect and I put down my compass and start to freestyle - adding my own lines and shapes and patterns, and they are not perfect, but they are perfect in their imperfections and the results make me feel happy and give me a sense of freedom.