late last night, as i was walking to the car after meeting some friends at styxx, my mala unravelled and the bracelet fell to the pavement, all the little beads rolling here and there and everywhere along spring street. i stood in the street and stared at the ground for 5 minutes as if i was frozen. i thought about trying to pick them all up and string them back together. put a few in my pocket but knew i'd never find 108 beads in the dark. irretrievable. gone. my overworked mala, beads that i had counted, one by one, thousands and thousands of times. every morning and every night in meditation, and so many times during the day, absently pulling the bracelet on and off, counting counting counting. and always finding some quiet comfort from the ritual.
there i was standing on spring street at 1 in the morning, alone and a little cold and a lot tired and ready to burst into tears over a broken string of prayer beads.
i felt at once terribly sad and ridiculously silly. they were just beads after all.
this morning, i emptied the pocket of last night's jeans and found a few of the beads, mixed in with the loose change. a hint of regret passed through me. and all day my left wrist has felt naked without the bracelet wrapped around it. i have reached for those phantom beads at least 10 times. i feel off-balance. out of the center.
i am not oblivious to the significance of this feeling. or to its timing.
if i am honest, i can see that "off-center" has been my state of mind for a few weeks now. with or without the beads.
i know myself well enough to understand that part of this is connected to the changing of season. summer is fading away, the hint of autumn inching closer. and while fall is the season i love the most--there is so much beauty in autumn that almost always i am overwhelmed by it when i let myself really truly pay attention to what is all around me--this is also a time when i most prone to a quiet, blurry sadness that sits just below the surface, just underneath my skin.
and i know it's there right now. that almost-heaviness. i have sensed it, felt a subtle but significant shift in me. i feel myself turning inward. i am on the edge of a quieter, more introspective place. there is that little twinge of melancholy in my belly.
i am not really afraid of it, this sadness that sits in me. it's not unfamiliar. but this time around, i want to understand it. i want to be able to hold it and accept it, and maybe figure out where that sadness comes from. because maybe when i do, it will become lighter. or maybe disappear altogether.
i have the thought that the mala beads falling away is no coincidence. their unravelling is a lesson. everything is impermanent. happiness. sadness too. like the seasons, it all comes and goes and comes and goes. change is really the only constant, it is never idle, it is always weaving itself in and out of everyday life.
and like the seasons, i am always changing too.
i look through my mind's eye. see a new and different place.
a new and different me.
(do you see it too?)