Beans and Rice: Meditation and Revelation

Another successful WE LEARN conference comes to a close.  I’m on the train headed home, still marveling at how great the last two days were.


The conference always has a quiet room, a space where people can go and … well, be quiet, step away from the over-stimulation of the conference, relax, re-center themselves.  There are usually reflection cards in the room, sometimes a labyrinth.  This year there were also cute, battery-operated candles.

This morning I was on  the early shift of a  group that, by day’s end had made a mandala from black, kidney and white beans, red, green and brown lentils, barley, white rice and corn.  The mandala making happened in the quiet room, which meant we worked in silence. Can I say first that I loved this, loved the silence (with some really beautiful music accompanying us), loved playing with the differnt beans and choosing which to put where and how, loved watching what Kathy and Lenore (my other morning shifters) were doing.  I’ve colored in plenty of mandalas.  I have a mandala coloring book, in fact.  And I like coloring them, like choosing the colors, deciding how to showcase the different patterns.  But that coloring fun is not a single thing like what we did today.

Making the design rather than simply coloring in a design someone else has made, working in a group instead of making all the decisions and doing all the work myself … it was wonderful but also incredibly challenging.  The work poked at my desire to control everything, to have things happen the way I want them to.  I could feel myself chafing a little, could feel my itch to stake out a section and keep Kathy and Lenore away from it.  I kept having to talk myself back to remembering how the process was supposed to work.  Even while I was having my little internal struggle, I was trying to work out what was going on with me.  I have some ideas, but  I have to think about that a lot more.

Just as interesting to me as the rearing of my inner control freak’s head was my resistance to connecting my patterns with Kathy’s and Lenore’s and my even stronger resistance to moving directly into the center of the design. Clearly I’ve got me some issues!  Seriously.  But even though I still want to do all this thinking to figure it out, in the moment of working this morning, I was able to push my struggle aside and give up control, move my patterns into Kathy’s on my left, into Lenore’s on my right, and finally into the center of the mandala.

I don’t really see a way of making one of these in a group again any time soon, but I’d like to, would like to poke at myself a little more and see what happens.


See the rest of today’s slices at Two Writing Teachers.

8 thoughts on “Beans and Rice: Meditation and Revelation

    1. I’d love to hear more about that workshop. Sounds interesting. I like the idea of poking at myself … even though I am often resistant to challenging myself that way.


  1. Sounds like your experience at the conference in the silent room was one of growth. I find your writing so real and honest as you admit weakness. You went from liking the mandala idea to not wanting to share and then sharing. Oh, I forgot bravery, as you moved into the center of the mandala.


    1. Thanks, Pamela. I’m still thinking about all the things that experience brought up for me. So interesting to work in silence and to have the silence be so full with my internal dialogue.


  2. Paul

    I have a similar-working mind, I think…and I can say from plenty of experience that the “giving up control” place is one where many beautiful things can and will happen. It’s hard for me to spend time there sometimes, but when I do I am often amazed at the depth and power of the results. I enjoyed this piece of thoughtful introspection. You know yourself well, which is the thing that makes growth truly possible. 🙂


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