Tasteful Wellness: Meet Modern Shaman – Olivia Weil

It’s time for a little wellness, dontcha think?? Our last Tasteful Wellness post was full of tips on how to navigate the world of financial planning. Dollas and cents. Since then we’ve shared some pretty weddings and some holiday cocktail recipes! With the holidays quickly approaching and wedding planning in full swing for all our spring couples – I figured we should switch gears a little bit.

And switch gears… we did! Today you are going to meet the lovely Olivia Weil – a modern day shaman. Yup, you heard that right. Now regardless of whatever imagery of a “shaman” you may have in your head right now – throw it out. I encourage you to have an open mind because this gal is smart as a whip and has SOOO much insight and down right practical advice for literally any human. I’m sure many of you have a therapist, some of you may have an acupuncturist who can tell how your feeling emotionally based off looking at your tongue, more of you have probably met with a nutritionist at one point of another, and I’m sure a few of you have hired a life coach at some time in your life. Based on my conversations and emails with Olivia – I feel like practically speaking – she could literally be all of these (and more) wrapped up into one beautiful soul who can literally make you feel at ease by listening to her voice.  She has such a cool story and I cannot wait for you guys to read our interview!

Alright, let’s get this started shall we? Olivia, tell us exactly what it is you do for a living?

Hi Emilee, and to all those reading at home, thanks for having me today. 
So I play the roles of a modern shaman, energy medicine practitioner, personal transformation coach, mindful relationship coach, spiritual teacher and plant-based nutritionist.  And sometimes the roles vary, based on a given individual or couple’s needs.  Once upon a time I was practicing law at a prominent firm in New York, but through a series of healing opportunities in my own Journey, my life path shifted to something much more meaningful for me.  Now I get to thrive in my passion and purpose everyday, which is a really great feeling. Helping others and being of service in any way that I can.

What a cool and unique career! You wear so many hats! How did you come to this life path?

It’s been a Journey, to say the least!  Pretty much my own experiences on my life path lead me here.  From these experiences, I was called to help others.  The main thing for me was that I wasn’t happy, and wasn’t living healthily. I wasn’t nourishing my body in the best ways, I was stressed out to the max, and faced lots of different things like anxiety, and so on. So too did I feel this void within me and a longing deep inside, even though I had everything I was supposed to want. At the time, I had checked off all the boxes of so-called traditional success:  I had clerked for a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York, transitioned to private practice working at a prominent law firm in Manhattan, had a cozy apartment on the Upper East Side, plenty of money in the bank, great friends, living in one of the best cities in the nation, etc.  From the outside looking in, I seemingly had it all.  But on the inside, I was super unhappy and unfulfilled. And so from there, various other personal experiences led me to my new calling.  It wasn’t one major event necessarily, or one a-ha moment.  It was through my gradual evolution over time, and then sooner or later I eventually made the decision to leave law for good – and pursue these other things that were calling me. 

Wow! You weren’t kidding – that is quite the journey! Was there a particular training involved to become “certified” as a shaman?

In many respects, my life experiences were my most important training ground.  But yes, I’ve also done some formal training as well. In the nutrition space, I did my post-graduate certification from Cornell in plant-based nutrition, along with hundreds of hours of my own research for healing the body at the cellular level through all natural, organic foods including plant-based whole foods, superfoods, superherbs and so forth.  And then in the energy medicine space, I was trained by shamans of the old – the indigenous medicine peoples of the high Andes – and also was a student of the Four Winds Society, in Los Lobos, Chile.  The Four Winds Society trains energy medicine practitioners and wholistic wellness coaches to bring this ancient wisdom to the west.  And so my practices combines this ancient wisdom with modern science.

I love that. This is definitely something I could see my couples needing. What are some ways couples can use your services separately or together?

I offer healing and coaching sessions like I mentioned, and so my private session work is a great way for any one who wants to explore personal transformation coaching as individuals or Mindful Relationship Coaching as couples, or further explore some energy work. And “energy” can be a lofty term and one that people can get discouraged from. Because they have a prior conditioned belief that we have to see something to believe it (I did too and was in the same boat before delving in).  So the energy work may require a bit of a pioneer attitude in that respect, diving in and trying something, being a wayshower and a leader.  But basically what we know now from modern science is that we all have energy fields surrounding us, and the quality of our field affects our overall health, longevity and wellness. Our nervous systems are like antennas, that create a field of energy around us, sometimes called a luminous energy field.  And when our nervous systems and energy fields aren’t working properly, they aren’t filtering information effectively and are becoming bogged down and clogged.  So that’s where the energy work plays a role, clearing those systems so that we can thrive and live fuller, happier, less stressful and anxiety-producing lives.  And allowing ourselves more stillness, inner peace, abundance, success, wholeness and fulfillment in our lives – all things that are our birthrights. 

You mentioned mind, body, and spirit to me earlier…can you break those down to our readers?

Sure, of course. And great question. Because it’s a term that gets thrown around so easily, right?  Like at many spas all across America and so on. 
So we are these mind/body/spirit complexes, meaning we are an integrated system, and they are all sharing information back and forth.  So if you want to clear any of it, you have to address all of it. 
So the body.  The body is this colony of cells and every time I have a thought, I’m instructing it as to how to feel.  I’m instructing my body as to how to feel. Well let’s say I’m sitting on the beach and having a really good time, and then I have a thought, that says “No, actually I’m so stressed out about planning, about work, and so on.”  And then the body says “oh, right. I’m stressed.”  This is the cellular memory in the body, and it’s being informed by the mind from moment to moment.  So we have to clear that cellular memory.  And a lot of the food we’re eating today is no help.  It’s filled with toxins, antibiotics, hormones and chemicals.  That my body can’t recognize, and it’s causing inflammation.  Not to mention the brain-gut relationship. The gut is called the second brain, and there’s a ton of peer-reviewed science about the conditions of the gut and conditions such as anxiety and so forth.  Healing the gut is so essential. In any event, my cells affect how I feel.  And at the end of the day, our brain needs nutrients and minerals to metabolize and function well.  So overall, I have to work on the body, and change my relationship with food. 
And then the mind.  It’s what I’m using to deliver this writing to you.  Or so we think, but actually that’s only about 5% of the mind – the conscious mind.  The other 95% of the mind is unconscious (think of the iceberg imagery with the tip of the iceberg sticking out – the unconscious mind is the bottom of the iceberg).  The mind is like a computer, with programming.  So the downloads we were receiving when we were young, or as we got older, from all kinds of different influences. It makes up our programming, and this is where we react from.  Most of our lives are unconscious reactions. 
The Soul. This is where the juice is.  So my own experiences with the soul aside, I’ve sat with hundreds of people over the years and asked them, you know, what is the soul. And inevitably they’ll say it’s their most essential self.  Their authentic, truest self.  They’ll use words to describe it such as love, passion, community, contribution, and so on. These sound like luxuries when I’m stressed out during the day, but these things are essential to who we are.  When we are disconnected from our authentic nature, we can’t show up and thrive in our daily lives.
And then the spirit. So we live in this sea of energy around us. The empty space around us is not empty. It’s filled with information, imagine for example radio waves, wifi signals, and so on.  If I could actually see all the information in the field in front of me, I would barely be able to see my hand in front of my face.  And so this is the Field, sometimes called the Quantum Field. Well the field affects everything that’s in the field, meaning you and me, too. And I have a field, and I give off energy.  And if my field is clogged or bogged down, then I’m not taking in that information – that information which informs all life. And I’m not able to thrive, and live my best life.  And so this is where the energy medicine comes in and plays a role. Clearing your energy centres and the luminous energy field that surrounds each and every one of us. So we have to work on these in a synergistic way. Mind, Body, Soul, Spirit. And that’s what my work does. This methodology and series of transformations that allows you to release what no longer serves you, so you can clear your container of everything you are not. And make space for everything you want to call in for yourself – inner peace, happiness, bliss, wholeness, fulfillment, and the like. 

I feel like everyone can benefit from that. Can you break this down into what specific ways you would see this as being crucial for couples to understand?

Basically, I think this question gets at – what is one practice we can bring in to our daily lives immediately, as couples (or individually)?  And my answer to that question would be the practice of “Release” or releasing what no longer serves you. The practice of release, or releasing what no longer serves you can seem a little counterintuitive at first, because you’re actually doing nothing, rather than doing something.  Let’s take our relationships for example.  Our relationships offer us hundreds of little ways to release what we often want to hold on to in our lives.  So this may be the need to be right, the need to have the last word, or (in so many cases) the need for things not to change – the need for things to stay the same.  And this could be a major block for us sometimes.  Especially given the only real constant is the world is change.  And these changes can be trivial and insignificant, or they can be huge and monumentous.  Well when we are equipped with the tools to handle the changes, both individually, and as a couple, we can adapt much more quickly together and things are much smoother than if one or both people are not accustomed to change.  And so that’s one thing I see in couples who are in happy and healthy relationships:  they embrace the constant of change, rather than fighting against it.  And in that way, then they honour the changes, invite the changes, and even get excited for the changes happening together, rather than fighting against them.  All the while honouring the part of each other that is staying the same.  And so that’s where release, and this open-mindedness, along with communication – and so many other things I chat with couples (and individuals) about in my practice – can really help.

Wow. I feel like I can literally hear heads nodding in agreement from brides all over the globe right now! Am I right ladies?? Would you describe change as conflict? Or rather – are they interchangeable? Would you advise someone to deal with conflict in the same way as change? (ahem… asking for a friend.. lol)

Totally feel you! And lol. So… change is only conflict if one or both are resistant to change. When changes come in to our lives, those who are open to the flow of the ever-changing landscapes of life, can navigate these waters much more smoothly. When we are equipped with an open mindset and the tools to handle the changes, we can overcome any thing that comes our way, individually or together. What seems like a roadblock or obstacles at first – with the right mindset and tools – then becomes a welcome departure into a new adventure. When we surrender to the infinite flow of all that is, we make an important statement with our energy to the Universe: that we are available for something even bigger and better than we ever could have imagined. This means releasing control, surrendering and accepting, and embracing the changes – with a positive mindset and the deep realization that actually what is happening is for our best and highest good. We just might not be able to see it yet from our current viewpoint. 

Conflict, on the other hand, is rooted in attachment (to things, ideas, beliefs, ways of being). Picture long-term relationships like sailing a boat on the open sea. When we get attached to an image of how we think something should be, of the way we think something should be, these are like anchors holding the boat down preventing it from sailing freely. And sometimes the anchor that is most difficult to let go, and one I see holding couples back often, is the idea that our partners should be something other than who they are, right here, right now. 

Preach it girl! Olivia gave us some great tips and we put together a printable/downloadable PDF for you guys to have for free : 5 Ways to Upgrade your Body/Mind/Spirit Complex!! 

If you’d like to learn more or connect with Olivia directly, you can email here at olivia@onelovemedicine.com or find her on Instagram HERE

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