My good friend Soma, who has lived in Bali for over 25 years, and who has three sons as I do, was visiting that night. We shared a beautiful meal, wine and stories and closed tighter on the warmth of our fire. Soma unrolled a little bundle of cloth from her palm onto my wood floor, while our lovers sat in witness, the bundle exposed to us necklace strings of seed-beads with tassels. “Malas”. I recognized them because I had just purchased my very first “mala” ever that same week. I bought it because its proceeds were to fund the good works of Seane Corn, the YouthAIDS ambassador. I wore it that night of Soma’s serendipitous visit.
I reached for one, touched it slightly to my finger tip, then slid it deep into my tight fist. Instantly I felt authenticity. An authenticity similar to what is felt in an old chapel, floors worn from kneeling, vigilantly holding years of tears, prayers, dreams and sorrows spilt there. I could hardly hear her question. “would you like to help me bring these to the west?” and without much thought “yes”, I answered.
Bali Malas has done what we intended all those nights ago, to bring that sacredness, that feeling, that awareness, that Rudraksha into the world. Though not exactly a “household” word (yet!), we have grown, strained, worried, and ultimately succeeded in spreading this seed. Soma now has multiple distributors across the globe. There are several other folks also creating their own version of rudraksha malas. Bali Malas helps to earn a living wage for 10+ Balinese women. Bali Malas choose Bumi Sehat, home to miracle angel Robin Lim, to donate a portion of its proceeds to from day one. Bali Malas created the Bali Street Children Bracelet to help keep homeless kids off the streets of Bali. All of Soma’s distributors now have a similar charter. We have impact…
With each caress of your rudraksha mala we wish you a magical, halting, inward, anticipatory, hibernation, hearty soup kind of inner storm. A storm filled with excitement, anticipation, crispness and the sparkle of each inhalation of that crystal air. Not quite a snowflake, not quite not a snowflake.