For me stage 4 is the hardest stage to face in the Great Round Of Mandala, which of course means it is filled with juicy deep learning…I just have to get past the obstacles telling me NOT to go there! I was reassured when Julie Gibbons from Mandala Magic 2017 said in her experience it was the hardest stage for people to face too.
Stage 1-3, Void, Bliss & Labyrinth feel comfortable and enjoyable to me. They are deeply restful, playful, mostly formless, exploring dreams and different states of consciousness. These first few stages are still very feminine and exploring the levels of our subconscious.
Stage 4 Beginning is the first of the more masculine, active, out in the world stages…where the mandala has more form and symbols and it is all about exploring the beginning of your conscious self and other new beginnings.
The first time you were in this stage was when you were held and seen by your mother as a baby…bravely going out into the world, trying new things with curiosity and innocence and then coming back to your Mum for reassurance, connection and validation. This stage has potential to bring up any mother wounds or issues you may have. It is important to nurture yourself through this stage, honour yourself and your needs and only face the issues that you are able to face at this time. There are many options for exploring New beginnings mandalas (see below) without exploring any mother issues in your life.
For me, personally, this stage brings up ideals of perfect mothering…how I wished for it as a young child and mostly how I wish I could give it to my own children. I have to do lots of journaling around perfect mothering vs good enough mothering to come to terms with (again and again!) the fact that we are all human and we can only ever give or receive good enough mothering. Is it possible that we all carry mother wounds of one sort or another because we all craved perfect, idealised mothering? I’m not sure. As my Mum always reassuringly said to me as a Mum, ‘it’s in the gaps of the mothering that the child grows’ so I wonder do we all need to have only ‘near enough is good enough’ mothering to separate and become who we are in our own right? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this?
I am doing the online Foundations Of Wellbeing program with Rick Hanson this year (& loving it!) and his main focus is on how we, as human beings, need to overcome our negativity bias, our lack mindset and instead learn how to take in the GOOD that is ever-present, and develop a sufficiency or even an abundance mindset! It began to occur to me that it would be beneficial for me to do this when I look at my own mothering…to focus on what is subtly good and positive and here rather than what is lacking.
I did a great inner child meditation for this stage on Insight Timer (Healing Inner Child & Emotional Processing Mediation by Erin Colleen Geraghty) and at the end she asks you to focus on a time of joy in your childhood and these memories of laughter, being seen and heard by both my parents and having fun came flooding in. It occurred to me that there were times when I was deeply nurtured throughout my childhood and life yet within me there can be a feeling of lack. I wondered what would happen if instead of focussing on what I lacked I focussed on what I received from Mother Earth, from both my parents, from loved ones, from myself? This reflection made a profound difference to the way I felt about this stage!
To take it one step further I read about the Mother Archetype and how we as adults can embody this within ourselves (Chakras & their Archetypes by Ambika Wauters).
‘Wholeness, among other things means being a good parent to yourself.’ Fincher
Rick Hanson (Foundations of Wellbeing) is a big believer in developing a felt sense, a visceral feeling inside ourselves in order for our brain to grow new pathways so I did a meditation imagining holding and mothering myself as an adult and the feeling was really profound. I then found it easier to mother my children that day, to be more generous, more accepting, more open. Maybe now as adults we can really bring a sense of being deeply mothered to our own selves …especially if we are Mums too, and are so busy nurturing others that we forget to deeply nurture ourselves. Maybe mothering ourselves deeply will support us to mother others?
What would deeply mothering yourself look like, feel like, sound like? To me it isn’t just about self-care, although that is important, but it is also about deeply seeing, hearing and accepting myself in this moment. We particularly need this form of self-nurturing when we are exploring new beginnings in our life too. I LOVED creating this mandala to reflect on and symbolise the nurturing I have received from Mother Earth, loved ones and myself throughout my life…but to also symbolise the new, deep, felt sense of mothering myself I can now access daily as I begin anew.
Other Mandala options for Stage 4 are to explore (& I recommend doing a few mandalas to really explore this stage):
- Inner child meditations and mandalas to see what mothering your inner child craves now and what new exciting exploration of the world your inner child craves and how you might be able to give this to her.
- Mother Earth and recognise how she nurtures you now and within your life.
- The Mother Archetype within myths, stories, religion and films…and to see how she is reflected in your own life, with receiving and/or giving mothering.
- What is new in your life, what is just beginning or might be about to begin and how does it need to be nurtured or how does your heart, mind and body need to be nurtured as you start beginning something new. Sometimes one of the seeds that lay dormant in stage 1 Void or the possibilities that came bubbling up in stage 2 Bliss, or something that has been in your dreams in stage 3 Labyrinth begins to become reality in stage 4 as you nurture it into the world.
- Your ancestors, your family tree, the mothering through the ages, what can you be grateful for?
- New Beginnings in your lifetime…what are you grateful for? How did you nurture yourself? What curiosity drove you to start something new? How were you nurtured by others? What can you take from these experiences and apply to new beginnings that are happening now?
- New beginnings at springtime, baby animals, the excitement and curiousity they hold.
- Setting intentions mandala to invite in the new.
- Many other Mandala options for this stage in Susan Fincher’s Mandala Workbook
Resources for this blog: The Mandala Workbook by Susanne F. Fincher & Mandala Magic 2017 by Julie Gibbons
Find out more about Joan Kellogg’s work on the Great Round Of Mandala: