Today I am filled with some childhood memories of mandalas.  Perhaps it is because the 14th was my mother’s birthday, or in part it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.   But a lot of what is coming up is that year that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.   I was eight, my brother Tim was just born.   The details are fuzzy.  But I remember getting a Spirograph that year for Christmas from my grandparents.  My birthday the day prior I turned nine.

I am curious now that connection with them is so strong.   I sense there were seeds planted in my youth to help me find my way to the truth.  When I was ready to handle it.   Because at eight or nine years old, it was too much for my fragile soul.

Mandalas Defined

A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. In the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism it is used as a map representing deities, or especially in the case of Shintoism, paradises, kami or actual shrines.

A mandala generally represents the spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers.  In spiritual or religious process, a mandala is a period of approximately 40 days in which time the human system completes one physiological cycle.

Childhood Mandalas

So back to my childhood memories of the Spirograph.   I was obsessed with it.   At the time my world was complete chaos, it was 1974 and I was struggling with the weight of the world on my shoulders.   My mother was sick, soon after that my grandfather was ill and stress was my constant companion.   I didn’t know it at the time but that simple toy helped calm me.    A toy that came out the year I was born.

So this week I have been stressed.   I just put on an event with a friend and the let down from it was hard.   I learned a lot, and I have been beating myself up for not knowing better.   Work was busy and then there is the drama at the church we go to.   I found this mandala to color and I colored it.   The process calmed me.  It reminded me of a time of chaos and how I found solace in a few colored pens and a toy.

Breast Cancer Awareness

What I am understanding, is that it is two years since my BRCA journey began.   I have struggled with how I look and I remember clearly hearing my mother crying in the bathroom on many occasions.   Not understanding what was wrong.  We were only told that she was sick and to behave ourselves.   I think I was in my late teens when I found out she was a Breast Cancer Survivor.  Only now some 47 years later, I understand.

How fortunate I was to have reconstruction, back in 1974 that wasn’t an option.   Breast Cancer was not discussed, a taboo subject.  Betty Ford underwent treatment for Breast Cancer just months prior to my mother.  When Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1974, a mastectomy—often a radical mastectomy involving removal of the breast, muscle and lymph nodes—was the standard of care.

This morning my nightgown was unbuttoned when I caught myself in the mirror.   I was tickled pink that finally I saw my image and didn’t want to cry.   The road is not over for me, I still have another revision surgery that will happen in December, but for now, I am grateful.   I had the ability to fight cancer on my own terms and win.   It has been a hard road, and faced with the same decision I would do it all over again.

Rev. Colleen Irwin
Reverend Colleen Irwin is a Spiritual being having a human experience as a Blogger, Wife, Mother, Mentor, Healer and Public Speaker living in Rochester New York. Colleen, a Natural Born Medium, teaches, lectures and serves Spirit when called upon. She remembers speaking with Spirit as a child and learning how to share this knowledge with others has been an adventure that she captured in her book “Discovering Your Stream”. Colleen has been mentored by Reverend Jack Rudy, and ordained as a Priest in the Order of Melchizedek by the Reverend Dan Chesboro through the Sanctuary of the Beloved. When she is not doing her Spiritual work she is a volunteer docent sharing Susan B. Anthony's history to visitors of the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester. Her trust in Spirit gave her a new title – PREVIVOR. She now uses her platform to educate others about the BRCA genetic mutation and how one can take control of their health and well-being.
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