This year marks my 20th year of work in Jungian psychology, first as an analysand, and then as an avid member of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York and Jung Foundation of New York, through which I attended countless lectures, seminars, retreats, and workshops -- as well as read tome upon tome of Jungian work.
Many workshops involved creative processes including writing through active imagination, sculpture, movement, and most often drawing, painting, and other graphical art.
And yet I have never created a Mandala -- a contained work of art representing one's inner world.
Jung himself refers to creating his own Mandalas, as well as to his analysands creating theirs -- my own analyst has suggested I give it a try -- and I've never doubted that doing so would be good for me. Yet whenever a Mandala creation workshop would come around, I'd somehow manage to have a scheduling conflict.
Truth is: I think I've been afraid to.
I've been afraid of the blank canvas as much as I've been afraid of the blank page. What if I chose the wrong symbols? What if I chose based on ego rather than intuition?
What if I made a Mandala that showed me not who I really was, but who I wish I were, or was afraid I might be? Or what if it were a nonsensical jumble of images?
Well... even that could have been helpful.
As I've become more at home in my own creativity these past few years, I have become less afraid of things coming out wrong, and been more at ease with letting them simply come out ... and then going from there.
A Mandala helps to restore order in the psyche, as well as free up energy for creativity.
As Jung notes:
The mandala serves a conservative purpose—namely, to restore a previously existing order. But it also serves the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, something new and unique.
In my case, though, I was afraid it would be like opening an overstuffed closet -- and getting clobbered by an avalanche of psychological detritus.
Could I bear to sift through it the misshapen, crumpled, boxed, bagged, and even broken parts of myself -- and recognize them as my own?
And the answer is: I don't know.
I haven't done it yet.
But I did take my first tentative steps as the New Year began....