chronic illness · creativity

the art of mandalas

When I became severely ill last year and could no longer work after being diagnosed with chronic illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as it is also known, I spent many many days lying in bed recovering and simply trying to rebalance my body’s malfunctioning internal system as best as I possibly could. It was around then that I began picking up my pens again, my pencils, my paints, my sketch books and drawing pads. My spirit had become so wrecked, so low in self esteem that I was desperately reaching out for something to take hold of and find a sense of worth in my capabilities as a human being again. If I could not work, who was I? My identity was very much wrapped up in my abilities to people please and work hard, and without this I was drenched in the terrifying mindset that I was in fact, worthless.

So, slowly but surely, I picked up my pencils and began to draw again. I have always loved creativity as a process and thrive when my artist’s side comes out to play, and had no idea just how much of a lifeline this would become in time.


The process of mandala design is very simple, it works on a beautiful, rhythmic sequence of repetition, pattern and line, leading outwards from a central point. To me, this is an incredibly spiritual concept, bringing everything out into life from a central point within ourselves, our creativity, our energy, our love and power flowing directly from our deep innermost selfs to meet the rest of the world. The method of mandala design is to draw circles and lines to create segments, from then which you would fill in the spaces with repetition of pattern, line and tones to create this wonderfully detailed, intricate picture built up over time. The process itself is incredibly therapeutic, wonderfully repetitive and mesmerising to watch as the bigger picture enfolds and begins to take shape. The most beautiful thing is that quite often you do not plan for a final outcome, you simply begin and let it take shape and grow organically and in its most raw essence, a bit like the human existence really.


How do you find time to chill out and meditate through creativity? Through artwork?

Mell xx


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