Lesson 12: Beading: Gratitude

“Gratitude is a spiritual and economical form of stress relief.”

– Cleo Wade 

Bead by Bead – Embracing Gratitude

Pain and suffering are essential to the human experience, especially in the development of compassion; it’s one thing to understand the undeniable value of suffering and another to remember to be grateful for the growth opportunity when you are angry, frustrated, or in pain.

What do you do inside yourself to not feel angry or to complain or wallow in your self-pity?

In reality, we have no control over our feelings, and emotions rise spontaneously when one is under distress. After recognizing and naming the pain, we have to consciously choose to let go of our personal guilt and shame. Perhaps the first step is to move from self-centered awareness to outward awareness and visible sorrow found in the world. We are not alone in our pain, and we can find ways to creatively heal together.

The Restoration Paradox is the idea that we have to take care of ourselves without doing so selfishly, and that to do this, we need to practice compassionate wisdom and reciprocity.


“What you want must be held in the same hand as what you give.” – Cleo Wade

Compassion, the art of being conscious of others’ experiences and needs, and Equality, the state of being equal without hierarchy, are key elements in engaging in reciprocity. 

Reciprocity is a wholesome exchange, where all parts have an opportunity to give and receive in harmony, and the result is mutual fulfillment achieved through deep understanding of our need to evolve and to fulfill our lives.

Reciprocity is about the big picture; it’s about advancing the evolution of all parts involved. It is about growing well, and making every part count!

Questions to consider before engaging in reciprocity:

  • Is what I am giving going to help this person grow well? 
  • What am I not giving that needs to be given?
  • Is what I am receiving going to help me grow well? 
  • Is what I am receiving taking away the opportunity of another to grow?


Being grateful for the hard moments that fully transformed your being, write a paragraph about a distressing moment in your life that yielded great transformation and validated your human experience.


Using wire or fishing line, gather your baked/cured beads and any additional decorative/spacing beads and/or pendants into a combination that pleases you. There are many internet sources that offer prayer guidelines for various faith traditions.

Suggested Materials:
  • Your baked/cured beads
  • Nylon coated stainless steel wire (.015”), strong fishing line, or embroidery thread/needle
  • Metal scissors, crimping pliers
  • Spacing beads and crimp tubes
  • Pendants
  • Beading mat

Shopping Links (pdf)
Fab’s Polymer Clay Overview (pdf)
Baking/Curing Guide (pdf)

Watch beading lesson #3 –

Our guide: Fabricia Lima – contemplative artist, spiritual practitioner, mystic and mother. She has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from UFG (Federal University of Goiás) from Brazil. She is a certified spiritual director by the Haden Institute, certified (in all levels) children’s spiritual formation teacher by the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd National Association, certified SoulCollage® facilitator, Veriditas trained labyrinth facilitator, and creator of Art as a Spiritual Connection™ programs. 

Fab brings the gifts of creativity, contemplation, and hospitality in all that she does – serving as a sacred container by holding space for others as they seek spiritual awareness. She believes that art as soul expression is for everyone and the creative process can be a pathway to self-reflection and restorative healing. Her preferred art mediums are: acrylic paint, colored pencils, watercolor, polymer clay and collage. Connect with Fabricia at http://www.spiritedhandstudio.com.

Visit our Contemplative Creativity page to learn more about this program and to catch up on previous lessons.

Lesson 12: Beading: Gratitude