Susan Paul Johnson


My mandala journey started at an Advent Labyrinth retreat in 1999. From those auspicious beginnings, where I drew a mandala depicting “Mary Said Yes”, to today where they are a part of my daily life and work, the simple shape of a circle has blessed me with an unpredictable and beautiful unfolding of meaning. I create mandalas as scriptural and spiritual reflections; I use them as a periodic daily practice towards self-understanding and actualization; I create mandalas as active meditations. Mandalas connect me to time and place, enhancing my experience of the moment and allowing me to travel back to that instant in time, no matter how extraordinary or mundane. Many connect me to a spiritual moment – a particular day in a church year (Ash Wednesday), or a particular experience (labyrinth walk).

In more recent years, I have felt called to share this journey with others as well. Right now, facilitating workshops is as much a part of my creative journey as creating mandalas. I have offered a variety of workshops and retreats focused on the church seasons, such as a Lenten Mandala group that is both about creating mandalas and journaling about them. I also do many workshops and retreats outside the church, to interested individuals and focused populations (women’s groups, congregations, mental health groups).


  • UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC MBA 1992, PhD (Business Administration) 1997
  • Brown University, Providence, RI A.B., Organizational Behavior and Management, 1985

    • Mandala Certificate Program, Susanne Fincher and Marilyn Clark, completion June 2012
    • Chakra Mandala workshop, Sacred Thread, Atlanta, Jan 2013
    • Mandala Discovery, Heather Plett, March-April 2012
    • Mandala Intensive, Susanne Fincher and Marilyn Clark, June 2010
    • Viva La Femme Yoga/Visioning retreats, Jamaica, 2010 and 2011
    • Zentangle, July 2009
    • Icon Writing, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church
    • Mandala Workshop, Susanne Fincher, November 2006
    • Labyrinth Training, Evenings at Emory, (CEU)
    • Silent Retreats – Greenbough House of Prayer (Dublin, GA), March 2003, 2005
    • Seasonal Quiet days – various, including one during Advent of 1999 with Annette Reynolds that was my first introduction to creating mandalas.
    • Creation of backyard labyrinths – 2 temporary, 1 in a friend’s backyard celebrating her 40th birthday.


    • Reality in the Round, Nails in the Wall Gallery, September-December 2013
    • Participant, Amerson House Art Market, December 2013
    • Stations of the Cross, Artist, Lent 2013
    • Stations of the Cross, Artist, Lent 2011


    • Third Thursday Mandala Summer Group, June-August, 2013
    • Mandala Intensive, co-leader with Susanne Fincher and Marilyn Clark, June 2013
    • “Finding your Center”, co-leader with Susanne Fincher, March 2013
    • “Hunger”, Women’s retreat for St.Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, February 2013
    • “Creating Community”, Parish retreat, St. Bartholomew’s, Sept 2012 and 2013
    • “Do Good and Share What You Have”, Mandala creation/Lenten journal sharing, March 2012
    • “Return to Me With All Your Heart”, Mandalas and journaling for Lent, February 2012
    • “Light in the Darkness”, Zentangle/Mandala (Co-led), January 2011
    • Kids4Peace Leadership Summit (coordinator), February 2010
    • Childrens’ Education portion of parish retreats, St. Bartholomew’s