Valerie Dearing is an art teacher and yoga teacher in the northeast. Valerie teaches annually at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, where she is the artist-in-residence, leading artists and non-artists alike in a wide variety of arts and crafts. She teaches the seasonal staff there everything from line drawing and meditative watercolor painting to crocheting projects, body casts, and many other activities.

I asked her to describe a basic art project that would use mindfulness and not require much artistic skill. She recommended making mandalas made from items found on a nature walk. A mandala is a sacred circle used for healing.

In order to make a mandala, you’ll need a small piece of cardboard or heavy paper to support the items.

Take a walk in nature and collect:
Small stones
Pine cones or leaves
Things that please you
Add things from your stashes such as little jewels or beads.

Arrange them in a circular shape as a mandala, which is a prayer – a sort of nature prayer – and arrange it with someone or something in mind that needs to be healed. You can leave them outside and let nature take its course or you can bring them inside and leave them in a special place to remind you. Doing this simple piece of art can bring about a sense of peace and calm and leaves something beautiful behind.

The bottom pictures are an example of a mandala that is placed below a meditation bell at the sanctuary on-site at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY.