Beading as Meditation

by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer and Instructor, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

I've taken yoga and meditation classes for eons. I've even stayed at an ashram with a real live guru and participated in a silent 4-day noise fast to tackle my "monkey mind" (quite similar to Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love only she has better hair), and I gotta tell ya, after years of experimentation and dedication to these traditional methods of quieting the mind, my favorite meditation practice comes in little clear plastic tubes ... seed beads.

Studies have continuously proven time and time again that stress isn't real; there's no such thing. You can't buy it, sell it, or even regift it; yet we all live with it to various degrees. We actually make it up. Yes, it can take a physical and/or mental toll on us but think about it ... we ... make ... it ... up! If ever there was a need to bead, this certainly tops the list! Feel free to discuss with your doctor before filling that anti-anxiety prescription ...

Much less expensive than a trip to India for 4 days of no talking (don't think for a moment THAT wasn't a challenge for ol' chatty Cathy here), those little teeny-weeny seed beads contain a wealth of endless possibilities within each miniscule orb. Just as each little acorn contains an entire acorn tree, each seed bead contains untapped color palette, projects, and masterpieces beyond our wildest dreams. And if you believe, as I do, in basic Quantum Physics; everything is energy and the thoughts you think contribute to your reality. So, what about beading? I tried a little experiment to start off and end each day beading with calm, meditative thoughts and see if my life changed. I mean if Oprah has her entire staff at OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) meditate twice a day, this stuff MUST work, right?!

I can hear your gasps across the cyber waves at the thought of taking time to do this every day, what, with the kids, and busy schedules, stressful jobs, etc. who can afford such a luxury? Those were my very thoughts as I pondered this new lifestyle; I had a stressful 55-60 hour workweek with a commute at the time and all the "perks" that go along with it (you know which ones, baskets full of dirty laundry by Sunday night, dirty dishes in the sink, unopened bills). In spite of this, I made the commitment to myself, plunged ahead and tried it for a month. By Jove, it worked like a charm! After 20 minutes of beading with my morning coffee, there was no road rage on the way to work, I went into the office with my head still in the "zone" instead of worrying about the list of to-do items that, well, let's face it, will NEVER get done. I had some peaceful calming space in my head instead of re-playing yesterday's disturbances such as my calorie count BEFORE the visit from Ben and Jerry at midnight; the totally insane request from my boss at 4:47 pm as I'm heading out the door; and the zillionth button-pushing phone conversation with my mother (how can that STILL happen????).

Many times in the evening, I'd feel much too tired to bead, but I did it anyway and found I slept great with thoughts of beady delights running through my mind instead of previously mentioned monkey-mind to-do list. One of my main conclusions is I actually did NOT get more accomplished in a day by worrying; bead-meditation gave me more focused clarity throughout the day instead of feeding the invisible stress monster. I had more patience and my decision making was quicker with increased clarity in my actions and a more acute sense of intuition. I'm still loving it over a year after my initial launch and invite you to try it! Remember, some is better than none, so even if you can do it a few times a week, it's worth it. Here are some tips to get started!
  1. No cell phones allowed. Seriously, not even on vibrate! Leave them in another room on silent.
  2. Bead something you can do by heart or is the same pattern over and over again so you don't have to think. The point is to remain in the "zen-zone" as long as possible; this is not a true "working" session and any interruptions by thinking or trying to follow a pattern will defeat the whole purpose of this meditation.
  3. Keep your project easily accessible and quick to pick up where you left off.
  4. Play quiet, soothing, instrumental music, preferably with no words. Lay off the rap for 20 minutes.
  5. Shut the door and put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign when meditating. If the kids can post signs on their door and expect you to obey, so can you.
  6. The goal of this is to feel good and stay in the zone, not focus on how quickly you can finish up your project with a race against the clock; pondering if it's better than your sister's beading or wonder how much you can sell it for.
  7. Set a timer so you don't have to keep looking at the clock.
  8. Try, as much as possible, to have happy, calm, loving thoughts during each 20 minute meditation. This is not the time to SHS (Should Have Said ... you never put the toilet seat down, we never cuddle anymore, when was the last time YOU let the dog out).
  9. Bead first thing upon awakening, before you start on the treadmill.
  10. It's OK to fall asleep face first in your bead pile (just be sure to send me a picture!).
Some of the best advice I've heard regarding making time for meditation: if you're too busy to do 15-20 minutes a day, you need to double your time! You're simply too too busy! Best of luck my beady buddies and let me know how it goes!

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Customer Comments

We Appreciate Your Comments! We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article "Beading as Meditation," as featured in an email newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"Great story! Enjoyed the humor of it and the sharing. She's right--if you can't find 15-20 minutes to "bead meditate", then you need to do a double-session because you are TOO busy!

I liked the tips to get started and stay on track and that some is better than none! Humor is beneficial for anybody. Life is good, better when infused with laughter!~~~Peace"
- Diane

"Kristal is on the right track alright! If you love it, if it's a passion ... it will serve you well. Enjoyed the article. More in the same vein would be great."
- Myra

"This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and a most thought-provoking one too. I loved it!"
- Wendy

"Loved this article. Written with humor and very relatable. One of the best pieces and just in time for me personally. Thank you for another healthy excuse for my beading passion!"
- Lisa

"Oh, Kristal--you really "get" it! This is absolutely the most helpful advice EVER. While it is always wonderful to get the Fire Mountain expertise in technical ways of making projects there is another side to tackling creativity that is almost never mentioned. And now Kristal has. Thank you, thank you!"
- Kathie


I loved this article by Kristal Wick. It was so real to my own experiences with meditation, yoga, etc. I certainly like the idea of doing the same with beading; so will give it a try! Thanks Kristal,"
- Janet

"I get more than enough impractical advice. This was simply silly."
- Scott

"I completely agree that creating jewelry can be a personal experience. The act of creating is meditative. When alone, beading and wiring has placed me in a soothing, tranquil, state of being that has displaced time. Sometimes, I find solutions to challenges while working on a project. Thank you for such an insightful article."
- Leila

"Bead "meditation" and community giving!"
- Lynn

"Beading as meditation was absolutely beautiful, Thank you,"
- Janie

"Great article ... beading as meditation!"
- J

"Just a comment on Kristal's Beading Meditation article. I like all of her articles, but this one is very close to my heart. I do try to bead in the morning, but now I will make more of an effort to fit in 20min. a day! Thanks,"
- Robin

"The article is so right on target. Make a worry bead string and just sit and finger it and think calming thoughts if you don't really want to bead, the results are just as calming."
- Lu-Ann

"Dear Dear Kristal,
What a beautiful, informative and interesting article. Something I had never thought about, Beading Meditation. Wow ... I have done many types of meditation but beading never crossed my mind.

My Grandmother was full blooded Native American Indian. She passed when I was just a baby. I have always wanted to get into beading but didn't really know where to start. This is a very good incentive for me to get started and learn about beading with those beautiful tiny seed beads.

Could you give a little demonstration or idea of a pattern or even how to start the seed beading process? I am totally clueless when it comes to beading. Any help you can give me would be of much appreciation.

Thank you so much for the article, and God Bless you on your Spiritual Journey. Looking forward to reading more. You have had many interesting and beautifully blessed experience's in your life, thank you for sharing. Namasté"
- Jackie

"I totally think the beading has it. It is the greatest escape when one becomes focused on the project. Also, my best ideas come in the shower or when I am walking for exercise--and there is no pen and pencil in sight, ha ha!!!!"
- Rhschnur

"Love Kristal Wick's article on bead meditation!!!!"
- Kathy

"I thought the article was wonderful, especially since I have never thought of the perspective and contributions that are the sacred teachings and blessings of the spiritual paths that originate in Asia. I would like to add some commentary from Anglo-Saxon roots of the word bead.

The name I have given my shop is Bede House. The word bead first entered into the English speaking nations with the spelling Bede, meaning "to bid a prayer." This was important because the Roman Catholic church brought in praying with rosary beads at that time. I am not catholic, but am a Lutheran pastor. And when I am beading I pray for those who will wear my work; I bead and I bid. So what does the "House" have to so with my beading? In the middle ages, bede houses came into being as places where the infirmed, dying, or brutally poor could come and live with no cost to them. They paid for these blessings by praying for those who cared for them, and gathering in prayer was a regular part of their day.

Thus, I claim to be a Bede House, I pray regularly, especially when I bead, giving thanks for those who enjoy my work and for the time and gifts I have been blessed with that makes all of this possible. It is the greatest blessing to be able to bid prayers as I bead crosses that are worn by clergy with their robes. With the exception of one commission for a pastor's 25th anniversary, all my crosses come into being as a result of my spiritual spirit becoming in tune with the spirit and personality of the pastor who will wear them. They are never paid for, as it is my blessing to be able to bless those who wear my work. They often take a long time to be created for the person who will wear them, because I do not "think" about them but wait until the Spirit sends me an image of what I am to make. Yes, it is true that when one enters into mindfulness, our time of beading is a sacred space."
- Marnie

I have used beading as meditation, even taken it on retreats to do instead of walking meditation which I hate. As you suggest, I don't take along anything complicated or requiring too much creativity, just a project like a peyote or herringbone chain or bracelet and beautiful beads to contemplate as I relax further into my subconscious. It's a wonderful way to let go."
- Sally

"A great, fun, and inspiring read! I think she's got something with this beading meditation idea ..."
- Nancy

"I like the article about meditation. I have said for a long time that beading is my therapy.

However, I like to work on a new pattern. Then every other thought in my mind has to go away as I concentrate."
- Willie

"Just a quick note to say 'Thanks' for the fantastic article "Beading as Meditation". Loved it and I find exactly the same thing ... especially last thing at night. It really does help me sleep. Keep up the great articles. Cheers,"
- Storm

"Loved the article on beading and meditation!"
- Sherry

"Dear Krystal, I loved your article on Beading as Meditation. I have been beading for about 12 yrs. now, and have said all along that "beading is a form of meditation for me". Thanks for sharing your story, and putting MY feelings into words."
- Isabella

"This is a big thank you for a resource I look forward to. Kristal Wick's "From the Workbench" news letters are always helpful and entertaining. Many of them find their way into my beading resource file as valuable information. Today's letter about using beading as a form of meditation really hit home, since I have been doing it for years--but without consciously choosing to do so. From now on, my bead meditation time will be deliberately set aside and practiced. Peacefully,"
- Jeannie

"RE beading as meditation ... I too feel that when I bead it is the same as meditation. When I bead my breathing slows and I am renewed. I also make it a point to bead and think about the person who will wear the piece I am creating. I purposely do not think of negative thoughts. However I do put good wishes and send them to the prospective wearer. When I tell this to people their answer is ''Well it shows!''"
- Joyce

"Loved it! Thank you!"
- Lela

"This made me smile because my best beading pal and I have been listening to meditation music while we bead for some time now. There often are words, but they're in Hindi, so we have little idea what they're saying. I also have to confess that sometimes we make up our lyrics ..."
- Lisa

"Loved the article. I find if I do some sort of beading before I go to bed at night I sleep better, too. I don't do all the music, etc., but I do try to get something accomplished at least 4 times a week. I live out in the country--and I mean out in the country--so when I am beading and it is quiet, it is very quiet. We don't have television either because of the cost when we only watch 4 or 5 shows each week. Haven't got to where I can do it first thing in the morning yet, but I will have to give it a try. Thanks,"
- Diana

"The article on beading as meditation is great! Can't wait to try it! Thanks!"
- Joan

"I liked the meditation idea. I love the time spent alone making something with beads."
- Diane

"This was an exceptionally well-written and inspiring article. I have been using "Bead Meditation" for the past 6 years, after near-fatal post surgical complications combined with chronic pain and injuries have left me disabled and bedridden for days, weeks, months and years on end.

Beading and jewelry design have kept my mind sharp and my soul unfettered, and have given me a new sense of pride and productivity. My wings may be broken but beading allows my spirit to not just fly, but SOAR!

Regarding the "zone" the author refers to in the article, I can attest to this firsthand. I lost my father in March '09 and my beautiful daughter in April 2010. Some of my best work emerges at times when I am alone in the dark quiet sitting in my chair with only my beads, my chihuahuas, my cats and my memories. The world is utterly silent save for the steady breathing of my loyal little companions, and as my mind travels through space and time reuniting with my father and child, my hands continue their work as if moved by some invisible force. I have often looked up and been shocked to see that dawn is breaking and that many hours have passed in what seemed like only minutes and in my hands I hold a beautiful, intricate piece of jewelry.

I am quite certain that most of us have our own unique beading stories. Again, thanks to the author for sharing her thoughts on this fascinating and potentially life-changing "hobby". Sincerely,"
- Scherry

"Awesome suggestion. I also tried for years to meditate in the traditional manner, but was never able to quiet my mind and found meditation to be another source of stress for me. I have been beading since 1996 and realized several years ago that beading was a form of moving meditation and a much more effective stress reliever than any meditation or yoga. I love your idea to bead a simple pattern twice a day that doesn't require any thinking. I will definitely try that. I almost always find beading to be relaxing, but there are challenges occasionally, so your idea makes sense to me. That you for the great article."
- Jo

"Hi Kristal. Thank you so much for this article ("Beading as Meditation"). I have been trying to explain to friends and family the benefits of beading. I call it my "zen moments." But you have explained it so much better. I will share your article with everyone."
- Jane

"Hi Kristal, you are so right about the Meditation and Beading. I was Diagnosed with Cancer (Lymphoma) 4 years ago. During the time of my Chemo and Radiation I started an a Picture in Peyote stitch that I worked on. Mind you it took a lot of concentration to get it right but sure helped me to stay in line and not think off my misfortune and all the pain and not feeling good. Since then I am in remission for 16 month and feel great and do a lot of Beading. I loved all the articles you wrote in Beading Daly and miss it a lot. Sincerely,"
- Barbara