For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with prayer beads. I’m sure it began in church where, as a Catholic girl attending Mass, I’d watch men and women praying the rosary. I loved the elegant look of the beads, the peaceful faces of the people who prayed, and the idea of doing something with my fidgety hands when having to sit still .
My love of rosary beads expanded to a love of Mala beads in my mid twenties when my brother’s girlfriend brought me a gift of Jappa Mala from India.
Jappa is the repeating of the name of a deity or mantra, and Mala means “garland” or “wreath” in Sanskrit.
I loved running the beads through my fingers, smelling the scent of sandalwood, and using them to focus my anxious mind on prayers instead of the latest worry.
Since then, I usually keep a set of beads with me. Here’s one made of lapis lazuli created by my friend, Jane:
I’d gotten out of the habit of using my Mala and Rosary beads until a few months ago after reading a new novel by my friend, Bob Olson, called The Magic Mala.
The Magic Mala is a story about a couple who have fallen on hard times and end up going on a life-changing journey after the husband finds a set of Mala beads in an attic. During their adventure, they meet wise teachers in unexpected places, learn the importance of collaborating with universal laws, and even gain wisdom and direction from loved ones who have passed on.
While reading the book, I was inspired and motivated to begin using my Mala beads in a more intentional and deliberate way.
Every morning and evening, while lying in bed, I complete a ‘round on the Mala’ (touching 108 beads) while either repeatedly affirming something I want to draw into my life – wonderful women for my last “Self Care by the Sea” retreat, for example, or reliable contractors to work on our home; or I take an inventory of what I feel grateful for by naming one thing per bead.
The power of a daily ritual focused on what I want and the gratitude I feel for what’s already working in my life has been a blessing. And it’s good for the body and the brain. Science now confirms that this practice helps create new, healthy neural pathways, and floods the body with feel-good chemicals that keep our mood and immune system strong.
The Wall Street Journal even ran a story early this month about the powerful effects of using a positive phrase or mantra on a regular basis (If you’re a subscriber, you can read the article, here).
Last month, Bob and I recorded a podcast to talk about The Magic Mala, the power of intention, and what has happened in our lives as a result of using the practice outlined in the book.
I invite you to get inspired to use this new ritual in your life, too, by listening in on our conversation, here.
Video of the Week
Here’s an interesting video where a number of very successful celebrities talk about the power of visualization and affirming what they want. You can watch it, here.