We had the good fortune of connecting with Oksana DerDerian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Oksana, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance to me is mixing productivity and structure with ease and connection. For my businesses to be successful, I understand that I need to put in the time and work hard, but I also need to remember to slow down. Although rewarding, constant work can bring anxiety and stress. I had moments where I felt stuck and helpless, as no matter how efficiently I worked, things were not flowing. I had to remind myself to pause, reflect and connect to my purpose: the real reason behind starting my businesses. Bringing more joy into my life through connection to my community and gratitude for what I have achieved. My idea of balance changed when I understood that holding on to the results will not bring happiness. It’s staying present in the process that makes the journey fun and enjoyable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
After bringing my third child into the world, I knew I needed a shift in my career. The goal at this stage of my life was to find flexibility and presence in the work environment. That’s when the seed to open my own practice began to sprout. And I dug in: searching for office space, researching my options, dealing with insurances. I opened Desert Speech (Speech and Language Therapy Office) in Rancho Mirage and was ready to soar. I was excited! I ran the show and didn’t have to answer to anyone. As responsibilities started to pile on, stress began to seep through the cracks. I slowly slipped into the dark waters. I remember crying after another fruitless phone call with an insurance company, feeling like a crumbled tiny mess.
As I felt my nervous system disregulating, I recalled a story about how monkeys get caught: “According to the legend, to catch one, you have to place a banana in a jar with a small opening. As the monkey reaches into the jar and grabs the banana, he is then unable to get his hand out. And so he stays there. Trapped. Because there’s no way in the world the monkey is going to let go of the banana, loosen his grasp on the object of his desire.” I was clinging energetically to the results and had forgotten my why.
Whenever I need a mental reboot, I lean on my community and spiritual practices, which include yoga and meditation. Several years ago, when going through a shift, I purchased a ticket to the luscious island of Bali and flew off to become a yoga instructor. The journey has expanded my perceptions and forced me to look closer into discerning my intuition from the noise that lives in the wounded mental loop. I dove deeper into learning about healing modalities and embodiment work.
This time around, as I slowed down to find my inner compass, my heart led me back to the embodiment teachings.
At a brunch date with my two soul sisters, an idea came up to host a fun and healing experience. We set up a beautiful tent in a backyard, placed fluffy morrocan rugs, pillows, freshly picked flowers from our garden, and invited friends over for yoga, meditation and crafted drinks. The afternoon turned into a transformative energetic experience. And that’s how DesertSoul came into this world. An intention to bring presence back into my own life has slowly unfolded into a magical offering to others.
Today, DesertSoul is hosting customized mini retreats in the Palm Springs greater area and Coachella Valley. The beginning of DesertSoul was a reminder that through the ease and flow found in the creative visions and relationships can I stay open to receive in all areas of my life. I began to weave these core elements back into my work in Desert Speech. I realized that the foundation of Desert Speech lacked the creative nourishment it needed to flourish.
To me, Desert Speech and Desert Soul, although so different, are the two pillars of a bridge. A bridge that enables the passage of creative ideas, healing connections, and aligned opportunities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are many beautiful hikes in our desert including Indian Canyon, Tahquitz Canyon and so many more. There are options for horseback riding, golf, biking, off roading. There are various activities depending on the season, including festivals (Coachella, Stagecoach), tennis tournaments, art shows, polo. I would take my friend to fun boutique bars and restaurants, such as Azucar, Boozehounds, Tac/quila, Pink Cabana, Roadrunner and so many more. Fun Rodeo-like streets are great for walking around to enjoy food and shopping, including El Paseo in Palm Desert and Old Town in La Quinta.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
DesertSoul (our business which offers engaging and transformative experiences within the mystical mountains of our desert) has been found by myself and my two soul sisters, Marlyn Reddy and Inna Kurmaeva. Their unique talents and inspiring visions motivate and expand me.