Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose


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2018 – A Year of Joy!

Happy New Year, my friends!

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays and that the new year is off to a beautiful start for you. In a recent newsletter, I shared that I’m heading into 2018 with one and ONLY one intention and that is to experience as much joy as I possibly can. As many of you know, 2017 was a challenging year for me, as I ended my marriage of 24 years.

Anyone who has gone through this can tell you that, even when you’re the one ending the relationship, it’s a grieving process that takes time. The death of a relationship is not unlike the death of a loved one. During these last nine months, I’ve experienced the full range of emotions – everything from concern for my children to disappointment, anger, feelings of betrayal, fear, and the pain and sadness that come from the fact that people change and some circumstances are simply beyond our control.

In fact, this past year, MOST circumstances were beyond my control. I had, however, two important realizations during this time that quite literally kept me afloat during the toughest times:

(1) I have complete control over my choices. No matter how difficult the situation, I have the power to choose what to do, think, say, and focus my attention on. The actions and choices of others (including how they treat me) do NOT have the power to define me or reduce me. In every moment, I have the power to choose who I want to be and how I want to operate in the world (and it’s important not to mistake kindness for weakness; I saw that I could act with grace, integrity and kindness and STILL maintain strong boundaries). I assumed full responsibility for my choices and my recognition of this power was hugely comforting.

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(2) I can ALWAYS access joy. Even on the worst, longest, hardest days, I found things that made me feel good and grateful. Yes, some days, I had to work harder at it than others, but there hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t been able to experience at least one moment of joy. Which led to my understanding that my joy, like my choices, is completely up to me. Whereas happiness is created by outside forces – landing the job, getting the guy/girl, buying the shoes, etc. – joy is strictly an inside job. Whereas happiness is fleeting, joy is always available if we choose to find it.

These realizations – particularly the second one- have been so empowering that I decided to make the pursuit of joy my major intention in 2018. I am committed to living a JOY-full life and making choices that align with that. Here are some ways that I’ve found to do that. Of course, there are many more, but these simple commitments are a great place to start.

1-Spend time with people you love, people who inspire you and people who share your values. Seek out people who lift your spirit and contribute positively to your life and avoid those who don’t. It’s that simple. Create the cast of characters you wish to surround yourself with and that will naturally bring more joy to your days. But also remember to…

2-Enjoy your own company. There is a peace and freedom in being ok with being alone. Take time to get to know yourself on the deepest level. Make time for yourself each day: journal, take a bath, prepare a meal, go for a walk, etc. People who struggle with spending time alone often just don’t find themselves that interesting or pleasant to be around. Love yourself enough to nurture this relationship (it’s the most important one you’ll ever have).

3-Follow your curiosities and experience new things – hobbies, interests, books, music, foods, etc. Joy is often found in the unknown.(For more about this, check out this post.)

4-Travel and explore. I’ve found no better way to find wonder and awe than in seeing this big, beautiful world we live in!

5-Eat good/real food. Your body deserves the nourishment and your senses deserve the joy and pleasure that a good meal provides. (I wrote an entire guide on this – with some recipes – called, “Wellegant Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul.” You can download a copy here.)

6-Declutter your surroundings. A space that’s cluttered usually results in a mind that’s cluttered. More space=more clarity=more room for joy.

7-Demand quality in all areas. Whether clothing, home decor, groceries or anything else…be willing to have fewer, but better things in your life. And speaking of quality…

8-Cut back on social media. It’s a time suck and, often, an energy suck as well. I’ve cut back considerably on the time I spend on Facebook and other social media sites. I’ve also stopped following a bunch of people/accounts that tend to be “downers.” It’s made a huge difference in how I feel. Be discriminating about how you spend your time and those you allow into your mental space. If, for whatever reason, something feels negative…unfriend/unfollow/unsubscribe. Remember, move towards joy…

9-Allow yourself to feel everything (even the tough stuff!) and rest in the knowledge whatever storms you face will pass. We can’t outrun pain or other negative emotions. We can find ways to numb and/or distract ourselves from pain for only so long. Eventually, it catches up to us (and often packs a harder hit when it does!). Instead, allow yourself to feel both the good and the bad. It’s called being alive! How can we expect to live a full life if we spend our time and energy running from anything that doesn’t feel good and avoiding the very things that challenge us to grow? (And the great irony is that when we don’t run from the hard stuff – when we face it head on and feel it, fully and deeply – it passes more quickly and leaves us with the gifts of clarity, wisdom and an even greater capacity for love and joy.)

10-Celebrate everything! Don’t wait for holidays and special occasions to celebrate. Have dinner on the good china, just because. Pop a bottle of champagne, just because. Invite friends over for an impromptu dinner party, just because. Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers…well, you get the idea. You’re alive and there’s beauty and love and goodness all around you. Is there any better reason to celebrate than that??

So, let’s celebrate the many ways in which we’ve grown during 2017 and all the joy that we will experience in 2018!

Sending you love and light,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Trust Your Struggle

From time to time, we all face challenges and struggles. Struggle is part of the human condition and there isn’t a single person walking this planet who is immune. Those of us who’ve faced challenges know all too well how heavy it feels when you’re in the midst of it and how desperately we wish for the pain to go away. I’m not going to play Pollyanna and try to convince you that this process isn’t exhausting and upsetting. I won’t tell you that you’re wrong to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling. Or that I have all the answers. I most definitely don’t.

But I will share a few of the things that I’ve been grateful for and a few of the things that have comforted me during tough times. I believe that there’s a tremendous amount of healing in simply sharing our experience and offering others whatever little bits of knowledge or understanding we’ve gained. I’ve certainly benefitted from the wisdom of others who have faced challenges and, while I’m no expert, I have a few thoughts that I hope might benefit others.

You see, we spend so much time trying to resist struggle and avoid pain that we often overlook the fact that struggle has the ability to lead us somewhere good, if we let it. If we trust it. If we stop resisting, accept what is (even when it sucks), love ourselves through it, and trust that it will eventually pass. Not only will it pass, but it’s likely to leave us a few gifts to take along on the rest of our journey.

I know…this is a major shift in perspective for most of us and I know, firsthand, how difficult that can be. But here are a few things to remember as we move through this process.

  1. When we face difficult situations, we are often reminded of how many people love and support us. And I’m not only referring to those whom we know we can rely on for support, like family and close friends. My experience has been that people are so good – neighbors, colleagues, even casual acquaintances; when people find out that someone is sad or overwhelmed or just, generally, having a tough time, they’re usually very generous in offering help, support and words of encouragement. It’s a great comfort to know that we don’t have to go it alone and that more people than we realize care about us and wish us well. Which brings me to my next point…
  2. Challenging times often require that we become more comfortable asking for what we need. This is a big problem for a lot of women, myself included. Most of us are quite good at getting things done ourselves and quite bad at asking for help. However, tough times sometimes leave us no choice. They provide the perfect opportunity for (a) identifying what we need and (b) developing the humility to ask for it. And those are incredible skills to have, during good or bad times.
  3. When we feel knocked down by life, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice self-love and self-care. There simply is no other way. We can’t beat ourselves or shame ourselves or guilt ourselves into feeling better. As anyone who’s tried this knows, if just doesn’t work. We have to accept that we did our best and honor the choices that we made. We have the chance, in each moment, to treat ourselves with love – go for a walk alone, take a long hot bath, spend time with people who lift you up, feed yourself healthy food and healthy thoughts. And most importantly, allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. Stuffing emotions down is not loving. Cry it out, move it out, talk it out…the important thing is to let emotions come up and out, and continue to love ourselves through it.
  4. Flex your resilience muscle and develop strong coping skills. Resilience is THE best indicator of who will be successful in life and who won’t (there has been study after study that shows this). But nobody develops resilience without living through struggle. The hard times teach us how to cope. Day to day, we can assess which thoughts and actions feel empowering and which ones don’t. Some days, we may need to go to bed early and have a good cry and other days, it feels better to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and soldier on. Some evenings, curling up with a book and a cup of tea is just the comfort we need and other evenings are better spent having dinner with a group of girlfriends. In other words, take the time to know yourself and “read” what your needs are. That’s what coping is – the ability to deal with difficulties and to soothe yourself in healthy ways. Do that regularly and you’ll become pretty damn resilient (and pretty damn successful at whatever you do!).
  5. You’ll get a crash course in “surrender” and, finally, learn how to “be present.” I thought I knew what it was to surrender. I mean, I practice yoga, I’d read all of the most popular spiritual/self-help texts, I meditate and drink green juice. Trust me, I can talk the talk. But going through some really tough stuff forced me to walk the walk (some days I walk it and some days it’s more of a crawl, but you get the idea ;). There are points in all of our lives where we must simply recognize that we have no control over anything but our thoughts. Period. And we can allow that stark realization to either take us down or plant us firmly in the present moment. If we focus on the present moment and control the one thing we can – our thoughts – one moment leads to the next and the next and, before long, we feel a bit more peaceful and productive. By no means is this an easy habit to learn, but there’s a reason that every spiritual teacher preaches this – it’s the fastest route to peace.
  6. Develop confidence in your strength and abilities. You will surprise and impress yourself.  I know that’s hard to believe when we feel so emotionally fragile but, inevitably, difficult situations require you to act differently and/or do things you’ve never done before. While it’s scary to navigate the unknown and face uncertainty, you’ll get through it (yes, you will). And each time you do, you’ll feel that much stronger and that much more capable of braving whatever comes your way. Success breeds success, so each small victory over a problem or a fear will make you that much more self-assured.
  7. Have faith that things are not happening TO you but, rather, FOR you. Each experience, good or bad, provides opportunities for us to learn the lessons we need to learn and each experience moves us further along on our path. Just because we can’t see the final destination doesn’t mean that we aren’t moving forward and making progress. This one can be especially tough when emotions and tensions at running high. For that reason, finding practices that calm the mind and encourage a more positive perspective are essential. i’ve found that it helps to read inspirational books, stories, articles, etc. If you have a spiritual practice like meditation, that helps, as does surrounding yourself with positive people. In other words, the more you work to alleviate stress and ease your mind, the more likely you are to recognize that “fight or flight” aren’t your only options; there is another one – faith.

Life is long and broad and wide. The challenges we face at any one point in time are simply one chapter in a very long story. Rather than remaining focused on the struggle, zoom the lens out and view your struggle within the larger context of your life. I once heard someone say that she likes to imagine her 90 year old self proudly telling her story and sharing the wisdom gleaned from it. I love that idea – the idea that we each have the power to create our own story. Instead of creating a tragedy full of sadness and regret, let’s write a heroine’s journey. Let our story be one in which we face our troubles with grit and grace and emerge fiercer, wiser and more loving than before.

If that’s not Wellegance, I don’t know what is!

Sending love and light,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

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21 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself

“Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins

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A year or so ago, when I first conceived of the idea of the Wellegance blog, I heard Tony Robbins say this and it struck a chord with me. At the time, I had already coined the term ‘Wellegance’ and was clear on what that term meant to me. Essentially, Wellegance is the joining of two concepts that I believe are at the heart of a well-lived life: wellness (body, mind and spirit) and elegance (valuing simplicity and quality over quantity in all areas of life). I began to consider the principles that one must live by in order to curate this ‘Wellegant life’ and I kept coming back to the idea that each of us must commit to getting to know ourselves. I mean REALLY getting to know ourselves. Excavating ourselves by chipping away all the layers of social conditioning, family expectations, gender roles, responsibilities, etc. and discovering the woman who exists underneath all of that.

How much do you know about yourself? Oh, sure, you can tell me your likes and dislikes, preferences, pet peeves, your hobbies, childhood best friend and your most embarrassing moment. But how often do you stop to examine the workings of your mind and the yearnings of your heart? The beliefs and desires that motivate you to do the things you do? Most of us lead such busy lives that we don’t stop to reflect nearly as often as we should.

You see, we’re each on our own unique “Heroine’s Journey” and the only way we make any real progress on our journey is when we come to know ourselves at the deepest level. How do we do that? By asking the very ‘quality questions’ that Tony Robbins is referring to in the above quote. And answering them with BRUTAL honesty (the more honest we get, the more powerful this process is).

Here are 21 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself

  1. Where in my life am I thriving?
  2. What am I hungry for?
  3. Do I enjoy my own company?
  4. How energized do I feel each day?
  5. Who and what inspires me?
  6. How much of what I speak is negative/complaining vs. positive/productive?
  7. What people or situations drain me?
  8. Does my personal style express who I am and what I find beautiful?
  9. Where in my life do I need support?
  10. What am I not saying that needs to be said?
  11. What is the next version of me?
  12. What messages my body is sending me?
  13. Am I saving/investing enough money in my future?
  14. Do I feel at home in my home?
  15. What new thing am I yearning to learn or try?
  16. Am I having enough fun?
  17. What is my ‘superpower’?
  18. Am I procrastinating something I want, waiting for ‘someday’?
  19. Is busy-ness helping me to avoid feeling something?
  20. What pattern(s) keeps showing up in my life?
  21. Have I made peace with the past?

 

If, in fact, Tony Robbins is correct in saying that “Quality questions create a quality life,” (and I wholeheartedly believe that he is), then I maintain that every woman should be asking herself these questions on a regular basis. Think your answers, write your answers, discuss them with a therapist, close friend, your pet or your houseplants…it matters not what you do with the answers. It only matters that you consider the questions and do your best to formulate an honest answer to each of them.

Those answers have the power to guide you toward peace, joy and wholeness. You’ll likely discover things about yourself that you’d never anticipated and when you get to know yourself at this level – your values, needs, desires, fears, habits, emotional triggers, etc. – that knowledge and awareness will empower you to make better choices and move toward the life you desire.

As you set off on this quest, know that I’m with you every step of the way!

xo,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 

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Astrology as a Powerful Life Tool: Interview with Author/Astrologer Eric Meyers

Have I got a treat for you! Author and Astrologer Eric Meyers chats with me and demystifies the study of astrology and explains his unique approach, which merges the science of astrology with psychology and spirituality.

He shares tips for using astrology as a tool in one’s life, understanding our “karmic patterns”, sun and moon signs and the various cycles we experience throughout our lifetime.

Eric also views the current state of the world through this unique lens and offers some advice about how we can best navigate this interesting time. It’s a fascinating discussion that is sure to provide some “a-ha” moments. Make sure to listen in!

Notes:

Eric has written several books exploring various aspects of astrology. Read more about his books on his author page at amazon.com.

Eric also provides astrological consultations and may be reached at

eric@soulvisionconsulting.com – or – at his website:

www.soulvisionconsulting.com

Enjoy this very special interview!

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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What is Creative Living?

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For years, I completely misunderstood the concept of creative living (which probably explains why I struggled so much with it). If you would have asked me this question ten years ago I would have explained that someone who lives creatively expresses him/herself through some artistic medium – writing, painting, drawing, music, cooking, needlework, flower arranging, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

It might sound good on the surface, but this definition is way too narrow and just kind of misses the mark. For one thing, it excludes the vast majority of people (myself included) who haven’t devoted our lives to the arts because we’re working a full time job, raising children or juggling any of the other balls we might have in the air at any given moment. It often frustrated me to think that I had missed my chance and that a creative life was off-limits to me because of some of the choices I’d made.

My big “aha” moment came recently, when I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic (which I HIGHLY recommend!). Gilbert has an entire chapter which explores this question of what does it mean to live a creative life? She states: “…when I refer to ‘creative living’ I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear…A creative life is an amplified life.”

YES!!!!

What I love about Gilbert’s definition is that it makes creative living available to all of us – even those of us who are not actively, professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts. It, essentially, tells us that if we want to live a creative life, all we need to do is manage our fear and allow our curiosities and desires to guide our choices. That is a tall order, to be sure, but it’s far more empowering than the belief that creative living is limited only to those who (1) possess some sort of innate artistic talent and (2) actively utilize that talent in their everyday lives.

Gilbert goes on to explain that “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living.”

Now, there’s the blessing and the challenge – the blessing is that yes, we are ALL born with gifts to share, but the challenge is having the courage and commitment to live our life in a way that allows us to find and explore those gifts. In other words, we must “shush” our fears (some of us must do this, practically, on a minute by minute basis!?) and follow that small voice within us that says, “What if?” or “That looks fun!” or “Maybe I can.”

How do we know if we’re on the right track and getting closer to uncovering one of our ‘jewels’? Quite simply, it feels good. It brings us pleasure. We want more. When we experience that feeling, we must remind ourselves to lean into it and continue doing whatever we’re doing. When what we’re doing doesn’t feel good and bring us pleasure, let it go and explore something else. It’s that simple. And THAT, according to Elizabeth Gilbert, is creative living!

So, I offer you a little Wellegant assignment this week: Do one thing that satisfies a curiosity of yours and brings you pleasure, even if fear is telling you to “stop” or that “you can’t.” Wear the bright red lipstick. Cook the Boeuf Bourguignon. Buy the bikini. Sign up for salsa dancing classes. Commit to making just one choice this week that is guided by your curiosity and not your fears. My belief is that this one courageous choice will lead you to another and another and another, setting you on the path to your most creative, most Wellegant life.

Knock ‘em dead! And please post a comment below so that we can all celebrate your success with you!

Have a beautiful weekend, my friends!
Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 


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Where Time Management Falls Short (And What to Do Instead!)

I had a conversation with a close friend recently and she shared with me that she often feels resentful because she can’t seem to find any time for herself. She’s got young kids, a (demanding) full time job, a husband, home, etc. In other words…she has many roles, a slew of responsibilities and a day to day life that is fairly exhausting; doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for the  “vitality, pleasure, passion and purpose” that I promote on this site. She was obviously frustrated and genuinely wanted to know what advice I had to help her manage her time.

I knew exactly what she was feeling, having been in her shoes (you can read a bit more about my story here). So, when she asked for time management suggestions, I shared my strong belief that the key to dealing with overwhelm isn’t time management, so much as it’s energy management.

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Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

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Remember the old cartoons? There was always an episode where the main character, faced with making a decision, had a little angel sitting on one shoulder and a little devil sitting on the other. Both were simultaneously speaking into the character’s ears, trying to persuade him/her and generally causing a lot of confusion and frustration.

Yeah, that’s how most people feel around the holidays.

This time of year often becomes a tug of war between the part of us seeking pleasure and fulfillment and our inner drill sergeant. And it feels like a lose-lose situation because it forces us into one of two behavioral patterns: either we deprive ourselves of pleasure and then feel frustrated and resentful OR we indulge in pleasure only to feel regret and guilt over it. We get caught up in this cycle of deprivation, shame and guilt surrounding food.

And some can stay in this cycle for several months – until the New Year rolls around – at which point the drill sergeant says, “That’s it! You are absolutely out of control. You know what you need? A RESOLUTION!”

Yup. We all know how that goes…

So how do we bring a bit of Wellegance to this most un-Wellegant situation? 😉

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