When I saw this breathtaking Red mandala by Kathy Klein, the artist behind Danmala.com, something clicked inside me. Though for the artist it may represent something completely different, for me this was a Menstrual Mandala!
Our fluid, red, recurring cycles create designs throughout our menstruating years… Each week a petal, each month a circle, each year a flower in the necklace of our life. What better representation for it than a mandala?!
The Sanskrit word Mandala means Circle, and represents the Universe in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Artist Kathy Klein reversed the word, and explains on her site: dan in vedic sanskrit means The Giver, and mala – a Garland of Flowers, thus Danmala is “The Giving of Flower Circles”. Put together, the words Mandala and Danmala become the Universal Giving of Flower Circles. How is this for a description of Menstruation?!
What if we started seeing our menstrual cycles as Mandalas? What if we tracked floral patterns rather than symptoms? What if we sought to see beauty in our cycles rather than pain?
“Oh,” you might say, “But I have pain every month…” Pain is an alarm signal. Pain does not occur by design. It shows up for a purpose. It comes up in order to draw your attention to a pattern that is not working for you, and to invite you to modify or change it. Being active in the world while your body begs to rest, renew, and replenish — may not work well, at least not for your body and soul. Though your mind may insist on pushing on with working, meetings, or errands – your body demands rest!
It seems inevitable that you take time off, but you can choose how this may come about: You could push yourself to the limit during menstruation, experience physical pain or emotional discomfort, and eventually collapse in bed, being too “sick” to work… Or – you could take the first day of your menstruation off (or a half a day, or an hour in the morning, or your lunch break at work) and withdraw into your own quiet sacred space. You could rest during this time, or you could doodle, daydream, meditate, write, take a nap, stretch, and… you could create a Menstrual Mandala!
A Menstrual Mandala is a pattern of beauty. In order to observe the emergence of a pattern – you would need to track your inner life. Assign a different color to different emotions, relationships, and needs, then create a different symbol for each of them. Harmonious or satisfying feelings could be represented by moons, spirals, or circles. Jarring emotions could be represented by angular shapes such as sharp angles, lightening bolts, or jagged arrows. Match each shape to the color that expresses it best for you.
Start a practice of marking your calendar daily with the shapes and colors of your experiences. After a month of tracking, take time on the first day of your Menstrual Flow, to sit quietly and look back at the month since your last period. Breathe deeply and start creating this month’s Menstrual Mandala: using pencils or paints, paper cut-outs or flower petals, start arranging your experiences into a circular Mandala. What creates beauty is not an individual occurrence of discomfort or joy, but the overall pattern that emerges from their interplay.
Arrange your experiences into a Universal Flower Circle! Create Mandalas (or Danmalas) out of the richness of your inner life. Mix that which didn’t work with that which did – into a flower of life. Instead of dwelling on the details – remove yourself from the minutia of each occurrence into a bird’s eye view. Create magnificence every month as the Flower of that cycle. Who knows, you may well be surprised: by the end of your creative process you may find that the 1st day of your Flow was actually pain free!
To see more of Kathy Klein’s Danmala creations visit: www.danmala.com
© 2013-2017 DeAnna L’am ~ All Rights Reserved
This is indeed beautiful! Thanks for your influence, I have designed my life to be able to take the first day of my period off. It is wonderful to know I don’t have to massage other people instead care for myself and treat myself to things I love unrest. However, I still have pain. I thought Taking that time off and resting for at least a year now every month, would have some impact, but the cramping keeps me up at night it’s so bad. It’s hard to track and focus on beauty when you’re in the grips of terrible pain!
Lisa, it is wonderful that you have made time for YOU during the 1st day of your period!
The next step on the journey of becoming pain-free is honoring your cyclicity, your womb, your menstrual cycle, your womanhood! There are many ways to do this and I hope you explore them all!
I really like this concept of tracking our menstrual cycle and emotions, using different colours and symbols. Taking time out to engage in inner creativity drawing a Menstrual Mala sounds like a really beautifu healingl and honouring way of embracing our flow and all that it represents in our life. Thankyou DeAnna. This could be a transformational practise for Women of every culture.
Thank you DeAnna for this beautiful invitation and the wonderful creative moments it offers!