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When Michelle and Jess asked me to be a contributor to their fabulous new book, The Declaration of You, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. These two ladies are so inspiring, both full of so much energy and creativity, you can’t help but feel more expanded after spending time in their company. The Declaration of You started life as an ecourse and they’ve channelled all the colour, juice and inspiration from the course into their book. I was canny enough to sign up for the first session and absolutely loved it, so I’m doubled excited to see it as hold-in-my-hands book :)

Here’s the official blurb about the book:

“Uncover your purpose in life! Through a series of creative, colorful exercises – questions to get the wheels turning and an encouraging kick in the pants – readers of The Declaration of You will get all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! Each chapter begins with a Discovery (explaining what the reader can expect to achieve by the end of the chapter), followed by a series of list-making explorations that leads the reader to creating a Declaration for that chapter. “Make It” sections provide fun and crafty project ideas for applying what the reader is discovering in a tangible way, while ”Own It” sections offers inspiring interviews with successful creatives like Kari Chapin, Susannah Conway, Leonie Dawson, Jonathan Fields, Alexandra Franzen, Anahata Katkin, Natalia KW, Danielle LaPorte, Jennifer Lee, Kelly Rae Roberts, Andrea Scher, and Colleen Wainwright.”

Sounds pretty awesome, yes?

the contributors
Our interview is featured in the Celebration chapter, and as a special treat the ladies are letting me share it in full here today. Enjoy!

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M&J: You mention in your book and on your website that the man you loved died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2005. We wonder, how has this experience changed and defined the ways you celebrate in your life?

SC: Going through grief and bereavement changed every single part of my life. First I had to learn to live without the man I loved; then I had to learn how to make a new life for myself. One of the gifts that came out of that time was the understanding that life is short. It sounds like such a cliche, but you really do learn to appreciate LIFE when you’ve faced down death (or illness or any other truly life-changing situation). So these days I celebrate being ALIVE. I celebrate my family and the love we have for each other. I celebrate being an auntie and live for the sweet moments I share with my nephew. I’ve learned that every single day I have is a gift and because I don’t know what tomorrow may bring I try my best to live in the Right Now. Some days I manage to do this better than others, but when I remember to live as consciously as possible, even the small things like a really stellar cup of coffee are reason enough to celebrate.

Do you have any advice around how to keep celebration in your life during dark periods, while going through a traumatic event, or when it seems like “the cup is half empty”? Do you think celebrating is at all an important part of the healing process?

It’s very difficult to celebrate when you’re going through a dark time, mainly because you lack the energy needed to feel hopeful or optimistic. I’ve endured several periods of depression in my life, and one of the things that’s helped me crawl out the other side is practicing gratitude. A gratitude list is a tiny celebration written down on the page. It’s the recognition of what is good in your life, even if it’s just the toast you had for breakfast. When I’m in a bad place I try to make the effort to list five things I am grateful for before I go to sleep — sometimes this means I write the same things for days in a row, but at some point there is a shift. Looking for the good — and acknowledging it in written form — helps my brain switch into a different gear. So while I may not have the energy for a big celebration, I’m creating my own pathway back to being able to do that.

You run a wildly successful e-course called Unravelling, in which thousands of women have participated around the world. How have you celebrated its success?

In June 2012 my first book was published. It’s called This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart and was partly inspired by my course. In July 2012 I went on a seven-city book tour across North America, meeting readers and doing book signings. One of the best parts of the tour was getting to meet women who have taken my class. Each book event turned into a mini celebration of my course, too. It was humbling and amazing to meet so many people who had been touched by the course. I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated the success of Unravelling!

In what ways do you make sure celebration is a part of your daily routine? (ie: do you schedule it in to your calendar, or is it more spontaneous?)

I would love to be able to schedule celebration in to my calendar — what a wonderful idea! —  but sadly that doesn’t happen. Instead, I just make sure I see my most important people as often as I can. That means booking in coffees and lunches with friends, weekends at my sister’s house to spend time with my nephew (he is a celebration in a 3-year-old’s body) and the occasional getaway somewhere new.

What is your personal declaration around celebration?

To me, celebration means appreciation, gratitude and love. I work really hard so I try to remember to treat myself once in a while, gifting myself with little presents to bring some extra sweetness into my day. It could be a caramel latte, a new book or the occasional scented candle. Sometimes a hot bath is all the celebration I need at the end of a long productive day.

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This post is part of The Declaration of You’s Blog Lovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.

As an extra treat we’ve got one copy of the book to giveaway, so if you’d like to win it simply leave a comment below and I’ll draw/announce the winner’s name on Friday xo