Felice Facile

Discovering an easy way

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A gift to be seen as you are

IMG_1385As I was getting ready for my new class last weekend, I went through all materials from my coaching trainings at the Hendricks Institute. And I found this souvenir.

This is me. This is how two strangers saw me when they were meeting me in a special way.

It was the very first exercise of the very first day of the trainings.

I was so brave to have made it all the way from Stockholm in Sweden to Ojai in California, but I felt so scared to go into this unknown space on my own.

When I was coming in, I had my line ready: “Hi, my name is Olga. I am from Russia but I live in Sweden. I work at a university in Stockholm”.

If someone would have asked me further questions about who I was I could perhaps tell them that I was a very smart person, was always one of the best students in my class and even received a gold medal when finished high school; that I was very independent, reliable and organized, very analytical and rather creative; that I was valued by my colleagues but was somewhat unlucky in love; and yes I was a dedicated Mom of an amazing little guy.

Luckily, I didn’t have time to present myself beyond my first line – the trainings were starting. After a brief introduction, the participants were invited to do the first experiential activity. Everyone got himself/herself a partner. We were supposed to be looking at each other. In a special way. Like we would go to a museum and appreciate a Work of Art. No talking allowed.

So we did.

After several minutes of communicating in this way (that might seem as an eternity if you are used to talking most of the time), we wrote down on each other’s paper what we saw and felt. Still no talking. We switched partners and did another round of looking at another person as a Work of Art. Then again, we wrote down on each other’s paper what we saw and felt.

This was what two people whom I knew nothing about but names and who didn’t know me either saw in me:















Cheese (=smile)


Pretty far from my list above, isn’t it?

My list above presented an overview over my roles and main qualities that had been necessary to successfully keep those roles up on stage for a long time. In other words – my personas. So often we define ourselves by what we do and what we have. So often we walk through life where persona meets persona and façade faces façade.

Recently, I worked with a couple and I asked them what they would like to feel and experience in their relationship. To be understood was one of the top things on the list.

This is such a great gift to be understood and to be seen – as we are. We are so much deeper than our roles and our duties. We are so much more beautiful and interesting than our old stories. So try on this way of looking at yourself and others. And let others see you as you are.


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Making the meaning of the solar eclipse

eclipseToday, I got carried away by the solar eclipse movement – both live and on-line. And what about you?!

People got outside. People were sharing photos and impressions. Why?

Perhaps, we are drawn by the mystical transformation of things that we treat as usual and ordinary. Even if this transformation lasts only for a few minutes. I believe that everyone who was watching the solar eclipse today experienced a little transformation. Perhaps, a shift in emotions, moods or thoughts.

It is fascinating that the eclipse is followed by clarity. This is true for our personal transformation as well. And we don’t have to do much – just be present and watch what happens.

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A hugging revolution and resolution

two-children-hugging This morning I feel inspired to talk about our great power – hugging.

Yesterday I’ve read a story about Amma who has an ashram in India and travels around the world and lovingly gives hugs to everyone who wishes to receive one. It is amazing how such a simple and always available gesture may become a global action of kindness and love. The simple truth is that hugging is essential for our wellbeing. Even more, this way of human contact is required for us to be who we are because it is literally about embracing and accepting ourselves and others right here and right now.

A great number of studies from various disciplines have shown a wonderful impact of hugging as it boosts our relationships and physical and emotional health. (If someone is curious to know more about hugging and biochemical and physiological reactions in our body, I can refer to this article).

There is some internal magnet that draws us to be in this hugging space. I am always amused when I quietly come nearby and sit close enough to my son while he is playing or watching TV; and he starts leaning towards me or climbing on me and still doing what he was doing.panda hug

Hugging is considered to be a natural thing to do in a private realm of family and friends. But what happens in the social? Many times I’ve noticed  how people test and feel the physical boundaries without even realizing it. How far or close can we stay to each other? What forms of contact are appropriate? And it seems that quite often we allow ourselves less than our inner magnet would suggest because we measure this interaction in a certain way and it has to fit in our scale of what’s appropriate. Therefore, we may delight and smile at a child who doesn’t care about social measurement tools yet and just talks to a stranger or gets into your lap at a party if she/he feels like it.

What I absolutely loved, among many other things, at the coaching trainings at the Hendricks Institute was an open space for hugging – even with “strangers”, people you’ve just met. At any time it was possible to give and receive hugs – and ask for one when you needed it. Interestingly, after just one hug new people are not strangers any more.




P.S. Here are two videos for more inspiration:

Katie and Gay Hendricks demonstrate a 20-second hug:


Neuroekonomist Paul Zak recommends eight hugs a day:


P.P.S. If you come across good articles or videos on a power of hugging please share them with me on this page. Many hugs to you.

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“We both can win if it is me who gets to choose,”

IMG_0814…my 6-year-old son said to me when we started playing a card game yesterday.

“But it’s not really fair,” I resisted.

It was indeed very confusing to play this game because he changed rules all the time and it was difficult to follow and to focus. Then, he wanted me to always go first so he could decide which card he wanted to respond with – and to win. And on top of everything, he got to have a magic glittery card that allowed him to change any card any time.

At some point I realized that I was not having any fun at all. I like playing by the rules! I wanted to have the rules! I was always so good at playing by the rules! And I remember very well that most of my disappointments in life came when others were doing something else instead of playing by the rules.

My son is a tough guy, though. An adorably tough guy. He never really accepts my reasoning that games are supposed to be played by the rules.

Finally, I gave up and let him play, as he wanted. And he was really enjoying choosing cards for both of us and deciding what card beats what card, what colors play each round and whether it is a time for the magic card. He made sure, though, that we both would win – to keep the game going.

I relaxed.

This idea of playing without any rules for the sake of playing, totally letting the other to invent and not knowing what comes next is very new for me. Isn’t it how life unfolds at times, without obvious logical rules but someone indeed makes sure that everyone wins and the game goes on?

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The power of a word

Last year, as a part of the NeIMG_0780w Year celebration I chose a word for 2014. I wanted the upcoming year to have a special theme. Blossoming was the word. So was the year.

An amazing trip and a learning adventure that seemed impossible became a reality. In a gentle and natural way, I have got a job that I really wanted and that allows me expressing what I think is important. I’ve met wonderful people and shared moments of true connection that I never thought were possible. And much more – a beautiful bouquet of things to be proud of and be excited about!

First though, I needed to pay attention to what wanted to blossom, when and at what pace. In nature, the flower knows and follows its own script. For some people, it is not so obvious and at times obscured. We think that we know how things work. If you get good grades – you can get a good education, if you get a good education IMG_0781– you can get a good job, if you get a good job – you will do just fine and be happy. Then it turns out that there is no guarantee. That is why it helps to pay attention to what’s going on inside. I am glad I did.

As I look around I see different stages of blossoming. The richness and fullness of azalea delights and draws my attention, while a delicate orchid bud brings joyful anticipation of the unfolding flower. I am glad that this has been my experience this year.

I haven’t chosen my next year’s word yet. I have a couple in mind, and will be trying them on during these days.

I am curious what your word will be?

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What whip cream and arguments have in common

During a course of the modern enlightened everyday life (stay positive, eat healthy, exercise, and so on), it can happen that you slip back to some things that may taste good but are not really good for you.detail-whipped-cream

Lately I have discovered two “slips back” that make me feel NOT good. It’s interesting that two very distance things, such as arguments and whip cream, produce the same effect in my emotional and physical state.

I guess it is clearer with the whip cream – that is lots of sugar and fat. Yam-yam! Anticipation of eating this sweet gentleness with raspberries felt good. Eating it – felt good indeed. A few moments after – still enjoying and circulating the thought: perhaps, some more?!… A turning point was when it didn’t feel good at all. I felt that an annoying sensation and feeling tired were following me. It just felt dull.. So it did, on two other occasions. Now I see the point that my body was making.

Arguments then. The same aftertaste of dullness and tiredness. But it is not about my digestion. Or may be it is a little?

When you are engaged in the argument, you do have to digest what the other person is saying, and it is difficult when you don’t agree. However, you even may feel good during the process as something makes you wanna stay engaged in the discussion (I guess, the whip cream in this case is called adrenalin). And I am even not talking about huge arguments with far-reaching consequences. In my case, both times it started when I just peacefully wanted to share my point of view. One was about me arguing for that loaded discussions are bad and arguing is pointless:-)

I like going back to my favourite question: What do I want? What do I want to achieve by this particular action? If I’d have remembered that I wanted to feel good as much as possible, I’d stop on just sharing what I thought and appreciated what the other person was saying, without trying to convince anyone about anything.

I will try to remember it next time.

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On Empowerment

kaktus Ojai

Back to the blog. It feels good to be back. And the spring officially starts tomorrow!

From a course about children and globalization that I am currently taking I learned about two main approaches to things related to children: we (adults, society) should protect or/and empower them. I realize that the protection approach (=chicken mother instinct) is surely built in me, while I have issues with the empowerment… Hmmm, strange enough…

I have been passionately advocating “forget- that-(stupid and harmful)-discipline” position on the grounds that it ties the free spirit and creativity in children who then will grow into unhappy adults with an “I MUST” modus operandi.

I myself like when I am being empowered and inspired.

I feel so fulfilled when something that I do empowers other people.

Why then am I ready to debate this empowerment of children on a large scale for hours?

Because I see that a Chinese Cultural Revolution happend right here at home. First I invited my little agent of change and creativity to take the power and be himself. When the results became unwanted and uncontrollable I declared mobilization in order to grab the steering wheel back. Sounds like parenting fun, doesn’t it?!

Here is what I’ve learned (and still learning) from all this – which holds for relationships with both children and adults:

1. Empowerment in my case often looks like this:


I guess it is a good idea to empower others not at the expense of yourself or someone else.

2. “Empowerment” often comes under the sauce of our assumptions that “it is good for another person” (NB: tastes a bit like a protection and control broth). Who-ho: remember to be gentle with empowerment of others as most of us still like to stay in charge and have it “under control”. Empowerment means acknowledging the power of the other which is most likely going to be uncontrollable. Are you ready for the ride?

3. Empower: what? To do what? To be who? Here comes my favourite question: “What do I want”? What do we really want here? What results and processes would we like to harvest and enjoy?

Wow, I feel so empowered now:-)