Lessons from a Magical Mala

Empowered Mala from Emei QigongI struggled a bit deciding what I would post as my last blog of 2012. However, as has been the case for much of this year – the Universe decided for me – and I willingly let it. You see I just spent over half an hour restringing the empowered mala I have been wearing faithfully since purchasing it at a Level 1 Emei Qigong training class (with Pat Bolger) in the fall of 2011. That Qigong class was a pivotal point in my healing progression, and marks a period of awakening that I do not take for granted. When I wear the mala on my wrist I am reminded not only of the fact that it has been blessed by monks, but also of the innate power I hold within myself to feel love, gratitude, trust, and safety. It is not at all surprising to me that the restringing of the mala has provided numerous additional lessons that wrap up this transformational year.

Lesson 1: Nothing is Easy

To say that restringing this mala has been a challenge is an understatement. This last attempt marks the fourth time I spent an inordinately long time trying to nudge the 18 blessed beads (along with the source bead) along a decidedly unwilling cord. The first attempt went fairly smoothly as I used thin plastic jewelry cording designed to easily make bracelets. However, shortly after completing the project I noticed that the mala no longer maintained the same tight, secure sensation I had come to love from the original piece. Around that time, I attended my second Level 1 Qigong class (because I just couldn’t get enough of the information). At that event I reread a handout on handling empowered objects and learned that it is best to use natural fiber cording like cotton or cotton-silk when restringing a mala. Agreeing natural is always better I headed back to the craft store and purchased two different styles of cotton cording – a colorful thick cord, and a thin silvery style. I was very drawn to the shimmery, silver cord, but initially opted against using it because it was a bit too thin. Yet, after restringing the bracelet on the colorful cord and wearing it for a few weeks, something just didn’t feel right. The knot at the end kept loosening and I didn’t feel comfortable wearing it. That told me that perhaps my instincts toward the silvery cord may have existed for a good reason. So, again I set down to restring the mala as I listened to the Emei Qigong Universal Mantra (an uplifting part of the process). That time I doubled up on the silvery cord, trying to insure that the mala would maintain its beauty and security on my wrist. Initially I was very pleased with the success of the project. I loved the slight glint of the silvery cord on my wrist. However, after a few weeks the mala began to stretch, the knot loosened, and I found myself worrying  again about losing it every time I put it on. Not a good feeling to have when the object is supposed to be providing comfort.

Lesson 2: The Universe Gives Us What We Need

Around that time I found a simple white, elastic cord. I honestly have no idea where it came from. Perhaps it had been on a gift box, or came as part of the packaging on something I had bought. Regardless, it was just long enough to wrap comfortably around my wrist and thick enough that it just barely allowed a mala bead to slide over it – making it eerily perfect for stringing a durable bracelet. But, admittedly after three tedious prior attempts I was none too excited about again restringing this important piece of jewelry. Given the holidays, I put off the task for nearly two weeks, not wearing the mala, but instead carrying it with me in my purse. Over that time, my health was iffy as I battled with a cold and sinus infection, which I of course conquered successfully even in spite of my missing mala. Still, the timing of the two seemed a little more than coincidence – my mala, even if only a psychological safety net, does seem to offer some protection as colds and illness are far less common when I am wearing it. And, the entire process around finding the mala last year when I really needed it, along with stumbling upon the perfect cording again when I was at my wits end, reminds me that the Universe (God, Spirit, the Source) gives me what I need when I need it. A comforting thought that is far greater than anything I wear on my wrist.

Lesson 3: Nothing is Perfect

It took me four tries to get a bracelet restrung! And, even now that it is all done the mala is not exactly as it had been when I started. Some of the cording is frayed and the starter bead leans oddly to the left. Yet, when I look at the finished product I am incredibly proud, because, again, it took me four tries to get it done! I can’t help but laugh at the Universe’s ability to teach me patience, humility, and the willingness to accept what is in one seemingly simple project. It is one of the many reminders I have experienced in this past year that nothing is ever perfect and my happiness hinges securely on my ability to accept that fact.

Lesson 4: We All Could Use a Little Help

Although I am typically resistant to the notion of asking for help, when it comes to my husband Carl, I do so willingly. After nearly ten years of marriage I fully understand that we are together due to our ability to complement each other’s skills. I don’t have to do everything on my own, because I can always look to him (as well as several other supportive friends) to fulfill the skills that I lack. In the case of restringing the mala, which I learned from the previously mentioned handout is best done by the bracelet’s wearer as it is a deeply personal process, I believe that the challenges I had in stringing the beads where an important hurdle to overcome on my own. However, once that stringing was complete and I was ending the project by ceremoniously tying off the cord, I realized that Carl has much better knot-tying skills than I myself possess. And, to be honest, I wanted to include him in the process. So, together we managed to tie a knot that looks safe and secure. That knot shall serve as a great reminder to me that while tackling things on my own is a noble and important aspiration, I must also seek resources outside of myself from time to time.

There are challenges present every day. That used to bother me. I would grow angry and tired lamenting the fact that life can be so difficult. But, I am coming to understand that the challenges we experiences always bring with them important lessons that make us stronger and teach us not to take anything for granted. 2012 has been an amazing year of lessons, blessings, and an overall awakening that I hope to continue on through the coming new year. Happy New Year – thanks for reading and being on this journey with me!

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