True story: when I was 15 I was given a mandala colouring book for my birthday. For those unfamiliar with mandalas, this is one:
The mandala comes from Sanskrit meaning circle and I quote the mandala project here:
” It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.”
According to mandali.com
|Coloring mandalas is a relaxing activity that helps us feel centered and peaceful. This explains why it appeals to children and parents, the elderly, therapists and teachers, and those in the health and healing professions. It is a perfect activity for anyone who seeks relaxation, quiet and inner peace.
I’m not sure how many children you know that are looking to feel centred and peaceful, I at 15 certainly wasn’t but it might give an indication of how I was perceived at that age. In hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t as much a birthday present as a plea: please sort it out. Whatever it was, my unpeaceful and uncentred self shoved it in a drawer and that’s where it lives 13 years on.
The memory of this mandala experience kind of puts me off opting for the meditation group silent retreat; the silent retreat bit being one of the 12 challenges. Another option would be in a convent or another religious house but missing out on becoming centred and peaceful, I’m genuinely worried that I might hurt a well-meaning nun if I’m struggling with being silent.
The only reason why I want to try to be silent for a couple of days is to give myself permission to do nothing. Doing nothing is my biggest fear: hence the running, the reading, the listening to music, the endless pondering about how to keep moving forward if not upward. The restlessness that drives me and which I love, can at times drive me insane. It tires me and then I get upset about being tired and go for a run to prove I’m not tired that I can keep going. Pushing my body, so I can push my mind. It’s a fine line and I have crossed over to the wrong side of the line a couple of times, which is good because you start reading the signs better, know when you have to step back.
Stepping back yes, but complete silence? Complete shut down communication, just to be able to do nothing. That’s what I long to do. I’m not looking for the meaning of life, what to do with my life or whether my prince will come. (He’s probably not in a convent anyway!) I just want silence of the brain, of the soul. So I might just do it myself: lock myself in somewhere nice for a couple of days and let the world go by.