Another item I do not leave home without are my mala beads. Given to me by my yoga teacher as a gift while doing a 40 hour workshop at my studio, this 108 bead I necklace is always on my person. It reminds me to be preset, stay calm, that peace is always available to me, and to be patient. As in, I’ll count them with a mantra while waiting in line. That’s practical, immediate patience, not just more abstract “trust the process” patience. I once lent them to a woman sobbing on a plane. I counted them on line with my son at a museum. I pray on them during flight turbulence. I wear them on my wrist wrapped as a bracelet or as a necklace. They make me feel safe and aware during uncomfortable encounters. This particular one is a brown wood. It’s neutral and goes with anything, as does yogic philosophy. Essentially the mala beads remind me of how I want to conduct myself. They also remind me that I’m not merely an individual. That I’m part of something so much greater on a cosmic and collective level. I feel connected to anyone else I see wearing them. They evoke warmth in me when I think of my special spiritual community in New Jersey. I left this set at a store a few weeks ago. Not knowing if I’d see them again I took to Amazon and bought a bunch more in a variety of colors. I love layering them or wearing one on each wrist. I’ve wrapped them around an ankle too. They’re truly a comfort to me and hold me to a higher, more conscious standard of living. They represent a natural state of being, which is a healthy antidote to fashion.