mini mandalas: heavens

art, BLOG

Trying light and airy in this one…

I’m currently reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the third book of Madeleine L’engle’s A Wrinkle In Time series. The rune that Mrs. O’Keefe recites is ringing with me…

“At Tara in this fateful hour

I place all heaven with its power,

and the sun with its brightness,

and the snow with its whiteness,

and fire with all the strength it hath,

and lightning with its rapid wrath,

and the winds with their swiftness along their path,

and the sea with its deepness,

and the rocks with their steepness

and the earth with its starkness:

all these I place,

by God’s almighty help and grace,

between myself and the powers of darkness.”

finding the design


Meticulous as these mandala paintings can look, I never plan them out from beginning to end. I can’t. It’s like trying to draw a map of a place you don’t yet know; it’s impossible.

Each design is a combination of inspiration, choice and chance. You take a step (or a few), then you look. The painting shows you the next. It seems that when a painting seems stifled, like nothing is happening or working out, either I’m trying to control it too much and overlooking the opportunities, or I haven’t dared to commit to anything.

I love this painting because it’s a surprise. Looking at it now I don’t quite remember how I got there!

life purpose


For years I’ve been looking for that little thing called Purpose and Meaning in life. Finally, I’m starting to feel that perhaps one of the purposes of life is simply and bravely to blossom, expand and become more of who we are. Because that’s been my yearning.

Life’s purpose and meaning are different for everyone. Tell me, Friends, what are you here (in this life) for, and what makes you feel your days are worthwhile?

it’s how the light gets out


There’s a Leonard Cohen lyric that goes “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in”. It beautifully speaks of grace and love. But I’ve believed in its opposite ever since I heard it from Susan Telford: “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets OUT”.

I am thankful for the outbursts of anger I’ve had over some tough times. While the explosion isn’t ideal (lol) it is nonetheless our suppressed emotions breaking forth to give us important messages from our true selves. When we lose it, break down, flip out, I used to think it’s our inner monster breaking loose because that’s what it looks like on the outside to other people. But it is our light and truth breaking through our usual mask.

assertiveness 101


When you have a child you get to learn to do things all over, like how to be assertive.

One day I found her in tears by the window.
“Grandpa sprayed the window!” She’d been watching grandpa water the garden. The glass next to her face was wet on the outside. He’d pointed the hose at her for fun.

I patted her back, stroked her forehead, told her grandpa was just playing. But she kept crying and repeated what happened over and over. It occurred to me that more was needed to reconcile her; to reconcile this.

The fact that grandpa was playing and meant no harm did not justify or lessen the fact that she was upset by it.

In all my conflict-averse introvertedness I’d do anything to avoid dealing with this kind of thing.
“Liliu, how about you talk to grandpa in the morning? It’s bedtime now.” She’d probably forgotten it by then, which would be perfect.

Seeing her little sad face though, another part of me said: Why can’t she tell him now?

An internal debate ensued. The Brave One pushed arguments about how I’d fail my daughter now if I let this go and make her deal with it alone tomorrow; how it might teach her that her upset wasn’t important or legitimate enough because the offense wasn’t intentional. Or worse, that she was making a fuss and just needed to get over it.

The Whining One rolled her eyes and said, “But it’s not a big deal.”
“Or is that just an excuse because you’re actually scared to do anything about it?”

The Whining One rolled her eyes again, like she couldn’t be bothered with repeating how much I hated confrontations. Which is right. We’d heard them all too often.

In that gap of silence the Brave One inserted herself: “Liliu, you know what, let’s tell grandpa now.”

I still didn’t know what to say, but I opened the window and shouted him to get his attention. To my surprise, Liliu knew exactly what to say.

“Grandpa, don’t spray me again!”

And with that she gave me a lion’s mane and war paint on my cheeks. Riding on her courage I added, “It scared her when you shot water at her!”

“Oh! I’m sorry Liliu!” He shouted back. “I was only playing! I’m sorry!”

The world had stopped when I decided to speak up; and now it moved again. The evening birds sang again. The air was alive again, and so was I.

When you have a child you get to learn to do things all over because she’ll have lots to teach you. As I lay next to my daughter’s little body at night I’m humbled by the greatness of her being.

wrong choice

art, POEMS

(Wrote a poem to go with this painting I made)

Wrong choice of color

on the wrong choice of line

This is a labyrinth

of errors and design.

It’s an accomplishment

to stick to a plan.

But it’s a gift

to lose your way

and find

a new landscape.

The map was only

drawn in sand.

It’s gone the second

you leap.