Sometimes, a Christmas card is more than a simple greeting at the holiday.
Sometimes, for the maker of the card and for those who receive it, the Christmas card has a larger message of hope and healing.
This year, 2016, has been difficult for America and for Americans, especially the last couple of months. Although we are finding ways to move on, we are very aware that there is much work to be done, to rebuild trust and a sense of hope for the future, given our current reality.
Like many of us, our friend Pat Rooney was dismayed at the tone and the tactics of the recent presidential election. Pat is an artist and retired art teacher, and she used her skills to create a Christmas card that addresses her hope that we are on a path to healing, as a country composed of people who are pretty darn divided right now.
For her card, Pat combined the Buddhist practice of creating a healing mandala with Christian images of the Nativity, and added a little bit of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, from Ecclesiastes 3:3, to create a card that transcends a specific religious holiday and speaks to a shared desire to move forward, to heal, to hope.
The design is specifically inspired by Buddhist sand sculptures, those designed to be meticulously created and then washed away in water. According to Buddhist scripture, “sand mandalas transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them,” and are designed to promote healing.
The interior of Pat’s card, expresses this message:
The Tibetan sand mandala is an art form constructed as a vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality and a social/cosmic healing of the environment.
The card serves to remind us that, no matter what religion we adhere to, or to none at all, we share a lot. We all desire security and peace of mind, we recognize impermanence and know that change is inevitable, we seek ways to stay positive, to adapt to changes, and to work with other members of our communities to find common ground and, simply, to like each other again.
It’s a time when we must make a conscious decision to choose healing.
The United States is not the only place, right now, where there’s uncertainty and discord. For many, the Christmas season of 2016 finds them in terrifying, sad, dire straits.
Wherever you live, whatever your religious beliefs, whatever wounds you might seek to heal, whether your own or your community’s or the world’s, Pat and I are sending you her mandala, as a sign of hope.