I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favorite shops, Heart of Compassion Malas. Laura does extraordinary work with malas of all kinds. I have be admiring them for sometime and thought she would make a wonderful blog feature. I am sure you will enjoy her work as much as I do!"I live in Encinitas, California with my family, a calico cat named Gidget, and a border collie named Penny Lane. I have an art degree and was a painter before I started my Etsy shop. I've studied meditation for over 25 years and I'm just starting to get it a little bit.
I started selling malas (traditionally Buddhist or Hindu prayer beads) online over a year ago. I kept hearing how great Etsy was and finally gave it a try. I started making malas because malas I'd buy always broke after I used them for a while, so each year when I went to meditation retreat I'd have a broken mala in a bag and I'd hand it over to my favorite mala repair person. After years of this I learned how to string them the same way and started making and repairing my own. Then I decided I wanted to share them with others. I didn't learn mala-making and repair by apprenticing in a small village in the Himalayas, but after making hundreds for people, I hope and pray I've got the technique down. I love what I do. It's a way to combine three of my favorite things: art, serving people, and meditation/prayer. I work a lot with the ideas of crystal healing.
My favorite way to work is to fall in love with a material, like bodhiseed or lilac stone, and then figure out what marker beads, guru bead, and tassel would tie it all together. I consider a beautiful mala to be an offering. When you use them in practice it opens your heart because of how beautiful they are.
When you wear them you feel connected to the earth, sky, and higher power. This can be very centering and enriching.
I’m not sure if enough people know about malas. They are Buddhist and Hindu rosaries. But they shouldn’t just be for Buddhists. Many faiths have prayer beads, even Protestants are starting to use them. You can find "Anglican Rosaries" on Etsy, and I make some too.
They're very good companions for yoga practitioners. For mantra recitation, a mantra such as Om Mani Padme Hum is repeated for each bead. In Tibetan tradition the mala is held in the left hand and the bead is pulled towards the heart with the thumb. No mantra is said on the three-holed guru bead by the tassel. One tries to do this for the benefit of all beings, as well as for oneself. It can be a wonderful practice in meditation if you relax while you say mantras.
My background is in Tibetan Buddhism, but I respect and honor all spiritual traditions. We have more in common than we are different.
I love being on Etsy because it really is a community and I meet buyers and sellers from all over the world. My shoppers are beautiful people. I enjoy watching Etsy grow and seeing all the effort the company is putting into developing it. Etsy makes it so easy. It's been incredible to have an online store and I'm truly grateful.
I also have a blog: http://www.heartofcompassionmalas.blogspot.com/.
May you be well and happy,