The final piece for my mandala course is not worthy of exhibition. It is raw and messy and experimental. It is the culmination of three months of excavation, learning and reflection.
Understanding the mandala has given me license to continue to use circles over and over in my work, which has been remarkably freeing.
The background of the mandala is celestial, representative of the universe. We are but a vapor on this pale blue dot, and yet we are the universe. I am the most and the least important thing. All of human history is nothing compared to the vastness of the universe (there is such comfort in knowing it is not all up to me). I am a vapor and my only responsibility is to be the best version of that vapor. To love and be loved in my brief moment. And yet, I am the center of the universe. I am made of billions of neurons, trillions of cells and a mysterious expanse of consciousness. I am where everything begins and ends- I can only see the world through the two eye I have been given, only feel it with this softest of hearts. And so the galaxies are both near and far.
The heart is the center. The heart weeps and bleeds and shines. It is crisscrossed with connections; friends, family, transatlantic flights and late night phone calls lay the foundation for the web of a lifetime. Piercing the heart are bits cut deep, broken by life and circumstance and dreams deferred.
There are two different shields on the heart. This is both an aesthetic and meaningful decision. I prefer the way the point looks poking into the heart, but need the covering of the shield piece, which covers over and protects the brokenness. Sometimes our pain wounds us and makes us beautiful, sometimes the things we love the most are the ones that hurt the most. Sometimes the Beautiful One soothes our pain and gives us what we need to be stronger and protected.
The blood pours out from the heart and from the galaxies because we never bleed alone. The Great Beyond feels so cold and far away, but it bleeds with us, the world bleeds with us. We are united in our suffering.