On January 13th we held our first interview-workshop: an interactive session led by a conversation between myself and special guest, Ksenia Avdulova from Breakfast Criminals. Guests were guided through worksheets and received Reset Kits with goodies from Frank Body, Sweetgreen, Sky Ting Yoga, Benshen, QNOLA, Burnin For You Candle Co, ALOHA, Everbliss and Neomatcha. Snacks were provided by Indie Fresh, Maple Water and Ovenly.

Whenever/Wherever tickets are still available for those who couldn’t take part in the workshop IRL. Email hey@okreal.co to receive your package including:

• Audio from the live event to guide you through the worksheets
• A three-piece worksheet set that will capture your goals and reflections
• Three beautiful prints by Print Lab for your wall

Below are some moments captured from the night, as well as a few key insights that were shared. Workshops are going to become a regular OKREAL thing, so keep an eye out for the next one!

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Ksenia: “There’s no such thing as a ‘new year, new you.’ There is no before and after, you’re the same human. It’s so important to remember that transformation is a process, and should be about a shift in attitude and recognizing your capacity to change. Instead of looking at what we want to lose, we should be thinking—what can I add to my life that brings me joy? Because once you’re in that state of joy, everything that needs to be shed does so on its own.”

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Ksenia: “This applies to the relationship we have with our bodies, too. Something that has changed my relationship with my body is looking in the mirror and saying: ‘I am beautiful exactly the way I am right now.’ I do this at least three times a day, and there is something on a cellular level that changes. We all need to put away those jeans that don’t fit—I have a box that says one size too small. We are women, our bodies fluctuate, we are hormonal. And it’s fine. You need to figure out what feels good in your body, and that definition is going to be different for all of us.

You are never going to perfect for everyone.

When it comes to labeling the way we eat, we tend to do this as if we were products in a store. But labels are just a thing humans have created to communicate. There is absolutely no need to live by those labels, they have nothing to do with your body. You need to listen to your intuition and trust how you’re feeling in the moment. Instead of ‘trying to be vegan’ for example, try tuning into your body and see what feels good.”

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Amy: “There is this bizarre idea that we should be black and white, all-or-nothing people—when in reality we exist in an in-between space, where we’re doing some things OK and some things not OK. The sooner you are able to accept that, the easier things become. Something that holds us back are the stories we have about ourselves. We have these ingrained beliefs about who we are that aren’t always true, like ‘I’m a high strung person’ or ‘I’m bad with money.’ What happens is that we end up making excuses that keep our stories alive—because as shitty as these negative narratives feel, growth can be even more uncomfortable.”

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Ksenia: “An excuse I kept making last year that drove me nuts was: ‘I’m busy.’ I associated the word busy with: there’s too much going on and I can’t breathe. But I started to replace ‘I’m too busy’ with phrases like: ‘I’m super engaged in other projects, but I would love to talk about this later.’ Just that small switch of removing the negativity and rewording things was life changing. Because with words comes the story that we attach to them. So really think about those words you use that make you feel like the contrived, small, limited thing which you are not. Then replace them with something that is either neutral or that makes you feel great.”

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Ksenia: “Something else that has always held me back is being too concerned about what other people think. I tend to focus on what everyone else is feeling instead of what I’m feeling. A big change for me has been shifting the focus back to myself—and acknowledging that whatever I’m feeling is right and OK.”

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Amy: “You know how there’s that saying, ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ Recently I heard that saying flipped on its head: ‘What would you do if you knew you would fail?’ I think this is a far more relevant question, because there is so much fear in doing the right thing for yourself. Fear is such a strong compass and it can be a great guide to what we should be doing.”

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Ksenia: “If you are living your soul’s purpose there is going to be some discomfort. You might face challenges, but I don’t know anyone who has followed their heart with full-on enthusiasm and failed.”

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Amy: “The biggest mistake we make at the beginning of the year is the idea that we are starting from scratch. A fresh start can feel momentarily liberating before it turns into pressure. I don’t want you to think about starting this year with a brand new slate. I want you to consider the few decades you’ve been on this earth growing, evolving and developing all of the things that make you who you are—and all of the strength you’ve built up over this time that you now get to use. You are far more capable than you give yourself credit for, and you do not need to discard pieces of yourself in order to move forward.

Concentrating on what we’ve built up already is the foundation from which we are able to move forward and grow from.

It can be as simple as thinking: if I have felt a certain way before, I can return to it. So often the good stuff that we complicate is within reach. It’s not always as hard as we make it out to be.”

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Ksenia: “I think being grateful and giving back are the two most powerful things a human being can do—because being in the space of gratitude and recognizing what you already have is the starting point for any kind of expansion. Before I set goals for the new year, I always make sure that I sit down and acknowledge the things that have already come my way. When it comes to making the right kind of goals for yourself, think about what truly brings you joy. What are the things that light you up? Let those things guide you. Joy is my religion.”

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Photography by Sofia Tomé