Meet Courtney Oldham, the beautiful face behind Blooming Lotus Creations, a mama bear, soon-to-be nursing student, yoga teacher, and creative and adventure seeker.
 

Courtney was born on the mainland, but has called Cape Breton home for most of her life. She spent several years after high school living in Alberta, but after the birth of her son, she moved back to the island. Since then, Courtney has worked tirelessly to be able to stay here permanently, creating opportunities for herself through yoga, her passion for mala-making, and helping others. 

Courtney is a go-getter and our kinda gal. Let's get to know her and her malas a little better! 
 
 
 

First of all, what is a Mala?

A Mala is a sacred string of beads. The word 'mala' comes from a sanskrit word meaning "heavenly garland". Traditionally, malas have 108 beads crafted from gemstones and/or wood and are often finished with an additional guru bead and a tassel. The guru bead is a sign of gratitude for those who have helped us along our journey of self. Malas are often used in japa meditation, which means to recite. This is where our “mantra” comes into play. A mantra is simply this. A word, sound or phrase recited over and over again to aid concentration in meditation. The tassel is said to represent enlightenment.
 

Why 108 beads?

108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and Yoga, and there are many reasons why:

  • There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 x 2 = 108.
  • The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra.
  • Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
  • Some also say there are 108 sacred places on the body and 108 stages on the journey of the human soul.

How do you use your mala for meditation?

You start by holding your mala in your right hand draped between your middle and index fingers. Starting at the guru bead, use your thumb to count each smaller bead, pulling it toward you as you recite your mantra. Do this 108 times, traveling around the mala, until you once again reach the guru bead. Our malas help to keep us grounded and in the present moment.

How did you get into mala making? 

As a kid I always had a love for rocks & gems (I never really knew why). Then yoga came into my life, and I started to connect all the dots. I at first got into making earrings and bracelets, nothing with gems. Then after attending a mala making workshop I fell in love with the whole creative process of making a mala, (setting intentions and choosing gemstones based on what healing properties you needed). Then I realized I wanted to share the mala love with my Cape Breton community.

Where did the name Blooming Lotus come from?

I have been forever drawn to the lotus. The story of the lotus is all about it growing in muddy water, yet still blossoming into the beautiful flower that it is. It's kind of how I try to live my life. Things can be tough sometimes, but the tough stuff makes us stronger and you always come out on top as long as you push through. I try to live my life with a really positive outlook (some days are way harder then others), and with my beautiful pieces I hope that the wonderful healing properties of each gemstone will help others to live the life of a lotus flower.
 
 

What does your creative process look like? 

Its different every time to be honest. A lot of my work is custom and the creative process is amazing because I get to connect with people on a really deep level. Some people are sharing their stories with me, so I get to make something beautiful for them based on these experiences.
 

Where is your favorite place to create?

Believe it or not, it's on my floor with lots of space & music. 

 

What inspires you?

Other people and their stories. They are the reason I create 
 

What does creating something with your own two hands mean to you?

I've never really been good at anything artsy like painting or sewing, so my work makes me feel really proud that I've found something that I feel I am creatively good at. I also love being part of something that is very meaningful to not only me, but to others as well. 

 

What has been your greatest challenge on this creative journey? What has been your greatest success?

My greatest challenge is probably finding a balance. I am a mom first. I work full time. I'm a yoga teacher & I will be starting school in September. My work isn't something that is quickly thrown together. It takes me time to create. So I'm trying to find that balance for myself.

My greatest success is just taking the leap of faith to start this journey, and having so many amazing people who love the work I am doing.

When you look to the future, where do you see this creative endeavor taking you?

I just want to continue to create and share. I have some big visions in mind for down the road, for sure! 

Thanks so much for sharing your story and your creations with us, Courtney! You can find her beautiful gemstone pieces in store and online.

July 08, 2018 by Faith Farrell

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