Make it Monday // How to Make & Use a Mala Neckalce for Mindfulness

A big part of my personal mediation practice is to use a Mala necklace, or mediation beads, to help reinforce the mantras & vision I've chosen for myself.  Using meditation beads is a great habit to get into especially if you find your mind wanders quite a lot during mediation.  You may find having a manual way to focus your thoughts will help center you better.
How to Make and Use Mala Beads
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While meditation isn't about the absence of thought, sometimes when I find I am very, very busy my mind seriously wants to think about every single thing I need to do.  Counting the beads & repeating a mantra keeps my intentions in line.  You can buy a Mala aligned with your intentions, I have quite a few (because they are both helpful and pretty) or you can take it to the next step and make your own.

What is a Mala?

A Mala is a string of 108 beads + one guru bead (or a fraction of this number). Usually strung into a certain pattern, the Mala is used to pace & count off the recitation of a mantra during mediation.  They can be made for specific intentions - Rose Quartz beads for love, Howlite for calming & awareness, etc - or can be made & programmed for your own intentions.  Most often there is a knot between each bead so if the Mala breaks beads don't scatter.  It's also a good sign if your Mala breaks.  You've made a breakthrough & have been seeing through your intention.

How to make a Mala

In this case we won't be tying a knot between each bead.  This Mala DIY is made to be simple yet elegant to get you into reciting and working towards your intentions.  I plan on sharing a more focused DIY Mala in the future.  But the whole point here is that you don't have to do these long drawn out things to start with your spiritual & mindful practice.

Cut a length of the embroidery thread about 36 inches long, thread the needle and double over the entire length of the string.  Leaving about a 4 inch section empty, begin threading the beads onto the string in the following pattern:
How to Bead a Mala Necklace
6 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 20 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 52 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 20 wooden beads, 1 glass bead, 6 wooden beads
Thread the larger bead on both ends of the string and tie an overhand knot.  Depending on the opening on the larger bead you may need to tie a few knots.
How to make a tassel necklace
DIY Tassel Necklace
Take the other skein of embroidery thread and fold it over on itself to create a tassel.  Tie the middle of the loop to the end of the larger bead using the two strands hanging from the bead.  Wrap the two long strands around the tassel to gather it together.  Using the needle. thread the end behind the wrapped string leaving a small loop.  Pass the needle through the loop to secure.  Tie a not to ensure it does not unravel.

How to Program & Use your Mala

To cleanse your Mala, you can start off with the same idea behind the Energy Clearing kit.  Choose the intention you'd like to set - this can be different for each time you meditate if you wish.  Again, this ritual can be as involved or as simple as you'd like.

You don't need anything special to do this. In fact, the ritual should be unique to you and be what you feel most connected to.  Here is my simple ritual -

Cup the Mala in your hands as if you are praying & hold it up as if you are offering it.  I tend to bow my head and place the thumbs of my folded hands against my crown chakra.  Imagine a white light enveloping the beads, cleansing them of past energies and aligning them for your highest good.  Take a few deep breaths during this process.  Recite aloud or in your mind an intention you'd like to work towards for your highest good.  As an example:
I cleanse this Mala to use for my highest good as I work towards self love.
Substitute self love for any intention - I wish to be open to abundance, I wish to express my authentic self, etc.  As you pass your folded hands from your Crown Chakra to your Heart Chakra breath out and across your beads.  Sweeping away the negative energy.  Pull your folded hands towards your chest and lift your head towards the sky to be open to receive the guidance you wish for.
Charge a Mala Necklace
I find that I do this often with crystals as well...and it's something I just fell into once during a crystal meditation.  I hadn't brought any of my crystals to this class (silly me!) so I was able to work with a beautiful Aqua Aura Quartz that belonged to the teacher.  After I picked it up I just imagined clearing it that way....and that's what I did.  Clearing & connecting with your spiritual tools is a personal journey.  There's no right or wrong way to work with what you feel drawn to.

So, now during your meditation you can pick up your Mala and count off your recitations.  Hold the Mala in the hand your feel comfortable and as you recite your mantra (aloud or in your mind) pass a bead between your fingers.  I usually hold the remaining beads in the hand that isn't counting so they don't rattle, fall, or get tangled. If you're not sure of a mantra to use consider printing out the Positive Affirmation Deck for free on the blog or you can even purchase my new Chakra Affirmation deck here!

Your meditation practice should be unique to you.  I chose to create this Mala DIY with wooden beads as they can be the most receptive to your intentions.  If you choose to work with a certain crystal or even a certain color tassel to align with your Chakras, that is completely up to you!  Making this little guy should be a mindful and exciting experience.  If you'd like to diffuse some Essential Oils while you're reciting your mantras - maybe your on the go and have just sneaked off for a little me time - make this diffuser bracelet with Howlite and Lava beads!  Find some inspirational blends here & don't forget to join the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively Facebook group for more positive inspiration!

How do you practice mindfulness and self improvement?

xoxo, Moe


Total Newbie's Guide to the Natal Chart (+ a Workbook!)

A natal chart - or birth chart - is an astrological snapshot of where the planets were (in relation to earth) on the day of your birth.  Analyzing your natal chart can give you an in depth look at who you are & tell you where you may want to focus your efforts in order to become the best person you can be.  You'll learn that you have these little quirks for a reason and may figure out the hidden meaning behind a certain habit of yours.  I know I'm learning a lot from mine
Newbies Guide to Reading a Natal Chart
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.
One of the best things about the internet is you can generate your birth chart, for free, on quite a few different sites (this is the one I used).  These sites will give you all sorts of in depth information on your chart but it can be hard to sort through.  Two of my favorite resources are Cafe Astrology & Dark Pixie Astrology.  You can also get a chart reading by a professional - that is the route I went when I was first interested in my natal chart.  I worked with Madeleine Jones.

If you're down to learn a bit on your own, here are the three sections of your chart that can help you get started understanding this snapshot of yourself:

Sun, Moon, & Rising Signs
If you've ever read your horoscope, you've probably read for your Sun sign.  This is the sign that is based off of the month you were born.  For example, I was born 12/15 so my sign is Sagittarius because that date falls with in the range of November 22 - December 21.  You may not know your moon or rising sign.  Generating your birth chart will tell you both of these by utilizing the exact time of your birth as well as your location.
Sun Moon and Rising Signs
This gives you a better idea of your whole self. If you just rely on your Sun sign you're getting a limited view of who you are.  Your sun sign is how you feel about yourself.  It is the key essence of who you are.  Your moon sign represents your passions & emotions.  Your rising sign represents what you aspire to be & is how others see you.  Your rising sign is what you try to present to the world.  All three of these signs have traits that make up our whole selves and when reading 

Wheel of Houses
There are 12 astrological houses that correspond to the same signs as the zodiac.  However, the zodiac wheel and the wheel of houses are two different things - The Wheel of houses in your birth chart is based on the earths rotation on it's axis in a 24 hour period.  Your personal Wheel of Houses is determined by your birth time and location.  It is a map of the sky at the time and area of your birth.  
Wheel of Houses Birth Chart
Various planets fall in your houses on your birth chart - the planets (including planets like Mars, Jupiter, etc + the Sun and the Moon) of the chart show how the signs in the houses express themselves.  The houses show in what area this will play out.

So for example - I have Aries on the seventh house cusp + Jupiter in the 7th house, therefore Jupiter shows how the sign of Aries plays in my house of Marriage & Relationships.   The 12 houses are:
  1. Self
  2. Possessions
  3. Communication
  4. Home
  5. Creativity
  6. Service & Health
  7. Marriage & Relationships
  8. Death & Regeneration
  9. Mental Exploration
  10. Career
  11. Community & Goals
  12. Inner or Hidden Self
If you imagine your birth chart as a clock, the first house falls below the 9 o'clock position.  Then you work counter clockwise around.  The 12 house then falls in the 10 o'clock position.  These houses are the main sections of your life.  The planets that fall in these houses or specifically rule these houses have an impact on those areas of your life.
Reading a Birth Chart
Planetary Relationships
The relationships of the planets to each other is another key part of reading your natal chart.  These are degrees of separation between the planets.  These relationships allow for more fined tuned understanding of the planets and show us where positive or negative or ease or difficulty expressed in these relationships.  This is also an important layer of your chart, just like only reading your sun sign gives you a limited view, ignoring these aspects gives you a limited view of how your planets interact.  


Now, this obviously isn't all there is to know about natal charts.  I'm just a newb sharing what I've learned so far, in the easiest way possible.  So you may be wondering how you should put this into action for yourself.  I suggest starting with your Sun, Moon and Rising signs as well as the characteristics of each of your houses.  For example - my house of Communication (the third house) has Sagittarius on the cusp, so I'm talkative (check) and love to learn (check).  My moon sign is Libra which speaks to how I have a desire for a calm and balanced life.  Libra as a moon sign also apparently leans towards an extreme dislike of manual labor and I truly hate yard work...so there's got to be some validity here.
Creating a Natal Chart
Learn these guys and how the relate to you, first.  The first step here is to gain a better understanding of yourself.  I've seen that working with your natal chart can help you discover the small tidbits of yourself you can't put into words or, even better, the tidbits of yourself that seem contradictory. These small sections will help you get a good snapshot of who you are.  If you assemble this and think 'hey, this is cool!' you may be pointed into the next steps to take to work with more parts of your natal chart.

You don't have to do it all at once.

My current trajectory with my natal chart is to work the rising new moon energies into the house it is currently rising in.  For example, in May the new moon rose in Gemini.  Gemini is my house of Mental Exploration.  Gemini is also about communication.  So my work that month was in listening & learning and working with the Throat Chakra.  However you feel called to work with this chart is how you should work with it.  I plan to continue this work in the foreseeable future and then work in the aspects and planetary relationships when I am ready.
Lunar Newsletter

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I've put together a little workbook here for you to assemble all this knowledge & get to know yourself better through your natal chart.  If you sign up for the newsletter above you not only get the monthly newsletter but you'll also get New & Full moon emails!  We'll work together during the moon phases to manifest our goals & release what isn't serving us.  Most of the time we'll work with a chakra that corresponds to the sign the moon is rising in.  You can follow along with your own natal chart or just work with our collective goals for the month.  

This little workbook is sized perfectly to fit into an A5 planner.  These guys can print back to front (refer to your printer's instructions for duplex printing) on a standard letter size page.  Trim down the center & then punch it into your binder.  Then get to know yourself!

I hope this loooooonnnnggg post has helped you learn more about reading your natal chart.  Like I mentioned, this is not a comprehensive guide...just something to dip your toes in!  Just like me!  If you haven't joined the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creatively group on Facebook...c'mon over there too!

Looking for the Tarot deck used in the post?  It's the After Tarot & you can find it here.  Planner is from Simple Stories, find it here.

Are you interested in your natal chart?  Do you read your horoscopes?

xoxo, Moe


Eight Ways I Currently Use Essential Oils Daily

If you haven't been hanging around on the blog too long, you might not know that Essential Oils have become my number one jam recently.  Currently, my main focus is using them to enhance mindfulness and help with my spiritual journey.  But I've found that I'm using them in a ton of different ways that that.  Practical ways at that!  I'm using essential oils in everyday ways too. These potent little guys fit right into your everyday routine - and can even replace some products you use consistently!  Here are the six ways I use essential oils regularly:
how to use essential oils daily
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

Add a drop (or two!) to club soda/sparkling water
I just did this last night & that's what prompted this post.  I'm seriously considering giving up LaCroix + getting a Soda Stream to make my own sparkling water!  Self sufficient hydration up in here!  Did you know that there are only certain oils that you can ingest?  One - not all lemon or peppermint, etc oils are created equally & not all are safe to ingest.  The generic lemon oil you may pick up at the drugstore to make your cleaning products with or diffuse through your house might not be approved to take internally.  This is why I get my oils through doTERRA, as certain oils they offer - Lime, Grapefruit, Oregeno, Peppermint, etc - are safe to cook with & ingest.  I personally would not suggest staring to do this everyday depending on the oils you used, but its a great alternative to processed carbonated drinks.  Keep in mind that citrus oils can break down plastics.  I always use a glass container to drink from.

Diffuse to promote sleep
I always, always, always, diffuses something overnight to promote relaxation and sleep.  Currently I am diffusing a blend of Wild Orange, Lavender, & Vetiver.  I've been known to mix the Breathe blend from doTERRA and Lavender, Cedarwood and Lavender, Frankincense and Lavender, pretty much anything and Lavender since it's know to be relaxing.  Before I started to work with doTERRA oils I despised the smell of lavender.  The oils from doTERRA are very pure and its the only Lavender anything I've repurchased.

Immune support
The On Guard blend really, really shortens my colds.  Diffusing the blend when I need a bit of immune support gives me some peace of mind!  I remember when I first started working with essential oils I'd gotten a cold.  I thought 'what could it hurt?' and it really soothed my throat, opened my airways, and shortened my cold.  There is a whole line of On Guard products I'm dying to try.

Spiritual healing & alignment
Here's the big one.  I work with essential oils mainly in my spiritual practice.  My spiritual practice isn't something that is really defined by a book, it's rather intuitive.  This is my favorite way to work with essential oils because I can really hone in on what my spirit & body need.  For example, this last month (July 2017) I worked with my Solar Plexus chakra to nurture & support myself.  The main oil I chose to work with was Wild Orange.  I used my intuition to create different blends with Wild Orange as the base to uplift & to nurture.  If you haven't joined the Live Creative Facebook group, you really should get over there!  I share so many essential oil & crystal pairings.  Click here to join.

Mood enhancing roller ball
This goes a long with the spiritual use of oils.  I try to work with a certain oil + supporting oils over a month to really connect with the oil.  I've created a few roller bottles that are specific to the moods I'd like to encourage.  Balance is a blend created by doTERRA that I really connect with.  It grounds me, balances me, and brings me calm.  Using Wild Orange + Bergamot is a great way to brighten & uplift.  

Dishwasher tabs
I honestly was sick of buying the tabs for so much money!  So I decided to make my own with washing soda, baking soda, kosher salt, & lemon essential oil.  Clean dishes is a win.  Honestly, what other cleaning concoctions can I make?

Air & Fabric Deodorizer 
The purify blend is perfect for this!  Seriously.  Trash sit a little too long? Diffuse Purify.  Jacket just a teeny bit stinky? Spray some diluted Purify right on there.  Car a little too fast food friendly?  Get your Purify out.  So easy.

Blemish treatment + skin care 
I've been using Tea Tree oil for a long time to treat any blemishes on my face. But there are quite a few oils that can work great for the skin - Frankincense & Myrrh to name some.  Each time I have a break out I put a dab of Tea Tree oil right on the blemish!

So those are the 8 way I use essential oils daily.  I've found that I can fit these guys right into my regular routine with little effort!  Its so funny how I've found so many uses and I didn't even know it until I compiled this list!  Originally I'd only considered 5 or 6 uses...I came up with a few more as I was writing!

This is a completely personal regimen of mine - some individuals that use essential oils do not ingest them, some only diffuse them.  I would suggest speaking to your doctor if you have any concerns.  This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any ailment.  Please let me know if I might be able to answer any questions about essential oils for you!

Let me know how you use essential oils - doTERRA brand or otherwise - over in the Five Sixteenths Blog | Live Creative Facebook group.  I'd love to know which oils you connect with! You can read more about essential oils on the blog here.

How do you use essential oils?  Any tips, recipes, tricks?