White text bubble: You home? Can I swing by?
Blue text bubble: Yes. Freaking out. Big meeting in an hour.
White text bubble: I have something for you. It’ll be quick.
Blue text bubble: Come over
Moments before a meeting upon which my entire future as a mother hinged, Dr. Kristin Werner, the therapist I credit with hauling my ass from the troughs of victim-hood, burst into my foyer. She told me a tale of dreams and visions and me, of primal, archetypal feminine wisdom and power. Balance, clear voice and confidence.
The mala she was making had at last spoken to her and suddenly, she had to get it to me. Like now. Like, immediately. Salt water streaked our cheeks as I received “my” mala. I wrapped it ’round and round my wrist, beyond words. We hugged ferociously, laughing and crying. I was ready.
The call to making mala is unique to each creator; this is why B|AM shares two stories on mala this month, to share that breadth of similarities and differences.. Here, B|AM contributor Dr. Kristin Werner shares her process. — Ed. GJV
Made With Intention
Written by Dr. Kristin Werner
Gentle exhale… gentle inhale.
Gentle exhale… gentle inhale.
….Om Shrim …..
As the quiet chanting continues, each knot and bead are tied with a meditative rhythm, allowing the mantra to seep into the budding mala.
On any given day, you can find me sitting on my couch, Missouri Heights spread before me, thread and beads in my hands. It doesn’t look like much to start, just a 6-foot length of string, beads desperate to tangle, to form their own complicated knots only a sailor could understand. I work the string, meticulously tying one knot, stringing one bead, and then repeating the process. And I chant…Oh Shrim… Focus. Ease. Intention.
I am Dr. Kristin Werner, Somatic Psychologist. Many call me Dr. K. I have a private counseling practice serving trauma clients; in particular, domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. The focus of my practice is to help my client learn to overcome the tragedies and difficulties of trauma and gain the skills necessary to thrive and live authentic, fulfilling, and joyful lives.
One of the modalities I utilize in Somatic Psychotherapy practice is yoga. I am long-time practitioner and teacher with over 17 years of experience. In particular, I rely on the wisdom of meditation and mindfulness to help support my clients through the difficult symptoms of anxiety and depression, which often accompany trauma. Within this wisdom, lies the beauty of the mala.
For those of you who are not familiar with a mala, the word mala is Sanskrit in origin and translates to “garland of beads, flowers, or prayers.” A prayer mala stems from the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism and usually consists of 108, 54, 27, or 16 beads with one larger bead (the guru bead) and a tassel. When a prayer mala is used during meditation, the beads are designed to help the practitioner keep count of the mantra being chanted. Additionally, gemstone malas are often worn as jewelry, so the wearer can receive the healing energy from the gemstones.
I learned to create malas from Gina Garris, a Kundalini yoga teacher, located in the Denver metro area. Gina learned how to make malas in Nepal, from a teacher who taught her a very sacred tradition. The tradition is so sacred that I was the second of two individuals to ever learn the entire process of creating a mala in this tradition. This tradition (which remains somewhat a secret) contains many mantras, specific knot tying rituals, and blessed intentions as the mala is coming to life.
When creating a custom order for someone, I add more ritual to the creation process: meditation and visioning. I consult with my client about their intentions behind needing and wanting a mala, how the client would like the mala to support him/her in their journey, and where the client currently resides in their life – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I then take time to meditate on the client and envision what stones and/or mala would best support the person. I also take time to research stones, discerning their healing properties and discovering which stones are most compatible together. Each of my pieces takes about three hours to create – from conception to completion.
When I first learned to make malas, during the summer of 2017, it was like “coming home.” It was as if I had found the art form my body, mind and soul had been craving and missing for years. It was if I had previously created these beautiful works of art somewhere in my mind or in a past life. Regardless, each mala I create represents a part of my soul. I love the idea that my malas are reaching and healing the people who need them. And that perhaps, if I am made of Divine Love from Source, that a little bit of “me” is infused into these works of art. Therefore, my malas are spreading love.
My process of creating a mala is unique to say the least, but the results speak for themselves. Each piece is unique. You will never find a duplicate. You will, however, discover that my creations are made with intention.