In 2020, I bought my first mala beads. It was made of sandalwood and turquoise. I wasn’t sure at the time if I would use it with mantras, but since I was doing a 108 sun salutation challenge virtually with some friends, it seemed appropriate. As I learned more about mantras and affirmations, I did come to use my mala for both during my meditation times. However, the beads were on an elastic string that quickly became stretched after a few uses.
Rather than buying a new one, my crafty nature was plotting the project of restringing my mala. A few hits-and-misses with the proper string and a couple of YouTube videos later, I was ready. Between each bead, I was forming a triple knot. I had established a nice rhythm each time I sat down to work with them. Then, somewhere between my second and third spacer beads, I noticed something. I had made a mistake and only done two knots instead of my three about five beads back from where I was working. The bead was sliding around between its neighbors, mocking me. My Virgo, perfectionist self rose up in my head, “How can I fix it? Should I start over? Could I unknot all the beads between my mistake and where I am?” Then I felt it, anger at a knot, a tiny little missing knot.
When I recognized how silly that was, I paused and looked at my mistake. Sure, that bead was looser than the others, but it was not going anywhere. The mala would still serve its purpose. The strand continued despite the flaw. It was safely held in place by the surrounding support of the other beads. This made me smile. As I continued to work the rest of the beads onto the strand, I became grateful for my mistake. It would be a reminder to me. Things don’t always go the way you plan, but that does not need to derail you. We have lessons to learn. As we evolve, we learn them differently and sometimes faster. Learning in new ways is a lesson, too.