Indiana State Fair 2023: A Celebration of Interdependence August 31, 2023 13:02
If you prefer to listen to this month's blog article, please click HERE for the audio link (11 minute listen).
The Indiana State Fair is an annual, month-long summer event in Indianapolis that includes concerts, livestock, rides, games, an assortment of fried foods, and family fun.
I’m not going to lie, it’s not an event that typically appeals to me. I’m generally not jazzed about tractor pulls, midway rides, and large crowds in the unbearable summer heat and humidity of the Hoosier state.
This year, however, my daughter was working at the Newfields booth during an afternoon shift on the last Friday of this year’s fair schedule, so Jim and I decided to meet her there for dinner after her shift ended and to experience some family fun, first-hand.
Our first (and really only) obstacle was navigating rush hour traffic and finding a parking spot once we arrived. On our way there, a semi nearly missed plowing into our vehicle on I-65. The driver hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t notice that traffic was slowing.
Fortunately, we lived through that close call only to wait in line for 45 minutes as we inched our way toward a parking spot at the far end of the sandy infield of the fairgrounds.
We arrived just in time to see the fair parade, led by the famous Clydesdale horses and Budweiser carriage, followed by a marching band and several tractors pulling hordes of waving sponsors, farmers, and fair princesses with glittery pink sashes.
Elise had wandered into the parade line and met us near the grandstand. We waited in line for ears of fresh buttered sweet corn. Elise enjoyed deep fried Oreos, I chose chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick, and Jim selected pork riblets with a Lemon Shake-up.
The weather was perfect! It was breezy and slightly cool with very low humidity, which is extremely rare for this time of year.
After “dinner,” we wandered into various livestock buildings and visited sheep, goats, alpacas, horses, and pigs.
We sat in plastic Adirondack chairs and listened to an up-and-coming local band. The band members couldn’t have been any older than the high school students I currently tutor.
We circled around the fairgrounds on a shuttle pulled by a large tractor. The long bench seats allowed for easy access on and off during the various stops.
What does all of this have to do with meditation practice? Well, the old me (the version of myself before I dedicated time to a daily practice) would have been very anxious in a crowd full of strangers, disgusted by the mingled scents of exhaust fumes, fair food, and livestock manure. The old me would have worried about the time, even on a Friday night. Honestly, the old me would have never made it to the fair to begin with—she would have insisted that the near miss with the semi was “a sign from the Universe” to just go on home.
The present me, however, was just that—present.
Jim was a little antsy as we inched our way to the infield parking lot, but I was calm and content. We had the windows rolled down and could hear the sounds of cicadas along with the gleeful shrieks coming from people on the midway rides.
The present me wasn’t worried about being late—or the time at all. I enjoyed spending time with my family and taking in all the sights and sounds without judgment, worry, or fear.
I enjoyed interacting and connecting with the animals in the livestock barns. From patting the bellies of the milk-drunk piglets to stroking the soft noses of the sheep, goats, and horses, connecting with the animals was soothing, and being with my family was comforting.
The present me even found connecting with strangers to be enjoyable. I was relaxed and at ease in the crowd. At one point, as we were walking near the midway, I met eyes with an elderly woman in a wheelchair. I smiled, said, “Hello.” Her eyes were bright and welcoming. I didn’t know her, but I felt connected to her, nonetheless. I felt connected—and interconnected with the thousands of others who were milling all around us, sharing the sights and sounds and space of this beautiful summer night.
The present me appreciated the efforts of all the hearts and hands of all ages, races, and backgrounds who came together to make this event possible: from those directing traffic in the parking lot, those preparing and serving food, those maintaining and monitoring the grounds and rides, those driving the tractor shuttles, those making public announcements, those tending to animals, and, of course, the animals. This evening was a celebration of interdependence.
My practice has changed me for the better, and it’s events like these that most clearly reveal and showcase some of these positive changes:
- Remain open and receptive to new opportunities
- See the familiar with a fresh set of eyes
- Set aside past associations and perceptions
- Remain calm and relaxed—even under pressure
- Release tension after danger has passed
- Prevent unexpected obstacles from spoiling the rest of the evening
- Remain content and patient while waiting
- Enjoy the company of loved ones and strangers
- Feel genuine love, compassion, and joy for others
- Remain focused, alert, and present without expectations
- Cultivate gratitude for others’ skills, gifts, and efforts
This is what daily practice has done for me. Over time, it has enabled me to allow, appreciate, and enjoy this precious human life.
Do I feel this connected all the time? No. However, I do feel like this more frequently than I did a decade ago. My practice has improved the overall quality of my life, and, by proxy, it has improved the lives of others around me.
I’m reflecting on this topic at a time when yet another mass shooting has occurred in our country—this time, in Jacksonville, Florida. The contrast of these two events: an enjoyable evening with my family at the fair, and yet another tragic shooting motivated by hate, ignorance, and racism—is jarring and unsettling.
One of the biggest benefits of my personal practice is that it helps me to navigate this paradox—and it motivates me to continue to practice without being discouraged by the hatred and anger of others. I can’t change other people, and I won’t allow the destructive actions of others to deter and distract me from appreciating moments of connection and presence. Despite others’ choices and actions that intensify suffering and despair, compassion, connection, interdependence, and gratitude—these are the necessary antidotes that a daily practice fosters.
I firmly believe that when enough people cultivate compassion and connection for others, meaningful change can, and will, occur. However, it must begin with individuals before the ripple effects can reach, progress, and improve society.
The Indiana State Fair may have come and gone for this year, but there will be many more opportunities to celebrate and practice interdependence by this time next summer.
My hope is that this article inspires and supports you and your own practice in some way.
May you be well. May you be happy. And most importantly, may you continue to practice…
While you're here, don't forget to visit the Middle Moon Malas home page to view the current collection of hand-knotted malas and quarter malas.
Suffering and Happiness: A Tangled Interconnection May 29, 2023 08:57
If you prefer to listen to this month's blog article, click HERE for the audio link.
During a recent meditation class, my teacher, Geshe Kunga, said something that has stuck with me, and I have been mulling it over for several days.
He said that happiness and suffering are interdependent and interconnected. For example, we appreciate food more if we have ever experienced hunger first hand. If we've ever lived in a country where water was a scarce and precious resource, we are more careful about how we use water--even if we're in a place where it is plentiful.
The suffering and lack of resources stimulates an appreciation and a strong sense of responsibility. This is the relationship between suffering and happiness.
Suffering, like everything else, is impermanent--and, so is happiness. Consequently, our lives are a blend of both--just like the beads on a mala. The beads themselves represent the beautiful aspects of life. The knots between the beads represent the hardships and obstacles. A meaningful life includes a balance of both.
Since January of this year, I have been practicing Lam Rim meditations with an online group connected with Sravasti Abbey. I enjoy the daily sessions--the familiarity of the mantra recitations, the visualizations, and the analytical contemplations that comprise this daily practice.
However, there's a part of the practice that I struggle with a bit, and it makes me bristle and cringe. As we begin the Shakyamuni Buddha sadhana, we visualize our birth mother on our left and our biological father on our right as we imagine leading them, along with other sentient beings, in this practice of gratitude and appreciation.
Both of my birth parents were challenging for me in many ways. They divorced when I was very young, so I didn't really know my father. What I did know wasn't good--he was a misogynist, a bigot, and a literal card-carrying member of the KKK.
My mother survived a serious car accident when she was a teenager. She slammed through the windshield...twice...and sustained serious head trauma at sixteen when she was riding in a car with friends.
As a result, she suffered with mental health issues ever since I can remember and even up until the time she died. When I was growing up, she took various combinations of medications over the course of decades ranging from anti-depressants to anti-psychotics. She worked with several therapists over the years, she was hospitalized several times, and she even endured shock-therapy treatments.
Looking back, I really think that she may have been misdiagnosed, and I believe that working with a therapist who specialized in trauma would have benefited her. However, I don't know if there were many specialists like that in the 70s.
Living with her when I was growing up, I remember that she was extremely self-absorbed, withdrawn, emotionally unavailable toward others, and needy. She was able to work for a while, but when she stopped working, she spent most of her time lying on the couch with her eyes closed--or staying in her room with the door closed.
She was very intelligent and bright...cogent...lucid...but also extremely preoccupied with her own wants and needs. When she did speak, it was usually something about herself or a needy request for some impulse craving: "Will you go to the store and get me a candy bar and a can of creamed corn?"
This was an actual request--and there were many random demands like this over the years.
I didn't know about causes, conditions, and karma at the time (I grew up in a Catholic home and didn't discover Buddhism until I was in my late 20s), but her life and choices demonstrated for me the drawbacks of self-cherishing and self-grasping thoughts.
All the medications and therapy didn't really help her much. She was obsessed with herself, and her self-absorption made her (and the rest of the family) miserable. Growing up with a difficult parent and home life encouraged me to seek other alternatives.
I walked away from Catholicism and embraced Buddhism instead.
I rejected my birth father's racist views and welcomed inclusive, anti-racist, and culturally-appreciative ideologies instead.
I did NOT want to be like my mom, so I focused more on giving rather than taking--on being of benefit to others rather than focusing on myself.
This is where suffering and happiness meet--and the line they share is in the choices we make.
If we're not happy, we can decide to choose another thought, another word, or another action. Our situation may not change immediately; it takes time. My life didn't begin to change for the better until I moved out of my parents' home at nineteen. I had to be consistent...and patient.
However, when I was in college and really focused on learning about subjects that fascinated me, especially learning how to educate others and helping others figure out what fascinated them, my life started to improve dramatically.
I have always enjoyed learning about other cultures. For a while, I considered the notion of studying cultural anthropology. Appreciating and learning about other cultures and viewpoints taught me to be open-minded and open-hearted, rather than fearful, limited, and hateful.
Interacting and teaching students from diverse cultures has enriched my life--and has encouraged me to feel connected and interconnected in this world.
Reading books and listening to music by writers and musicians from different walks of life and backgrounds has nourished my own curiosity and development.
My first teachers, my birth parents, taught me what NOT to be, what NOT to do. These early years of difficulty and suffering led to many more of growth, renewal, and happiness.
My life is far from perfect, and I am not happy all the time. That is for sure! I still struggle and suffer. I still make mistakes and screw up...a lot...but when I do, I know that I have choices. I know that I can sit with discomfort--listen to my thoughts--observe my feelings. I know that I can turn to others if I need guidance. I know that suffering, like happiness, is not permanent.
I also know that I can rely on the Dharma for inspiration. I know that I can rely on my practice for stability and clarity. I know that by focusing on others more than myself--by practicing generosity, patience, consistent and skillful effort, and by making time for daily meditation, I can manage more effectively these moments of suffering and disappointment.
Even now, having had time to reflect and write about this topic and these relationships, I now have a daily opportunity to reframe how I feel about my birth parents. My mom passed away nearly a decade ago. My birth father, I presume, is still living in a small town somewhere in Illinois. When I visualize them, appearing to my left and my right, I can now work toward feeling grateful. Despite the struggles and challenges, they taught me invaluable lessons, and my time with them eventually inspired me to grow and build a meaningful life.
My hope in writing these monthly blog posts is that they may benefit whoever reads (or listens to) them in some way.
May you continue to learn and grow in your own practice, and perhaps you'll find buried treasures among your own memories and relationships--evidence of interconnection--sparks of awareness, understanding, and compassion.
Several malas found new homes during this month. I've added a few to the collection, and I'm working on creating more one-of-a-kind designs. I invite you to visit the website to see what's new, and feel free to reach out if you have a special request.
Photo credit: Facebook
Interdependence and the Trip of a Lifetime: The Balance of Giving and Receiving December 31, 2022 13:33
(View from Namgyal Monastery, HHDL's temple in Dharamshala)
If you prefer to listen to this month's blog post, please click HERE for the audio link.
Americans, in general, are a bit fussy about independence. We like to be able to do things "all by ourselves," and many of us are hesitant to accept help from others. However, one of the biggest lessons that my Buddhist practice has taught me is that we are constantly riding the waves of our own personal and collective karmas, and that because of various causes and conditions, no one journeys through life alone--we are interdependent beings, whether we realize it or not. Life is more fun when you realize it, though.
I was very fortunate to be able to travel with a group of Dharma friends to India in November. We spent a week near a monastery in South India, and then we went to Dharamshala in North India for a week or so.
This truly was an amazing trip of a lifetime, and it would not have been possible without the presence, assistance, patience, kindness, compassion, generosity, expertise, and effort of many, many others.
One of the biggest lessons of this trip for me focused on the importance of giving and receiving--especially maintaining a healthy balance between these two actions.
Too much giving--especially feeling pressured to give, can leave me feeling depleted and exhausted. By the same token, too much receiving makes me feel uncomfortable, undeserving, selfish, and mired in the grippy tangle of attachment.
This trip was a beautiful dance of give and receive, and our group members were willing participants in its choreography.
One of the things we were grateful for was the delicious food we enjoyed while in India. While we were in Delhi, we were invited to a dinner at the Tashi Kyil Guest House and were served steaming platters of momos, veggies, fresh bread, and cups of hot chai.
I remember hearing the clatter of dishes, pots, and pans--the hiss of steam--the spray of water in the kitchen. Many hands were involved in preparing this meal, and it was delicious.
We enjoyed all of the meals during our trip, whether they were served in fancy hotels or prepared in tiny local restaurants, like Dolma's Kitchen in Dharamshala, where all the food was made from scratch--the tea from the Norbulinka Cafe, the cheesecake and yogurt mousse from a tiny restaurant near Namgyal Monastery--and all those wonderful honey lemon ginger teas and cappuccinos.
No matter where we went, we were greeted with warm, smiling faces and sincere service. We pooled our rupees and took turns paying for each other's meals. It was a beautiful exchange of give and receive--one fueled by meaningful service and gratitude.
(Geshe Kunga treated us to tea at an outdoor cafe along the kora in Dharamshala)
We did not partake in street food. However, one of my favorite meals was "soup in a bucket." Our teacher, Geshe Kunga, who took very good care of us throughout this trip, sent us an urgent message one evening to come to the temple. We hurried down dark, crowded streets to Namgyal Monastery to be greeted by Geshe-lak, who served us steaming bowls of spicy vegetable soup with thick, hand-made noodles from a large metal bucket. He had sponsored a dinner and wanted to share it with us, too. Monks from Namgyal prepared it for their sangha members. We sat on metal benches at the Dalai Lama's temple and enjoyed the warm, savory soup that was lovingly prepared by many monks for the benefit of many others.
(Mmmm...mmmmm...good. Sangha members enjoying homemade soup)
Interdependence was literally all around us--and it was not limited to restaurants and coffee shops. It was with us in the bustling Delhi airport--it was with us in traffic as taxi drivers gracefully chauffeured us among other cars, trucks, tuk tuks, scooters, pedestrians, and even livestock on crowded streets.
Interdependence was with us as we navigated our way on foot through narrow alleyways of the Tibetan Quarter in Manju ka Tila, busy markets near Hubballi, and the sloping network of streets in McCleod Ganj.
We had so much to be thankful for on this trip, but the day before Thanksgiving, we had the opportunity of a lifetime--our group had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
I can't begin to fathom all of the causes and conditions that had to align in order for this meeting to occur, but we were beyond appreciative.
I remember waking up at 3:00 AM in my hotel room at the Serkong House. I was too keyed up to practice, so I sat in bed and chanted the long Chenrezig mantra. I made a cup of tea, continued to chant, and waited.
Later, I showered, changed into a chupa (Traditional Tibetan dress) and pangden (apron) and met the rest of our group in the lobby at 6:15 AM.
We walked to the temple in the cool darkness. A black feral dog walked with us, escorting us most of the way to Namgyal Monastery. I was a little nervous about our meeting, but continuing to chant the Chenrezig mantra helped me remain calm, clear, and focused.
Geshe Kunga was waiting for us at the gate, and we walked to the office where we all took Covid tests. Our group was scheduled to meet with HHDL last that morning.
We showed our passports, went through security, and waited. We placed objects that we brought with us for HHDL to bless on a small table. I brought my white Selenite mala and a small quarter mala that I had made for someone special and gave these to the attending monk.
When it was time, our group was ushered upstairs to a room where couches and several chairs were arranged on either side of HHDL's seat in the middle of the room. Once we were seated, we remained very quiet as attending monks bustled quietly around us. One brought in a tray of beautiful statues and placed it on a nearby table.
We could hear groups of people just outside the door, and occasionally, HHDL's voice and gentle laugh as he patiently greeted those who came to see him, along with the rapid shutter clicks of a camera.
We waited quietly in the room for thirty minutes or so. Geshe Kunga gave each of us a Medicine Buddha statue from the tray to offer to HHDL. We unfurled our khatags that we brought and rested the statues on them in our laps. Then, His Holiness quietly entered the room, flanked by attending monks who guided him to his seat. All of my nervousness melted away, and I felt very calm and at ease in his presence.
Takster Rinpoche, a young lama who is connected to our Bloomington center, was kneeling on the floor beside him. Our connection to this young lama is the reason why our group was here--and why this private audience was possible.
His Holiness was very kind and nurturing to the young Rinpoche. He affectionately touched his head and patted him as he talked to us. He encouraged Rinpoche to continue his studies, and he emphasized that this was very important. His sincerity and encouragement were quite moving for all of us, particularly for Rinpoche, who wept quietly as he spoke to him.
Afterwards, attending monks helped us to line up with our offerings. At the last moment, while I was waiting in line, one of the monks, Geshe Sangay, gave me a beautiful jeweled conch shell to offer as well.
My mind was calm, and my hands were full with beautiful offerings. When it was my turn, I knelt down before HHDL as attending monks collected the offerings; in turn, they gave me a small Buddha statue that had been blessed by HHDL. We met eyes and smiled. He held my gaze briefly, leaned forward to pat my cheek, and brought his forehead to touch mine.
No words were spoken--and they weren't necessary-- it was merely a quiet exchange of sincerity, joy, compassion, and gratitude.
He placed the khatag around my neck, attending monks helped me to my feet, and they led me out of the room.
Our group gathered our things and blessed items and took several group photos in front of the temple. We walked back to the Serkong House for breakfast in a blissful state--among fellow pedestrians, scooters, tuk tuks, vendors, monastics, and feral dogs. I have never felt a stronger sense of connection to all of humanity in my life. I felt calm, connected, and interconnected to everyone and everything around me. It was a beautiful experience and a memory that I will treasure always.
(Meeting HHDL was a joy)
(Dharma friends with HHDL)
(Group photo with our group outside HHDL's office)
Every day of this trip was an adventure, and every day revealed the reality and significance of interdependence.
Meeting His Holiness was an amazing and meaningful opportunity, but I was hoping to meet someone else who was just as special to me.
I have been sponsoring a nun through the Tibetan Nuns Project for several years. Venerable Tsundue Palmo resides at Tilokpur nunnery, which is about an hour away from Dharamshala. Before our trip, I had reached out to TNP administrators to see if it would be possible to arrange a visit during our trip. Our schedule was tight and unpredictable, but many hearts and hands came together again to bring Venerable to Dolma Ling, a nunnery much closer to Dharamshala.
Honestly, I was a little more nervous about meeting her than I was meeting HHDL. Our group had rented a car and traveled to Gyuto Monastery first. The buildings were painted bright yellow, birds were everywhere, and young monks were chanting mantras from open windows. It was a beautiful, sunny day--Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.
Then, we traveled to nearby Dolma Ling and met with Tenzin, who helped make this meeting possible. After a few minutes, a car arrived at the nunnery, and I was able to meet Ven.Tsundue Palmo in person. I was surrounded by my Dharma friends when Tenzin introduced us. I offered Venerable a khatag, a donation in a bright orange envelope, and the quarter mala that I had made for her, which had been blessed by HHDL the day before.
Venerable was very soft-spoken, peaceful, and pleasant. Tenzin took us on a tour of Dolma Ling nunnery, and we stopped by the office so my friends could make prayer requests and donations to TNP. Then, we invited Venerable to join us for lunch at nearby Norbulinka, a beautiful monastery with a museum, restaurant, and gift shop.
Another member of our group, Victor, happened to be connected with the project manager at Norbulinka, Nyima, and she graciously treated our group to lunch and a tour of Norbulinka. It was another wonderful day--and interdependence made it all possible.
It was a joy meeting Venerable in person, and it definitely strengthened my motivation to continue to support her and the Tibetan Nuns Project.
(Victor taking a photo of me offering a khatag to Venerable Tsundue Palmo)
(Venerable and I --a joyous meeting)
(Venerable after lunch at Norbulinka)
Our group was riding the waves of our collective good karma, but it wasn't finished with us yet. Another member of our group, David, had met with Rinchen Khando Choegyal years ago when he had traveled to India in the 70s. This previous meeting with her was extremely inspiring and meaningful for him, so he reached out and managed to arrange a private audience with her and our group.
Rinchen-lak is the founder and special advisor of The Tibetan Nuns Project. She is the former Minister of Education in the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and she is the founding President of the Tibetan Women's Association. Oh, and she's also HHDL's sister-in-law.
Later in the week, we rented a car and drove to Kashmir Cottage to meet with her. We were seated in a small, airy room where her attendant brought us glasses of ginger tea.
She was very kind and generous with her time. We talked with her for an hour. She told us that her family was originally from Kham in Tibet, and her family came to India in 1958, a year before the Chinese invaded Tibet.
She came from a wealthy family and was able to attend school. Rinchen-lak later married the Dalai Lama's brother, and she started a bakery to provide food for other Tibetan refugees. She also helped provide clean water for the nuns at Tilokpur (the same nunnery where Ven. now resides) and opened Kashmir Cottage as a guest house.
She worked very hard to ensure that the nuns were fed and cared for--that they had qualified teachers and received a good education. She emphasized practical, foundational matters, tending to the physical wellbeing and mental health for the nuns as well as practicing Dharma.
Rinchen-lak was a kind-hearted, generous host, but in hearing her story, she was also wise, fiercely determined, and dedicated to helping the Tibetan people and to preserving the Dharma and Tibetan culture. Her work in educating and supporting Tibetan Buddhist nuns is beyond inspiring, and her primary message to us was..."For everything that you have, now it is time to give something back."
This is the essence of interdependence.
(Rinchen Khando Choegyal at Kashmir Cottage)
(David expresses his gratitude)
(Dharma friends with Rinchen-lak)
These were just some of the highlights of our trip to India. There were actually many other examples and many more wonderful people that I could have mentioned in this article.
I am very grateful to have experienced all of the events of this trip with my Dharma friends. Much gratitude to Geshe Kunga and TMBCC for making this trip possible. My hope is that sharing these moments with you will be of benefit as well.
May you give and receive with an open heart.
May you graciously accept help from others and offer help when you can.
May 2023 offer you many blessings, adventures, and opportunities.
May you continue to learn, grow, practice, and flourish in the coming New Year.
(Geshe-lak flanked by monk friends in Dharamshala)
Gratitude and Interdependence: Celebrating Connection February 25, 2021 19:03
If you prefer to listen to this blog post, please click here.
This February marks the sixth anniversary of Middle Moon Malas, so this month’s blog post is an offering of gratitude and an acknowledgment of the importance and benefits of interdependence.
The last six years have been a slow, steady adventure in learning, growing, and building self-esteem and confidence in the world of business, and I couldn’t have come this far without the help of a lot of people.
I am so grateful to my friend Micaela who saw potential in me even before I recognized it in myself. We met (and survived) in a yoga teacher training program. With her business experience and savvy, combined with her amazing tech skills, patience, and grace, she helped me set up my business website and business plan.
I am also grateful for Bill, my SCORE mentor (Service Corps of Retired Executives), who met with me once a month for a year to offer wisdom, resources, and practical business guidance.
I am grateful for Shopify and their tech support! I haven’t had to contact them often, but when I did, they were there for me—to help guide me and answer questions without judgment or making me feel like I was a burden or a nuisance.
I am extremely grateful for the bead suppliers that I have found on this path. They have helped me to create beautiful designs—whether they were local brick and mortar bead shops and craft stores, online Etsy sellers, big name wholesalers, or friends who donated beads.
I am grateful for the makers, manufacturers, and distributors of the supplies and tools I use in order to create mala designs and ship them to their new homes—pliers, needles, scissors, tissue paper, bubble wrap, boxes, insulated bubble mailers, and packing tape.
I am grateful for the USPS—all of the postal employees I have interacted with have been reliable, friendly, dedicated, professional, and patient. I appreciate their service immensely!
I am grateful for the woman from Estonia who reached out to me on the Contact Us page to suggest that I add an audio file to each blog. She enjoys reading my monthly posts, but reading is a struggle for her due to vision challenges. It took a little while, but I figured out a way to do that. Now, I look forward to writing—and reading-- each month’s blog posts. I’m talking to you today because of this woman. Personally, I was amazed that someone from Estonia (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) was reading my blogs.
I am grateful for the ability to view on my admin page where visitors to the website are from: Ireland, Kenya, Australia, Portugal, Poland, Spain, France, Malaysia, Canada, Brazil, Seychelles, New Zealand, Thailand, and all the individual states in the U.S.
MMM is a teeny, tiny independent micro biz, but it’s connected to the whole world. I’m on my own, but I am certainly not alone. I definitely could not have embarked on this journey without the help and support from others.
Most importantly, I am grateful to the many friends, fellow practitioners, clients, and customers who have purchased malas, for themselves or others, or who have requested custom designs.
Some have been gifts for loved ones.
Some have been healing offerings for those battling and recovering from illness.
Some were for those who wanted babies, meaningful career paths, new homes, safe travels, and loving relationships.
Some were peace offerings.
Some were for yoga studio owners and their students.
All were made with love, dedication, and care.
If I knew ahead of time what the mala was for (and you don’t have to have a specific reason or intent, but some do), if I knew ahead of time what the specific intention was, I would whisper, speak, or sing mantras of compassion, healing, strength, etc. as I strung the beads, secured the knots, and wrapped the tassels.
More often than not, I don’t know who the malas are for, and sometimes, I have to be patient and wait for their “people” to find them. Whether I know who they are for or not, I put great care into creating each design.
My hope is that these malas inspire others to practice, whether it’s seated meditation, mindful walking, japa, yoga, alternative movement modalities, or just trying to be a good person in the world…
My hope is that these malas support and serve others’ personal practices in a positive, meaningful way.
I love what I do, and even though I may be an independent micro business owner, I couldn’t do this without the help of all of you.
This business adventure over the last six years has taught me the value and power of interdependence, and also the many blessings and benefits that heartfelt gratitude brings.
I’m very grateful to be able to offer these malas out into the world, and I am extremely grateful to all of you who have read the blogs, visited the website, liked, shared, and commented on social media posts, and purchased designs from the online shop, or requested a custom design.
It has been a wonderful six years, and I’m looking forward to creating even more heartfelt, hand-crafted mala designs for many years to come.