“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert



  1. Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply throughout.
  2. Remove the beads from the packet, picking up 1 of each colour. Consider each bead’s weight, shape, and texture.
  3. Lay out your beads in the pattern that pleases you. When your thoughts wander, return them to your breath and the beads. Stay present.
  4. String your bracelet, using your breath as an anchor any time your thoughts wander away. Note how your breath is your support if you make a mistake or get impatient.
  5. Tie off your bracelet. Admire it. Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6. (Repeat 2x.)
  6. Wear your bracelet as a mindful reminder, pulling your awareness back to the present and your breath.



Beading while you’re upset just doesn’t work. We’ve noticed the calm that comes over our office on days where bracelets or sunny strings are produced. Personal conflicts, postponed court cases, dysregulated nervous systems all have to take a back seat to the inner quiet, steady breath and fingers beadwork requires. Scattered thoughts get collected and laser-focused on creating colourful patterns. Over time, we’ve witnessed the actual work of beading become the work of healing. We are in grateful awe.

We’re also curious. Why is this so?

Harvard researchers found we are happiest when we are fully present and focused on exactly what we are doing… even if we don’t like what we’re doing. Dishes and laundry anyone? The researchers found that 50% or more of the time, our thoughts are not related to the activity we are engaged in. In other words, we are not here in the present where our lives are actually taking place.  We live “a short distance” from our body.

Mindful beading trains us to arrive in the present moment with focused awareness.

Where does your mind go when you are not fully present? Well, that’s the point of mindfulness: It wakes us up to the fact that we live in a constant stream of thoughts which shapes our mood.

Imagine you’re a fish swimming in the ocean; it must seem the whole world is made of water! However, if that fish surfaces, even for a moment, it will become aware it was swimming in water. Our thoughts are like that; they are the water we swim in. Surfacing for a breath gives us perspective that our thoughts are not the fullness of reality. For many, it’s a great freedom to realize we don’t have to take all our thoughts so seriously. Often, we are imagining a scenario, a stressful one, that is not happening and never will.


“To be is to experience life firsthand, to live in the present moment. The person who has the disease of introspection, who thinks painfully, constantly, and in circles about life, lives always in the painful past and for the future. In this way, he squanders his present by trying to figure out a more secure or less painful future. The future, of course, never arrives, for it is in the present moment that we “live and move and have our being.” - Leanne Payne


Mindfulness isn’t about stopping your thoughts; it’s about cultivating a wise relationship with them. This begins with training your awareness to notice when it’s not in the present and returning to where your life is actually happening: this moment.

Beadwork is not always easy work, but it can be powerful mindfulness training if you remember the following:  

  • When you get impatient, notice your frustration. Don’t judge yourself.  
  • Allow the sensation and then exhale it.
  • Return to breath and presence.
  • Take time to notice the inner shift inside you.
  • Continue on with beading.
AND... The next time you are going about life, upset and not present, repeat this practice with whatever sticky thoughts have gotten a hold of you and your mood. Return your awareness to the present moment and then continue on. In this way, mindful beading shows us how to build a wiser relationship with our inner life.

“An embrace of the present moment can do something that nothing else can do; it can bring us into the only place where we truly are, the only place we can truly be alive…” Dr. David Benner


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