In the 15 minute short film Mandala Magic we discover how colouring and conversation circles are helping many women recovering from the shock and trauma of domestic violence.
The women are living in refuges and shelters, outreach programs and emergency motel accomodation and are at different stages of the healing journey. The stories coming out of Carol Omer’s programs in shelters with culturally diverse groups of women are powerful, inspiring and often heart wrenching. There are women who have escaped their war-torn homes to come to Australia and then need to confront another kind of violence where their lives are still under threat. Colouring is instrumental in empowering the women as the tools of creativity and story telling transcend cultural and religious differences. The calm, creative and resourceful state induced by colouring is an antidote to the chaos of domestic violence.
Women in crisis face numerous and very complex challenges to overcome the injuries inflicted on them, the trauma to their children and the vulnerability of their pets. Many have found sanctuary in colouring and conversation circles and are able to plan safer, healthier futures for themselves and their children by accessing personal development tools within the safe and peaceful space of the colouring circle.
In this film Carol Omer, life coach and author of the program, tells how her own story influences her work. In her early life she was a teenage runaway who drifted into youth work after several years of travelling. She eventually worked as a program developer in women’s shelters and outreach services, specialising in personal development strategies for vulnerable women. In 2001 she reached a personal and professional turning point when her life long friend was murdered in domestic violence.
Around this time Carol discovered Dr Carl Jung’s insight into the healing power of mandalas and the recent discoveries in neuroscience and neuro-plasticity inspired her to develop a simple relaxation method based on colouring mandalas in a conversation circle. She refers to the process as a group medARTation that any woman can access, no matter how chaotic or transient their situation. The approach connects participants with their intrinsic healing and creative capacities that can transform their lives.
Mandala Magic explores how participants tap into the Wise Older Women Within and the important role of art and creativity in recovering from domestic violence by talking to women with direct experience of the method either as clients, support workers or program managers. The colouring and conversation format has been found to be so effective that that it is being used in women’s colouring and conversation circles for healing and stress relief across a wide range of human services, for staff development and team building and simply for relaxation to improve quality of life. Women who attend Carol's Colouring and Conversation Circle MeetUp group are now creating their own home circles with friends and family. Mandala Magic will be used for staff development and training for women’s health workers and as a peer education tool.
Directed by David Salomon
Produced by Simply Splendid Productions.