Wellness = a healthy body, a sound mind and a tranquil spirit
Elegance = simplicity; discernment; living intentionally, with character and confidence
Wellegance is a style of living which recognizes that our lives are self-created works of art. I believe that it’s every woman’s birthright to live with vitality, passion, purpose and play.
Forget the “Someday Syndrome” (procrastinating pleasure and play). Forget martyrdom, perfectionism, self-judgment, criticism, deprivation, grueling workouts, being a slave to the latest trends in fashion, looking to others for validation and, generally, living a life of struggle and overwhelm. Instead, focus on these nine principles at the heart of a Wellegant life and I promise you, the fabric of your life will change!
1. Slow down! The definition of the word savor is “to derive or receive pleasure from; get enjoyment from; take pleasure in.” It implies slowness, mindfulness and appreciation. It’s impossible to savor life when we are moving at break-neck speed. Busyness and rushing can become habits and we must work at breaking this pattern. We do this by becoming mindful about our lives and re-conditioning ourselves. Instead of “I must do more” and “I must go faster” (which have become the mantras constantly running through most women’s minds), we begin to tell ourselves, “There is no need to rush”, “I have plenty of time” and “It will all get done.” This may not be easy to do, but with consistent effort over time, we can modify the pace and rhythm of our life. Only then can we shift from the energy of merely consuming or producing information and experiences to the energy of savoring them. Going slower to go deeper…that’s what Wellegance is all about!
2. Cherish your body. And while you’re at it, cherish your whole self – body, mind and spirit. The “one size fits all” body promoted by our culture is a myth. It simply does not exist. Instead of struggling to reach this often unattainable physical goal, expand your perspective and consider yourself to be more than just a physical body. You are an incredible being – a body, yes, but also a powerful mind and a strong and creative spirit. When you broaden your perspective in this way, miraculous changes happen. You stop obsessing over your physical form and, instead, come to appreciate the wonder that you are; you love and listen to your body; you eat and exercise as acts of reverence, not as punishments; you monitor your thoughts and become aware of the messages that you send yourself; you’re more kind, compassionate and forgiving with yourself; you nourish your spirit by bringing more pleasure and beauty into your life. In short, you replace self-judgement and self-criticism (which NEVER propels anyone toward their dreams) with deep self-love (which is the absolute secret sauce!!).
3. Develop a Sadhana. in the world of yoga, Sadhana is a daily spiritual practice. This practice may take many different forms. Sadhana might be a few yoga postures, a silent seated meditation, a walk outside with your dog, journal writing, etc. I have a friend whose Sadhana practice is swimming laps in the pool. The important thing is that you commit to a daily practice that recharges you and allows you to connect to your soul. Each of us must find what is manageable within the context of our life and it’s entirely possible that what is manageable today might not be a year from now. While we can and should be flexible with the form that our Sadhana takes, a certain degree of discipline is required initially to ensure that we give ourselves this special time. Trust me, once you begin to experience the benefits of this practice, you won’t want to miss it! It has been THE game changer for me in helping me move from a state of nearly constant overwhelm to a state of peace and sanity.
4. Accept full responsibility for the choices you make. A friend and mentor of mine is fond of saying, “We are always at a choice point.” The truth of this statement is striking. So many of us act habitually and forget the power that we have in every moment to choose – our thoughts, reactions, words, friends; everything is a choice, so choose consciously. Treat others (and yourself!) with integrity, always. Own your “yes” and own your “no.” This can be applied to food, finances, family and everything in between. And when you get it…I mean, really get it…it’s DAMN empowering!
5. Seek substance and quality in all areas of life. As Diana Vreeland said, “Elegance is refusal.” Weed out everything in your life that lacks quality and substance. It won’t happen overnight, as this kind of editing takes some time, but set the intention and allow it to drive your choices each day. To use a food analogy, it’s the difference between a “fast food” life and a “gourmet” one. What ends up happening is that you accumulate less and begin to make space for the things you wish to attract into your life. You subconsciously communicate to yourself and the world that you are a “gourmet” kind of woman and that you won’t settle for less. Wellegant, indeed!
6. Appreciate your own unique journey, with all of its lessons. Stop wasting time and energy fighting reality. As author Byron Katie explains in her book, Loving What Is, we must become a “lover of reality” if we ever expect to achieve peace. Railing against the past will never allow us to move forward in a positive way. By accepting our circumstances and being clear about our intentions, we can make more conscious choices and take inspired action. THAT is what moves us forward and allows us to transform situations (and ourselves). When things get hard, stay rooted in self-love and gratitude. In fact, the three foundational beliefs underlying Wellegance are: a sense of worthiness, mindfulness and the willingness to take inspired action. That’s the best navigation system there is!
7. Risk Rapture! Prioritize and seek out beauty and pleasure. Find what pleases you – fresh flowers in your home, time spent in nature, listening to music on the drive to work, your favorite perfume, etc. – then, incorporate one or more of those things into every day. There is beauty everywhere; it is our job to find it and make it part of our life on a regular basis. Creating rituals around the things you find pleasurable is a powerful way to elevate your experiences and bring you more fully into the present moment.
8. Uncover your own unique style. Style is defined as the way in which something is done and the manner in which something is expressed. We each have a unique style which is not limited to fashion. We also express ourselves in our home decor, the way that we work, communicate, eat, exercise, meditate, spend leisure time, even our use of social media. Recognizing and understanding our unique style requires self-awareness and introspection. Tune in to your rhythms and preferences. Approach style with a sense of curiosity and play, as you explore what lights you up. This enables you to determine how you wish to express yourself, rather than simply following the herd, driven by others’ needs, preferences and expectations.
9. Commit to your “Heroine’s Journey”. The “Heroine’s Journey” is a process of continual learning and growth that leads to deeper self-knowledge and a greater sense of purpose. This journey is one that takes us inward, as we get to know ourselves on the deepest level – our strongest, most beautiful and courageous self, as well as our shadow side (yes, we all have one!). Understand that challenges are part of the deal and are an important part of growth. When we reframe tough times as part of our heroine’s journey, and we call on the skills and tools we’ve learned along the way to get us through, we move from a place of self-pity to a place of personal development, growth and wisdom. We move right into the heart of Wellegance!
I hope that you will consider these nine principles and allow them to guide you. And please feel free to post a comment below, sharing your success stories!
Have a wonderful, Wellegant™ week!
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