Mala Shop

Monday, October 26, 2009

What's in a Miracle?

Someone I know asked recently "Where are you in your experience of miracles today?"

A very good question, especially as lately so many people have been experiencing loss, stress, and hardship.

I thought about it as I meditated and then made a mala.

A small hawk came to perch on the fence during my meditation. It never happened before, only as I thought about whether I'd ever experienced a miracle. It fanned out its tail feathers in search of an insect. So close, and I get excited when I see them far up in a tree. But this one came close to visit.

I see miracles in everyday life, not just in life-saving experiences.

The miraculous is all around us if we look, like an artist, poet, or mystic does. The very expression of life and growth, even of decay is a miracle. The fact that change and even loss can happen is proof of great possibilities, both good and bad.

How about looking into the eyes of a child or an old man or woman and seeing the love within them? The very existence of love is a miracle.

The very fact that we can love and create and help others is truly a divine gift, whether we choose to call it that or not.

When I was eight I ran in front of a loaded, lit canon. It was on the other side of a fence I was playing behind, and as I ran out in front of it I heard, I felt...nothing. The grownups gasped, but the canon had misfired.
Surely an angel was with me that day.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blessing and Offering A New Mala

What do you do after you get a new mala?

You've acquired a mala, either through purchase or as a gift. Maybe it's a special custom mala you have designed with a mala maker, or perhaps you have made it yourself. What now?

Sit down in your favorite meditation place, settled into or on your seat.
Set your intention—be it to settle your mind, come closer to peace, or all of the above—and think about generating compassion for all sentient beings, including yourself.

As you begin your recitation you might feel you're not resonating with your mala. Even if  you ordered it with enthusiasm and chose the stones for their significance to you, sometimes it takes awhile to feel connected with the beads.

You can try offering it in your practice and blessing it that way. Getting a mala blessed by a qualified master is wonderful, if you get a chance. But on your own there's quite a lot you can do. You can simply offer it to whatever sacred higher power you feel a connection to and dedicate the mala. You can think of compassion, of benefiting all beings, and you can pray that whatever meditation and mantras you do with it will be blessed. If you work with crystals you might be familiar with this process of offering something and receiving blessing gently into it.

Just hold it in your hands while you say a blessing prayer. Or you could hold it in open hands in an offering gesture. You could hold it with your hands clasped to your heart, eyes closed. Your way will be your own.

I often say the mantra, "Om Mani Padme Hung" as I go around the beads of a new mala.  This seems to me to dedicate the mala to compassionate use, as it is the mantra most connected with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But any mantra will work!

After using it repeatedly, with the power of your practice, your mantra will remind you even more of your intentions and it will develop an energy that will bring you back from your wandering thoughts as you meditate. It will become a good companion and a tool for developing mindfulness, awareness, and compassion.

I just used the word "intention" quite a few times.  It seems that this is the main thing about using a mala, whether you use it for prayer and mantra, just to come back to center and refocus, or mostly enjoy wearing it to remind you to stay positive. Intention works. And remember, a mala is just a string of beads until you use it. Your energy and motivation are what bring it alive.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some More Gorgeous Art and Jewelry on 1000Markets-"Moi" Included!

Featured Merchants: Oct 9 - Oct 15

Featured on 1000Markets in the Asian Inspirations Market

Really, if you haven't visited 1000Markets, you'd like it. As I've said before, the layout and overall richness of the photographs of independent craft and art are really well done. It's a whole other look and feel than Etsy, which is already beautiful, noble and good. (I'm a huge Etsy supporter and sell there.) I'm one of the featured sellers in the Asian Inspirations Market this week. If you visit, you'll see work by:

lemachidesigns, who features jewelry, mixed media art, and ACEOs (artists collectible cards). Beautiful pinks and oranges—abstract designs mixed with inspiring Asian images.

Elephantdreams, a wonderful photographer who does some color alterations to her work. She features, among other things, photos of Buddhas and everyday scenes from Asia. Gorgeous.

And me, Laura of Heart of Compassion Malas. I make "Artistic Malas That Inspire". Prayer beads of semi-precious stones and wood to support your meditation and prayer practice and even to wear to connect you with mindfulness and a higher power. Custom malas are a big part of my work. (I'm "compassionmalas" on Etsy.)

Just a thought about online shopping. It is vital to support the shops where one lives. But it's also nice not to have to drive around and find parking spaces and wait in line. When you shop independent art online you are giving work to wonderful artists and allowing them to continue to do the work they love. And the work you buy is high-quality, unique, and personal.

Peace to you, whatever you do!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Way to Work...And a New Jade Mala

Now Playing, Bird On the Wire by Leonard Cohen

My friend Jan at Awakened Living, who has started a blog for "women on the path to awakening" recently told me how she prepared to work at the computer. I think it involved candles, music, and tea. Not just any music, but mantras set to music. Isn't that a good idea? When we sit down to the computer we become so over-stimulated, things just rush in. There seems to be no beginning or end to our work. It's a fun way to work, very creative, but after trying her method (with my own music—the blues right now) I've discovered it works much better. There's a much more peaceful and vibrant quality to computer time when you set it up mindfully.

About peace and tranquility, I created this new jade and moss agate mala to bring that. My own mala is new jade. I wanted to make something for others that was really rich and glorious. There are nephrite jade beads, moss agate (darkest green), new jade, and vermeil bead caps. It was created in a spirit of joy. Jade is supposed to bring joy and good energy, healing chi. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Stay well, stay happy! Take a mindfulness moment now and then.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Kind of People I Know...

Jewels of Saraswati's Arjuna Earrings of Smoky Quartz

In this internet jungle we've carved out a space for ourselves, we who create, do yoga, meditate, and try to keep our faces turned towards the light.

Amazingly, or perhaps not, I meet the nicest people on the www. It's like having penpals. When I was a child a had a penpal in Uganda. It wasn't the best time to be growing up in Uganda, so I frequently wonder whatever happened to Cossie Namokasu. I hope she's been able to follow her dream of studying astronomy. She was a lovely writer. We were both about 12. Maybe she'll see this post.

Now my penpals come mainly from the world of blog. I "met" Lauren of Jewels of Saraswati in an Etsy forum. You have to love someone who makes jewelry as beautiful as hers. She describes herself as "Professional flutist, pedagogue, jewelry artist, etsian, aspiring yogini." She makes some lovely avante garde music with her group. She also has a beautiful blog. Check it out.

She was kind enough to write about Heart of Compassion Malas (compassionmalas on Etsy) recently, but that's not the only reason I'm pointing her out to you. The photos she takes of the jewelry she makes are perfect. We should all be so gifted.

I'm busy planning to go to a meditation retreat after Thanksgiving, and there's a craftshow I'm preparing for. Since so many of the malas I make have been highly personal custom orders lately, I don't have a large supply of malas. I've been making them as orders come in. For one thing, it's a lot more fun to know who I'm making it for. And it doesn't seem to slow down shipping more than a day. I still want to build up a supply for when things get busy this fall. So that's what I'm up to today—designing and making, making, making.

So far, keeping on top of things. Hope your Fall days are full of crisp air, nice views, and happy preparations.

Yours Truly,

Professional flutist, pedagogue, jewelry artist, etsian, aspiring yogini.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happiness is...

My grandfather's player piano

Happiness is sitting down to play the piano on a fine Sunday morning in early Autumn, finding the notes to something sweet like Moonlight Sonata while the border collie drops the ball on my feet again and again, asking me to stop and play ball.

Happiness is seeing some new flowers in the backyard—a peep of purple and some yellow mixed with orange, some new growth in the lawn, the bud of a gerbera daisy poking up out of the center of a plant that I think is lost each summer, but which always returns.

Happiness is eating the biscuits that someone special made this morning.

Happiness is sharing these random moments with you.

Have a nice day.