Katie Olson was paralyzed on the left side of her body after sustaining a head injury in southern California. Seven years later, she now runs It Takes a Village Healing Collective in her hometown of Duluth.

When it’s fully functioning, the healing collective offers neurofeedback, acupuncture, massage, reiki, yoga therapy, herbalism and community-based classes at 114 W. Superior St. from several local practitioners.

The name of Olson’s business describes the dynamics of growing up in her large Northland family.

“It wasn’t, ‘This is mine; that is you.’ It was, ‘This is ours; let’s do this together.’ There’s more support and community and all the good things that come with that,” she said.

Olson has traveled to about 30 countries, including Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, India and Ireland. She is a registered yoga teacher and a cultural liaison, which is “a person who advocates for the humanness in all of us,” she said.

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Olson took some time to explain her work, her spirituality and how the two mix.

Q: Tell me about starting It Takes a Village Healing Collective.

A: It Takes A Village was a vision that continued to visit me over years of healing a head injury. I would dream of a place that humans felt a sense of peace to simply be themselves, a sense of relief in a non-stimulating environment, a sense of community in an open space to gather, a sense of healing their body through different natural healing modalities.

About two years ago, I put this vision into action and out of creating a space for people to be, it has given back to me tenfold. It is a place of acceptance, harmony and non-judgment.

Many people come in to receive treatments from an array of educated practitioners; some people come in to take a class; a few come in for a glass of water, a piece of fruit or to rock themselves in a rocking chair.

Every day is different at "The Village," as each practitioner runs their own business on their own terms on their own time. Every practitioner has the opportunity to create their own "hut" or a space that they feel cozy in so their space reflects their being.

Katie Olson, owner of It Takes a Village Healing Collective, braves the chilly temps of the Superior Bay as she walks along the shore of Minnesota Point Tuesday morning, May 26. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Katie Olson, owner of It Takes a Village Healing Collective, braves the chilly temps of the Superior Bay as she walks along the shore of Minnesota Point Tuesday morning, May 26. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Q: What does business look like today?

A: Today is quiet at It Takes A Village. It continues to hold space in Downtown Duluth. As each practitioner works with a different sheath of the human body, state mandates are different for each of us. As of right now, neurofeedback and acupuncture are being offered.

Q: Does spirit play a part in your work? How so?

A: Spirit plays a large part in my work. Spirit plays an even bigger part in my life. I believe spirit is the presence that makes the physical body alive; it is our internal compass. The more one attunes to their spirit, the more it is able to guide the human in a life of their greatest potential.

Q: Tell me about earliest memories with spirit.

A: Since I was a little girl, I remember "being" with a presence that I could not see, but oh, could I feel it. Spirit is the presence within each one of us that makes the physical body alive. Some people refer to it as soul, spirit, atman, light, life. To me, spirit is the unique expression of each human on Earth.

Since I was 3, I remember having inclinations on things that would happen before they actually would. I remember this time being the purest form of soul I have experienced, one where societal norms weren’t a part of inner knowings, a time where I would so simply follow ‘spirit’ while not yet having a lot of inner chatter or self-talk.

Q: How does this connection help during times like now?

A: Connection to spirit and Lake Superior have been my saving graces while the world has come to a screeching halt. Each morning, I have a ritual to check in with sensations throughout my physical body, the quality of mind and what the spirit in me is interested in expressing today. Then, I set forth in what is necessary for these elements of being to feel aligned.

Katie Olson, owner of It Takes a Village Healing Collective, turns back from looking out at foggy Superior Bay along the shore of Minnesota Point Tuesday morning, May 26. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Katie Olson, owner of It Takes a Village Healing Collective, turns back from looking out at foggy Superior Bay along the shore of Minnesota Point Tuesday morning, May 26. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Q: What are you reading, listening to and watching?

A: Reading:

  • “On Being Human” by Jennifer Pastiloff
  • “Silence In the Age of Noise” by Erling Kagge
  • “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van der Kolk
  • “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • “The Places That Scare You” by Pema Chodron

Listening to:

  • Beautiful Chorus
  • Anugama
  • Lauryn Hill
  • Joss Stone
  • Alicia Keys
  • Worldly beats

Watching:

  • “The Biggest Little Farm”
  • “Ancient Civilizations”
  • documentaries on different cultures
  • History of “America in Color”

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, alive or dead, who would they be?

A: My maternal Grandma “G”; Buddha; and my dear friend, Sal, in India.