A Story of Loss, Pain and Love. The Beginnings of I Am Blessed Mala Beads
A Labour of Love
I’ve always been a spiritual person. Or what people told me many times as a child, a very “sensitive” person. There were very few people in my young life who truly saw me. My Grandmother was one of them. She was like a second mom to me. She took care of me while my parents were at work. She knew that I was “sensitive.” It's kind of sad how the word sensitive triggered me so deeply as being this horrible thing. But, I now know that being an “intuitive empath” was that sensitivity.
I remember watching Wheel of Fortune with my Grandmother as a little girl. My Grandmother would ask me what the answers were before the players spun the wheel. I was like...”Are you crazy lady?? They haven't even guessed a letter yet!” But she knew. And she taught me to trust and use my intuition for the very first time.
I remember the first day I got the answer right.
“I’m A Little Teapot!!”
I shouted at the TV. And 5 minutes later after the players figured it out... There it was…. I’m a little teapot. Now, she could have chosen to see me as “crazy”, cause many people have, but instead, she chose to just see me. She gave me the freedom to be exactly who I was.
My Grandmother passed away when I was 6 years old, and after she left this earth, I forgot who I was. I forgot how intuitive I was. She was the knot holding my life together and when she was gone, I slowly unravelled.
I didn’t really notice the unraveling until many years later, after a series of other losses catapulted me into what I now call….
“my time of insanity.”
Listen, We've all experienced loss. We’ve all felt grief. You know, that gut wrenching feeling of pain, sadness and sorrow. It’s uncomfortable like a knot in your stomach that won’t untie. I often think about that feeling when I am at my desk, hand-knotting after every bead in a clients Mala Necklace. The process requires quite a bit of force to hold the bead in place. The tension that’s required to keep it all together... That’s the grief. After I lost my Grandmother, I was sure there could be no greater loss in my life, but I was so wrong.
Six years ago, my husband Mark and I decided to start a family. We weren't married at the time but we didn't care because we were in love and beyond excited to share a life together. We actually first met under a Willow Tree. Of course a sensitive romantic empath would notice that. We felt deeply rooted in our mutual desire to grow our family, one branch at a time. So it didn’t surprise either of us when only a month later, a pregnancy test revealed we were pregnant. We were super excited that it happened so quickly. I was thrilled to be a mom and he was excited to be a Dad.
Everything we had dreamt of was coming true.
The first trimester was hard, of course, as many pregnancies are. But the difficulty I felt carrying this baby was nowhere near the joy I felt knowing our baby was in there. I felt a deep sense of connection to this little soul. But even the “intuitive” in me couldn’t prepare for what came next.
Ten weeks later, we miscarried.
Now, ten weeks is a loooooong time for an empath. I had already planned our entire lives together. The amount of grief I felt was beyond anything I had ever experienced. Not only were we grieving the loss of our child, We were grieving the ideas we created about who this little soul would be, what they would look like, what their name would be. Not being able to be this little soul’s mother...It was more than I could bear. What was once a nurturing space for new life inside of me felt like a mess of knots and emptiness. I also felt like I was losing my Grandmother all over again.
We took some time to process what had happened, and made peace with our loss as best we could. And a couple of months later we decided to try again. This time, it wasn't so easy. It took us a few months before the pregnancy test showed up positive. And there wasn’t much excitement when it did. It was almost like a cloud of worry formed over our heads. One we didn't even see coming. I look back on it now and perhaps our cloud was not worry, but rather, the intuitive in me knowing what was about to come.
A few weeks later, we miscarried...again.
And once more, the knots tightened. But it was much more intense now grieving the loss of “two” babies, two babies, how do you begin to untangle a knot like this?
Through the grief Mark and I started to slowly lose the bond we had with each other. To get pregnant again now seemed more like a job than a creation of love. We were once a perfectly tied knot that I thought would never break. But when the knots inside our souls became tangled, the ones holding us together began to fray. But, we did what we thought was best and set out to try again. This time, there was no passion and pure fear. It took us months to get pregnant and once we did there really was no excitement at all. It was almost like we were preparing to grieve yet another loss from the time we saw, another positive sign on a pregnancy test. But, this baby stuck around. I didn’t quite believe it, and I wasn’t able to connect as deeply as I wanted to.. As hard as I tried, something was guiding me in another direction. Perhaps, again, my intuition was sending me a message.
The day I was rushed to the hospital by my Mom was a day I will never forget.
Sure, I had miscarried twice before... but this one was different. This time, the Dr. placed my baby on a stainless steel table and left the room.
He didn’t ask me if I wanted to hold the baby.
He didn’t ask me if I was ok.
And he never told me why he left my dead child on a table uncovered and unloved.
Instead I was rushed out to make room for an accident victim.
And so while the next patient’s trauma was being dealt with I was left alone with mine.
I didn’t know what to feel.-- and, by now, I didn’t want to feel anything at all.
When I told Mark about the loss of our third child that day, he seemed numb to it. Like it was just another day. I was angry with him and took the losses of our children out on him. I wanted him to grieve. But, what I didn’t realize was, he was grieving in his own way. But I couldn’t see it through my own pain. The anger and the grief was so great that it ended our relationship. The dream of the beautiful family tree, blowing in the wind, was gone. All that was left were the knots.
Why was I going through so much loss? Loss after loss after loss...
And then, more loss......
Until...I inevitably lost my, friggin mind.
You may think that someone Psychically guessing Wheel of Fortune Puzzles had already lost her mind, but this was a whole other kind of insanity. I won’t take you through every detail of this time in my life ... but suffice it to say that “marrying a complete stranger, and getting a divorce a week later” is a good indication of “my rock bottom.”
The knots of pain and agony were extreme. I tried everything I could to make the pain go away, to not have to feel the tension.
Until one day, the tension became too great and I broke.
I remember collapsing in tears. I cried and cried and cried releasing all the pain.
That’s when I remembered who I was.
I had a vivid memory of my intuition as a child. I could feel my Grandmother with me.. I could see the friggin word TEAPOT all over the TV. I was being reminded of my abilities and I decided, in that moment, to surrender to whatever wisdom was trying to work its way through to me.
That’s when I heard the word Yoga.
Having never done Yoga before this seemed like quite a stretch...pun fully intended.
I felt this weird call to take Yoga Teacher Training. How the heck was I going to make this happen? Well, first I quit my job... another loss. But, whatever, I was starting to presume loss was the way of my life. So why not add to the pile. I went $17,000 into debt, with no job, all to pay for Yoga...? I didn’t even know what the word Yoga meant. I look back on it now like, Hayley you had a voice in your head saying “Yoga” so you figured quitting your job, going $17,000 into dept and chanting Ommm everyday was the answer? Yep, as you now know I was pretty friggin nuts.
During my yoga training it was common practice to set your intentions before each class. And everyday I was like, “what does that even mean?” I ignored it. But every time I went to a class I was reminded to set yet another intention. Eventually I just became judgmental of the entire practice. How is setting an intention at the start of the class going to benefit me? I rolled my eyes every time I heard the word. There was a lot of eye rolling those days.
Regardless of my judgment I continued to trust the process and I graduated from Yoga Teacher Training. But wait theres more. I decided to do even more training. This time to specialize in Pre-Natal, and Mom and Baby Yoga. Yep, it was almost like I was punishing myself in some way. Like being around pregnant people and babies would cause me to crack and I could live as a vegetable for the rest of my life. Perfect...
In time it proved to be the best decision I could have ever made.
I met the most incredible Yoga teacher during my training. She helped me to see past my pain, and after actually teaching Pre-Natal Yoga for a bit, I met my tribe. My soul sisters. They were a group of women who all knew loss in their own ways. I felt so supported, heard and understood. With every pregnancy I witnessed, every maternal interaction, I was giving back to myself what was once lost, hope.
The layers of grief began to untangle and I started to feel like myself again.
And then, during yet another course I was taking, there was an intention setting day, A whole days worth of intentions setting. Yay, I rolled my eyes for the millionth time. Our first intention was “I Am Fierce.” We had to say it 108 times. I was like, you’re joking right? 108 times? But, I thought about the amazing women I had taught, and remembered their hard work and determination. So, with them in mind, I sucked it up...let’s do this….108 times.
“I Am Fierce
“I Am Fierce”
“I Am Fierce”
My life would never be the same. I felt liberated, fearless, and, well...fierce.
So, Let me get this straight then, I can just say an empowering word 108 times and actually feel a difference?? How did I not know about this before? Oh wait, that’s why we're asked to set an intention at the start of every class..oooohhh...ok I get it now. So this became my Intention. “I Am Fierce.” I can do anything. To have the courage to walk through the events of my life that brought me here was so unbelievably friggin fierce. This amazing community of women helped me to realize that.
Or perhaps I had simply found within myself the thing that had been there all along. The thing my Grandmother had been able to see.
In time, Mark and I found each other again, mending the frayed knots. We celebrated our journey by purchasing a beautiful home together, got married, you know...really married, for longer than a week. We were still deeply committed to building our family tree, so we decided to try for our baby again.
A few months later we had a positive pregnancy test. We were super excited. We figured this was the one!
But it was different this time. We grieved, we grieved together.
We were fierce! Fiercely in love. Fiercely determined. Fiercely optimistic.
We decided that we needed help. A visit to a fertility Dr resulted in a couple of adjustments and we tried again. During this time we set the intention that our next child would be as fierce as us. We knew our baby would be a girl. We visualized what she would look like. We named her Willow in honour of the tree where we first met. We spoke to her spirit like she was there. We had faith that she would be in our arms soon. We fiercely believed in our intention.
9 months later, I went into labour and gave birth to Willow Grace Loewen. Amazing Grace. In our arms at last.
The day we first held her, we knew.
We knew that we were surrounded.
There we all were, together: My husband and I, baby Willow, and my Grandmother: holding our other children in her safe care.
So, yes, you could say, I’ve always been a spiritual person. But even a good intuitive empath needs a reminder sometimes. I was drawn to making Mala Beads after my experience because of the surrendering that is required when making them. To add a knot after every bead, blessing each gemstone with intention and completing the process reminded me of life.
Now, as I tie the knots of the Mala Necklaces, I make a choice to see those knots as strengths not as weakness. I see them as moments in time , the experiences (whether its a loss, fear, regret, guilt or a birth, love, connection, new friendships) these experiences bind us all together.
The power of a Mala is a fierce one, because it’s grounded in Intention.
The intention is always step one.
And then there’s the work, because setting an intention, and not fully believing in it, is not enough.
You have to believe - with every fibre of your being that your intention is meant to be.
You don’t have to be an intuitive empath, or a psychic, or a reiki master, or a yoga teacher, or a “sensitive” child shouting TEAPOT at Vanna White.
You simply have to believe:
Believe you are blessed.
Believe as deeply in yourself as your Grandmother would.
Believe in your gut, your heart and your Willow tree.
Believe in freedom.