Downtime. It’s that thing we all know we need to get more of, but also that thing many of us find difficult to squeeze into our busy lives. To help out, we’re profiling a series of talented women who juggle busy lives with finding time out to unwind.
The latest interview in our #FindYourDowntime series – as part of our recent launch of our first-ever sustainable downtime wear range, Boody Lounge – is with wedding celebrant, counsellor, Reiki master and yogi, Patty Kikos.
Read on to find out how Patty fits it all in, finds time to unwind and what her favourite Boody Lounge pieces are.
You have 20 years of experience as a counsellor and more than a decade as a wedding celebrant, Reiki master, energy healer, kinesiologist, Hatha and kundalini yoga teacher. Phew, we're tired just thinking about all that! How do you fit it all in?
Honestly? I don’t. It sounds like I work a lot when people assume I do all those things in one day, but I have a schedule that not only includes my professional duties but also has the space to integrate my personal commitments as well. As a self-employed therapist, there’s no way that I’d be able to hold the space for some heavy emotional stuff if the container that houses my nervous system was depleted.
I describe my professional life as a holy trinity where, in one extreme, I see the deep love shared between the couples I marry as a wedding celebrant, and on the other hand, I work in Child Protection with kids in foster care who have been abused. In the middle, is the soothing elixir I share through my counselling sessions and healing workshops.
I’m also pretty obsessed with watching the sunrise and the sunset every day. I get to do both from my home office by the beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. I love being in the ocean and even though I’m the first to tan, I’m also the first to get goosebumps and feel the cold.
Out of all the roles and passions above, what is the most rewarding and why?
Everyone always asks me which aspect of my work I love best! My answer is, I love all of my jobs, equally.
Being a celebrant taught me to run a business, being a dancer taught me to teach, hence why the step to becoming a yoga teacher was so seamless. Both professions taught me to hold the space as a facilitator, which helps when I run workshops, retreats or courses.
The pain of my past fuelled a desire to cure myself, and that led to my qualifications as a social worker, counsellor, kinesiologist and energy healer. Whether it’s in my private practice, or out in the field, it feels like it’s my soul’s calling to teach the tools that my clients can then share with others in their journey of healing, empowerment and happiness.
I also believe that it is important to find one’s confidence, self-worth and satisfaction, outside of work. As a multi-passionate solopreneur that has several sources of income, I also find a lot of rewards with work I do that I do not necessarily get paid for.
My parents have had a few hiccups with their health, and my dad, in particular, is legally deaf and blind after several mini-strokes and suffering from dementia. As their only child, I feel blessed that I’ve created a work-life balance that means I can spend as much time with them as possible, and I’m so grateful that I can do this so easily.
You were the first Australian kundalini yoga teacher to launch an e-course back in 2012 and have now created a life-changing toolkit for people to access online. Can you tell us a bit about this toolkit?
I wanted my students to have an online portal that would help them discover how to access their body’s energy centres, balance their chakras and clear their mind through accessible kundalini yoga sequences, workbooks, journals and meditations.
I think that if we want to change something, it’s important that we understand how it works first, and that information should not just be limited to people like me who have completed many pieces of training.
It’s our birthright to heal ourselves, magnify our light, release our blocks and make an impact on the world. Feeling out of balance isn’t fun. It can lead to you making bad decisions, and attracting even worse relationships!
The chakra balance e-course is for the gamechanger who has a yearning to delve deeper into their spirituality and needs more than just a stretch. It’s for the soul stirrers who understand that they are more than just physical vessel, that there is a conscious energetic part to themselves – a part of us that our schooling system never taught us how to use.
My course will teach you the way that you use your energy will impact the quality of your life and your relationships. The convenient format of this e-course enables you to deepen your spiritual depth, even with a demanding schedule and a busy lifestyle as you can download everything and take it with you, even when you don’t have Wi-Fi!
Living such a busy life, how do you find ways to #FindYourDowntime?
I’m at a phase in my life where I’m not as driven as I used to be. In the analogy of the race between the tortoise and the hare, I used to be the hare, where I had so much energy, but my inability to self-regulate would mean that I would frequently burn out.
I’m older now, and I’ve noticed that my vitality and energy have naturally waned, but I’m able to harness it a lot better than I ever did. I’m much more discerning with the people that I spend time with, and this means I no longer feel as drained as I used to.
My boundaries are also a lot clearer, both with the things I choose to commit to and with my time management. I no longer feel guilty about needing time alone to regenerate and I rest more than I used to.
How important is it for us all to find time in our busy lives to unwind?
For me, it’s definitely one of THE most important things that keep me in alignment. When I’ve been really busy, and haven’t taken the time to unwind, I find that I feel overwhelmed and really stretched.
If that continues, the stress hormones in my body release more adrenaline and I notice that the first positive attribute of my personality that goes belly up is my patience.
I observe how easily triggered I can get, and how I can get bugged by people, situations and events that would never usually bother me. The other red flag for me is when I wake up in the middle of the night feeling alert, and then find it difficult to get back to sleep.
That’s usually because of the increased amount of cortisol in my body, and if that starts occurring, THEN I really take notice and make some serious adjustments.
Thanks to technology and how addicted many of us are to it, many of us are so much more wired than our ancestors ever were, as we still seek so much more stimulation than ever. I think it’s also becoming increasingly more difficult to have time to ourselves as our extended communities expect more of us than ever before, and many of us don’t even realise how draining that feels until we’re already so depleted.
We're thrilled you're part of our exciting Boody Lounge launch. What are your thoughts on the range?
I actually caught myself expressing an old habit that I’d worked hard to get rid of, and that was thinking that the clothing was so fancy, I’d have to wait until there was a special occasion to wear it.
I no longer do this as I think every day is a special day, and given that I no longer have as many clothes (or even as many ‘things’ as I used to), I like to make sure that I have classic pieces in my wardrobe that I can wear over and over again, without getting bored.
I think your range is beautiful. It feels so soft to the touch and the simplicity of its structure means that everything fits so elegantly.
What are your top picks from the capsule collection?
The Goodnight Sleep Pants are my favourite and most worn, as is the Cosy Knit Wrap, which doubles as a blanky for me when I want to snuggle on the couch and can’t be bothered getting up to get a jumper.
I know that the pieces are marketed as loungewear, but I’ve interpreted that to mean that they can be interchangeable, depending on your environment, much like my yoga pants before them.
Those yummy Chunky Bed Socks have now been packed away for next winter as it’s nearly summer, and I wear the Downtime Lounge Top either as a nightie or as a top that will dress me for dinner or a beach day.
Obviously spirituality is an important aspect to your life. How important is the notion of sustainability?
It’s so important that I almost said no to your generous offer of gifting me those beautiful pieces!
Sustainability is everything to me right now. Whether I’m referring to how sustainable the way I work on a big project is, or how I’m managing my time during a busy period, I’ve also noticed how some of my spending habits were unsustainable.
My mum is a professional seamstress, and we used to go trawling for vintage before Vinnies was even popular or ‘trendy’. It’s a habit that stayed with me until recently when I realised that even though the items I purchase were secondhand, this monthly habit was still a fair chunk of change that could easily be used more mindfully.
This is my fourth month of not buying ANYTHING clothes-wise. I noticed that the psychology of something being cheap triggered a deep-rooted primal response within me of wanting to ‘get that deal’.
I’ve learned it’s not really a deal if you weren’t prepared to pay full price because you needed it, but that the invisible mode of currency I used (i.e. using my smartphone to tap and pay for purchases) was also contributing to a lack of impulse control.
In what ways do you live an eco-friendly life?
I feel like I do the basics such as taking canvas bags with me when I go grocery shopping. I used to pass by the supermarket unexpectedly and would have to purchase a plastic bag, but now I make sure I always carry a rolled-up bag that can hold basic items. It comes in handy to store jackets and cardigans as Sydney can be well known for sharing four seasons in one day!
I recycle all my paper and now use much less. I used to print each wedding ceremony on paper, and now I use my iPad and have a backup stored on my iPhone, just in case. I used to do the same with the workshops I’d teach – but I now read off my iPhone or iPad.
I store my compost and my local coffee shop is gracious enough to let me dump it in theirs every other day.
My cleaning products are no longer toxic, and sometimes I even make my own by using vinegar and bicarb soda. I use cleaning cloths on a rotating cycle so that I’m cleaning them regularly and not destroying them through toxic soapy chemicals, and then needing to buy new ones more frequently. This includes washing my face with cloths instead of any form of wipes.
What are your plans for the near future?
There are so many unknowns regarding planning a future, but I have to say I miss running workshops, so I’ll be planning a few more of those in the near future. I used to teach really large workshops, but these days I prefer to keep them small and intimate so that I have the opportunity to go a little deeper with the clearing for each participant.
I’m also contemplating running a live group program that will be limited to only 8-10 women for a six-month immersion, and I have to say, that’s been percolating in my subconscious for a little while. It will be interesting to see when the timing is right for that to be released.
I live in Bronte and have loved the peace and tranquillity, as well as being so close to the ocean every day. In recent months, there’s been less harmony as the area is now much busier and more congested than it used to be.
For the first time in almost eight years, I’m considering a relocation to somewhere quieter, so it will be exciting to see whether that means somewhere 200 metres down the road, or somewhere completely different from the eastern suburbs.