Who are you, sister? Tell us a little about yourself! I’m Karen, a 37 years young British-born Chinese woman raised in sunny Sydney, Australia, currently living in London, UK, with my gorgeous kitty cat, Miss Ella, and equally gorgeous boyfriend.
I’m a dancer, yogi, aerialist-in-training, musician, coffee addict, foodie, travel-aholic. I’m a web-geek by day building websites for an award winning digital agency. I think my superpower might be my penchant for throwing myself into all sorts of crazy physically challenging activities.
One word answers? Ready, Set, Go!
Morning Drink? Latte! An artisan single-origin latte (self confessed coffee snob & addict yep *raises hand*)
Indulgence? A deep tissue massage or hair treatment. And my annual winter trip to my favorite German therme (spa & sauna wellness center where going nude is very normal, and not optional).
Lusting after? The summer sun, sand and sea.
Spirit Animal? Tiger
Head Space? Multi tasking
Heart Space? Cherished
Bloom of Choice? Classic red rose or a sunflower (depending on my mood)
Turn-on? Witty conversation, a good sense of humour and being able to dance well
Go-to Gemstone? Don’t have one yet!
Celebrity Icon? I don’t have one because I’m not into celebrity culture.
Favorite compliment? “You are one of the most genuinely nice people I know.”
What does practicing joy mean to you? Savoring the moments and truly being grateful for the good things in my life every day, regardless of whether things are going well or not and regardless of whether I feel happy or sad. I find this hard to do when I feel depressed or am dealing with life’s messes, but that’s why it’s a practice!
I recently started keeping a daily 5 minute journal where I list things I am grateful for every morning and any amazing things that happened at the end of the day. This has been helpful in training my mind to be focused on joy. My yoga practice also helps me refocus and reset. I’m a physical person, and being active (and artistic) brings me joy. I love doing dance or circus aerial arts, which also help get me out of my head.
Biggest life lessons you’ve learned lately? I am a capable woman, stronger than I realize or often believe. I can do hard things, and I can do anything I truly set my mind to achieving if I approach it with patience and a positive mindset. But, I can’t do everything at once!
Secondly, sometimes I just need to “Let It Go.” Let go of the things that don’t serve me. Release my grip on control, certainty and perfectionism.
I am enough, not because I did, said, thought, became or created anything special but simply because I always was.
What’s your definition of success? My personal mission is to delight in life’s journey, to live life with radiance and vitality, and to give and receive love with an open heart.
In practical terms, success involves gaining financial abundance through work that fulfills me, being able to travel the world as often as I desire, having a beautiful home that sparks joy & offers peace, having a strong healthy body which I can use to move and express myself, having the freedom to live life on my terms doing the things I love, and nurturing authentic meaningful connections with the people I love.
Name 3 things From Your Life List That Light You Up!
- Becoming a first time homeowner last year, moving into my own place and being reunited with my kitty cat after 7 months apart.
- Performing a circus arts aerial hoop routine by end of the year (one of my big goals for 2016).
- One day getting married to the love of my life. There is no timeline for this and I don’t want to pressure myself (or anyone else), but it is definitely on my list and in my heart.
What do you do when life gets messy? I am an overthinker and ruminator. I’ve always been quite hard on myself and my mind has a tendency to spiral into depression, especially when I’m tired. Being an expat here in London, I don’t have family or the support network of friends I grew up with in Sydney so I’ve had to learn to deal with many things on my own.
Life was particularly messy and tough for me last year after I separated from my ex-partner of 7 years and moved around temporary room rents every month for 7 months, whilst going through the stressful process of buying my first property. But it was during this time I discovered Stratejoy!
I started learning to practice better self care. First and foremost, by allowing myself to feel all the feelings like crying if needed, and being compassionate and gentle with myself. Journaling is helpful for me to own my feelings and then release them by writing them down. Gratitude journaling helps me focus on joy. Talking to one of my few trusted friends for perspective & empathy. Getting support and hugs from my boyfriend. Practicing yoga or dancing gives me emotional release and centering. And I recently started meditating.
As a last resort, I switch off and watch a feel-good girly or action movie or my favorite sci-fi series.
3 songs, 3 books, 3 Instagram accounts
Current Songs that make me LIVE on the dance floor:
- “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love” by The Emotions
- “The Boss” by Diana Ross
- “I Know You, I Live You” by Chaka Khan
Current Books on the nightstand:
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Instagram accounts I dig:
What has been your favourite journey? My journey in dance. I’ve been taking classes in dance since I was 21, but my love for it goes back to my childhood. Me, 7 years old dancing and leaping crazily down the hallway of my parents home while my brother practiced piano, or at my final year primary school dance, a shy 11 year old getting lost in the joys of a disco for the first time. I have a very clear memory of losing myself dancing to “I Feel The Earth Move” by Martika or getting down to the 90s music at high school dances. I’ve always loved to dance.
Then at 21, I decided on a whim and desire to get fitter and lose weight, to start taking proper dance classes in Sydney, trying styles like jazz and hiphop. I really took to it and found a great deal of self-confidence and joy in learning to dance. It helped me deal with issues of insecurity and self-worth stemming from unhappy experiences during my high school years. But it wasn’t until I moved to London that I truly found the freedom of self-expression, connection to music and emotional release that I have now in dance.
I’ve been so enriched learning and journeying through various styles of dance – from the choreography oriented jazz or hiphop studio classes, to discovering a passion for latin music & partner dance including salsa, bachata, Brazilian samba & Zouk lambada. I even dabbled as a Zumba teacher for some time, I was so into Latin music
Finally, all this led me to discovering my current freestyle street dance disciplines “waacking” and “vogue”. It was in these styles that I found a voice of personal expression and challenged myself to face my fears and compete in freestyle street dance battles – something I NEVER thought I would have done 10 years ago. I even won one!
Dance has given me a place to truly be myself, to come out from my reserved shell and shine for those moments on the dance floor. It’s given me an outlet for emotional release, a passion and a voice, a challenge to keep learning & growing, a community of friends, including my current boyfriend, and inevitably, of course, various injuries and wear and tear of my joints over the years. But my journey with dance has been totally worth it.
Even though I’m not a “professional” dancer by vocation, and these days I don’t battle or train like before, I am a dancer and I always will be. Because dance is all about the journey.
What’s your flavor of sexy? Dancing with my man to one of our many favorite boogie tunes. We’re emotionally connected, intimately close or barely touching, naturally moving together to the deep warmth of the bass line and that soulful funky groove which drives our bodies to flow in rhythm with each other. Yeh. That’s sexy.
Doing yoga inversions (and trying to get my scorpion backbend)! Seriously. Obsessed.
And my gorgeous kitty cat Miss Ella
Can’t Live Without:
My morning latte
Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime Hair Oil
If you want to connect with Karen, find her online!
Over on Instagram (@divakazz), or on her own website, http://www.kazzart.net