Go on a walk outside. Bring a tote bag to collect fallen objects like leaves, sticks, flowers, or stones. Create a sacred circle—a mandala—using the found objects.
What this looks like for me:
Nature and art are two powerful ways I encounter God’s presence. Through both creation and creativity, I deepen my awareness of God’s infinite love, which permeates all things.
So when I was first invited to create a nature mandala through an online offering by Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts, it felt like a beautiful convergence of two of my favorite things.
Making a nature mandala is a simple way to become more present to the God who is always and ever present to us.
Last week, my dear friend Linda and I walked the meandering paths of Descanso Gardens nearby my house. Linda and I share a love for the natural world and enjoy lingering over the fragrance of a rose or marveling at the aerial acrobatics of a hummingbird. We walked slowly, sharing our hearts with one another and stopping often to soak in the sensory beauty of the gardens.
At the end of our walk, we found ourselves in a small redwood grove with camellias blooming in the tiny forest’s understory. Together we collected pinecones and fallen leaves, faded blossoms and sculptured twigs. We carefully created a sacred circle using each lovely item.
The circle held our time together—the beauty of sharing space was given concrete form. Standing over our completed nature mandala with our hands dirty and our hearts full, we took turns offering each other a blessing and giving thanks for the good gift we had received in one another.
Creation and creativity invite us to experience anew the One who created all things.
*Unless the garden you are walking is your own, please select items for your nature mandala that are already fallen to allow the growing things to complete their life cycle, and to remain for others to enjoy.
Middle school teacher, foster mama, and creative contemplative, Stephanie Jenkins is a southern California native who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Billy. In addition to relishing time spent outdoors, she also enjoys yoga, art-making, poetry, and journaling.