Unclogging Vishuddha

Vishuddha, Watercolor, ink, and gouache on paper, 22 in X 22 in, 2019.

I know why I put off making this final mandala in my new series. Speaking up has been a problem for years. And from the very first layer, this throat chakra painting seemed to be shouting…

The throat chakra is said to be the seat of our addictions, and I recorded how I was feeling as I began, “I’m investigating my voice in the world and my addictions. I’m seeking new information about myself and I’m open to radical change. I know I’ve been holding on to so much these past two years, and I see now that I might as well have been grasping at air. I’m ready to let go and move on in the deepest part of myself.”

As the layers built up, patterns emerged by filling in shapes where my handwriting interlocked. A strange thing happened: soft words resulted in sharp forms, and harsh words produced gentle webs. I began to realize that the dualistic thinking of “this is sharp” and “that is soft” just doesn’t work. Everything is somewhere on the spectrum of continual change.

While I was painting in my habitual manner with these mandalas, it occurred to me that there are millions of ways that we can focus or calm the mind, conscious or subconscious, but you can’t always think your way through everything. Sometimes it’s an energetic thing, a blockage maybe eons old, caused by past life trauma. Or an unconscious habit that has become so ingrained that energy has been disrupted, possibly for decades. An energetic block could be caused by an old issue that doesn’t even make sense any longer, and it doesn’t really need to be understood.

I decided that a totally new approach was needed with this making meditation, so I threw it on the floor, squeezed a sponge over it, and let the splashes dry where they would. In effect, the water broke through the layers I had built up in paint. Like the layers of my own self-restraint?

Rather than filling in the spaces where words, overlapped, I began to focus on the haphazard splashes. A departure from my initial methods from the beginning of this series, my throat chakra piece ended in perfect illustration of how far I’d come. A testament to the process, a record of healing, and a starting point for whatever series comes next.

Read more about my mandala making series HERE.

To see the other paintings in this series, check out my gallery HERE.

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