StitchFix to your wardrobe and style rescue!

I’ll be first to admit, I do not like shopping, and specially shopping for clothes for myself! You go to the store, schlep around, pick through stuff, go try it on, and blah blah blah. Having two small children in tow also very much complicates things as they either don’t want to wait for me, or they want to start shopping for themselves! When it was time to update my wardrobe post-maternity clothing, I was really torn between having to go shopping or continuing to wear my maternity clothing f.o.r.e.v.e.r…

And then I discovered StitchFix! Very cautiously, I signed up to get my first box. It was a big hit when it arrived! I loved all 5 items and I still wear them 2 years later. And, when you keep all 5, you get 25% discount. Shipping and returns are free, and it’s super easy to return stuff that you didn’t like, or might fit a bit odd, or in general you just don’t want.

The kid in me also very much enjoys the unknown of what you’ll get 🙂 Sure, you can make requests for something you are missing from your closet, but you still don’t know what exactly you’ll get. So each time a box is shipped, there is this anticipation of getting a “gift” in the mail and discovering your surprises. I’ve set my StitchFix on quarterly schedule, but break down and manually update it to probably every couple of months delivery.

And, and, and… They now have kids’ boxes too! I signed the girls up and they both got their first box over the summer. They were very excited to get a box of clothes like mommy does 🙂

Want to try it for yourself? Use my link and you’ll get $25 off your first order.

Intro to Thai Bodywork

Learn Thai Bodywork in this hands-on two day workshop!

Learn Thai Bodywork

Thai Bodywork is an ancient energy-based healing system that combines acupressure, reflexology, and assisted yoga postures. Treatment effects are enhanced when the patient is fully relaxed and breathing deeply.

Traditional Thai bodywork uses no oils or lotions, and the recipient remains clothed during a treatment. There is constant body contact between the practitioner and client, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled,stretched and rocked in order to clear energy blockages and relieve tension. The practitioner uses thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to create a dance of movement on the body of the recipient. In this process, joints are opened, muscles and tendons are stretched, internal organs are toned, and energy is balanced. The overall effect is one of deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and physical and mental well being.

For many, traditional Thai Bodywork is also a spiritual discipline in that it incorporates the practices of mindfulness (breath awareness) and loving kindness (focused compassion). These techniques, when shared by practitioner and client, help bring the treatment session to a focused and deep level.

My clients have been enjoying receiving this wonderful bodywork, but now you can learn Thai Bodywork yourself in this 2 day workshop!

The workshop is held at Spirit Wellness Institute in Salem, MA.

Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Cost: $200

Please register by using the PayPal link on Spirit Wellness Institute’s website.

Space is limited.

This workshop is appropriate for massage therapists, yoga teachers, people who have received Thai Bodywork, and anyone with interest in connecting to their body.

What to expect: You will be both receiving and practicing Thai Bodywork techniques. This work is done on a floor mat (provided) and you will be using your body to move, stretch, compress your partners body. You will at times be squatting, on your knees, and or lifting. Please make sure you are physically up to the task before enrolling.

What to bring: Please wear soft comfortable clothing that is both conservative as well as comfortable to move in. For example, a fitted t-shirt and sweat pants. Do not wear short shorts, or low cut tank tops. Also bring a water bottle and a high protein snack to class each day. Lastly please bring a twin, full or queen sized FLAT SHEET to lay over your mat while practicing.

Settling in Ann Arbor

Perhaps settling is too strong of a word, as I’m feeling anything but!

It has been one long ride to get here. We have miscalculated on which road would be better to take, and towing a trailer ended up not really being my thing. It took us 19 hours to get here. We headed out about 10:30 am on Saturday morning, and finally pulled to the house as the dawn was breaking, about 5:30 am on Sunday. These few days have been spent adjusting and feeling a bit of a jet lag, so to say. The sun sets and rises later here, and it seems to make quiet a bit of difference.

Besides that celestial difference, we’ve been settling in well enough. Girls are enjoying the new house, and having their own room. One of the first days here they spent most of the time in there, playing with what toys I brought for them. The novelty seems to have worn off at this point though, but they still very much enjoy having more room to run around.

It has been too hot to run around outside, so we’ve been staying inside mostly. The house has central air, a most definite luxury that is very much appreciated. We’ve made a couple of treks to local stores, to stock up on groceries and some random items we needed.

We are without internet at the house since the AT &T install guy simply didn’t show up, and so we are at the local library right now for our daily outing to get out of the house. Did I mention they have five branches of this library?!

Ann Arbor is markedly larger than we are used to living in. While we are on the outskirts of it, it is not a long ride to get to downtown. It reminds me of both Danvers (with its 114 malls), Peabody, Beverly, and Wenham, put together 🙂

It has been a very quiet week so far, with not much happening. Greg has been working at the farm most mornings in lieu of rent, at least for the time being. I have nothing in way of work, and have been busying myself with cleaning the house. Doing a little bit of online work now feels a very welcome change. Next week we have some appointments setup to see a place where I might work and to visit a school where girls might go. And then I’ll be off with them to come back home, which girls now call “our orange house”.

Quick video update and meditation invite

Hey there, friend,

I wanted to share a quick video (under 5 minutes) of all the things happening and changing in my life and in my business. Scroll down to see it.

Also, you might know that I am a huge fan of 3HO and Sikh Dharma. Well, they are doing a global meditation practice for 40 days that will start on Monday and end on summer solstice. I can’t think of a better way to shift stuck energies in your life! The meditation is lovely (I’ve been doing it for the past 4 days) and it’s only 11 minutes. This meditation is for Elevation, Connection, and Joy and it will open and expand your 7th and 8th (aura) chakras, improve your intuition, and bring a deep sense of joy to your heart.

You can view the invitation to the meditation, instructions, and a practice video at 3HO’s website right here.

I hope you’ll join me in this 40 day practice and feel supported by knowing that there are people all across the globe that are doing this practice as well!

With lots of love and appreciation,
Olga

P.S.: I have recently taken the plunge and received my Sikh spiritual name, after many years of practice. I’m both honored and humbled by it and elated to reveal it – Sadhana Jiwan Kaur – the sacred Princess/Lioness of God whose entire life is an expression of disciplined spiritual practice.

Sadhana is disciplined spiritual practice. Jiwan means life. All females receive the name Kaur – the Princess/Lioness of God who walks with grace and strength throughout her life.

Is Thai or Reiki for you? Which one’s best?

Thai or Reiki

Thai or ReikiWhat do you think is more popular? Thai or Reiki? I don’t know for anyone else, but in my practice, it’s Reiki! Though Thai is a very, very close second. How close? Last year I had 99 Reiki appointments and 97 Thai bodywork appointments. That’s how close!

Even though both services work from the same principle, the approach is so different that people are usually drawn to one but not the other. The question of what is better for them, Thai or Reiki, comes up pretty often as people wonder if they are missing out on something. But what is the unifying principle that brings both services together? That we have energy running through us, and it needs to run unimpeded in order for the body, mind, and spirit to be healthy.

The difference in Thai or Reiki comes in how both services help that energy to move along. In Reiki, a light touch is used and more energy is poured into the body through the practitioner. You can think of it as having a super heavy rain that fills the river that then overflows a dam, sweeping it away. The energy channels in your body are the river, the dam are areas of injury, emotional discord, surgery, painful memory, and so on. That extra heavy rain is the extra energy provided through the practitioner (me, in this case). Even though it sounds somewhat tumultuous, the process is actually gentle.

Thai or ReikiIn Thai Bodywork, the aim is also to move the energy through the body and remove the dam. But here, we use pressure and stretches to get into the nooks and crannies of the body and remove the dams. There is no rain, just the internal force of the river that is now allowed to flow unimpeded, with dams loosened up. As this is a much more physical practice, the body feels differently immediately, with lasting health benefits to follow.

Which one is right for you? It depends! While everyone can benefit from both services, we have our goals and inclinations to keep in mind.

Thai bodywork hopes to achieve wellness through working on the body. The effects are physical to start with. It is a great service if there is tightness in the body or you are losing your range of motion. Sciatica, lower back pain, general tension in the body can all be helped by regular Thai sessions. It also teaches you trust. Didn’t expect that, right? It takes complete trust that I won’t hurt you to be able to relax fully, with body and limbs limp. That trust on the mat can then creep into the rest of your life where you just might be able to stay more in a relaxed state versus the high alert ‘fight or flight’ mode.

Reiki, on the other hand, hopes to achieve wellness by working on the spiritual and emotional level. While I might use a bit of pressure on certain points in the body, this is not exactly significant for the overall session. The extra energy being provided to you does create a sense of peace and relaxation, but how fast would depend on how used you are to relaxing. In other words, if you are typically very stressed, it will take longer and several session for you to come close to what I would consider relaxed. On the other hand, if you are only occasionally stressed and your body has at least a vague memory of being relaxed, you will get to that total body rest much faster.

What is more important to you at this time? What would you like to experience? That’s for you to know and for me to find out when you schedule 🙂

Book here

Resolutions and Intentions, what’s your pick?

I love New Year! resolutionsIt’s the time for thinking about your life and deciding what can use some tweaking, if anything. Resolutions are all around us this time of year as seemingly everyone evaluates their life. This was always my favorite holiday growing up. The idea of a fresh start was appealing to me even when I was little and there was something magical with putting a new calendar on my desk and starting all over again. Possibilities were endless!

And so setting resolutions as I got older also came naturally. New Year is way better than waiting until Monday to start something, right? I mean, it’s a whole year! That brings some gravity to anything you resolve to do. It should be something grand and far-reaching. I would think of what I would want for the new year, and then give it my best shot… for a week or two, maybe a month. But you know how those resolutions go; you start strong, and putter out sometime in the spring. Or maybe that February school vacation throws you off. I’d feel guilty I could not accomplish what I wanted, give it few more tries, but ultimately decide that next year will be different and I’ll really stick with it. And the cycle of guilt and disappointment continued.

When I came across an idea of setting an intention, instead of a resolution, it was like a good friend giving me a hug and telling me that everything will be OK. I loved it! I would set an intention for the new year and then practice being gentle with myself, picking myself up after eventual falling off the wagon happened. It was lovely! I have learned a lot about myself and changed some things for the better as well. I would highly recommend you try setting an intention if all you’ve ever done are resolutions, and especially if you notice you can be a bit critical of yourself. Setting an intention of practicing appreciation for yourself and all you do is a great start!

So, what am I doing this year? Intention or a resolution? I am back to setting resolutions, but with a twist. I have learned to be gentle and kind to myself, most of the time, and now I can use a good old-fashioned kick in the rear. I have lost a bit of clarity without resolutions, and having two small children is a great recipe for being all over the place. I am craving my clarity and direction, and so I am going for “an aware resolution”. And if you are curious, my resolution is to shift the focus to myself and rediscover all the things that make me happy. This is a bit of a vague language, I know, and so I have some ideas I can draw from every day:

  • Practice meditation
  • Sing my favorite chants
  • Loving movement and stretching
  • Delicious herbal tea
  • Good, nourishing food
  • Time with the girls
  • Dates with my husband
  • Smiling
  • Connecting to my heart
  • Reaching out to others
  • Creating and being in community

What are you practicing this year? Resolutions? Intentions? I’d love to know!

Of death and gratitude, Thanksgiving ramblings

fall_2008-11_no-leaves-on-treeThanksgiving is a time of year when many are doing gratitude journals or practices and reflect on their many blessings. I love it! I love the introspection, the calmness, the desire for a bit more peace in our lives.

There are many things I am grateful for this year. Continuing to still make it in this sometimes odd blend of business and spirituality with your support is on the top of the list. Ability to learn with an amazing herbal teacher and bring that knowledge to my world has been huge. The kids are a delight, most of the time, and everyone is healthy, most of the time, and well. We have a roof over our heads, and yummy food on the table. Life is abundant and supportive. Many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

On the other hand, we have new neighbors who have to rebuild a house they bought due to fire. And they are clear-cutting the magnificent old trees that were on their property. We are all closely smooshed together, so it feels like it’s happening right in our backyard. And I can’t help but feel a sense of loss and despair. Will they really cut all the trees? Did they have to cut so many already? Did they have to move the location of the house? Do humans always have to destroy to accommodate our needs? For the last three mornings we’ve been waking up to a sound of machinery chewing down on trees and an altered landscape. Death feels very palpable at the moment.

Of course, fall is the season for death, for slowing down, for turning inwards. Come spring, and everything will perk up again, with new hope and new life. But for now, for now we grieve. We grieve and give thanks for things we have, knowing that all can be gone in an instant. Cherish the moment.

How do you pick yourself up?

cryingI’ve had an unpleasant experience today. Someone is not happy with me and they let me know it, in no uncertain terms. It sucked!

I had all these plans for today and now I really don’t want to do any of it. Does this happen to  you? You are all set for a productive day, and then something or someone completely derails your mental/emotional state? I was going to give up on sending this out too, hold this until I feel better, more like myself, more cheerful. And then I caught myself on what it means in a bigger picture.

Life is not always cheerful and we are not always happy, nor should we be. World is full of unpleasantness. We are complicated beings. We can experience sadness and darkness in one moment, yet happiness and fulfillment in another one. And it’s OK to feel both. It’s OK to be seen in sadness, it’s OK to ask for support.

So, how did I pick myself up?

  • I cried (yep, really, over an email)
  • I asked my husband for a hug and listened to him vent on my behalf
  • I asked my FB friends for some love
  • I did some knitting – my go-to peaceful activity that lets me think things through.

Am I entirely OK? No, not completely. But I am better and it is good enough for now.

I hope if something comes close to ruining your day, you can be gentle with yourself. You can feel the sadness and disappointment and know that that is the richness of human experience. You can embrace the experience in the moment, and know that it will pass. And, of course, if you feel stuck, I would be honored to help.

Relaxation, a need or a hype?

restorativeI have to admit, I am not a fan of relaxation. There, I said it! Anytime I read an event description that is all about relaxation, I have zero interest in it. I view relaxation for relaxation’s sake as a form of escapism. I see it as a way to escape your troubles, your discomfort, your unease instead of dealing with it. As such, it just doesn’t hold a lot of value for me. I feel that we learn and grow when we are uncomfortable, when we can face our situation head on and acknowledge it, accept it, and change it if we need to. If you are just trying to avoid dealing with it by attending a variety of “feel-good” events, how will you change the course of your life?

Now, stillness, mindfulness, those I hold in high regard. In those rare moments of stillness, that’s when magic happens. That’s when invaluable insights have room to show up and be noticed. That, I can get behind on.

But guess what? We are so stressed and overwhelmed, we are so rushed along our lives, that we no longer know how to be still and mindful. It is no longer a natural part of our lives to slow down. And this is where relaxation does come in. If you are able to relax and let go, you will be able to be still and mindful. You can get out of being stuck in your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and back into your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). And did you know that we are supposed to live in “rest and digest” mode? With short bursts of activity in “fight or flight”? It feels as if though everything in today’s world is stack against that.

I can’t tell you how many clients I have seen that have trouble relaxing and letting go. I see it both in Reiki sessions and in Thai bodywork. With Reiki, they do eventually settle down and relax or doze off. It is also more of a mind that might stay agitated. The body lays still, so it’s easier to relax. But with Thai, and all the movement that comes with it, the person has to consciously relax the muscles so that I can move them without resistance. And I remind them to do so if I feel tension. One of the most common answers to that is, “But I feel like I am relaxed.” Nope, there is still tension, still effort. Slowly, they learn how to let go and relax and boy, what a difference it makes!

Scifi as a life lesson

scifi

scifiDid you know that I am a huge scifi (science fiction) geek? In fact, my FB handle is scifichick, feel free to friend me there.

Science fiction was and still is my favorite genre of literature. It can contain so many other elements, that you can have crime, romance, history, all wrapped up into one little package not constrained by reality. We had a huge library growing up as my dad is a serious bibliophile and his mom was before him. All the little paperback scifi books were in my sister and I room and I never ran out of things to read. I would also dutifully ride my bike to the public library in the summer, when I was staying at my grandparents whose library was heavy in classics.

Isaac Asimov was one of my favorite authors, as well as Ray Bradbury. But the one author that I want to tell you about, that made a huge difference in my life is Ursula LeGuin.

I was in my very early teens when I came across her books in Wizard of Earthsea series. They have captivated my imagination and I made an effort to find them in English when I moved to the States. Imagine my delight when I discovered there were more books in the series!

But why did that very first book, Wizard of Earthsea captivated me so much? Without giving away too much, it was about embracing our shadow, our darkest desires as our own. Dealing with teenage angst, this was a very timely message for me that stuck with me through all these years. We can only be a complete person if we acknowledge and accept our darkest parts as our own. Only through knowledge and acceptance can we gain control of them, instead of them controlling us.

I hope you will check out LeGuin’s books as well. They are a powerful commentary on human condition and she has created a colorful and unique world. And DO. NOT. WATCH. the SyFy adaptation of her series. It’s a complete disgrace and has so little to do with actual books, it’s laughable.

Accessing Inner Wisdom

reiki services

meditation4I hope you enjoy this short 5 minute meditation that helps you access your inner wisdom and find an answer to a question that is troubling you.

After entering your credit card information, you will be redirected to a page with a download link. Right-click on the link and choose Save As.

Please email me if you are having trouble with downloading.

My favorite healthy smoothie recipe

2016-06-28 13.52.35This is one recipe for a healthy smoothie I always go back to when I have all the ingredients. When I don’t, I just don’t use them 🙂 A word of caution, I am not that great with measurements when it comes to food. I eyeballed what I was putting in, so the measurements are approximate.

Don’t forget to read below the recipe for my notes about this healthy smoothie!

This makes two servings, or in our family, one big serving for me and two little ones for the girls 🙂

1 banana

2 generous handfuls of frozen fruit

about 12 oz of milk

1/2 tsp of molasses

1/4 tsp of chia seeds

1/4 tsp of kelp powder

1 TBS of peanut butter

1 raw egg

Blend everything together and enjoy promptly! I would not store this even in the fridge, so whatever is left gets discarded. Otherwise known as, mommy drinks it.

Now, notes:

We do buy majority of our food organic, so everything in this list is organic. I get bags of frozen organic fruit at Costco.

We only drink raw milk at this point and I get it at Artichoke Dairy in West Newbury, MA.

Molasses add a touch of sweetness to the drink and are actually good for you! Molasses are a rich source of iron, B vitamins, folate, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Read more.

Chia seeds have recently come out as a new superfood and you can read more here. The only thing with seeds is that not everyone can digest them well. So using less is probably a better idea than using more. Here is another great post on all the benefits of chia seeds from Jen Reviews.

Kelp is a great source of iodine to support healthy thyroid function. Read more here. In this small amount, you can’t actually taste it in the smoothie, which is a big plus for me.

We get our eggs at Tendercrop Farm. I would not use a store-bought for eating raw. Again, you can’t taste it in the smoothie.


Disclaimer: No part of this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. Nothing on this post is to be construed as medical advice; I am not a doctor, I am only relating my personal experience. Please discuss your personal health with your personal, qualified health practitioner before making changes to your diet or adjusting/discontinuing any medication. I am not responsible for any adverse outcomes associated with using or misconstruing advice or information on this site.

Chakras are not magical buttons

chakras 2I am going to let you in on a little secret… Shh, don’t tell anyone… Chakras are not magical buttons you can turn on and off to fix your life. There! Now you know.

Sorry to spoil anything for you, but that’s just how it is. Your chakras are not preventing you from living your life to the fullest, having good relationships, or being healthy. No one can wave a magic wand over you, fix your chakras, and suddenly you are living someone else’s life. That’s just not happening. I know it would be great if it did, life would be so much easier, you would not have to do anything yourself at all! No crying, no processing, no dealing with your own stuff. Heaven!

Here is another little secret – your chakras are not broken! Isn’t that what is implied when you look to someone to fix them? We fix things that are broken, and chakras are not broken, ever. They are a dynamic reflection of the state you are in. You work on yourself, and your chakras respond and change. And you can work on yourself in so many different ways, there is no limit to what you can do. Positive psychology? Check! Exercise? Check! Gratitude journal? Check! Yoga? Check! Meditation? Check! Local, seasonal diet? Check! Leisurely afternoon? Check! Dream journal? Check! All the things you do for yourself, starting with a decision to take better care of yourself, will affect your chakras in a positive way.

Now, all absolute statements are not entirely true. If you are reading this and thinking, “but I did chakra balancing and it really helped me…”, think of what else you were doing at that time. I bet there were some ways you were already working on yourself, and chakra balancing session was just a cherry on top of it. And that’s how chakra balancing works. You are already working on yourself, maybe if just by deciding to start to take better care of yourself, and having some energy work done on you lifts the energetic imprint of trauma. It is part of the work, but not the whole work. You are still the one responsible.

And that is the last little secret I’ll tell you. You are responsible for your own well-being. Not only you are responsible, but you are in charge! You are the boss of you, no one else is. No one else can “fix” you. All healing happens from within. You come across people that can help you on your journey, but if someone tells you they have all the answers for you, do look at their motivation. The power should always remain with you, not in practitioner’s hands.

Amethyst Biomat Sessions

biomatThe Amethyst Biomat emits far infrared rays and negative ions. Infrared and negative ion therapies reduce stress and fatigue, increase blood circulation where applied, support the immune system, promote restful sleep for those with occasional sleeplessness, relax muscles, reduce inflammation where applied, relieve minor muscle pain, ease minor joint pain and temporarily relieve joint pain associated with arthritis.

The Biomat is a medical device and the US FDA’s Medical Device 510K indications for use are as follows:

  • Relaxation of muscles
  • Increase of local circulation where applied

Temporary relief of:

  • Minor muscle pain
  • Minor joint pain and stiffness
  • Joint pain associated with arthritis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Minor sprains
  • Minor strains
  • Minor muscular back pain

The core of the Richway BioMat technology is a combination of far infrared rays, negative ion and the conductive properties of amethyst channels. These three powerful health stimulators are combined in a single, easy-to-use product with remarkable benefits.  It’s a safe and natural way to own the ability to enjoy life for years to come with FDA approved temporary relief from minor spasms, minor sprains , minor strains, minor joint pain associated with arthritis, minor muscle pain and more. This highly effective therapy is now available to medical professionals and home consumers who want to improve health and well-being with products based on Nobel prize-winning scientific research pioneered by NASA and developed using pure, natural materials.

Sessions are 30 minutes and consistency is key in experiencing the amazing benefits.

Single Session – $30

5 Session Bundle – $125 Buy

10 Session Bundle – $250 Buy