On Wednesday August 7, the Beads of Paradise family was not in their usual location; on this special evening, we migrated down the street amidst a light spattering of rain to the illustrious Rubin Museum of Art, where we were ushered into the theater with our bags, boxes and, of course, beads (lots and lots of beads, as always). In this new environment we quickly got to work setting up for the first ever Mala Making Workshop, while Geshe Lobsang Ngodup looked on and chatted amiably and the Rubin team went over the plans with us and made sure everything was set to run smoothly.
Outside the theater, we could hear the group of attendees being led on their tour of the Count Your Blessings exhibition as our teams went over a final rundown of the evening's plan. We took our places as the doors opened and the group of 60+ participants filtered into the theater and settled into their seats, filling the room with a quiet anticipation and excitement.
Geshe Lobsang Ngodup took to the floor with a fascinating discussion on malas and their history, showing his own mala that he's worn for many years as an example. He explained how there are many types of malas and many materials of which they could be made, in addition to the significance of the traditional 108 beads and the meanings of a few number and material variations. He impressed upon the group that a mala didn't have to be fancy, it could be a simple or elaborate as can be - it's the personal meaning and intention behind the prayer beads that's most important.
Joe introduced the Beads of Paradise crew and went over the evening's plan as Dawn of the Rubin Museum facilitated the coordination of sending the eager group up to choose their supplies. Arriving to the stage, the attendees were given a bag with their basic supplies and led to a colorful grouping of beads and tassels to choose from; not unlike when visiting our store, the curated yet diverse selection drew giddy smiles, but also bouts of indecision.
What on earth to pick?
Once everyone was settled, our Rosie took the stage with Geshe Lobsang Ngodup by her side and began to lead the eager group in the mala making process. The rest of our team walked amongst the tables, helping out when needed. Some parts of the process went smoother than others, as attendees set forth to complete portions of mala making that even our long-time staff don't find to be a breeze. With a little bit of patience and a dose of guidance from staff, every one found their way. A favorite moment of ours is when Geshe Ngodup reminded everyone that the process is not so much about the destination, but about reveling in and appreciating the journey - a notion that holds true not just in mala making, but that can easily be applied to many factors in our lives.
As everyone finished up, Geshe Ngodup took the floor once more to do a blessing over everyone's malas. Leading the group in a lesson in how to use their malas, attendees held their prayers beads and bowed their heads in concentration as they repeated mantras over and over with Geshe Ngodop. A feeling of peace settled over the room as the evening closed out, and everyone left with a mala that was, if not perfect, then certainly meaningful.
Needless to say, all of us at Beads of Paradise had a great time leading this large, wonderful group and, not unlike the attendees, we learned some things ourselves. We'd love to thank the Rubin Museum for inviting us to take part in this event and all the attendees, too! We'd love to have you come see us in the store!
Check out the Rubin's event pictures, right here.
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