intentions

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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A Reminder of the Gift of Pausing Often

A Reminder of the Gift of Pausing Often

One of my heart centered intentions for this year is to pause and meditate ten minutes in my writing cottage before I open my computer for the day.

In the past, I’d meditate right after my yoga practice, then eat breakfast, and get ready for the day. Oftentimes that left me losing the feeling of what I’d gained during my practice and I’d rush right into my work. 

While recently listening to a podcast with Kaya Singer, who interviews wise and wilder women, it was Shamanic Medicine Healer, Susan Jenkins who offered this ritual as one that she does. I loved how it sounded and a resonating, warm feeling washed through me.

I started this ritual last week. So far, I really love it. Though I’ll admit there are some days, like today, with exciting projects on my plate, that I had lots of anxious butterflies flying around in my stomach. I didn’t know if I could sit for ten minutes.  So I chose a word as my mantra. 

I chose center and in my minds eye I slowly wrote out each letter, over and over, until the butterflies disappeared. I think this is the thing with meditation – it’s not going to be perfect – but one that if you can find a way to sit through those times you are anxious, you will be greatly rewarded.

And I was reminded just a few days ago of another way in which to pause when I was deep in my work on the computer, and felt something tugging at me to stop and look.

As I stopped, looked over to my right to my oversized wicker chair, that I saw Gidget looking at me in such a sweet way, which I captured in the photo above. Another way in which I honored the gift of the pause and just sat in silence and stillness with her for a few moments.

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Happy New Year – Tuning into the Messages of My Winged Friends

Happy New Year – Tuning into the Messages of My Winged Friends
A Winged Friend Waits for Daybreak

I took this photo of this sweet, little bird yesterday about a half hour before the sun came up.

Today as I think about the New Year just a few hours away, resolutions are the furthest thing from my mind. They usually are. I don’t set them any longer.

But I did give thought about how I want my life to look like going forward. And I want to live more like my winged friends — the birds, butterflies and dragonflies.

I want to be more open to the flow of life — and not hanging on so tight to things and circumstances I don’t have control over.

A few weeks ago, a friend booked a private SoulCollage® workshop with me. She wanted to set her intentions for the New Year.

As we sat in my new Joyful Pause studio in the lower level of my home, I invited her to think about how she wants to feel in 2016.

While I think it’s great to set goals and intentions, I believe what’s really at the core of those intentions, is how we want to feel.

While she worked on her SoulCollage® card, I intuitively worked on mine without setting an intention really, but instead giving thought to how I want to feel.

As we perused the many images I have set up on tables, an image of a yellow butterfly tugged at my heart. I knew I needed to work with her in creating my card.

And this is my completed card below after working with several images before it felt right and I glued them down.

After my friend and I created our cards, we journaled with them also. This is what my card had to say to me:

I am one who wants to flow with ease along the path of faith and trust in what spirit has in store for me. I want to allow my path to unfold more organically, learning to let go of trying to control outcomes. By doing so, I will feel as light and free as a butterfly, enjoying the ride, and all the gifts that come with expanding my wings.

And that’s it really, I want to feel lighter in letting go of worries and accepting life as it is presented to me.

So while I don’t have resolutions really, I am making a mental note to myself, with my SoulCollage® card I call Freedom Butterfly as my visual reminder of how I want to feel starting right this moment…and gently and softly fly into the New Year.

I shall stop now and then to perch upon a safe place to land, and sit silence as a way of reminding myself to keep my wings open to what Spirit has in store for me.

Wishing you all the best in 2016 and may your heart fill to the top with all that makes your life meaningful for you!

graphicI’m really excited about facilitating a SoulCollage® workshop on January 16th in my new studio, Joyful Pause. I hope to encourage others to give thought to how they want to feel in the New Year, too.

If you are interested in joining me for this creative and fun workshop, please check out the details here or click on purple graphic on the left.

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