o Love: ndalas awakened my creative joy. of Japanese watercolor paints. These would be two ingredients that led to my creative re-awakening. While my friend puttered in her garden, I sat on her deck and lost myself in the feeling of the paintbrush as I swirled and blended colors along the surface of the paper. I awakened my sense of play as I sprinkled salt or tapped scrunched up plastic wrap on the page, and watched how the wet paint dried in unexpected patterns. Looking through this journal, you’ll find mandalas, an art form where shapes and colors often repeat from a center point. I had learned about mandalas 17 years earlier when I taught a high school graphic design program. The art teacher on faculty had studied art therapy, and recognized in me a contemplative sort who would take to creating mandalas for self expression and insight. Mandalas would appear in my art over the years, but it wasn’t until this dark moment in my life when I felt the comfort they can provide in times of distress. Painting the mandalas reminded me how much I loved the creative process and how much I didn’t want to give up on life. Five months later, I would launch the 100 Mandalas Challenge--a personal challenge to create 100 mandalas in 100 days. I was curious about how the mandalas that we create reflect our inner landscape of ideas and feelings. If I created a mandala each day, what would I find? What stories would surface? At that point, I had been blogging for six years and invited my friends from around the world to join me in this challenge. I committed to posting something new each week to fuel our shared curiosity and give us ideas for our mandala practice. The more I explored the topic, the more I fell in love with it. There was so much to discover; from different ways to construct mandalas to finding examples of circular art in every culture. Showing up each day led me to find my voice. I gained clarity and confidence, and tapped into a place of peace and joy that resides deep within each of us. By sharing this creative journey with others, I opened a door for thousands all over the world, many of whom were looking for a creative way to find their own peace and joy in the midst of the challenges that life was serving them. What I love most about the mandala is how it’s accessible to everyone. I often hear people say that they can’t even draw a stick figure and that they are not creative. Within 15 minutes, I show them that they are, in fact, creative; they too can experience the joy of drawing mandalas.