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Love and Grief are a Package Deal

 

Love and grief are a package deal. ~Elaine Mansfield

Yesterday John and I spent a few hours at his sister Donna’s house who lost her husband of twenty years a little over five months ago. Donna and I are the same age having graduated together. Words can’t express how my heart hurts for her as she now must move forward in a new way without the love of her life.

It’s certainly a time when one re-examines their own life when something like this happens. While you can understand to a certain degree what she is going through, one can never fully know until we each are faced with it. And grief…so very personal.

But Donna was in good spirits and is making steps forward which was a relief to both John and my hearts. She is such a beautiful, bright spirit in this world – and I’ve always said is the female version of John. They both know how to make other’s laugh and something I’ve adored about them both since I’ve known them.

John and I were both lost in our own thoughts, driving the hour home, when I saw this quote, love and grief are a package deal on my friend, Monica’s Instagram page. While I know this to be true, it really sank deeper in my being reading it at that particular moment.

The thought still on my mind as Donna is, while I puttsed around the house this morning, feeding the hummingbirds, changing the water in the bird bath, I look up to see a chipmunk sunning himself in the sun on the rock in the garden.

Whooosssh went my emotions…a heaviness in my heart for Donna while a moment of love for the sweetness of this dear little chippie looking so adorable on that rock. Oh, how he made my heart smile! So appropriate his timing, I thought. How chipmunks are so playful, skittering here and there, building new paths wherever they go.

And what I wish for Donna as she learns to navigate her world in a new way…that her heart will smile again someday too. One of the hardest things to endure….grief….but that to have loved with one’s whole heart is so worth it. So very worth it.

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A Welcome Surprise Creating My Own Mala Beads

What a treat I gave myself yesterday by taking a Mala Intensive class at JSM BeadCoop with teacher Mary Jo Zagozen. My mom also joined me which was such a special way to spend time together.

What I really appreciated about this class, besides making our own personal mala’s, was all the information given to us during the class and in the handouts that I devoured with eagerness last night.

I’m really beginning to grasp that there are so many ways in which one can practice being mindful. I’ve certainly discovered that in my yoga practice, forms of meditation I do, creating SoulCollage cards, and working with oracle cards, which are part of my rituals.

What I didn’t expect yesterday was how meditative it would be in actually creating my mala beads. From choosing our beads, of which I chose honeycomb agate as I was drawn to the softness of the color which I paired with sandalwood beads which are about compassion and courage, and are traditionally used in making mala’s.

In the traditional mala, 108 beads are used, of which there are many fascinating reasons why. Just to share a few here that I learned and found interesting:

  • There are said to be 108 earthly desires in humans.
  • Some say humans have 108 feelings; 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
  • The chakra centers are where energy lines intersect, and there are said to be 108 energy lines which meet to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, which is the path to self-realization and enlightenment.
  • The number 1 represents God or higher Truth, 0 represents emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 represents infinity or eternity.

There are oodles of other reasons that I could share here as I was in awe of all the connections with 108! But back to my discovery of it being meditative in actually making my mala.

Placing a knot after each bead, at first, I thought would “take too long.” My desire to get my mala made so I could get using it, was first and foremost on my mind. But as I began to make the knots and place bead by bead on the string, I was moved to a peaceful place within. It was so relaxing! I truly didn’t expect this to happen because oftentimes when creating I’m too busy looking ahead to the finished result.

What a welcome respite of knotting and connecting with each bead as I put together my mala. Just writing about this I feel myself transported to the calmness of the experience again.

And another leap for me when I used my mala beads in meditation this morning. I’ve never been able to mediate in silence. I either have earbuds in listening to something on the Insight Timer app or I pick a soothing station on Pandora to listen to while I sit.

But today I took my mala beads in hand with no music. With my mantra I gave thought to this morning which is something I am working on for myself, then closing my eyes, and bead by bead I ran my middle finger and thumb across each bead pulling my mala beads toward me, repeating silently to myself my intention.

When I was at the end where the “guru” bead sits, a wave of gratitude washed over me as that bead is not to be gone over, but rather used to take a moment to thank our teachers and/or higher spirit.

Now I’m looking forward to making more mala beads for myself – not only for the beauty of them, but really for the fact that I was pleasantly surprised by the double meditative process of it – once in creating and then in using them.

And one last thing, besides getting yourself to a Mala bead class if this calls to you, which I have a feeling JSM BeadCoop will offer again as it was a big hit, is a great book about how mala beads helped change one authors life, check out The Magic Mala by Bob Olson.

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Not Missing a Beat

Not Missing a Beat

If you’ve ever lived with a dachshund, you know that they live to make sure you never make a move without them. Even if that means disrupting their beloved time burrowed under the blanket and popping up to sport a temporary dreadlocks look.

Some day’s I only have to move slightly in my chair as way of getting comfortable with no plans what-so-ever of getting up, but Miss Gidget has to be sure as she does her quick scuddle to the surface from below to make sure she isn’t missing out on anything.

Sometimes Gidget reminds me of Gladys Kravitz from the 1970’s program, Bewitched, as she has to know what is going on at all times within our household.

And one of those things that glaringly leaves such an empty space when they move on to the other side. And how you find yourself moving as you did when you had a dachshund, or any dog, or animal for that matter. While we think it is they who should adjust to our lives, we find how we’ve adjusted to make sure they are enjoying the utmost of comfort.

While sometimes it tests my patience that I can’t make a move without my little “dachsling” needing to be at my side, I remind myself to treasure each precious moment.

And today, such a day when I got up from my chair, and she scurried to the surface from her place of rest, with her silly dreadlocks look that my heart melt for the love of her devotion.

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