As you get older I think there is a natural draw towards the spiritual, the inner world, to other dimensions and the practice of mindfulness or ,the “woo woo” as my friend J calls it. I like the thought of being a woo woo woman, because although the term is supposedly quite derogatory, there is a playfulness to the words that reflects my way of thinking.
There is a little woo woo in everything I do these days, from reading my daily horoscope, to meditation practice and the odd casting of a spell. Crystals, aromatherapy and Ayurveda form a large part of my self care, wellness routine, which brings a little magic to everything I do. I have found that a little piece of rose quartz stuffed in the turkey with the sage and onion, does wonders for general Christmas cheer and a good dollop of rescue remedy, is a must for the mulled wine.
How absolutely wonderful the internet is for all these things and how lucky we are, that we are growing older (or should that be bolder?) in an age when all this information and inspiration is at our fingertips. Traditionally women passed down the art of healing, cooking, their wisdom and their stories to the next generation, these traditions were lost for many years, but I feel that the internet has given them a new voice. A big beautiful voice, for all to hear.
The knowledge of yoga, mediation and mantra were largely practiced within a select group of (predominantly male) yogis, monks and religious practitioners, kept away from the untrained minds of the masses. Religious texts, sutras and deeper philosophical debate were closely guarded. At a recent talk I went to, by the artist Rebecca Duckett-Wilkinson on her exhibition Forbidden Fruit, I was fascinated to learn that the Linnaeus sexual classification system of plants, meant that for a long time botany was considered to be a far to “risque” subject for the frail sensibilities of young women. Feminist then went on to use the language of botany to teach sex education and equality of the sexes, pretty racy stuff at the time, but somehow unbelievable to think of now.
My years of nomadic life have meant that most of my books have been given away, lost or are sitting in a box in someones house, waiting for me to find a place for them. I miss those familiar pages with their markings and notes, but it has forced me to learn a new way of learning and it has been nothing short of miraculous. Websites, blogs, Instagram, books – all available in the blink of an eye. If knowledge is power then we are surely at our most powerful.
My favourite woo woo tool is my mala ( prayer beads, misbaha, rosary, japa mala – every religion seems to have a variation). I used to say that precious moments were like beads, to be strung together to form a beautiful necklace of your life and that is what my mala is for me. It is supposed to be 108 beads but mine in a 109 due to a miscalculation during my latest restringing, I like to think of that extra bead and the biggest blessing of all.
I know that we are coming up to the holiday season and we are all supposed to be filled with joy and love but, if you are anything like me and find the whole thing a little more stressing than blessing, a mala might be just the present to give yourself. So here goes on the how, when and why of my mala:-
Mantra Mala – my mantra is the Green Tara Mantra “Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha”. There are those who believe that a mantra should be kept private, but I think that is utter hogwash. I use my mantra to focus and quiet my mind, with simple repetition, whenever I have a moment or feel the need. Green Tara has so a lot of meaning for me and the mantra came to me in many different ways- I found Deva Premal’s beautiful video on YouTube, a friend told me about how it had helped her get out of a difficult time in her life and my doctor told me to repeat it to aid my healing. If it resonates with you then please take it as a gift from me and if it doesn’t , but you would like one of your own, listen carefully and yours will come to you.
Love Mala – if you are having one of those days when everyone is pissing you off and driving you totally nuts, grab a glass of wine ( whiskey, chocolate, coffee …whatever your thing is, unless your thing is a shotgun in which case skip this part) and your mala. Start by saying “I send my love to…” then with each bead name someone and send them all your love. Start with an easy one like your child (someone else’s will also do, if yours is pissing you off) or your dog and then work your way from there. Keep going until you get to the people that are currently pissing you off, then keep going further until you get to the people that have really upset you, the ones you feel that you that you cannot forgive. At this point I usually find myself saying “I send my love to XXXX. Ha -bet you weren’t expecting that you shit bucket !” and it really does feel good. Finally work your way back to the ones you are filled with love for and let the love just pour out of you, travelling out of you all through the cosmos until it reaches them. I have often gone round the mala twice or more with this and afterwards I am always smiling and feeling blessed.
Magic Moments Mala – now I know that there is a lot of bollocks around saying “if your past calls don’t answer, it has nothing new to say”, “You can’t change the past so look to the future” yadda, yadda, yadda. I am 51, so unless I live to 102 ( which is highly unlikely), I have more past than I have future and it has been an amazing ride so far. When my present seems unbearable and my future bleak (or in my worst moments when I can see no future at all), that is when I do the Magic Moments Mala. With each bead I go to a beautiful moment in my life and I allow it to shine like the bead in my hand, filling me with its perfection. Some of these are really just moments, a smile, a kiss, a stallion rearing, a dolphin in the red sea. With each one I find myself rising up, swimming to the surface until I am finally floating on a clear blue sea, looking at the infinite sky above me. As I come to the last few beads and my spirits are lifted, I find myself in the moment that I am in and I then, I let myself take a sneak peak at the wonderful moments yet to come. It really is magic for the soul.
As we come up to the new year (and a new decade) I hope you find your woo woo and remember, the mala is a circle and it will never run out of beads.
All my love,