Lesson Video and Resources Below…

“We are asleep on a goldmine, on a wellspring of energy, on a volcano of creativity, on unbelievable reserves of genuine love. Everything is there, in the hidden corners of Humanity, in the interior recesses of men and women throughout the planet. Everything is there to form a more human world.”

Andre Rochais, founder of PRH International School of Adult Development, priest, psychologist, educator

Way to Being: Mandala

Our third evening of Way to Being applied the 3 foundational practices for this series to a new medium: Mandala. The reflective practices of creative expression, reflective writing, listening and speaking in-depth are researched tools that are transferable to a personal practice and other settings and groups.

“What about others?” and “Are there people from my past or present that awaken for me a sense of Spirit, meaning, or call?” were the guiding questions for this quiet, retreat-like evening. Students learned the 5 universal shapes and their meanings. Creative adaptations were encouraged for personal use at home:  Mandala for on-the-go, busy people; for those without artist “spaces” at home or want a spiritual practice for small spaces or laptop notebooks; Mandala for outdoor places and with small groups.

By detaching from ideas, performative motivations or interior critiques, students were invited to follow a slow, meditative rhythm for working, choosing, drawing, and coloring in a repetitive and relaxing way. Individuals were given time for creating a personal Mandala, followed by a period for reflective writing. Small groups allowed an opportunity for speaking and listening in-depth. We closed the evening in the large group, sharing questions, comments, challenges, and graces from the practices.

For your on-going Contemplative Creativity practice:

  1. Dedicate a place and time for your creative expression. Choose what is most helpful as a medium or practices from our three evenings. Keep your collage, painting, or Mandala materials easily accessible.
  2. Take time for reflective writing. Have a pen and paper or notebook handy. Close any contemplative practice by asking, “What’s alive in me now?”
  3. Make notes regarding any personal observations, questions, or challenges.
  4. Find a spiritual director or spiritual companion to listen to you as you share your insights and on-going discoveries from your work. Try reading your writing aloud. Pay attention to on-the-spot responses that signal further exploration.

Additional Resources:

5 Universal Shapes- Research and Resources

Mandalas from Mandala Artist: Carla McConnell

Free Mandala Coloring Pages for Personal Practice

Catch-up or Re-visit:


Mandala or “circle” is an ancient, spiritual practice that encourages our contemplative way of being. Our initial exercise will be to learn and draw the 5 universal shapes. By spending time with the presented theme, we create a quiet, interior space and allow our minds to notice and follow an invitation from “below the neck,” a felt sense. The mandala slowly emerges through a methodical choosing, drawing, and coloring each layer, becoming a meditation that forms a design of personal meaning. Stepping back from the work encourages further reflection: “What does this process or creative expression reveal to me?”


Simple, easy, and inexpensive, meant to encourage freedom and use, located in or around home or found at a local drug store or craft shop. Please do not feel pressured to go to any significant effort or expense to prepare for this program.

  • Sharpened pencil and eraser
  • Black ink pen or back, fine-tip Sharpie;
  • Round plastic lids or containers, at least 2 different sizes (approx. 1½” & 3″, 4½ ” &  6″, etc);
  • A ruler or straight edge; 
  • Colored pencils or fine-tip colored markers;
  • Paper, tablet, sketch pad, or unlined journal of any size;
  • A board or flat surface for working, protected as needed by newspaper, brown bags, or sheet;
  • A pen and lined paper for reflective writing.

Optional and additional materials for mandala:

  • Materials from evenings  #1 and #2.

Session Three Video:

Catch-up with Way to Being Session One

Catch-up with Way to Being Session Two

Our Guide:
Carla Orlando, M.Ed, is an educator and spiritual director who teaches discernment, reflective writing, and contemplative prayer at Seattle Pacific University and at the Grunewald Guild for art and spirituality. Carla’s ministry includes Spiritual Direction Services at the Ignatian Spirituality Center, the Spiritual Exercises of Everyday Life retreat, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative. Carla’s somatic method, training, and supervision with PRH (Personnalite et Relations Humaines) International School of Adult Development is integral to her personal approach and guides her work with university students, faculty, organizational professionals, and people of faith.

Questions? Email Sylvia Sepulveda.

Contemplative Creativity meets the the second Wednesday of each month at 6pm PT, via Zoom. 

Learn more at our Contemplative Creativity Page.

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Way to Being III – Resources