The Meaning of Mala Beads

mala-collective

Get inspired to wear your intentions this season.

In my own life, clothes have always been so much more than functional— or even fashionable. A new item of clothing (I’m talking tops, dresses, and underthings more so than gym socks, obviously) represents the person I am and want to be at the moment I wear it. This is the connection that first drew me to a career in fashion— even before my days as a beauty editor! Looking back through my closet, I connect with the person I was when I chose certain pieces; I remember where I wore them, and how I felt. But what about jewelry?

If your clothing is an outward expression of self and intention, your jewelry is even more so.

A metal ring, glass beads, pearl earrings— these natural materials can hold so much significance, and can last for years, to be passed on when you’re long gone as a reminder of you.

At times in my life, I’ve been seriously attached to jewelry items (whether or not they have any monetary value!). In my teens, I used to wear a tiny guardian angel pin every time I flew on an airplane. Going through a stressful time, I put on the same pair of earrings from my husband every day for months as a reminder of strength. After my son was born, I received a simple hammered metal pendant with his initials that I treasure. A plastic art deco pendant that I found in my grandmother’s jewelry box after she passed brings me close to her every time I wear it.

This spring, I added another meaningful piece to my jewelry with a beautiful set of mala beads. When I say beautiful, I mean that I honestly lost my breath when I pulled this strand of beads from its package!

I’ve been meditating on and off for years, but I’m still a novice when it comes to meditation culture and history. I learned from Mala Collective, the maker of this gorgeous necklace, that mala beads are traditionally worn as a meditation tool, to help you count mantras as you meditate. Their 108 beads are open to interpretation, but they may represent chakras, mantras, or Sanskrit letters. You get to decide what they mean to you.

To me, this set of beads is a reminder of my goal to meditate daily, as well as a wearable symbol of my commitment to live life as my best self, through any circumstance. I feel inspired when I wear it. I feel energy. I feel grounded in my intention to live my life accepting and expressing joy. That’s all I could ask for in an item that I can wear and keep with me daily!

These particular multicolored peach, mint green, rose, and blue beads are breathtaking— they’re mixed Amazonite, a stone meant to connect you to inner power and inspire you to take charge in your life. You can find malas made from an incredible variety of gemstone beads (Mala Collective has SO many exquisite ones), meant to inspire all kinds of feelings and actions in your life. You can choose the one you’re most drawn to, or one that supports your current goals. The brown beads are rudraksha seeds that are believed to provide inner calm, peace and freedom from negative thought. I like that they’ll darken as I touch them over time. This set of beads is hand-knotted, and I love imagining the care that went into its creation, just like love I put into a homemade meal.

Knowing the meaning of malas, and how personalized they can be, I now plan to give them as gifts to loved ones, with the hope that they’ll wear them and stay connected to their own intentions. They may be fashionable, and lovely, but fundamentally they’re a way to wear your desire to live your most beautiful life— a message for you to carry with you each day.

What jewelry or clothing items are most meaningful to you— and how do they connect you to your personal health goals and intentions?

2016 Beauty, In One Word

Resolutions come, and resolutions go. They never quite seemed to work for me. So I shelved my old New Year's resolutions three years ago in order to take a new approach: a word of the year. Instead of a particular goal, in anticipation of every new year I choose a single word that sums up how I want to feel that year, or how I want the year's events to feel to me. Almost like a year-long affirmation.

Here's an earlier post I wrote on the idea.

The year I had a baby and released my book Eat Pretty, my word was VITAL, “having remarkable energy, liveliness or force of personality.” It was a lively, energetic, busy time! The year before that, while I was in preparation mode, my word was RELAXED. I needed some major down time in my life at that moment.

This year, my word is 'MAGICAL.'

I've encountered the word 'magical' over and over recently, and I'm taking it as a sign that, rather unexpectedly, it's going to be my word this year. I feel ready to stop trying to micromanage my life and allow more magic to happen organically. I want 2016 to be a year of magical moments and memories personally, at home with my son and husband, and professionally, as I launch two more books and dream up new ideas. So far, I've loved the result of tweaking my mindset as I approach the new year, and I love the creation process of finding that one perfect word much more than coming up with a traditional goal. It's a much better fit for a writer like me!

So, could you change your approach to resolutions this year too? Spend some time thinking about the word that sums up the way you'd like 2016 to feel. One of my clients chose the word 'joyful.' Another gravitated toward 'patient.' There is so much wisdom in your personal word of the year. Display it somewhere where you'll see it regularly, to have it guide your feelings and decisions in the year to come.

I wish you a year of beauty, health, and your best self in 2016!

xo, Jolene