These stretchy bracelets were part of a Mindful Beading workshop presented by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Mindful Beading: Be Calm… Feel Joy

The term mindfulness gets tossed around relentlessly in our digital world, as if by saying the term it makes it so.

Mindfulness, by definition, is being conscious or aware of something.

The soul of beading has proven mindful to me because beadwork is joyful. The cares of the world fall away and time ceases when I am beading.

Mindful Beading was born during a phone conversation with a creative group partner. In an impromptu brainstorming, we agreed to use beading as a way to collaborate and share a way to live in the moment. From the moment we agreed to work together mindfulness charged every aspect of our undertaking.

A thoughtful exploration of project opportunities finally brought us to a stretchy bracelet project, something that required no tools. Small, powerful steps combined to produce Mindful Bead kits that combine two life skills: beading and mindfulness in one package.

As a self-declared bead maestro, I found pretty beads  — vintage Czech glass beads and Venetian beads in beautiful patterns, colors, shapes and sizes — and developed a cohesive design for the kits we envisioned. Each detail of the instructions was dissected. Focus groups that included people with no bead experience provided feedback.

My partner, Nina Smiley, Ph.D., Director of Mindfulness at Mohonk Mountain House, asked me to join her in presenting in a Mindfulness Weekend during which we facilitated two Mindful Beading sessions.

Most participants were new to beadwork. Everyone completed at least one project. Some found the coordination required to place the cylinders on clear stretchy thread somewhat taxing. Others loved the process and quickly turned to help a friend. A few discovered a challenge and we were right there to assist. Some spent most of their time on design and placement of beads. For all, intention made the difference: one bead, one moment at a time.

Mindful Beading was so well received that Mohonk added another Mindful Beading activity later in the year. The Mohonk gift shop now inventories Mindful Beading kits that contain ingredients to foster two life skills: mindfulness and handwork.

As to the partnership, it continues. Both Nina and I believe in the power of small, simple actions to improve lives. We’re so confident we built the kit. (Read Nina’s post about Mindfulness: One minute at a time.) You’ll hear more about our next adventures right here on this blog.

Mindful Beading, an incredible gift to yourself. In these times of unbridled disruption, be calm…feel joy.

Will you try Mindful Beading?

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