« The daily sketch. April 20. | Main | The daily sketch. April 19. »
8:45AM

The Bead of Kali.

I’m going to tell you a story about happiness. In case you didn’t know (& if you didn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, because a lot of people, even grownups, don’t know) but happiness isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about remembering you’re alive. Sometimes that means you’re happy & sometimes it means you’re sad. But it always means you’re alive. That’s what really makes us happy.

I learned that from my aunt Dorothy. She was a nurse who worked for the World Health Organization & she had lived all over the world. Everywhere she went, she collected interesting things. But the most interesting thing of all to me was her Memory Necklace.

Now, it wasn’t a real necklace. It was so big that you would’ve had to be about ten feet tall to wear it. But Aunt Dorothy called it a necklace & she hung it on the wall by her front stairs. It had hundreds of beads on it & every bead was different. Each bead was a memory from her life. Some memories were happy & some were sad, but they were all amazing & wonderful because they were hers. It’s my life, she used to say, & I lived it.

Sometimes, after dinner, my aunt would take the necklace down from the wall & we’d go sit on the porch as the sun went down & we’d pick a bead & hear its story.

One time I picked a bead that looked like a grinning skull. Dorothy said it was an offering to the Goddess Kali & then she smiled & said, Oh yes, I remember this.

Many years ago, she had been sent to a small village in northern India. Not long after she arrived, people started disappearing from the village. At first, it was older people, but then a few children disappeared. But the people had not really disappeared. They were not missing. They had been eaten. By a tiger.

The villagers began to go everywhere in groups, even to get water from the well. At night, everyone closed all the shutters of their houses & stayed inside. But one night, it was too hot  & the insects & the monkeys were too loud & she couldn’t sleep, so she decided to go out on the porch. Just for a minute.

The moon was full that night & it was like being underwater in a huge bowl of silver. Suddenly the insects & the monkeys & all the other sounds of the night stopped & a huge white tiger walked into the clearing, right in front of the porch.

Aunt Dorothy looked at the tiger & the tiger looked at her. Then, without thinking, she did something they do as a blessing in India. She bowed to the tiger & said, Namaste.

This is a way of saying that the person in me who is looking out of my eyes, sees the person in you who is looking out through your eyes & that we come from the very same spirit.

At that, the tiger stretched out, the way cats will do, with his front feet way out, & he bowed to her. Then, (& she said it was the most astonishing thing) she heard the tiger’s voice. Right in her head.  You are not afraid, he said. Why are you not afraid? You are very beautiful, she said. The tiger was beautiful. Long & powerful, with stripes of grey & white rippling in the silver of the moon. Also, she said, I am old & I come from another place far from here & I probably would not taste good to you. At that the tiger raised his head & roared & she knew he was laughing. When he stopped, she said, Please, why must you eat the children? You are scaring them. The tiger raised his head & looked directly into her eyes.

Look at me, he said & she did. Am I one who eats children? & suddenly, she understood Namaste for she became the tiger & she knew many things. She knew that tigers hunt & kill & eat because that is the Law of Tigers. She knew that she had been blessed, because this was no ordinary tiger. & she knew that the children of this village would be safe. She shook her head & spoke softly no, you are not one who eats children. It was my mistake to think so & then she bowed again & said Namaste.  & the tiger turned & was gone, back into the jungle & the sounds of the night.

From that moment on, for as long as she was in the village, no more people were attacked by tigers. The villagers called her ‘Priya Kali Se’, Beloved of the Goddess Kali, who stalks the night sometimes, wrapped in the skin of a white tiger.

So, now you have a story of my aunt Dorothy that you can put on your own memory necklace. It is a good thing to have a memory necklace. It is the place where you can string your memories, some of them happy, some of them sad, but all of them amazing & wonderful, because they are yours. It is your life & it is yours to live it. Namaste. 

with love, Brian

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (56)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Football is seriously one of the largest sports in America. It has a important following.
  • Response
    Response: soho hong kong
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: weight loss
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: dumpsters
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: buy Smart Slim
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Website/Blog
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: I am ready!
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: xtreme nitro
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: diete
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: blue ecigs
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: dietitian
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Pure Forskolin
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: braingamesnyc.com
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: umrah 2015
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Boise SEO Company
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: dieter bohlen
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Refuel Extreme
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Protestosterone
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: vps coupons
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Alpha Cut Reviews
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: super ketone
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: carbuloss Review
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: live cam nude
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Nuvoderm
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Ultra Ketone
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Response: Fat Burn X Reviews
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    Zen Bandit: Brian Andreas. Art. Stories. Life - Current - The Bead of Kali.
  • Response
    they will not fail to notice the temperature of Timberland Pas Cher Portugal for the shoes and the players themse Nike TN Requin Pas Cher lves do have a Timberland Pas Cher certain impact,000 euros. Not every provider offers connectivity to the country or region of your choosing. with other te ...
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: Match Point1
    Some convertible cribs may also enable you to convert the crib to a daybed and a full-sized bed whenever your daughter or son is ready.
  • Response
  • Response

Reader Comments (11)

Shivvvvers! happy and alive here in New Brunswick - thank you Brian!

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidiRenee

oh, and making my own necklace!

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidiRenee

You're welcome, Heidi. I'll look forward to hearing about some of the beads on your necklace someday..

with love, Brian

April 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterZenBandit

I love this story. It makes me want to go out and buy string and beads and share this story with my amazing 23yr old daughter who sometimes says she is "not doing my life the right way or it would be turning out better" and I will tell her that there is no right or best way - just go out and live it!

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Davis

Wow, Brian! That's an incredibly beautiful story. I have a bracelet with charms given to me by loved ones in good and bad times. I haven't worn it in awhile, but I pulled it out and put it on after reading this. I am remembering...and smiling at all the memories that are me.

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Awesome...maybe I'll share this with my students help them make necklaces for their classrooms.

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Lovely story from an amazing life. I love the necklace of memories too. I kind of feel like our blogs are like that - small beads of memories written down and preserved forever.

April 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTere

debbie & elizabeth: It's never too late to start a memory necklace. & never too early. :-)

jo: I like that. The memories that are me. That's really the measure of a life as far as I'm concerned. The memories (or the stories, in my case :-)) that you can polish & warm & hold in your hand & then pass to the other people in your life for them to feel the glow. It is the ancient heart fire that continues to sustain us even now..

tere: I agree. Even in the short time I've been playing with blogs, I've seen & read so many polished beads of memory. This is where we're storing the real & true histories of our lives for the future to hear..

with love, Brian

April 26, 2009 | Registered CommenterZenBandit

tears are spilling out over my lashes as i read this beautiful story of yours and try and respond without the tears shorting out my keyboard. i am reminded that while i seem to be struggling with my life right now, it is MY life, and that while the big picture sometimes seems dim, there are great bursts of light in my life every day - the joy in my children's laughter, the soft coo of the morning doves on my railing, the quiet gentle rain falling as we speak. And in the grand scheme of things, when i look back at my life in 30 years and tell the tales of my "memory necklace" to my children and grandchildren, I think I will have been glad to have endured and survived these hardships, for they will be the fodder for bringing my family closer together. thanks for the beautiful story:)

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

What a beautiful story on a drizzly Sunday morning. My husband and I travel the world and I collect charms from each country and wear them all on a long gold chain - each having its own wonderful memory - the best memories are the friends we make along the way. I also design and make jewelry and I will seek out handmade beads from local artists and upon returning home I make beautiful memory bracelets for my mom, sister and daughter. Just having returned from the Middle East, I bought lots of beautiful "eyes" and made simple bracelets with the eye for my special friends and loved ones. They protect them and remind them of my love. Coincidentally, our next trip is to India. I hope to meet up with the tiger. Life is an amazing journey that has peaks and valleys. It is not easy, but it is majestic - one day at a time. I love your work and your inspiring stories!! Thank you for sharing your many talents.

May 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I loved this writing. It made me come out and make buying string and beads and to tell this to my lovely 26yr old daughter who always feels I am not doing right and it could be turning out lots better. I will tell her don't bother about right or wrong way-its your life color it!!

October 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElidh McPherson

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>