|I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing . . . which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time . . . Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious. CARL JUNG Memories, Dreams, Reflections|
I sketched this simple mandala for myself some time ago; it helped me create order and clarify direction in a life which seemed, at the time, chaotic and anarchic. The circle signifies the unity of the universe (macrocosm) and the unity of the self (microcosm); all eight segments are individual, yet closely related — equally important parts of the whole. This is my life as creative self-expression; all aspects are essential to me, though some aspects may exert greater influence than others at different periods. Facets such as sexual, emotional, family and social relationships are not represented by this particular mandala, but that is not to say these things are not important — they inevitably impinge on and colour all the wedges, since everything is connected.
1. Private: This is the core of the self, the mysterious and unknown self, the self which has an inner, secret life, an almost primitive and animal-like self, the part of the self which is only partly acknowledged by oneself and hardly ever by others. However, it is a defining part, and necessary for mental, physical and spiritual survival. It's associated with instinct, emotion, creativity, irrationality, spontaneity and the unconscious, and can be dangerous — though it's even more dangerous if unrecognised or ignored. It's that part of the self which Freud and Jung and countless novelists have exposed in their work.
2. Reading: One can only ever read a tiny proportion of all the books one wants to read. You have to evaluate, discriminate, be guided by chance, fate and circumstance. My current reading is focused on history, geography, travel, literature, the arts, biography, natural history, popular science, folklore, myth, religion, spirituality, philosophy, cookery, gardening and health.
3. Writing: Poetry, Blogging, Other.
4. Arts: Music, plastic and visual arts, photography, literature.
5. Walking: Long and short distances, different modes of travel, Europe, landscape, geology.
6. Cookery: Recipes, cookery books, world cuisine.
7. Gardening: Plants, flowers, trees, fruit, vegetables, gardening books, design, wildlife.
8. Health: Stretching, resistance and cardiovascular exercises, walking, running, yoga, meditation.
Let me hasten to say that this is an 'ideal' framework, a mental paradigm which is never completely realisable; nevertheless, it's good to have goals and guidelines. It makes me feel better to lay things out like this, to prioritise what's really important in my life, and helps me realign myself at those times when I'm suddenly conscious I'm frittering away the hours.