Our Behaviorist and my longtime friend Barbara never ceases to impress me both with her compassion for others and her creativity. Her latest venture, Face of Gratitude Malas, combines both these elements into something truly beautiful and unique. You can custom order a mala, which Barbara makes by hand, and 10% of the profit from every sale goes to a different charity each month. Throughout the holidays, FOG Malas is teaming up with Model Behaviors for a special discount (details at the bottom). And 10% of all her proceeds this month will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Read on for an MB exclusive interview with Barbara Guillaume about her malas, and don’t forget to enter our giveaway for the chance to win your very own custom FOG mala!
MB: What first got you interested in making custom malas?
BG: Well, about two years ago I went through a bad breakup that really put me down. I started reading a lot of spiritual books and sought a spiritual coach, as I needed to find myself again. I was told to buy a mala to recite my mantra during meditation. Of course, I made one for myself instead!
Having my mala with me at all times really helped me find balance, but when people kept asking where I bought it, I decided to start making them in the hopes that they would help others like my mala helped me!
MB: After someone places an order, how long does it take you to make one and then send it out? What’s your process like?
BG: All the Face of Gratitude malas are handmade by me. Plus, I go through a whole process. After the mala is beaded and finished, I cleanse it with sage and put it out in the sun or full moon (if possible) to energize it! This means it can take up to three weeks to get it out. But the wait is worth it!
MB: You make necklaces and bracelets. What makes them different, and how would I know if I wanted one over the other?
BG: Picking a mala or a mala bracelet is a very personal thing. I use both on a daily basis. My necklace is for reciting my mantra, and the stones in my bracelet help keep my energy positive and ward off negative energy. You have to know why you’re buying it. Listen to your gut, your intuition, and you will know which one to pick!
MB: What’s the purpose of different stones and how do they tie in to the mala as a whole?
BG: Stones are very powerful. Each and every one of them serves a purpose. For example, rose quartz is amazing for heart matters, and black onyx is fantastic to remove negative energies (this is what my bracelet is made of). When I pick the beads to make a mala, I pick them very carefully with the purpose to heal and protect a specific area of your life. You can also customize and select your own stones if you know what you want.
MB: Do you have to believe in Buddhism to use a mala?
BG: No, you don’t. It’s all about the power of intention. Use your mala with an open heart, with the desire to heal and change your life. Faith and belief is all you need. Regardless of religion or lack of religion, I believe a mala can bring peace and healing to anyone!
MB: How do you use your mala on a day-to-day basis?
BG: I use my mala during meditation, and I always wear a mala or bracelet wherever I go. I use it in the car when I am stuck in the horrible LA traffic to keep me calm, or if something happens during the day where I need to take a minute to re-center myself, I’ll recite a few mantras and gently move my fingers over the beads.
MB: What advice would you give to someone trying to make reciting mantras with a mala into a daily practice?
BG: Start with just five minutes the first couple times. As the days go on, you’ll be able to stay focused more and more. Within very little time, you’ll be able to notice how great you feel after meditating and how you’re able to deal with life’s challenges much easier!
MB: Last question! Each month, you donate 10% of your proceeds to a different nonprofit. It’s such a beautiful idea. Why is it so important for you to include this charitable aspect to FOG Malas?
BG: It’s important to give back! I consider myself a very fortunate person to be able to do the things I love for a living, to have a roof over my head and food on the table every day. Not everyone is as lucky. So if my contribution can help people in need, nothing makes me happier!
I’m so proud of Barbara, and I’m constantly inspired by her genuinely caring heart.
Okay, now for the fun stuff! First, Barbara has created a special discount for all our MB readers! Simply enter “MODELBEHAVIORS” into the promo code box when you complete your order. From now until January 15, you’ll receive 20% off your order.
Second, we’re giving away a custom FOG mala! The winner will get to work with Barbara on a custom mala with a value of up to $350. (Hint: These also make an incredible gift for loved ones!)
To enter, log in with either your email or your Facebook profile and fill out the form below. Anyone can enter, but you get extra chances to win by joining our mailing list.
This giveaway is open in the US and internationally. Must be 14 or older to enter. It ends on Thursday, December 10, at 11:59 p.m., Central Time. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, December 11. We’ll contact the winner by email. Winner will have 72 hours to respond. If there is no response, a new winner will be chosen.
Good luck to everyone who enters and let us know in the comments how and where you’d use your mala!