How you can overcome challenges collectively, creatively.

A personal perspective from Irina Gladushchenko – Holistic Practitioner ~ Reiki Teacher ~ Mentor

There are so many challenges with being a woman in this world… think childbirth, wage inequality, juggling career with a family, people pleasing everywhere – and – all this while looking the part. Imagine if we could simply breathe through each challenge and turn it into a creative opportunity right there and then? Maybe the challenges we face on a daily basis would make sense and fade away?

The breath can be used as a great support tool to acknowledge a challenge and it is this acknowledgement that becomes the starting point of every healing journey.

However, it is the next stage, self-awareness that allows us to truly overcome these challenges and what we must develop.

I remember, a long time ago, reading about these stages of transformation, but somehow I couldn’t piece it together and ended up feeling very sceptical about the process.

The acknowledgement stage had always made sense to me, as I remembered how the breathing techniques that I learnt as a child in sports class, helped me with stressful exam times at school and University. I implemented these breathing techniques to offset the fear and to help me remain calm.

However, it became increasingly difficult to find inner strength when more challenges started to present themselves again and again; it’s not always easy to stay calm, reflect and consider the situation in a rational way, when we’re exhausted, wishing the uninvited experience to be over and taken away …

As I grew and developed, I learnt that the real ‘show stopper’ was in the prefix “self-”. To me it had always represented the equivalent of “ALONE”, so most of the time, I hesitated to proceed to the self-awareness stage, certainly not in a conscious way. Looking for another direction… I found myself exploring various group works – a meditation course at College, or the Women’s Empowerment group at Meditation Space, then there was the Women on purpose meetup group. The list goes on.

At the time, my friends and family were continually complaining how I was spending my time everywhere else and with anyone else, other than with them. This urge to explore, to share my experiences with strangers and to take in other people’s learnings, of how to progress through these challenges, became my mission.

It wasn’t until I connected with like-minded women, that more colour and a certain richness was brought into my life. It was the act of creating together that allowed me at long last to face those unprocessed challenges. Toxic hurdles had been lurking in my body for far too long, the ones that had been sitting in the “too hard” basket, with a hope they might disappear. My demanding responsibilities had been creating tension and stiffness around my shoulders, while unexpressed emotions had created quite a sizable padding around my hips area! I knew I had to commit to my body for the first time in a long while, but it turned out, I couldn’t do this alone.

Luckily, I found other women who were on the same wavelength and in the safety of our group, the opportunity to express ourselves in an artistic manner presented itself. One day we found ourselves painting our challenges together on the same canvas. Our collective personal aches and pains were unfolding, transforming together, before our very eyes, by being merged with each other. After the process of shared creation, we sat back and nurtured our work of art, felt it and absorbed the healing effect.

If I were to use a single word to describe this experience I would use RICH – abundant with time, colour, support, confidence, depth of sharing and delicious energy.

If a passing observer had seen us during those moments they would not have been able to count the combined health challenges we all faced: infertility, endometriosis, breast cancer, ovarian cyst, IBS, anxiety, depression, just to name a few. Rather they might have described us as a group of healthy and talented women, who were changing the very nature of art – healing by co-creating.

I invite you to discover ways to connect with your resourcefulness, to find your support team, to breathe through EVERY challenge life is offering you and then proceed to self-awareness. We each own a personal uniqueness and through becoming aware of this, our talents are allowed to shine. This is your personal contribution, to creating a better world together.

Irina Gladushchenko is a Reiki master, a holistic counsellor and wellness educator with a passion for energy, connection and communication. Her grounded, gentle presence supports you without her having to say a word.

If you are interested in working with Irina, please contact us at [email protected]

Paradigm Switch connects individuals with holistic practitioners. We have collected some of the leaders in their fields and offer a service whereby you can explore your personal needs and at the click of a mouse, book a session to suit you. For more information please visit

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