Based on the Gold Coast, Emma is the founder and creator at Ava Jewels, where she designs and lovingly handcrafts, stunning, bespoke Mala beads and spiritual adornments for individuals seeking that special piece as their own personal talisman to assist with healing or guidance and support or just wanting to bring in more beauty and luxury in their personal practice and daily life.
In this Interview with Emma, she shares with us the beautiful and heartfelt story behind the birth of Ava Jewels, and how it has allowed her to transform the darkness of her grief from her pregnancy loss of her beautiful baby girl Ava, into an offering of love and light and absolute beauty. In Emmas own words:
This interview truly is such a beautiful read, and i just know you will love getting to know our beautiful Spirit Sister Emma through her sharing. So settle in and enjoy.
I am 39 years young and grew up in the Byron Shire. I moved to Sydney as soon as I finished high school so I spent a large part of my adult life there. Then a few years in Canada before I moved again and finally settled with my husband and family on the Gold Coast in 2013
What three words best describe you right now and your Intention/Essence/ offerings?
Inspired; Expanding; Grounded
Can you share with us a little about your Journey with Yoga and or Spirituality, whatever that means to you?
(From my About page on the website) My earliest memories of yoga start around age 7, being carried along to my father's yoga classes at Kohinur Hall in the hills of Mullumbimby (Byron Bay Shire). I would quietly sit in the corner watching the candle lit class, listening to the gentle music, happy in the silence. Yoga was also offered as an elective sport at my high school, which of course I chose to do and from there I continued the relationship with varying degrees of commitment. I've been blessed to receive yoga instruction in many different countries including Australia, India, Canada and the U.S as it continues to be my required, constant companion. When I did yoga teacher training a few years back it became a lot more than asanas and classes, but a way of life. Yoga and meditation are a true blessing of self regulation, optimisation and healing; encouraging others to explore this path is the foundation of all that I do.
My spiritual back ground: My mother is a Christian who dedicated 10 years of her life to missionary work in West Africa. My father is a soul searching, old-school hippie, living in the hills of Byron Bay who has opened his mind and heart to an incredibly wide variety of beliefs and existential theories. And my mother-in-law is a veteran and senior trainer in The Course Of Miracles. Such a lovely array of spiritual backgrounds are in my immediate circle of experience.
Both my parents have shared their religious and spiritual journeys with me throughout my life. After a love/hate relationship with the church in my childhood, at 17 I chose an open water baptism, committing my life to Christ. By the time I went to university at the age of 24 I had a number of questions about my chosen faith and fell away from my commitment to the church. My fondness for Jesus Christ and his message of love has never wavered however. I've spent time living with Buddhist artists developing guided meditations, as well as enjoying Kirtan and mantra. I’ve experienced sweat lodges and shamanic journeying, studied Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta and have my Reiki Level II qualification. I’ve participated in and guided spiritual circles and ceremonies of many kinds, had visions of my guides and angels and countless meditations, readings and healings that have provided messages from a source that is beyond this physical realm. Throughout my life I have been a seeker - constantly curious and constantly receiving confirmation and guidance from the infinite sources beyond. I don't claim to know the answers. I don't believe there is a single one that is right. So I acknowledge all beliefs, provided they are grounded in peace, love and compassion, and the practice of that in the world is its ultimate message.
Can you Share with us a little about what led you to begin starting your biz/ sharing your current offerings?
It was the loss of my second pregnancy with my daughter Ava. In a complete stroke of divine intervention I had discovered the art of mala making just a month prior and so in my recovery I spent a lot of my time weaving malas. I had granted myself a sort of maternity leave from my job as a casual teacher after the birth of Ava to heal - it was an incredibly intense time of grief. But in this time I was busily making mala beads. The midwife that attended Ava’s birth was the first person to buy a mala off me. I started taking photos of them and sharing them on social media. My friends were so supportive and I started to get a few followers. Through this I also started to share Ava’s story. It was incredibly healing for me. So I decided to launch a website for my products as well as offering mala making and meditation workshops. It just took off. It grew completely organically. I never had to go back to teaching. Since it started back in 2017 I have expanded my offering and even visited India to meet suppliers, which in many ways felt like a spirit
ual pilgrimage for me and another huge part of my healing. It’s been an incredible gift and I am eternally grateful for every day I get to continue to do this.
What have been your biggest triumphs?
My 5 yr old son is pretty amazing!! I look at him sometimes and just think “where did you even come from you little miracle”. But also surviving the loss of Ava and then managing to create something beautiful out of that experience. I truly can’t imagine my life without my creative business and the spiritual journey my loss has taken me on. If I hadn’t lost Ava I wouldn’t have any of this. So it’s been and incredibly bitter sweet, beautiful mess.
What have been your biggest Fears, obstacles and challenges along the way? And what has really helped you in overcoming them?
That people would think I’m a phoney or that I would be accused of cultural appropriation. I’m even fearful to write that answer and I’ve actually never admitted that publicly before. I am incredibly sensitive and aware of my white privilege and the white washing that occurs in the spiritual “industry”. I grapple with that a lot. So I continue to bring myself back to my intention. To just offer from my heart - offer purely what I channel and am guided to offer. I don’t follow trends or fashions and I have to resist the urge to gain more followers and a bigger market because I know that’s when it dilutes. I’ve had complete crises in confidence in the past and thought seriously about quitting because of the social expectation, and even personal allure to be more and more successful, bigger, better, make more money, get more followers. But in my heart it just doesn’t align to push hard for that - to jump through hoops and engage marketing gurus to LAUNCH me. So every now and then I'll just shut it all down, spend more time in meditation, come back to my centre, go within, reach in to my circle of healing. And then the guidance will come and it never lets me down. If I am to offer my work to the world, then I need to be of the world - so finding that balance between the cocoon of my inner guidance, trusting myself completely to being a functioning and loving member of the human world is a beautiful dance that I get to perform with my business. It’s quite a ride.
What lessons are you most grateful for in life and in what you do?
That I can do it all myself. That I am incredibly capable if I want something enough and am inspired enough. I am a member of a couple business groups on Facebook and women starting out are often asking for website designers or marketing support for example and I’m like “Do it yourself BOSS!!”. There is so many incredible platforms and information out there that make starting a business easy. And I have had so much fun creating everything myself - right down to printing my logo stickers with vistaprint. It’s been the best schooling ever! Of course there may come a time in many businesses where you absolutely need support and it makes no sense for you to do it yourself. But I think when you’re starting out, understanding how each building block to your business works is critical and very empowering for further down the line.
What advice would you give another facing a similar challenge?
Just take it one step at a time. You are stronger and more capable than you think. I promise!
What are the biggest challenges you face now? either personally or in what you do? or both?
Having faith that the inspiration will continue to flow and the work will continue to be received. I have just released a new mala collection - the Storyteller collection. It was 7 months in the making and one of the most challenging yet rewarding collections I have created for so many reasons. I am so proud of it. When I launched it I expected it would keep me steadily busy for a few months at least (I make to order, so once a collection is released, that’s when I start making…as the orders come in). And then half the collection sold out in 4 days! I was like “WHAT THE HECK!!!” What do I do now?”. It was crazy. And so exciting at the same time! It is incredibly rewarding to be well received in a creative venture. Because in art, you just never really know. I mean, I’m not baking the same loaf of bread every day. I don’t know if people are going to resonate with my work. So when you are receiving the gift of your work being loved by others, and you have the honour to keep doing it, you don’t want it to end. You just hope that the next spark of inspiration will come and you’ll be able to create your next best thing. But also be ok with the reality that your NEXT thing may not be your BEST thing. I have a few ideas of some new things I’m going to bring out in the next little while, and it’s very unlikely they will be as successful as the Storyteller collection. And that’s ok too. Inspiration and creativity is a living entity and you just have to ebb and flow with her beautiful energy with absolute faith (even if there is a little fear and doubt laced in there too ;)
We all deal with fears and insecurities; how do you combat overwhelm and self-doubt?
I love a good cry! I receive a lot of release from that. I am completely surrounded by crystals most days in my studio, so I get a lot of osmosis healing from that. Yoga, Meditation and my oracle cards really help to centre and guide me. My sisterhood - reaching out to my blood and soul sisters for support. And then my healing circle. I have a group of very close and trusted healers that I receive guidance and energetic healings from quite regularly. All these things help to maintain the bliss and balance. And then the usual stuff like good diet, decent sleep and a good ‘ol dose of Mother Nature.
What do you currently most crave in life and in what you do?
I miss travelling. I would LOVE to go back to India but with the restrictions on travel at the moment I can’t do that. I cry for India. She feels like home to me. Also, seeing my community face to face. I use to do a lot of events. But it looks like that will slowly begin up again soon so I’m looking forward to that.
What’s next for you, any exciting plans on the horizon that you would like to share?
The absolute most exciting news that I am gently leaking out is that I’m pregnant!! Which given my history is a pretty big and very exciting deal. My baby girl is due November 2020. This little soul spark has come out of nowhere, unplanned but so wanted. It’s been a very long journey of pregnancy loss for over three years now, with three losses in total including Ava. So this is a blessing I am still coming to terms with. At this point I honestly can’t see the future of Ava Jewels beyond the birth of this baby. So I’m not forcing myself to. Her and my family unit will be my complete focus when she arrives and what I will do beyond that I guess I'll weave together just as I have the last 3 years of my life - with unwavering faith that I am loved and cared for.
Spirit Rituals, can you share with us any practices or routines that you do to keep you feeling inspired, grounded and connected?
All of the above things that I mentioned previously. I am also loving my daily cacao at the moment. I have quite a beautiful connection with making my cacao and it truly is a labor of love I have developed over a couple years now. Pacha mama is a very special ally for me. I also have a Tibetan bowl that I will sound every single day before I start work and throughout the day when I feel I need to just clear some energy. I am also a lover of essential oils - so I love feeling in to whatever blends are working for me each day. I was also recently gifted Alana Fairchild's “White Light Oracle” deck which I am receiving some truly amazing guidance from. My daily rituals are constantly changing. Sometimes my meditation is very central to my practice and then other times, like at the moment its not so much silent sitting but more active practices - like music for example. I like to ebb and flow with what feels right without being too rigid and then disappointed when a daily practice or ritual falls away.
Who have been the most influential or inspirational people/ teachers/ Books or places on your path? and why?
My goodness, that is a hard question to answer because there are so so many!! I could list hundreds of writers, artists, activists, musicians and places..but I think I will narrow it down to India. She has inspired me to no end in the last few years. From her spirituality, yoga practice, land, crystals and all the other materials I get from there. Her people, writers, teachers, music, language, mantras, symbols, history, buildings, art, food and spices. She has inspired SO much. She found a place within me and I found a part of myself within her. I can’t wait to go back.
What does #iamspirit mean to you?
That we are all connected - to it all. To each other, the land, the animals and plants. Our past, present and our future. The ancestors, our bodies and beyond our death. I AM SPIRIT means that I am all and all is me. So Hum.