Svetlana Saitsky

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“I went through a period of dark depression a few years ago when everything was falling apart. I used to go to a garden with a friend and just put my hands in the dirt and he would help me process. I thought I would never be able to get out of the hole I was in and my friend asked me, ‘Have you ever been really happy and thought it would last forever?’ and I said, ‘Yeah’, and he asked, ‘Well did it?’ and obviously it didn’t. So then he said, ‘Is it possible that this will pass too?’ It was something about that one question that helped me to realize maybe I was wrong that things would be bad forever. That resonated so much. And I was wrong, because nothing last forever. And that helps keep me grounded because if it’s all just passing by we can just really focus on the now.”

svetlana-6“That’s great insight. What was going on?

“My dream job at Google turned out to be not what I thought it was going to be. The man I thought I was going to marry turned out not to be the person I was going to spend my life with. My health was feeling off. In one of the darkest parts of that time a friend asked, ‘What if this is happening for you and not to you?’ That really shifted my perspective and it was kinda a phoenix rising from the ashes moment because I grew so much. I would do it again to get to the other side, I don’t want to do it again. But I have a job where I’m paid as a storyteller, I have a much closer community, and I know who I am. Plus now I know that I could lose everything and still keep myself.”

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“After having that experience do you feel like you’re more even keel in your day to day flow?”

“I think I have better tools than I did before.”

“What’s one of those tools?”

“Breathing. I think the biggest thing I learned after an absolutely dark year was how to breathe. It took me 30 years how to breathe! I had a dharma teacher that came into my life at that time and he would literally just breathe with me. He would get on the phone with me and ask me, ‘Where are you? What do you see?’ He would get me to focus on what was happening right here and how to just breathe. Then you calm down. Any anxiety or depression is because you’re in another moment, but when you’re breathing now and in the present it’s all okay. Meditation helps. Sitting. I’ve learned to be with myself for the first time and be okay with that. I learned thoughts are thoughts and then they pass…and then there’s another thought. Sharing and talking to people helps. You realize you’re not alone. And asking for help. I realized if I hadn’t asked for help I think I would have died. At YouCaring people are so brave and they acknowledge that they’re not okay and that they need help.”

svetlana-8“What’s the greatest strength you feel like you have to offer the world?”

“Affirmation. I feel like I’ve always been able to reflect people’s own greatness to them. I love showing someone their inherent value.”

“Do you feel like that’s what you’re doing in your storytelling at YouCaring?”

“Yeah, I really hope so. It’s actually been pretty challenging in a really beautiful way. I’m the only one who gets to meet the human beings who use our site. I always see so much courage and strength and beauty in people. I feel like I get a little moment in time where I get to reflect on how amazing these people are. I mean…truly…they’re the most courageous people I’ve ever met. They’re going through serious illnesses, death of loved ones, huge transformations. Their ability to ask for and receive support is amazing.”

svetlana-9“How have you changed as a person as a result of working there?”

“I’ve had 33 jobs before this one so this is the most loving business I’ve been apart of. The idea that you can actually do good in business and be loving has been affirmed. It’s also the longest I’ve worked anywhere in almost a decade. I’m going on to my 8th month. Maybe for most people that’s not a long time but for me I would know I was on my path and even though I may not have known what I was looking for I knew what wasn’t it. Here it feels like family. It feels good to want to continue to be a part of something even if it’s challenging because it emotionally it’s very draining at times. I also really like my team. Who you’re around is so important, who you can inspire, who can inspire you to grow. Yeah, it’s helped me become a more loving adult, even though I want to be a kid sometimes. It’s cool to grow up though, and be of service.”

“It’s beautiful that you get to live your dream and share that that is possible with people.”

“Yeah, I’m grateful for that. But it’s not all rainbows and perfect. Living your dream has it’s own challenges. But if you’re doing something you love you want to take on the challenge.”

svetlana-12“Who has been your biggest inspiration to follow your own unique path?”

“For as long as I can remember I’ve just been saying ‘Why’? I never understood why you have to do things a certain way. I’m just curious and I have to figure things out for myself. I always think of my mom because she gets nervous about my way of life. She’s like, ‘You quit your job again! You did this! You did that!’ but I’m like, ’Hey, you’re the one who immigrated from a foreign country with 2 kids and no money and no language. You did the impossible. I’m just continuing to explore’.”

“Where’d she immigrate from?”

“We came from Moldova when I was 6 which is considered one of the unhappiest countries in the world so I’m really grateful for that. So yeah, that was a crazy move. It’s kinda like when I quit a job and don’t have another job lined up but do it because in my gut I know it’s the right thing to do. My mom’s very intuitive and I get that from her. She’s the reason I have faith that if I follow my gut and intuition it’ll take me where I need to go.”

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Dijon

November 30, 2016