Mandala for focus This is a mindfulness practice and an experiment I am trying for 2017. I invite you to join me.  Each week of the year I’ll pick a word or concept to focus on for the week.  The new concept will be in my blog post for that week.  It will provide a filter to experience and view the world.  My goal for each concept is to develop a deeper understanding of it, but not  as an intellectual game.   My  hope is that I’ll be able to reach a deeper understanding and integrate it into my life in a more practiced way.  I want to move beyond knowing about something intellectually and have it really reside in my being.  I don’t know about anyone else, but the ever changing flood of things I am supposed to focus on is a challenge.  I cannot simultaneously focus on breath, kindness, creating community, listening, right speech, justice, eating consciously, being organized, chi, flow, peace, and love.  But, since everything is connected, I could conceivably start anywhere and pull that thread to reach them all.  I think the trick is to go deeper with any one of them and not get stuck in some surface understanding of any concept.   So that’s my plan.

There are a myriad of ways to work with focus words but life gets busy and we might get to the end of the day and find we didn’t focus on the concept at all.  Here are a few recommendations for success:

  1. Begin and end each day with the focus concept.  Take a few minutes in the morning to contemplate the word(s) and write a few  sentences in a journal about them.  At the end of the day, do the same.  This doesn’t have to be a long. If you are new to journaling, you should know that there are not rules. You can write in sentences or not.  You can observe grammar rules or not. You can draw pictures, graphs, maps, or whatever represents your connection to the concept.
  2. Find ways to remind yourself of the concept throughout the day.  Note cards and sticky notes are great tools.  You may want to also use reminders on your phone.  When you see the reminder, stop for a moment and breathe with the concept or word.  Let the concept seep into the cells of your being.
  3. Get some colored pencils and draw your impression of the concept and post your drawings around your house or workspace.

Let me know if you have other ideas for working with the weekly concepts.




  1. Madhuri Land
    June 26, 2017

    I am sorry to hear a loved one is ill. It’s such a challenge to stay in the “all is well” mindset when someone you love is struggling! Comforting thoughts and prayers are headed your way.

    • Joann Calabrese
      June 29, 2017

      Thank you so much Madhuri!


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