Trash Mandala


Me in my groove, shooting Jessica Swift, Manzanita, OR

Trash Mandala

Let your fear fumble on this sand, like the kids
who race the gulls and bobble earthward, then lose themselves
in a magic carpet of shells and leave the birds
to their flying. Let your grieving meet this
shoreline so when the tides advance, they will gift you their seaweed
in exchange for yours. Let your pain become a trash mandala
you shape into a bicycle, with bottle caps for wheels and a taillight fashioned
from a felled pacifier, and look how bright and possible the beach becomes,
even in your solitude, how the castoffs sparkle, how what’s been torn away
can still steer you through the dunes toward home.
-Poem by the incredible, Maya Stein

That is what the artist does.

The artist takes their pain and makes it into something else- a poem, a song, a painting, a trash mandala.

It’s the magic, the alchemy of creativity. It’s what makes the pain of the world a bit more bearable. The way we can turn our stories into something like gifts, sparks, beauty.

I’ve been fascinated by the fox song all week since I discovered it. It is so weird and genius and catchy. And I love that the Norwegian duo of brothers that came up with it tried to write the worst possible nonsense song and then got a fancy production company (that makes videos for Beyonce) to shoot it. It’s genius. Magic. Total trash mandala.

I want to live there more. Toes in the sand, combing for sea glass and heart rocks. Taking macro photos of sand crystals glittering in my lens. Impossibly close.

I want to be lost in a whirl of paint, of crimson on my fingers and listen to music and feeling connected — to spirit, to God, to myself. To go to that place where I feel untouchable. That place where I don’t need anyone or anything. That place where I don’t need the phone to ring or the ping of a message or food or anything at all really.

Just right in the moment.

Sometimes I forget this places is the most natural to me, most like home.

Lost in yellow ochre and phthalo turquoise.
Lost in music and shapes and color and yes and this is it.
This is all that I need.




  1. Posted November 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink


  2. Posted November 6, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    After working on my courage worksheets this afternoon, I wrote a post for tomorrow with some of my wants, too… there is something about facing fear that makes us very present- right here, in the moment, don’t you think?

    Headed over to the course to catch up on today’s lessons!

  3. Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Reading this I just feel your fearlessness in expressing your desire. You’re free and beautiful, writing like this.

  4. Mariella
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Love this! xo

  5. Posted November 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I love this, Andrea. That place is natural to us, but we so often avoid it or postpone going there. Why??? I don’t know. But sometimes I think about doing something I love or talking to someone I love or going someplace I love – and I literally tell myself it’s too good, too pleasureable and so I shouldn’t!!!

    PS. You look great in that jacket and those colorful pants.

  6. Posted November 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Love this!

  7. Posted November 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    “Sometimes I forget this places is the most natural to me, most like home.” Truth!

    I think it takes courage to recognize this and to believe it to be true. I marvel at the fact that to take this step is relatively easy but not the path that I seek every day. I need to change that. Thank you for this lesson.

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