July 15 was the day Mhairi and I drove downtown Los Angeles to the Fashion District to go bead hunting. Almost immediately after we entered the first bead store I felt a bit overwhelmed and dizzy. First I thought it was because of the heat, so I kept drinking water to hydrate. But then I thought… it wasn’t that hot. It puzzled me a little since I feared I was about to get sick. Then Mhairi said she felt as she was about to faint, so it wasn’t just me! My legs felt weak, and my hands a bit shaky. What was happening to us?
Endless rows of beads, walking in and out of stores. We were searching for the perfect beads to represent the days of our lives.
The perfect beads.
Representing our whole lives.
We were on an unconscious level putting so much into this. We were constantly talking about the beads as symbols for the grand meaning of our lives. We were discussing material, shapes and colors of beads in correlation to how we wanted to spend our days. No wonder we were feeling dizzy!
The first beads that sparked something within me were wooden beads in a myriad of colors, but I wasn’t sure. I needed to see all my options. Ha! That’s how I go about life. Constantly curious, always wanting to know more. Always on a journey, wanting to discover. Then Mhairi found hers, almost immediately sure those where hers. I guess, when she knows what she wants she gets it! She was confident, she wanted pearls. Elegant. Classy. Graceful. They were filled with meaning for her, memories of family members and her past. So what was it I was looking for? Mhairi’s pearls never felt right in my hand, and in our discussion I kept coming back to the feeling that I wanted a natural material. Something that felt grounded, true, and real to me. Something that could center me. Earth, the cultivation of land, and nursing plants is very essential to me. It’s a part of my upbringing, my heritage. From my farmer grandparents, to my parents’ rose nursery. I feel lost without the connection to earth and plants.
But I also wanted something colorful, something bright, exciting and joyful. I wanted to be able to set an intention with that special bead that I later will choose to represent each day. If I feel a bit down in the future, then maybe I’d like to acknowledge that feeling and ride it through – and then to be able to choose a light or dark blue bead could be the perfect fit. Or maybe I want to set an intention to get up and leave the blues behind – and then, maybe a bright pink can take me there? So I wanted the choice. I went with my first instinct, and picked the uncolored and colored wooden beads in three different shapes.
My beads came in packets weighed in grams, not counted by piece. So the first time I asked one of the employees to find out how many there were in each bag, the woman (maybe in her mid fifties, very professional, busy and certain) told me there were 320 and 340 pieces in the different bags of beads. Later when I came back to buy the beads, I asked a young woman to recount them. When the young woman left her counter to go and weigh them, she suddenly seemed a bit insecure, like she was new at her job. She told me there were 600 and 700 in each bag. Since I didn’t want to bother any more employees, I decided to go with the more experienced lady’s count. And by the way, the bags where tiny, no way they could fit 600-700 beads in each.
HA! When I got back to Stockholm and started to count them, I found that the second lady was right. I had bought beads for two lifetimes! What does that say about me? Am I grasping for too much?
It was definitely a symbol of me always wanting to make sure I do enough. Rather do too much, than too little. It was a symbol of me wanting a sense of security in life, a backup plan. What I definitely got from the situation was that it was time for me to listen to my gut feeling. It was a sign to trust myself – the young one – and let go of the need to control things. Most of all, it was a sign to let go of the past, because my life is now. After all, it’s not possible to do a pirouette while holding on to the railing…
Tags: beads, inspiration, Johanna Ginstmark, life, life questions, Los Angeles, meaning, motivation, Stockholm, symbols, The bead movement