Calm of Coloring Mandalas – Silence, Beauty, Fear

I finally made it to the Big Sur Hermitage. It was a roller coaster of peace, beauty and fear.

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Coloring mandalas calmed me down.

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I was scheduled for a 4 day retreat in February 2017 in Big Sur’s Benedictine Monastery, New Camaldoli. A week before an email informed me that mud slides had closed Highway 1. There was no way in or out by car.

A year later with the northern route open along Highway 1 but the southern route still closed, I traveled south from Carmel. The 1.5 hour drive south from Carmel is some the most raw and beautiful edge of land and sea on our West Coast.  Less than a year old, new road pavement where the old had washed out or needed repair was a testament to the power of land, water and gravity on this fragile coastline.

 

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At my destination, the 2-mile driveway up the mountain brought me to the hermitage and my cabin of comfort and silence.

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My cabin (seen on the far hill) overlooked the Pacific with glorious sun.

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And glorious sunsets.

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Those who come to stay at New Camaldoli, stay in silence. There are no cell phone or internet connections. Talking is allowed in the bookstore and on trails. The chapel fills with the Monk’s song and words during the services open to all.

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The sunny day of arrival and the next day offered blue views of ocean and sky.

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I settled into silence.

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The second night the rains began. On my third day I went to the bookstore and asked for the forecast.  The Monk there told me only half an inch of rain was forecast. I went back to my cabin, concerned because the rain pounded down and down. And that was when I began to fear the washing down of land off the mountain onto the roads. With only the northern route open, I feared a repeat of last year.  I wanted out.  It was hard to meditate. Yoga didn’t do much. And then I started drawing mandalas and coloring them. A sense of calm settled in. I added prayers after coloring the mandalas.mandala-prayers-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

 

 

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On the fourth morning, the rain stopped. It was cloudy with on and off drizzle. I returned to the bookstore and asked for the forecast and how much rain fell when only half an inch was forecast.  The Monk in the bookstore said 5 inches, instead of .5, fell the day before. Two reported mudslides had been cleared. More rain was forecast. I decided to leave.

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On my drive back north I saw one of the cleared small mudslides.  It was a drive filled with awe of raw beauty and the power of land.  I also wanted to be on more solid ground and to be home.  When I got home, I found a part of the beauty, silence and sacredness of this remote holy place came back with me. Also the deep power of mandalas, coloring and prayer was reaffirmed.

The words of Saint Romuald, the Bendictine Monk who founded the Camaldoli order, stay with me, “If you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind.”

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ENJOY & CREATE

 

 

 

 

 

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