Oksana and I met in India. She was the first person I met off the plane and we shared lots of tea, coffee, laughs, and good old chit chats in the month we spent together there.
Oksana helped me through some sort of tummy virus that wiped through our retreat (she missed it though!), always had a bit of health wisdom that made perfect sense, and was just a joy to be around.
She invited me to come to teach at Art of Life retreats and here I wanted to let you get to know her a little better as well so I asked her a few questions. What an amazing lady and I can't wait for you all to share in her joy and knowledge!
You live in Ubud. How have you come to be in Bali?
I have always been looking for a place to be living half the year. I thought I had found that in Vietnam. But in 2008 I came to Bali though and as soon as I came here I knew this was the place. It took me 2 years to come back. But as soon as I came to Ubud I just knew. This is where I wanted to be. This is where my heart wanted me to be. I just found everything I needed here. Everything I had been looking for. The size of the papaya. Like mini-torpedoes! Compared to Australia where you get like a mini thing for $10.
Tell me about the food you eat and why you eat it?
I eat a lot of fruit because I am attracted to the colour and sweetness of it.
I really have got to this level where I automatically choose to eat for nutrition. It is intellect that drives my decision because after learning so much about nutrition and experiencing what different foods do to me, and knowing how I feel most optimal.
I do check in how I feel, like salty or sweet. But I wouldn’t go for something like a bowl of pasta unless I was going through some emotional upheaval as pasta effects me almost like some sort of drug that wipes me out.
What I mean is that I choose food for highest vitamin and mineral content. That means it is generally something living and more vibrant food. But that is because I know a lot about food.
And what enables me to jump out of bed feeling really happy is not having a lot of dense residue in my body.
Vibrant food makes you more vibrant. Fried chips are not vibrant. They are not going to give you much vibrancy.
You are growing your own garden?
Yes! It is my third attempt. My next door neighbor drained a rice paddy for me and said you want to grow veggies so go for it.
First he planted sweet potato on it as you need to after it has been growing rice. That is long, about 6 months, so we had to wait 6 months for that.
Then we had to get out there and I had some friends and it was really hard work and we tried to dig and sew seeds. But nothing grew. We tried again and the same thing happened.
I tried again but this time I got a Javanese organic gardener who I buy my produce from and I said ‘I need your help! Is it my land or what?’
He came and looked and said I needed to build shorter and higher beds because of the soil. So we did it and we got some seeds in and it is now just pumping! 10 tomatoes a day and greens coming out and an abundance of produce. I am looking forward to pickling, Russians are fond of that, and you know, my family is originally from Russia.
The only thing is I have a friend who is a farmer in the mountains who I helped a few years ago during the rainy season to build some greenhouses for his seedlings. I had given him the money for that and now, in exchange, he supplies me with veggies every week and he still does that. Anyway now I have too many greens—he is still supplying me and I have my garden veggies as well and it was undersupply before and now oversupply!
What makes you happy?
Is that I feel like I am really living my life. It might sound corny but I feel like I am really designing my life—I don’t know if that is a good word. But before I used to feel like I was living a life that was not congruent with myself.
What makes me happy is that I am constructing my life. There is a lot of play involved. A lot of seriousness as well, I do serious things, but it is all done with colour and vibrancy and communication.
I work with conscious people where there are not strict boundaries and that is part of it too.
It makes me happy eating organic food. Having abundance of that, of everything. I don’t know. But those are some of the things that contribute to it. I don’t know if I have really started on answering that question, it is just so big!
You can find out more about Oksana at: www.artofliferetreats.com