I Made A Magnificent Mala

Malas

I love to wear Malas to help guide my thoughts.  As a result, it helps me focus my meditation by twirling the beads through my fingers.  I wrote about it some time ago, in my post called 6 Steps To Becoming Enough.  A friend bought a bracelet for me from Malarae in Ottawa.  Kyla Miller is the maker of the bracelets and malas and I wear mine mostly every day.

I have a long necklace that I made years ago at a Yoga festival.  A wonderful group of women and I sat and threaded our beads and told stories.  Although, it was a wonderful communal experience that I remember with fondness, frankly, I didn’t know much more about the beaded necklace than the basics.

Last month, I made my own Mala at a workshop that was hosted by my local Yoga Studio. I had wanted to participate in the workshop as a result of my love for beading and for all things meditation.  This was the workshop for me.

Malas 101 (by me)

A Mala is the wonderful necklace or bracelet you often see Buddhist people wearing.  They are made of stone, wood, seeds, or other natural beads.  They often hang with a wonderful tassel at the end of them.  Much like the Christian equivalent of a rosary. People gently shuffle the beads through their hands or pass over each bead one at a time from start to finish.  They have 108 beads since 108 is a sacred number in many Asian cultures.

The 108 bead Mala is said to have an intention. Therefore, the person who wears the Mala wears it for a certain purpose.  I lived in Japan for 14 years, where you could buy them at most temples and they were sold by the intention: health, luck, abundance, safe driving, good results on an exam, fertility, etc.  More authentic, handmade Malas, are set with intention as the person threads the beads.  Hence, if they are hoping for abundance, they would think the word abundance.  Repeating the word as they put each stone bead onto the string.

The Love Yoga Newsletter describes a mala this way:

A mala (the Sanskrit name for ‘garland’) is a set of beads traditionally worn and used for meditation. Malas are typically made of 108 beads (108 being a sacred number in many Eastern cultures) and serve to keep count of the wearers affirmations by focusing their awareness and staying mindful in the present moment.

Paul McDermid, our instructor told us to thread our Mala with our intention word as each bead went on.  She had thousands of beads all separated into colour groupings.  We selected beads and placed them on a wonderful Mala tray.  From there, we ‘built’ our Mala each bead at a time in rough form before threading the beads.

I could hardly wait to start.

Our fabulous instructor told us to choose the beads to which we were most attracted.  She would tell us when our malas were tied what the significance of each stone held.  I loved the idea of not knowing what the Universe would have me choose.

Getting Started To Thread The Beads

Firstly, we chose our beads.  I was delighted to count out the various colours and align them and arrange them in a way I liked.  Selecting each stone, I chose, placed, arranged, rearranged, and contemplated.  Due to my illness, my intention word means a lot to me at this time in my life (you know I love my affirmations and intentions as I write about these topics often) so I had no trouble choosing it.

I was instructed not to share the word because it is personal to me.

Consequently, I am never to share my mala with another or let them put it on as it is literally not intended for them. (I’m not entirely sure about that…but why tempt fate?) Apparently, energy could pass to the natural stone and be held in or could create an adverse vibration. It seems like that could be a possibility.

While I threaded my mala, I had the chance to talk with the other participants (I was with a friend so conversation flowed easily).  The other members were fun to talk to, easy to get to know, and open to letting the conversation flow or to sit in silence as the energy ebbed and flowed in the group.

My necklace was threaded, and Paula glued the last stones in place next came the really exciting part came.

I made a mala
Ready for sealing and tuning

Sealing and Tuning My Mala

Paula took us in one-by-one to a room where she had a set of crystal singing bowls.  This is where we were going to tune our malas.  She and I entered the room where she told me the various meanings of the stones I had chosen and then asked me to cleanse the mala in the first bowl.

Tibetan Singing Bowls or Crystal Singing Bowls are used to cleanse and tune the energy of the beads.  Each person, as they touch an object, gives off energy.  So, the energy that we want in the mala (our intention) needs to be set into the mala according to each of the 7 Chakras.  There’s a crystal bowl, one for each of the Chakras in our body, and one more to initially cleanse the necklace.

The bowls go from smallest to largest according to the appropriate chakra.  Especially noteworthy here is once I start tuning/sealing my mala, I am the only one who is to touch it until we’re done. The idea is not to get another person’s energy in my beads.  Therefore, I placed the mala in the first bowl and cleansed it. Next, with a tool much like a soft drum stick, I tapped the outer edge of the bowl and rubbed along its outside edge gently.

It was magical!

This experience will stick with me

The sound of the ringing of the crystal filled me from the inside out.  It vibrated inside my heart and brain and echoed out to the room around me.  As a result of the varying sizes, each bowl vibrates at a different frequency creating a different sound and wave.  In addition to this, your own state of being either enhances or hampers the sound.

What an experience!

I did this with each of the chakras: root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra…all the way up to the crown chakra. My experience of tuning my own Mala filled me with a sense of harmony. I felt a sense of belonging on this planet that I have never felt before that day.  I was literally over-joyed and felt lifted up by the Universe. This feeling lasted for a very long time afterwards. Was it due to my heart vibrating in harmony with the earth?  Each day, when I looked down at my mala as it dangled around my neck, I had a huge smile on my face.

 

Could making your own mala be something that could lift your spirits? Do you have something that you created that helps to focus your attention?  Please feel free to share these precious things in your life by leaving a comment.

I hope you get the chance to experience SOMETHING WONDERFUL like making a mala!

Love Ingrid x

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mysomethingwonderful/

IG: www.instagram.com/ingridsnydal

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/snydaling

I made a malaSaffron Robes

5 Morning Wishes To Start (or Restart) Your Day

Can you make Morning Wishes a part of your day?

I recently came up with a simple list of Morning Wishes that I could make when I am feeling particularly in need of feeling at peace with my day.

Recently, I woke up completely discombobulated.  I could tell I was not myself at all right from the moment my feet hit the floor.  I had been awakened many times during the night with my mind out of sorts.  Random thoughts were coming.  Bad dreams or at least the feeling of the leftovers of a bad dream.  Too hot in the night…and then, of course, too cold.  Dog sounds waking me.  A car racing in the night down the street.

When I awoke, I felt disgruntled and not well-rested.  I was grumpy.

It’s not as though I haven’t felt grumpy before in my life.  Very rare, though, for me though, is to feel this out of sorts upon waking.

I tried to lie back down and say my affirmations.  I was half-hearted…I admit.

I thought a glass of water would help.  I sat quietly on my own.  I slowly drank down the water and felt a little better…but I was agitated.

I spoke particularly carefully.  I was cheery…if you can’t be happy then fake it until you feel happy.

Out to the garden for some therapy.  Coffee in hand, I headed out to my urban sanctuary. My little piece of verdant heaven.  I sat, listening for bird song.  I breathed.  I sat.

Grumpy.

I asked myself to choose an activity that would help to bring me back to peace.

For some crazy reason, everything I chose was making me more irritated.  I tried blogging and ran into nothing but technical difficulties (4 hour delays to fix the problem kind of difficulties).  A craft activity that I was trying to finish went out the door so I headed to the craft store to work it out.  Got home with renewed excitement and dashed again.  On and on, all day long, I seemed to be blundering along at everything I tried.

Ugh! What a day!

I decided, for the next day to have a hope at getting off on the right track, I would write myself a list of 5 Morning Wishes to get my mind set on a better path.

5 Morning Wishes
5 Wishes

I hope they can help you too…if you are ever having the kind of day when you just wake up grumpy.

Love Ingrid x

The end of my day was much better….maybe just writing the list made all the difference.

 

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31 Days of Wonder

Wonder truly is everywhere

Do you think you could add more wonder and magic to each day?  Are you finding it hard to break out of yourself and do new things?

As you know, my motto these days is to start each day knowing that something wonderful is about to happen.  I love this outlook on life because it truly makes me feel that even in the hard times, it is easy to remember that good times are not far off.  Searching for the good times is not hard for me.  I have simply to think about the little wonders that creep into my day and it brings a smile to my face as I prepare to sleep each night.

Earlier this Spring I wrote a quick 5 Positive Actions To Completely Change Your Day and I have been finding it quite useful throughout the summer days so far.

31 Days of Wonder

I decided to put together a handy list of 31 Wonderful Things you can do to brighten up your month.  By no means do I want you to feel that you have to follow along each day but I can assure you, I will be doing some of the following activities to spruce up my next 31 days.

Here they are:

31 Days of Wonder
31 Days of Wonder

I would be delighted if you wanted to follow along with me and share the ideas you’ve been adding to your day.

Let’s make it a great month together.  And as always, thank you so much for tuning into my SOMETHING WONDERFUL blog!

Love Ingrid x

P.S. You don’t have to start your 31 Days of Wonder at the beginning of the month…why not start today!?

 

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10 Happy Things To Do Today

Being Happy Takes Effort

When I look up the word ‘Happy’ in the dictionary, this is what I found:

Happy:

1. feeling or showing pleasure or contentment; 2. having a sense of confidnece in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation); 3. fortunate and convenient.

Happiness in the Age of Lightning-Speed-Everything

It seems every time you turn around, someone is gauging some new trend on whether or not it creates or negates happiness.  We are perpetually on the lookout for products, apps, or fads that can increase of decrease our happiness quotient.  Is all this talk about happiness making us feel more unhappy?  Do we feel a lack because everyone else is talking about something we are not a part of?

I have been reading of late how ‘happiness’ as a life goal is replacing ‘success’. There is an interesting piece titled ‘Happiness In The Now Is The New Success Of The Future’  that addresses the issue. You don’t have to delve very far to find the topic discussed over and over again.

I get it, because we thought that freedom, promotion, opportunity, and early retirement were enough to lead us to believe we were having a quote-unquote “successful” life.  We are learning that money, position, prestige, and power were never what our parents or our parents’ parents had hoped for us.

Our parents just wanted us to be healthy and happy

Now it seems like the bandwagon has gone off its wheel hubs and we have to join the next fad or take off to the nearest ashram to find happiness.  Many of these articles and so called ‘self-help’ gurus don’t have a whole lot of advice on ‘how’ to build happiness into our daily lives.

The truth is, for me anyway, that finding happiness is right here at my very own fingertips.  And just like anything else in this world, there is no shortcut answer.  There is no flick of the wand to happiness.  We cannot fast-track our way there in order to double-down on the happy factor #28 despite the claims in How To Get Happy Fast and similar articles.

Happiness comes one act at a time

If you are dedicated, willing, and open-hearted enough to keep doing the actions necessary, you may find that your heart feels contentment and satisfaction with how things are going for you.

10 Happy Things To Do Today:

  1. Go for a walk:

    Despite all the advertisements for this race or that new fitness fad, walking is all you need to do to stay fit, to build muscles, and to get those endorphins that make you feel so good.

  2. People watch:

    Watching members of our community mull about and interact with the world opens you up to compassion and empathy for your fellow humans.  People watching gets you out and about participating as a valuable member of a whole community. Plus let’s admit it, it’s fun watching people and imagining what they are up to and what adventures they’re off to.

  3. Clean out a cupboard:

    Clutter in and around our lives can cause stress.  Start really small with just one part of a cupboard or closet. even one shelf at a time is ample to start the process of decluttering your life.  Believe it or not, clutter does occupy your mind which causes needless stress.  Plus it feel so great to have things organized.  Give the things you no longer want to those who need and you will up your happy quotient even more.

  4. Make something:

    Creating has the power to take your mind away from everyday worries and it releases feel good hormones.  It uses a part of the brain that often is only used for solving every day problems and it thrives on the ‘new’.  By creating we give the mind the opportunity to take a break from the low lying stresses we feel from our daily lives.

  5. Connect with someone:

    Ideally you want to meet up with someone but that is not always possible.  Looking at someone through video messaging makes it possible to connect with others and to build relationships.  It allows you to get out of yourself and build that empathy and compassion that are so great a boosting those feelings of happiness.

  6. Laugh:

    Laughing is a free dose of endorphins.  Do it often, do it loudly, and do it with everyone you meet.

  7. Treat yourself:

    It is important to recognize the things that you think you have accomplished.  Not everyone sees the efforts you put into something the same way that you see it.  Only you know how many hours you worked on something, or how hard you had to work to have something turn out the way it did.  This also means your treat can come from you.  I do not mean that you need to give yourself a diamond tiara every single day.  What I do mean is: don’t wait for someone else to recognize your efforts…recognize them on your own.

  8. Be quiet:

    Spend time every day being completely quiet

  9. Turn off technology:

    Allot some time every day with no technological distractions.  I know it’s hard to believe but we all managed just fine with quiet times when no one could get a hold of us. You can read about how I learned to be device free for parts of my day and how that lead to healing for me both physically and emotionally in Meditation Flowers.

  10. Touch another being:

    Many people live alone and are not able to get out but I encourage every one to have physical contact with a living being every day.  The one thing they teach you when you are dealing with someone who has cancer is ‘touch the person’.  The world tends to avoid touching people when they have illness even when there is NOTHING communicable about the person’s ailment.  Hug, touch a hand, hold hands, sit beside the person.  Hug, cuddle, and rub a pet if that is the being in question.  Giving love has the power to produce a very large number of hormones in all of us.

Check out my handy dandy infographic to keep close at hand if you need to boost your ‘Happiness Quotient’.

10 Happy Things
10 Happy Things by Ingrid Snydal
The world definitely needs a focus on happiness; there is no doubt about that.  I just happen to think it’s an inside job.

10 Happy Things are my SOMETHING WONDERFUL for today.

Love Ingrid x

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Coconut Masks and Household Hacks

The Whole World Has Gone Coconuts

Coconut products have become ‘de rigueur’ of late and I was wanting to try some ideas out.  I wrote a few months ago about my Life Hack 3.0.  My hair was so soft once I tried the conditioning trick, I decided to research recipes online.

One Good Thing by Jillee is a site I love because she has been at blogging and home hacking for a long time and her recipes have not let me down.

I did get a skin mask recipe from a friend of mine, and I have to say, it is by far my favourite one.  It’s the one I have made more than once and frankly, my skin has never been softer.

Coconut Masks House Hacks
Beauty products made with Coconut Oil

Coffee Body and Face Scrub

Ingredients:

1/2 cup ground coffee
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together until well-combined and any sugar lumps are gone. Gently heat oil until it melts if it’s too hard.  Be sure to wait for it to go back to solid before storing your scrub in a glass container with lid.  In particularly hot climates, you may need to store in the fridge.

Coconut Masks House Hacks
Using coconut oil for all kinds of home hacks

Coconut Muscle Salve

My husband often uses a muscle rub when he has over worked his tired muscles.  I got a great recipe for a Homemade Muscle Salve from a friend and tried it out myself.  It really works!

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (work at room temperature or warmer so you can mix the oils together
  • 2 drops each peppermint oil, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a glass container with a wooden stir stick or spoon (it is said to be important to use wood implements with essential oils as metals can transfer to the mixture).  Wait until the oil solidifies and then use as a night rub on sore aching muscles. Store in an sealed container.

Coconut Masks House Hacks
Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk

Benefits of Going Coconuts

Coconut oil is said to have medicinal properties and is also believed to repair skin.  It is good to soothe the skin as it has anti-inflammatory properties.  Especially when skin has been damaged by sun.  I don’t recommend using it in Homemade Sunscreen as I have read mixed reviews about this here.  It can help with eczema, dandruff, dermatitis, and psoriasis (although you would be best to ask a doctor about that…I am a bed-ridden blogger…please don’t take my word for it!)

Ingesting oil has a whole host of health benefits to helping with Alzheimer’s Disease to fighting Heart Disease and Cancer.  You can read more about the benefits of this incredible oil here at Dr. Axe.

How to Sneak Coconut Into Recipes For Extra Goodness

  1. I use coconut oil in some salad dressings as long as the flavours don’t compete too much with each other.
  2. A tablespoon or two into my smoothie…with lots of banana and pineapple, it’s enough to make me feel like I’m on a beach somewhere.
  3. In my Mega Smoothie, I add coconut milk to my recipe to make an extra rich and creamy breakfast.  The added oil makes it so filling that I don’t need a snack before lunch!
  4. Oil in the pan when making pancakes gives them a little island flair…I think it’s especially good on banana pancakes!
  5. The oil can also be used in most baking such as muffins or banana bread and the taste is imperceptible.
  6. Of course, who doesn’t want extra goodness in a Nanaimo Bar?!  Coconut oil is perfect for the base layer. I just substitute for a little of the butter in the recipe.

I’m sure I’ll find more reasons to love this wonderful oil and all the products that come from the ‘tough nut’.  Do you have any tried and true recipes that use coconut oil?  Any new uses for this most versatile of products?  I would love it if you wanted to share your creative ideas and home hacks.

Coconut oil really is my SOMETHING WONDERFUL for today!

Love Ingrid x

 

 

 

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