The benefits of spending time in nature are well documented and this mental health awareness week highlights the benefit of nature on good mental wellbeing. Here at the Creative Living Centre we are in full support of this.
Connecting to nature on a regular basis is a huge part of my personal wellbeing practice. I find joy and beauty throughout each of the seasons and in all weathers and try to extend the same compassion to myself. Being in nature reminds me that I often overcomplicate what is going on in my own life with so many modern distractions. Carving out the time to connect with my breath amongst the trees or by the water helps me connect back to myself and what is really important.
I am the Take Part Coordinator at the Creative Living Centre, I am also a mother to two scrumptious girls and a qualified trauma informed 300 hour yoga teacher. Fostering a love of nature in my young children is so important to me so that they will learn they always have access to a natural mood enhancer whenever in their lives they might feel like they need it.
Today, with your permission, I am going to be guiding you through how to make a mandala out of natural materials, with the invitation to create your own mandala. The world mandala is a Sanskirt word that translates to ‘circle’. Traditionally, mandalas represent the universe and life and act as a reminder of the interconnected nature of everything (are you singing the Circle of Life in your head now, or is that just me?). Mandalas can be found in the natural world from tree rings, to flower petals. Creating a mandala from natural materials can be a great way to mindfully connect to the nature this Mental Health Awareness week.
One of the lovely things about creating a Mandala from natural materials is that it can be done again and again throughout the wheel of the year, each time incorporating different seasonal embellishments, to different results. The activity is suitable for any age group; my 3 and 6 year olds both love helping gather materials to create a beautiful expression of the season just as much as I do.
Before your walk, I invite you to select a basket or small bag to use to gather any interesting treasures you may see to help create your own mandala. Whilst walking you might like to bring your awareness to any sights, sounds or smells you notice that might help inspire your creation. Can you notice any natural mandalas? What sort of natural items do you feel drawn to working with? Perhaps leaves, flowers, twins, stones, or a combination or different materials.
When you have found the items you would like to work with, I invite you to think about where you would like to create your mandala. If you don’t have access to your own outdoor space then perhaps you would like to find a safe spot in a woodland or park where you can do this. Be mindful of leaving loose twigs or any items that may become slippy blocking any pathways when you leave.
When creating a mandala, traditionally the centre point is marked first. You might prefer to work differently but if your intention is to create a symmetrical pattern you may find it easiest to work from the centre outwards, building each new circular layer radiating out from this centre point and continuing outwards as long as you wish.
The invitation, whilst creating your mandala, is to connect to any textures, smells or colours you might notice as you work.
The wind had other visions for our recent creation but we still had lots of fun.
Hope you do too.