I Made A Magnificent Mala


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

8 Life Lessons From Nature

Have you ever thought about how just as you are dealing with something in your life, you find that nature gives you a clue that you had never realized?  Or maybe you’ve looked at something in nature and all of a sudden it gives you a hint about a problem you’ve been trying to solve?

Nature truly is a giant classroom

I look to nature a lot when I am able to be out in my garden and I have a few lessons I have been thinking about of late.

All of our toughest life lessons can be learned in nature.  We learn about the cycle of life by watching a subtle change in the seasons or when we experience the death of our first pet.  We get medicine from the world outside and we also learn to respect its power and intensity.

I start my day in a particular way these days as I try to strike a balance between not feeling well and wanting to explore and expand my world. You can read about my Flower Meditation in more detail as my primary tool for getting my morning off to a good start.

The following are some of the ideas I have where nature teaches me a gentler way of making it through the day through daily lessons from nature.

8 Life Lessons from Nature

  1. Small things make a big difference: things in nature make incremental changes throughout each day.  The most imperceptible difference can seem insignificant if you look at it from a micro-perspective.  Change the perspective and look at the changes over the course of a week, a month, or a year and you will see that things can often seem completely different.  If you have just joined us on our Month of Gratitutde Challenge, you’ll know that things seem pretty much the same on the first and second day, but as you get going, that subtle shift can spell big change by the end of the month.
  2. Even our enemies make us better: the most pesky creepy crawlies from my garden can make or break my harvest.  Ants make the flowers bloom, they aerate the ground, they get rid of old debris, etc.  The bees that we so feared as children are among the most instrumental in bringing us food to our table.  The next time you encounter an ‘enemy’ maybe you can think of how they help and what purpose they serve beyond what you see.
  3. Perspective is everything: I was looking at my lupin plants and admiring the tall stalks just laden with berry-like petals.  Suddenly, I swiped away a large bug from around the plant and had the opportunity to see it from above.  The flower takes on a totally different look when seen from overhead.  I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day and we saw things completely differently.  She was convinced that someone was acting from ill-intent, and I suspected they were acting from fear.  One perspective poises the observer to act in defense and the other acts in compassion.  Nature offers us the opportunity to see so many things from a variety of perspectives.
  4. Protection is an inside job: nature devises so many ways for plants and creatures to protect themselves.  There are venoms, and colouring,  to distract and discourage predators.  There are sheathings, membranes, and all kinds of materials devised by nature for self-preservation.  It got me to thinking that my boundaries, my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and my actions are my way of protecting myself.  All these have to be nurtured and provided by my inner self.  It made me feel more powerful just thinking of that I have the ability to build these qualities within myself.
  5. It’s all inside you: I was looking at the tiny beginnings of my strawberry plants and I realized that everything the strawberry needs is in the flower that preceded it.  Just like in nature, we, too, have everything we need right inside of us at our disposal.  It is very empowering to realize that we have what we need.
  6. Be patient: nature is very patient indeed.  You cannot imagine that the bean plant is telling its seedling to hurry up an grow so it can make a bean.  The butterfly does not pester the caterpillar to hurry up and create a chrysalis.  Nature works on its own time and it is patient.  The right amount of sun, water, air, and nutrients and the tomato will be produced.  We can learn a lot about patience by daily walking through nature and observing as it all happens in its due time.
  7. Take time to regroup: I have to admit this took me a long time to learn this lesson.  I spent a lot of time in my life preparing for things and then being disappointed when things fall short or when my ideas were not ready to be brought to light.  In nature, a perennial will often come up in the Spring but may offer no flowers.  I think of this as regrouping.  It knows it’s not ready so it prepares its stalks and roots for next year and tries again.  Just like in my post about How I Receive Bad news, there’s nothing wrong with regrouping after a disappointment or when things don’t work out.
  8. Wonders come every day: if you take the time to look, there are wonders all around you.  Practicing gratitude, daily meditations and affirmations, and setting my intentions each day help me to find wonders all around me.  I love being out in nature and I am so grateful that I have the time to see them as they come.

Does nature guide you and help you throughout your day? Do you have tips and tricks you use to make your day brighter that take you out in nature?  I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what lessons you get from the natural world around you.

I’ve made the helpful graphic to help you remember the 8 Life Lessons from Nature.

8 Life Lessons From Nature

I hope my nature observations are SOMETHING WONDERFUL for you today!

Love Ingrid x




Gratitude: Our Month of Growing Gratitude

Wonderfriends! You’ve done it!

Gratitude Month A Success

I am so grateful to you all for coming along with me on a journey of Gratitude. I walk my garden today and name each one of you as a part of my last day on this wonderful journey of awareness.  I am so grateful to all the abundance and joy I have in my life today.

This was a particularly difficult month for me as all my symptoms have returned from my CSF leak as well as some added issues that I have not experienced.  It made it extra challenging for me to walk the path of gratitude but I assure you…I stuck extra close to my prompts each day and made it a better month than I could have imagined.

Gratitude grows in you

I hope you managed to add some joy and feelings of empowerment throughout this month and that you can take these lessons with you as you embark on the summer months ahead. You can read all about the Benefits of Gratitude at Happier Human.

I have to thank so many of you for reaching out to me to tell me how this gratitude challenge was helping to refocus during a busy summer month.  I am so grateful that you take the time to read along with me as I journey through a chronic illness and help me along the way.  Your words of encouragement and love are all a huge part of my feelings of gratitude each and every day.

Any day is a good day to feel grateful

If you haven’t been able to follow along for the month of June, there is nothing stopping you from adding these ideas to the next month or any month that you feel ready to accept this challenge. Here is the initial list of gratitude prompts.

That goes for anything in life.  Who says your 24-hour day starts when you wake up and ends when you hit the pillow.  You can restart your day any time you like.  If you don’t like what’s happening, reset the clock and start again!

Gratitude and Thanks

Thank you all for joining in my Month of Gratitude Challenge. It has been such a great experience for me and I hope it’s been a great journey for you too!

I wish for you that each month is filled with Something Wonderful that you are happy to share with the people in your life.

Love Ingrid x

Visit From A Friend?

A Visit The Other Evening

It was around 7 PM last Sunday, when my husband and I made the terrible discovery out in the garden.  I have written several times about my love for all things in my garden in Meditation Flowers and other posts.  At first we chalked it down to a misstep on the part of our dog or perhaps an errant foot as we were weeding or setting up the rows of veggies.  We had been doing a lot of rearranging in the garden the other day…so had we stepped on a few seedlings?

We had evidence of some earth being disturbed…and frankly…our dog can be rather rambunctious when a visit from squirrels is underway.  I really thought he had been in a few raised beds.

bunny 3

The Evidence Was Mounting

That Sunday night, however, there was no denying…we were not alone!

The tops of a few of our budding heads of lettuce were looking a little more scraggly than before.  As we looked frantically around the garden, we realized that the broccoli family was the most widely affected.  The tops of absolutely every cauliflower and broccoli plant was truncated.  We scoured the area, and yes…the unwanted visitor had even gotten a start on the brussel sprouts (the perp is in need of a serious regime of vitamins)!

The Pride and Joy

My husband and I were equally shocked to see that every single shoot from my beloved sunflowers was now gone…they looked like sticks poking out of the ground…not a leaf in sight.

The Plan

We quickly jumped into the car and raced to the nearest hardware store only to find it was already closed.  Back in the car, dog in the back seat, and we scurried to the next shop.  We grabbed up all the chicken wire they had in stock and ran home to fence in the major portions of our garden. 

It was 9:30 or 10:00 before we were done.  We did feel exhausted but secure in the hopes that our work would pay off and our veggie patch would go unburglarized from an unwanted visit.

The Proof

I awoke the next morning, quite early by happenstance, and as I looked out into the yard, far down the lot to our vegetables. Everything looked quiet in the new day sun.

I stepped out into the yard with my dear fur-baby…even SHE sprinted to the end of the yard to scout out the situation.

Surprise Visit

It was just then….out of the corner of my eye…I saw the rustling….

A darling fawn coloured bunny had found a patch near my lupins and was munching on some dandelion leaves.


Vindicated…for now…

Next I better get out there and do something to secure the carrots!

Rabbits really are SOMETHING WONDERFUL….(even if they are living under our shed!)

Love Ingrid x


#loveiseverywhere    #junegratitude   #bunnylove



Gratitude…Day 7

Time to change focus again today…could you give yourself 10 minutes of your time?

This morning started for me with a walk in the garden, flower meditation (and photos today), and then a silent sit outside on the deck of our darling garden shed just basking in the light of the morning sun.

It has been a while since the sun has been out in these parts!

So grateful to give myself this precious time to be…

Love Ingrid x

#junegratitude     #loveiseverywhere    #meditation