“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”
~ Pema Chödrön
Sometimes I find myself in stressful situations or noisy places where I want to calm myself, soothe anxiety or practice mindfulness, and where my normal meditation techniques aren’t effective or appropriate.
Take travel for example. Travel can mean crowded airports, uncertain schedules, crazy traffic, and jet lag to name a few common stressors. It’s not always possible to find a quiet corner, or to sit down, close my eyes and zone out.
When I travel I always wear a mala beads around my neck, or as a bracelet. It looks like fashion, but it is very functional fashion. I can discretely slip my mala off and then work the beads between my fingers.
This technique has worked miracles for me as I have sat stuck in an airport with a flight delay, or in an airplane during heavy turbulence, or in a hotel room where I can’t sleep.
As I roll each mala bead between my thumb and first finger I have a few simple options for my meditation. Here are my top four:
- For each bead I can consciously breathe in and then out, after which I move to the next bead and repeat. This is brilliant as a sleep aid. Sometimes I breathe in light and exhale grey – and I see the grey as fatigue, illness or worry leaving my body. Gradually the light fills me up and I come back to calm again. If you suffer from panic attacks this is great for you!
- For each bead I can pray for someone like this; ‘Imogen, I pray for you. I intend for you flow, health, grace, love and miracles. (or I might hold an intention for a specific healing outcome, which I name by saying ‘I intend for you ________’) Bless you.’ Then I hold their face in my mind’s eye as I breathe in and out, consciously sending love and energy to them.
- For each bead I can repeat a simple affirmation. One of my favourites, and the one that has been the most transformative for me over time is: ‘I love and approve of myself.’ If I am super anxious I affirm: ‘I am watched over and cradled in love. I am safe and all l is well.’
- For each bead I hold the face of a loved one, friend or client in my mind. Silently I say ‘I love you. I wish you well. Bless you.’ And then I move onto the next bead, choose a person and repeat the process.
I finish every round of my mala (from the marker bead or tassel, around the mala and back to the beginning) by saying ‘And it is so. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’
Many of you may already have a mala that you wear as a decorative item. Some of them are so pretty! But I promise you, the real value is in using them as a focus tool for a pathway to calm in even the most stressful situations.
Sending so much love your way, Nicole <3 xoxo
Here’s a little video of my silently praying my mala yesterday while I waited for my shuttle ride to take me to the airport: