Simpler Times; a quest for whimsy and fairytales amidst the modern-day chaos

Maya, my delightful sprite of a daughter, loves stopping by the little free libraries on the sides of the streets, wherever we are. They are a source of new information that carries the potential to make her life a little bit better. You just never know what you may discover! Each time, as she eagerly opens the little door, she is excited as if she were searching for precious gemstones. She loves picking out books for herself as well as for her little brother Mikey. She rarely forgets to choose something for him as well.

This time, with a bit of my help and prodding, “we” chose a few classics. One of them was a children’s adaptation of the book Little Women. Goodness, God knows how much I enjoyed this book and many other classics when I was a kid! I was ecstatic! This was my opportunity to start introducing her to literary works that gave me so much joy, hour upon hour.

I used to hide myself within a story, letting go of all the hardships of life, of all the bullying because I was different, primarily for simply being a girl from another country; a little Ukrainian that dressed funny.

Great stories were a lifeline to me. Adjusting to a different country was fraught with complications and misunderstandings. Mostly, I felt that the kids were afraid of me because I wasn’t born in the States, as if I were an alien in human form.

Needless, to say, books became my best friends. They never threatened me, and I could be wherever and whenever that the books took me.

But I digress, as I often tend to do in my blogs as I travel down the memory lane…

I couldn’t wait to start reading to Maya, 6 and Michael, 3, the story of the Little Women. If you don’t know this book, look it up right now! That afternoon, we proceeded to indulge ourselves in a story that had its setting in a time and place very different to our own, hundreds of years ago…and yet we could connect to it because we all experienced the growing pains every child must go through as they discover their voice, their identity, and their power.

As I looked deep inside myself to process why I was so desperate that Maya would connect with this book… I glimpsed my own desperation to connect to a time that represented simplicity … even though, paradoxically, the book started off by introducing us to Mr. March, the father, who was away at war.

The chaos of the last month, the war in Ukraine has been affecting me personally, as I have family in Ukraine. The emotional stress, on top of the physical stress I’ve been experiencing recently, almost drove me to a breaking point a few days ago. There has been so much information saturating my atmosphere that I had to choose to protect myself from that bombardment on most days. Ergo, the need for simpler times, a desperate craving really, has been brewing within me and was exposed by this children’s book.

Books have magical powers… They connect us with the whimsical, a fairytale-like state. They can bring us back to our inner selves and our deepest desires.

So, what did I learn from this deep dive into my soul? To me, Simpler Times represent not only the connection to whimsy and having the space to imagine and create, but also the dusting off the values that had the ability to carry so much weight in my present state, a prescription for my personal healing. So, as I dive deep into understanding and creating Simpler Times in my current, often chaotic, life, I will be prioritizing the values of Fancy, Freedom, Movement, Exhilaration, Dreams, Easy Beauty, Vision, Sparkle, Delight, Joy, Faith, Belief, Justice, Adventure, Fairy tales and Florals.

As I mine deep within my life for these precious gems, I hope as well, that I find that connection to all the women of passion that came before me, are here now, and will come after me. Women of Vision and Whimsy, women that create magic no matter where they find themselves, no matter the wherever and whenever.

As I build upon what was once discovered, I hope to add to what will once be discovered by generations coming after me. And so I hope and pray, that my children will add that bit of sparkle to the ones around them, as I engage them within a story that was written long ago, hopefully never to be forgotten, always ready to be enjoyed, as what is precious and beautiful must never be lost as it navigates the turbulent times and chaotic events.

Wherever you find simplicity, may it often grace your homes and hearts. Your quest may be different to mine, but passion is what I hope we can agree upon. Without passion, we are not moved.

May you have lots of passion to pursue what you truly need at this moment. May you find your own Simpler Times as you escape into the whimsy and the fairy tale of your own making!

~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Fiercely Feminine

I don’t want to give credit to this horrible pandemic, but even in the midst of the muck and mire I’ve been blessed to learn a lesson or two. 

During this time, although many things have stalled and are standing still, age just keeps creeping up on you. That will never stand still.  It is something I cannot control or manipulate. It just is. Time passes. We get older. I just turned 38. Nearing 40. Almost a midlife crisis on my hands, I slightly fear. 

By this time in my life I thought I would achieve something grand, phenomenal, life altering, life changing for many. 

This is where I assumed in my blissful ignorance, life projects upwards at an exponential degree, where all your efforts are paid off and you reap the benefits of your bloody sweat. 

But as of right now, from a casual observer’s perspective, I am just simply ordinary. And that frightens me. I’ve never wanted to be ordinary, I always attempted to stand out growing up, even through some crazy outfit choices… One of the greatest compliments I’ve received was sometime in middle school, when a girl that sought to hurt me said, “You are so weird.” Goodness, I treasure those words until now! The worst thing you can tell me is that I am just like everyone else, retiring, blending in, scared to make a wrong move, causing me to stand out in the firing line of eager criticism. 

And so, in the last few months, amidst the debris of many non starts and failed enterprises, as I’ve taken stock of my achievements over the years, I found myself re-evaluating my standing in the world and my conditioning and perceptions, and I’ve decided to dig deep and find the true core of myself. I needed to talk to my most inner being and find out what I truly wanted and valued at this time in my life. Perhaps I had to let go of certain aspirations that only deceived me or distracted me from the truly valuable in my life. 

I was happy and uncomfortable to find out that I was willing to burn everything on the altar of Motherhood. 

Growing up, mothers around me, in my Slavic, super fundamentalist culture, were second class citizens, put aside by culture to serve the men and children, servants of no importance but of performance in the home. If they didn’t think for themselves, even better. Men looked down upon them. It was horrible. It was everything I didn’t want to be. These women had very little self-worth, and as girl growing up in that society, I felt I had no value or place there. The only reason I went to the University was because I had scholarships, and everything was paid for and as an acceptable excuse- in case my husband dies and I have to work outside the home. God forbid. 

Perhaps I am sharing too much, but I believe if you understand where I’ve been, you will understand where I’m going. 

So here I am, coming to terms that I could possibly be happy and content to be just a mother to my 3 and 6 year old and just a wife to my loving husband. That I could be…just that. That I don’t have to be anything outside of the role I am playing right now to be happy. That I don’t need all those accolades and acceptance of my intelligence and uniqueness from anyone else, not even my parents. I love them, but they are who they are, and I cannot mold them into whom I would prefer them to be. I cannot stretch their limitations, as I cannot do the same with my own. 

And guess what? I realized that one can find happiness in being a housewife. Yep, that blew my mind as well. Grass is always greener on the other side. When we couldn’t participate in one world, years ago, we wanted it. And now, thank God, some are lucky to have that choice. 

I am blessed to be a housewife. To have that time to look after my sweet home and my sweet kids and my almost always sweet husband. And you know, to start becoming a little vain again. 

I want to feel like a woman. Fiercely Feminine. 

I want to give myself the permission to be unapologetically immersed in this phase in my life, haters be damned. They can laugh at the joy I experience of looking after my home (when I can- hey I am not going to spend too much time at the expense of blissing out with my kids!), my struggling attempts to carve out time for spa moments at home, with eager attempts to hold onto my beauty and fashion faux pas. I want to look after my kids with deeper compassion and to be a better friend to my husband with unconditional love. 

I want to find that joy in looking after myself again. To carve out more time for makeup and hair tutorials and actually using a body balm to keep the rest of my skin glistening even if no one else sees it, just for me! All these things I’ve done in my less attached years, before I got married and had kids. 

I want to be grand just for me.

And so, after giving myself permission to stop seeking, but to enjoy what I’ve already found, I’ve become in touch with that next level of bliss that I innately craved. I now spend a little more intentional time with my kids, not because I feel I have to, but because it is something I really love to do. I love my kids and there is nothing I would prefer more than to be with them, playing, learning about the world and seeing the wonder of it all through their eyes. 

And I am writing again! Just because it is something I always loved to do. It is not a waste of time, but pure delight … pure blissful delight. 

By this time in my life, I thought I would achieve something grand, phenomenal, life altering, life changing for many…

And I have. Perhaps not life changing for many, but life changing for the ones around me… as I am now able to be truly, unapologetically me. 

And that is unapologetically, delightfully, blissfully Fiercely Feminine! 

Here’s to all the Mothers and Wives out there! 

Please enjoy a 25 % off discount on any of my oils and books in celebration of my latest creation, Fiercely Feminine! A scent to which you can bliss out all day long, and when they ask you what that scent is, you can say, “It’s me, baby. All woman.”

Use code FIERCELYFEMININE on most items in the shop, or on https://www.etsy.com/listing/1142069129/fiercely-feminine-for-facehairbody-oil.

~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

I Will Never Quit. That Word Is Not In My Dictionary

At times, the frustration of getting nowhere is so absurdly strong that we cower at the intense feelings we may have. Rather than process those feelings, we quit, while we are still intact, not realizing that every process of shattering and rebuilding can only make us stronger, more resilient and more beautiful.

The process of growth is never easy and no one said it would ever be easy. Life may not be fair but what is fairly accurate is that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.

Therefore, I’ve decided to eradicate the option to quit.

I will never quit. That word is not in my dictionary.

At the beginning of this year, a new phase has been unlocked for me. I’ve realized that I am no less than anyone else and having accepted this truth, I’ve concluded that if wonderful things happen to others, then they can also happen to me.

Each morning I would wake up determined to create change, to go after my dreams.

I knew that consistency would get me there. It wasn’t a question of will it, it was a question of when.  Being a mommy entrepreneur, author and motivator, it is never a breeze finding the time to do anything for myself, period. I had to make up my mind to use my time wisely. Whatever free time I had to myself would now have to be allocated to working on my dreams and goals, day in and day out.

Repetitive work but also fulfilling… The great secret about following your dreams is that you are going after something you are meant to do, meaning that most of your actions taken towards getting “there” will be a labor of love. You will enjoy your growing process, your newfound talents and expressive creativity.

The not so great truth is that your path will no doubt be littered with obstacles.

You will hear many Nos. You will hear gazillion excuses from others and yourself. Many will not understand why you do what you do, or set out to do.

Some will think you are too self-righteous, too intimidating, or just simply too much.

I’ve had all those thrown my way. That “too much” that they see in me is a vibrant flame of passion that fires me up and burns all opposition. It adds zest to my life and a pep to my step.

There is nothing wrong with caring too much, too deeply or too passionately. We all need people that can get the job done, that can shake up this world and change the spiritual trajectory of this planet.

The ordinary person will never be able to do that. But what is an ordinary person?

A person that forgot how extraordinary he or she is.  So not all is lost.

You are a person that has what it takes. How do I know that? Because you have passion.

Before you stop me right there, let me explain. Yes, we all have passion, be it dormant or expressed, we all have this mysterious ability. It’s just a question of waking it up!

Here are three tips that have worked for me. Once you accept them and make them your own, your life will have no choice but to adjust and steer its course in a more positive direction.

Dreams do come true. You CAN reach your goals.

Each time I hear a NO, I have learned to re-program my brain to receive it as a positive comment.  I’ve told myself that with every no, I will only grow stronger. The people that have overlooked me yesterday will no longer be able to overlook me tomorrow. The first tip is to frequently stir up this affirmation: With every NO I will only get stronger.

Here is the second precious tip. I see myself as the one that has already achieved her dreams and goals. I visualize myself as having already arrived. The ability to do that helps me to not be attached to people and circumstance as my way of “getting there”. I don’t take it personally when people say Yes, and then soon enough they say No. Trust me. I’ve had plenty of those.

And guess what? It’s not you. It really is them. It’s nothing personal.

The third tip is a fabulous lesson I’ve learned that set me free to be me and to keep me moving forward. This is the key lesson that completely eradicated my victim mentality and propensity to quit. I will be forever grateful to the challenges and emotional anguish that led me up to this moment of epiphany; behind every setback is a setup.

This understanding fuels you to use all of your remaining energy, not looking at the problem but looking at the solution. All of a sudden you are in charge, you are not a victim but a productively victorious creation.

This works for me every time. Maybe not exactly at the time of loss or something going far from the way I envisioned, but it will always come to pass. Trust me, you will look back and realize that most of your greatness and opportunities were a result of a mishap, or what you perceived as a mishap.

Now that you are no longer afraid of the dreaded NO, can see yourself as having achieved it all already and free to look for the setups in every setback, you no longer need the word quit.

Why? Because you will never use it. Therefore, just lose it.

 

~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

It All Starts with a Small Step

It may be a shaky step, a step without fear or trepidation, an ordinary step, a step of joy, a step of indecision, but a step nevertheless.

A baby makes the first step and no matter how weak or strong that step is, the joy of empowerment is quite obvious!  They did it! If they can do this one step, where will two or three take them? What if we chain the steps together, what will happen then?

And off they go! And here is where the story takes another turn. The baby now can explore and enjoy the new freedom and learn what it means to have a place in the world on another level.  Soon enough, they will run and bike and drive a car, maybe fly a plane.

We all start off as babies, in life and in everything we do. And that’s absolutely normal, to be expected and not to be embarrassed about. Every successful person, believe it or not, had to start off as a baby in their field and then they took steps… And the steps took them everywhere!

There is nothing special about them in comparison to you. The only difference may be is that they took that first step and then continued to add on. Consistency is key.

Persistence in spite of opposing forces is the lifeblood of success.

Look, if they can do it, so can you.

Nothing is impossible.

Any promotion, any endeavor can be obtained and achieved, step at a time.

Before we go any further, I want you to internalize this truth though: Success at the expense of health and family is not real success.  As long as you have these parameters in line, you’ve got balance. Keep this truth in mind, often, and make sure that this part of the equation is always satisfied. If they fall short, you will never enjoy your success the way you hoped you would. Cars and bikes, travel and recognition will not keep you warm at night nor will it drive you crazy with crayon marks all over your walls.

If you have your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) and your family balanced, you are already wealthy and your steps may be less fickle, less wobbly because you have the self-confidence and the support of your family.

Why am I bringing this up in a piece that is meant to inspire you to achieve incredible success, be it financial, recognition or on a physical plane such as running marathons?

Because I so strongly believe that if you take the right steps, consistent and persistent steps, you will get there. Of that, I am certain.

Our dreams are there for a reason. Our talents are ours for a reason as well. Why?

Because they are meant to be ours, to be enjoyed, employed, and achieved.

It is very simple. Once we take the simplicity out of success, forget it. That’s when it gets complicated.

You are reading this piece and that tells me so much. Enough for me to believe in you and that is why I care enough to warn you.

So let’s go back to the small step that I take every single day that sets me up for grander steps. I make my coffee. Fuss around with my kiddos. Pray. Then I take my first sip. That’s the trigger point for me. I am settling down to business (as much as I possibly can in spite of controlled chaos around me).

My first step each day is my sip of coffee. Then I get out my laptop or phone, whichever is easier to use at that moment.

I know that once I take out my “power” tools, I better be getting my head in the game. And even if I don’t feel like it, I still do it. Because I believe that every step I take in the direction of my dreams, it counts.

What makes a person successful? Their ability to believe that every step they make will bring them closer to the culmination point, in spite of opposition, in spite of others’ disbelief, despite the lack of reward.

There is a quote that I read in school, many years ago, that will stay with me for life.

“Failure is 100% guaranteed if you do nothing.”   Then do something! Each step you take will increase your chance of success. I think it is worth trying at least!

But try it for a month. Make a game out of it. Each day, take small steps, or if you can, big steps when you feel comfortable. Visualize yourself moving closer and closer. Feel the destination. See it, taste it, enjoy it. It can surely be yours.

Nothing is out of your reach. Nothing is too high up, or too far out. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be flying today, or enjoying our sweet little laptops.

If it is out there, it can be yours. If it is just an idea, it can materialize. All that we see around us was once an idea and now, an idea manifested.

 

Go for that small step. Then take a next one.

You never know, you might just… like it.

 

by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Living inPassion Series: Creativity, the Spark of Life

How are you feeling today? Fantastic or Blah? If the latter, please don’t feel helpless. There is an easy solution to this lifestyle dilemma: Creativity.

When have you indulged in this, to some-a casual pastime, to others-a reason for living, very basic activity based on our very inner, but universal need to create, to access something a bit greater than ourselves, to give life to something?

If it has been a while… let me tell you, the Blahs may be calling you out to notice this dry patch of desert in your soul. Mindless living is usually one of the best friends of the Blahs. The Blahs attract so many other frenemies as well… such as Carelessness, Frustration, Restlessness, and many more universal figures.

But enough focusing on the B-word. Let’s not allow it to grow in our consciousness!

Allow yourself to gently walk along the stream to Creativity, the Spark of Life. Visualize yourself strolling along one bank of this body of water… It is so peaceful. As you sit down on top of a massive rock, you proceed to throw a few rocks you’ve picked up along the way, into the stream…

Do you feel at peace?

What do you see? How many ripples? How small or great the diameter?

You look up, what do you see on the other side of the stream?

Now, begin to notice your breathing… Has it slowed down? Have you relaxed enough to notice what is nested within your heart? Your inner you?

If you could do anything right now, what would you do? What were your dreams as a child? What are your inner desires?

Receive everything that comes into your mind and heart, gently. Be kind to yourself.

You were created to be different. You are a unique expression of God’s own creativity. You are wonderful.

How do you feel now?

Write down the thoughts that come to mind and open-up your heart to a new beginning, to a new expression of creativity within you.

You are fearless. And if you are afraid, you are courageous enough to overcome what comes your way.

Express your creativity today, from one smallest act to the greatest.

Put up a vase on your table and create an arrangement of flowers from your garden or ask your child to pick you a bouquet of wildflowers. How precious.

Read a book on a topic you were always fascinated by, but were always too busy to indulge in, because it just didn’t seem to apply to your hasty day-to-day routine.

Show yourself enough respect to deem it worthy to treat your mind and heart a little.

Write a simple poem for your loved one. Tell them how sweet they are.

Bake a cake you’ve always thought was a bit too rich for your wallet. Treat yourself and your family.

Creativity doesn’t always mean; go out and buy yourself an easel and paints, grab a few baguettes with cheese, grapes and wine, and dress up like a Parisian.

No, creativity means allowing yourself to believe that you and your family, friends and the world in general, deserve a more expressive, livelier version of yourself and your touch.

You deserve to have a little bit of fun, to play like a child. To dream like it is all possible.

And if you dare, dare to dream big. Every mama has a hidden big dream. And no, our definitions may be different, but the results are extremely similar; a passionate life that is worth living and sharing.

Bring back the Life!

Now go and bake yourself a cookie, grab a book, dance a little, smell a flower or indulge in a bit of expensive coffee…

How creatively can YOU live?