I am a word professional—I work with words, either editing or writing, for a living. And as much as I love words, sometimes I need to visit the other side of my brain; to leave the rational, logical, word-y part of my soul and rest awhile in a place full of images and colors and symbols, sounds or silence.
In the same way, I’ve learned that sometimes the best prayers are not built out of words but out of textures or colors or aromas or tones. I am not a mind living in a body; I am a whole person who exists simultaneously in spirit and in flesh.
When I began coloring mandala patterns several years ago, that practice opened up a sacred space in which I did not have to think or form arguments or explanations. I simply had to be there. I have no training in the visual arts, so I would begin with one color and then go to the next and the next—it was a gradual, open-ended process that gave me the freedom to explore and experience without judging or worrying. I know that I’m a better word person for having discovered this place to be and this way to pray.