Mandala, (Sanskrit: “circle”) in Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, a symbolic diagram used in the performance of sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation.

The mandala is basically a representation of the universe, a consecrated area that serves as a receptacle for the gods and as a collection point of universal forces.

Shortly before we left Georgia in late April, my sister Sheila posted a challenge: to create a mandala from objects that you found at home. Sheila had made an incredible piece and I was inspired to try it.

My first impulse was to cheat. I was living in a rented condo and did not have access to my “stuff”, the things that I had at my Massachusetts home. We were going to the beach a couple of times a day and there was gorgeous stuff there. However, that would clearly subvert the challenge - to use objects found at home - and potentially create bad karma. I pondered it for 24 hours.

In the middle of the night I thought, “silverware drawer”.

After going to the beach to see the sunrise, a dog walk and breakfast I opened the drawer. Perfect radials. I laid out the spoons and forks to create a circular shape. Found a tangerine and some grapes in the refrigerator for the center. Went outside onto our little porch and OMG what beautiful options there were just outside our door. Clipped some ferns, picked up some blossoms and added them to the silverware. I used some shells that I had collected at the beach and placed in a box to take home. Nestled them in the curve of the spoons. It was so satisfying and so beautiful. So immediate. I fell in love with this process.

I took a photograph of the mandala so that I might share it with my sister. I showed it to Mark and then took it apart. Silverware in the dishwasher (we are in the midst of a pandemic, can’t be too clean), flowers and ferns into a bowl to adorn the table, shells back into the box. I thought about it all day and it made me very happy.

Still in love with it. Did some other mandalas when we were in Georgia. Used the beautiful materials that were all around us.

mandala with feathers

Learned to recognize mandalas that occur in nature.

natural mandala

This is a mandala I saw on Driftwood Beach in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

I have resumed the process of making mandalas since we have returned to Massachusetts and I will be posting some of my mandalas going forward. I am hoping that my experience may inspire others to adopt the practice which is very, very easy and so satisfying.


A blessing and a thank you to my wonderful sister, Sheila.