I used to wear rings on every finger, necklaces, bracelets and earrings – long, long, earrings – dangling from my body.
Over the years the styles changed. Sometimes a watch took up residence on my wrist and I felt naked without it.
When she was born, I learned what it was to have a baby and realized that it was time to shed the jewelry, preferring to preserve chains and intact earlobes. For a while, she was my sacred adornment and there were blessings in that amidst the nakedness I sometimes felt without the jewelry.
It took years to slowly find my way back to adorning myself and as I did so, I learned a lot about what it meant to me.
It was a way to express my creativity through the choices I made each day.
It was a way to carry comfort with me even when I went into the most uncomfortable situations.
It was a way to extend who I was outside of my skin, giving a little glimpse of the heart and soul of me.
I share this as a way to explain why I wear a mala almost every day.
For some, malas will remain on their altars and be used only for mantra meditation. And that is beautiful.
For me, I choose to carry my meditation with me.
I choose to wear the gemstones that I need as I wander out into the world, cloaking myself in patience or strength or groundedness or peace.
I choose to trace my hands from bead to bead in a short meditation while waiting for coffee, before getting out of my car for a meeting, before greeting the once baby now first grader at the bus stop.
Because I need the ability to drop back into myself through meditation whenever and wherever.
This is the same reason I carry a mini altar in my wallet and a tiny Ganesha statue in the pocket of my jean jacket.
What we cloak ourselves in – from our thoughts, our words, and our actions to our clothes and sacred adornments – are extensions of our hearts and souls.
I believe that I am a sacred vessel, and that you are too. And as vessels, we can carry our sacred adornments wherever we travel.