The Comfort of my Mala

 

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.” 
L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

It’s been a harrowing ten days for me. Lots of family drama involving multiple family members, illness, tests, surgery, hospitals, worry and responsibility.

Things are finally settling down, and so it is only now that I can feel into how exhausted I am. Physically and emotionally it has been extremely tough. And so this morning at 4am, when I woke ready to meditate, nothing would come.

Nothing would come but I could feel how deep my need was for connection and solace.

In the dark my hands reached for my bag beside the bed. I felt for my Mala beads and gently lifted them up into my lap, and then my fingers found their way to the guru bead and my start position, and as easily as breathing I began to calm, my fingers working the beads, my worries and exhaustion falling away.

I have used Mala beads in meditation now for nearly forty years. Still they teach me. Still they open new places inside me, and in my awareness and knowledge.

Even holding or wearing my Mala brings me peace.

Soon I will teach my next retreat, showing each student how to craft their own Mala. Showing their own fingers how to seek out and hold each bead. Showing them how to connect with and use their Mala for prayer, for meditation, for manifestation, for connection to self and soul and all that is.

The idea of that sharing filled my weary heart this morning, bringing me comfort and inner expansion. I finished my meditation with a deep calm and a renewed energy.

Praying the Mala is one of the most restorative practices I know, and I’m so grateful to have this in my toolkit.

I said a prayer for you all this morning too, that you connect with your dreams and inner wisdom this week, and that your creative projects and life direction make themselves known to you. It’s a magical week for that kind of energy.

Biggest love and hugs to you, Nicole  xx

Every Bead A Prayer

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“What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.”
~ Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

 

 

You may remember that at the very beginning of my Retreat preparation I made a mala, with one bead for each of my students, and one for each of my support team.

Twice a day for the month before the retreat I prayed that mala, sending love, healing and energy work to each person. Setting my intent for them to find their way and to receive everything they needed for their Highest Good during our time together on retreat.

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Soon my fingers knew every bead. And so did my heart.

There was Helen and Paul and Margot. This one was Cherie. The next one was Brooke…

When we all came together I kept holding space and praying that mala until just before the end of the retreat.

Then I broke down the string of beads, took each one, and made it into a mala of its very own.

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I was up late into the night working on them after everyone had gone to bed. It was the first thing I did in the morning after my meditation, trying to get them all finished so that I could present them on the last day.

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Finally they were all done, and I held each one up to be blessed.

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It was with mixed emotions that I lifted all the malas up over my head to wear them one last time before I handed them over to each student.

 

I had carried them all with me, and now I was letting them go.

They are still in my heart, and I’m so very proud of them. It has been my absolute pleasure to be their teacher. I know that they will shine much positive energy and love out into the world.

Here’s me, on the final morning. Thoroughly exhausted, emotional, and bursting with love for them all.

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Sometimes Life Gets In the Way of Blogging

Image from sodahead.com

Image from sodahead.com

“The easiest way to get touch with this universal power is through silent Prayer. Shut your eyes, shut your mouth, and open your heart. This is the golden rule of prayer. Prayer should be soundless words coming forth from the centre of your heart filled with love.”
~ Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

 

I’m late blogging today.

The Aunt of one of my close friends is in hospital. She had surgery last night, and is in ICU in a critical condition this morning.

When I heard the news last night, I retired early. I prayed my mala for all of you, and then I sat in meditation and prayer for my friend’s aunt for three hours.

Again, this morning, I repeated the process.

Last night I could barely feel this woman’s life force. By the end of my meditation I could feel her energy, but weak, like a flickering candle flame. Her surgeons and medical team did an incredible job. I do believe they saved her life.

This morning her energy is still weak, but underlying that weakness is determination.

Life force is an astonishing thing. It dwells so strongly in us all.

And underpinning that life force, always, is love.

A love so vast, so beautiful and inclusive, that it renders me speechless with awe.

Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers today.

Be gentle with yourself and others. Choose kindness.

Bless xx

 

Up Early With Ganesha

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“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
~ Meister Eckhart

This morning, as ever, I was up early. I took my mala beads, my singing bowl, and my prayer shawl and snuck out onto the veranda to meditate and greet the dawn. Today I sat with Ganesha. Buddha, by his side. A possum banged its way along my roof as he came home from a night of marauding. Owls called to me from the trees. I played to them with my bowl, long chimes that rang out into the darkness.

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Eventually, I sat in silence, cross-legged on the daybed, facing out towards the dawn. I prayed this mala for the last time before it shall know the students it represents – one for each crystal bead. For the past month I have prayed this mala in meditation twice a day, for two hours. Each bead for me has been a student. This is Dana, I say as my fingers find her bead. This is Tracy. This is Phil. I hold them in my thoughts. I pray for them. I connect to them and check in on them – see how they are doing. Send them healing. It’s a Tibetan tool I use, but the techniques are purely what was shown to me by my Aboriginal Aunties. My spiritual life is a melting pot of philosophies and practices.

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Now it is morning. Fragranced with jasmine and magnolia from my garden. I shall shower and dress, have breakfast with my husband, retrieve my last crystals from where they have been charging under the Hoop Pine, pack the ute and head to Sangsurya to begin our retreat. It’s a beautiful day for it. A gentle dawn. Bright sky. Birds singing. Not all of you shall be there, but I will be holding all of you in my heart.

Bless xx

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One Small Bead to Connect Me…

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Today is the last day of my shamanic meditation retreat. Just over a month ago I chose a bead to represent each person who would attend the course. Then I began to string the beads into a Mala for meditation. A bead for each of my students, and then enough smaller beads to make a total of 108.

After the Mala was complete I prayed with it, blessed it and placed it in my crystal grid to charge up. When it was ready I began my work.

Each morning I would hold my Mala beads. As I moved each bead between my fingers I would affirm a mantra. As I got to a bead representing a student I would send them love, light and healing, tuning in to what was most needed to prepare them for our work together.

Again each evening I would meditate with my Mala. Soon I could just hold the bead and think ‘Satisha’, ‘Monique’, ‘Karen’…

This morning I prayed my Mala for the final time. The retreat ends today, and my students go back out into the world.

Symbolically, I have undone the Mala. I feel quite sad to do so – like a parent whose much-loved child is leaving home.

This week I will turn each bead into a pendant so that I can return them to the students as a gift. There is so much love and good energy invested in those beads now.

So even though they will no longer be under my direct care, they will still have a piece of my heart…