© Hans-Jörg Bannwart

HamSa Serena Olgiati, co-founder of SPARK, Reiki Master, Facilitator in family and systemic constellations, ThetaHealing® instructor, training holistic counselor. Holds a Ma. in international relations.

Offers individual sessions and seminars in English, Deutsch, Italiano, Français and Español.

I strongly believe in a holistic approach to personal development that takes the entire human being and their life experiences into consideration. We are whole and unique. As such I offer practical support for body and mind, emotional and spiritual well-being. Whether through Reiki, ThetaHealing®, family and systemic constellations, meditation or other techniques, my focus is in integrating those disciplines so as to best support the client in focusing on the Now, on what he or she really needs and wishes for. This can release an incredible amount of energy and self-confidence, which are in my view key elements for taking life in our hands and fully enjoy it.

I have always been intrigued by society and cultures. How we behave and why we behave like we do. I thought a good way to understand this better would be to study international relations. The more I was working with governments and international agencies, the more it became clear to me that my strength lied in my understanding of the individuum. It is then I chose to stop travelling around and take an inner journey to find out how the world was mirrored within myself. I now share my experience with others because I have witnessed the power we all have to grow in consciousness and change from within to make a difference outside.

My personal journey

My childhood is a mix of tree hugging and Heidi.

I was born on Saturday 29 December 1979 in an idyllic Swiss mountain village, Poschiavo, populated by few people and enclosed by high peaks. There I go to school and begin to familiarise with foreign languages.

From those years I take with me the curiosity to explore beyond what my eyes can see. But also the appreciation of silence, the capacity to listen and a very strong respect for people and nature.

At 15 I move away to study modern languages in Chur. The bliss of freedom. And the challenges of taking responsibility. It’s my first confrontation with the external world. I remember fondly my English teacher, Mr. Fannin, playing us South African anti-apartheid songs and talking about Mandela with tears in his eyes.

At that moment I realise I would not sit back and accept silently the madness of this world. My eagerness to better understand the global dynamics that lead us to violence and war was set there.

In 2001 I move to Geneva to study international relations at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. I remember being intrigued by one question: how is it that we get to the point of war and killing each other? How does violence come about? I write a paper on how individual hate becomes collective hate. Hannah Arendt becomes my preferred evening lecture. The only thing that’s clear to me at that time is that everyone has the potential to turn very nasty under certain circumstances.

I soon realise there is more I need to understand about our way of behaving. I dream of alternatives to violence and spend hours debating that with friends in bars.

Fully convinced that I want to do something to change the world I take off to Latin America. Not sure why or for how long. I leave and, for once, allow myself to be carried without plans. Within two weeks, I end up in the forest of Chapas with Marcos and the Zapatista movement debating violence and the rights of farmers. Then I meet with Shaman Don Juan on the shores of Lago Atitlán in Guatemala and he tells me: ‘remember that you and I both heal without the use of conventional medicine’. Since then this sentence resonates inside me.

I feel I have been thrown into wonderland. Months and months go by, sitting on local busses, meeting people and taking in every single bit of Latin America. I learn to be open and receptive to what people are saying, because each of them is offering a lesson and an opportunity to grow. And to be flexible in my attitudes, respectful and perceptive of cultural nuances.

Back in Europe I meet Thomas Nash, then coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition, who offers me a job in London. It’s 2007 and I start my work with the Coalition. We are over 300 organisations from all over the world, all working together to ban cluster munitions. 2 years later the treaty is adopted. What a moment of pure joy. Fully aware of the power of cooperation, I move on to the next challenge. With Action on Armed Violence we advocate at the United Nations for better violence prevention. I travel to Latin America, South East Asia, Central and West Africa, in places affected by conflict and violence to raise awareness of the problem and learn from local governments, victims and survivors.

I realise I’m still there, studying and investigating the worst side of human beings and doing something to address it. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. I learn the power of joining efforts, the flexibility to engage with people, whether they are ambassadors, army officers, victims, perpetrators, or activists. I meet many close friends and gain a fair bit of knowledge about my limits.

What’s more, I realise that the journey to address violence and achieve peace starts within oneself.

With this experience I decide it’s time to go my way. SPARK is calling. In 2015 I’m back in Switzerland. Embarking on this new project and learning to be led by it. I still wake up some days wondering, how did I end up here? And then I watch the spark in the eyes of our clients when they come out of a session and everything makes sense. I am happy. I love my job.

My personal development journey

After high school I move to Locarno to work first in a call centre. My employment there lasts very shortly because instead of taking the orders from clients and hang up, I tend to spend an enormous amount of time on the phone with them listening to their challenges, world views and family issues. My boss is not happy. So I move to the kitchen of a local hotel. The only thing that soon becomes clear to me is that waking up at 4.30 to prepare cappuccinos is not among my talents (I’m embarrassed to say how long it actually took me to learn how to prepare one). Lost and quite concerned about my future I meet my wonderful friend Marzia Alberti, who introduces me to the International Reiki Center which is now known as la Città della Luce. It’s March 2001 when my teacher Akshara Umberto Carmignani initiates me to Reiki.

The seed for SPARK was planted right then, when it became clear to me that there was an entire hidden world to investigate: the subconscious.

In 2008 I learn ThetaHealing® with Dana Lazar, who has introduced me to it and Vianna Stibal, its founder.

Thanks to this wonderful technique I learn to dig deep within myself to identify hampering core believes and release them. My confidence in our own healing power grows.

In 2015 I go back to la Città della Luce and begin my studies to become a holistic counselor. A new world of opportunities and wonderful techniques to investigate the subconscious opens up to me.

In June 2017 I become a facilitator in Family and Systemic constellations and in August of the same year I receive the Reiki Master initiation with Akshara Umberto Carmignani.

After years of investigating war and violence, this is my commitment to a path of light. I’m fully aware that in order to fly high you need to be able to dig deep down within yourself. I have promised myself not to allow my fears to handle my life anymore. If you can’t face darkness, how can you appreciate the light?

To be continued…

Contact Serena. Find out more about Serena’s holistic counseling sessions and upcoming classes and events.