Month: December 2017

Respecting Your Boundaries With Frank Chartrand

Frank Chartrand is a product designer for Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation app. Originally from a small, rural town in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, Frank often felt like it was an uphill battle to find his place. After beginning and running his own digital agency for many years, he began to feel directionless and needed a new tool to deal with stress from the daily grind of his demanding job. Once he discovered Headspace and began to meditate, he became more aware of himself and those around him. Eventually, he was offered a job as a visual and interaction designer at an agency in San Francisco, California, and, as the saying goes, he decided to “go west” and make the move. Soon after, he made the switch to work at Headspace in Santa Monica, where he now gets to combine his love and passion for design, meditation, and mindfulness.


“I’m a designer at work and in my free time. It’s more of a calling than a job.”


An Introduction to Meditation

Frank was introduced to Headspace at a time when he was struggling to manage the stress and long hours at his own agency. Initially, he was quite skeptical of the idea of mindfulness and meditation as being a feasible solution to struggling with balance. But, after using the app a few times, he realized it was helping him in all areas of his life including sleeping better, being more creative, and having more drive. Practicing meditation also showed Frank how to live mindfully and be aware of the moment. Headspace opened his eyes to multiple approaches for living a fulfilling and authentic life.


“The better you get to know yourself – the good, the bad, the ugly – the more effective you can be in life, the more genuine you can be as a person, and the most real you can be for yourself.”


Respecting Your Boundaries

When it was time for Frank to make the transition to a new city, how he made the move was “a testament to mindfulness.” Frank was aware of what would make the most sense for him. Rather than getting on a plane and suddenly landing in a foreign place, he and his fiancée decided to pack up a truck with their belongings and drive across the country to slowly transition into their new home. “We respected our own boundaries and how we wanted to do that.” Similarly, while many people in LA are constantly on the go, moving from place to place, and travelling, Frank recognizes that this lifestyle isn’t for him. He believes that it’s okay to be “ineffective once in a while” and doesn’t worry about what others are doing. Instead, Frank lives mindfully by maintaining self-awareness and accepting what works for him.


“I’ve learned to respect those boundaries. It’s okay not to feel that desire.”


A Sixth Sense

Frank shared that practicing meditation leads to a more mindful, aware life. “Mindfulness is this idea of being a bit more aware. It’s self-awareness and awareness of others.” By practicing daily meditation, Frank can slow down and become more conscious of his surroundings, of his own thoughts, and of what others may be going through. Whether it’s recognizing that you need to take a break, noticing people hurry past you during rush hour and stopping to let them by, or slowing down during an argument to ask yourself, “Where is that person coming from? What are they dealing with today?”, meditation helps you have a deeper awareness of what’s going on within you as well as outside of you.


“Having that sixth sense is like a superpower to go through life with; To be a bit more awakened to what you’re going through and what others are going through.”



Being self-aware, recognizing his boundaries, and asking “What’s the best day I’ve had in the last month?” helped Frank realize exactly what sphere he wanted to work in. He found that being lost in his work and focused on craft and design with minimal distractions was his ideal day. Now, Frank gets to work at Headspace as a product designer and merge his two passions: meditation and design. This was no happy accident. Frank shared that it was intentional and happened because, by living mindfully, he accepted who he was and recognized what he wanted for his life.


“Be very real with yourself and what makes you tick, what gives you the best day and best week. Hopefully those days lead to months and years and a life that’s fulfilling.”


Practice, Not Perfect

Unlike physically working out, where progress and immediate changes can be seen, working on and building up your mind’s strength takes time. “It’s a little bit harder to see those changes in your mind,” explained Frank. He also shared that sometimes, he misses out on his daily meditations but reminds himself to call it “mindfulness or meditation practice, not meditation perfect.” Whether you practice mindfulness through reflection, meditation, or journaling, it’s important to remember that it’s a practice and a process. The beautiful thing about meditation is that once you’ve started, it will only get easier, more effective, and more beneficial.


“Every time you go back to meditate after a break, you don’t have to climb a big mountain or take a big jump to get back into that state… Focusing on mindfulness in general for a portion of your life means there’s some skills you’ll take away that stay with you forever.”


Frank’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • What do I want to achieve today?
  • What’s the best day I’ve had in the last month?
  • Where is that person coming from or what are they dealing with?


Illustration by Headspace

Practising Acceptance With Rosa Park

When asked who she is, Rosa Park, co-founder of travel and style magazine Cereal Magazine, responded, “I believe that everything in life is in flux, so who I am is constantly evolving.” She believes that because people are always learning and growing, “Who you are should not remain static.” Growing up, Rosa lived between Seoul, Korea – where she was born – and Vancouver, Canada. Upon graduating from school in Boston, she moved to New York to work for five years in fashion and beauty marketing. After feeling stuck and ready to discover something new, she moved to Bristol, England to complete her masters. That’s where she met her partner in life and partner in beginning Cereal Magazine. She now lives in Bath, England, where she pursues her passions, meets with inspiring people, and curates content for Cereal.


“A few things that are very important to me are the relationships to the people in my life and the work that I do.”


The Ebbs & Flows of Life

For Rosa, what she does for work is just as important as her personal life. “Most of us spend most days at work. So to say that work isn’t that important seems counterintuitive.” Rather than striving for a daily balance between work and life, Rosa aims for an overall balance. “I don’t view it as, “Do I have work-life balance today in this very moment?” It’s more like, “Will I be able to achieve that at the end of my life, whenever that might be?” Sometimes work dominates your life, like when Rosa was invested in beginning Cereal Magazine. Other times, you’re more invested in your personal life. What matters to Rosa is that at the end of it all, she is content with how it all worked out.


“Life ebbs and flows… It goes back and forth, and you ultimately achieve your balance at the end of that.”


No Expectations

Rosa calls herself a realist, and as a realist, she tries to live without expectations. Having no expectations means she won’t be let down, and it is this attitude that propelled her forward in pursuing the creation of Cereal. While she was fully committed, and poured her heart and soul into the project, she would also be okay if it didn’t work out. “People seem to not like to use the word failing… but there’s nothing wrong with failing,” she shared. Thankfully, Cereal Magazine was a success, and recently released its fourteenth volume.


“The only time failure is not a good thing is if you fail to learn from that situation.”


Acceptance & Resilience

Rosa’s ability to live without expectations comes from the importance she places on acceptance. She strongly believes that if something doesn’t work out, you move on. “Most things in life are like the Yin and the Yang. You’re experiencing it all and rolling with the punches.” Rosa’s view on acceptance was truly tested when she was forced to leave England due to her Visa not being approved.


“It tested my ability for resilience and positivity.”


Accepting things as they occur doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about your situation. Instead of wallowing in her sadness, Rosa chose to accept the situation as it were, and used her time in America as an opportunity to gather content for her magazine, reconnect with friends, and learn from her experience.


“It’s planning as much as you can and being prepared, but also willing to acknowledge that some things are out of control and you have to accept it and keep moving forwards.”


Connecting With Others

Rosa has recently begun attending mindfulness retreats and plans to do so once a year. She likes to think of it as a mental detox. “So many people spend hours at the gym for their physical health, and yet, why don’t people spend the same amount of time caring about their mental health? Mental health is something that you have to work on.” Along with meditating, Rosa also reads and spends time with people to disconnect and take her mind off things. With Cereal Magazine, Rosa gets to connect with and meet all kinds of incredible, inspirational people.


“I’m constantly meeting people from all walks of life and different occupations. I’ve met some people that have really made me feel appreciative of what I do.”


While Rosa gets to spend time with impactful individuals through her work, she stresses the importance of having people within your personal circle who you can candidly talk to without a filter. Rather than just writing, she exercises mindfulness by talking through things with her family and friends. She often asks herself:


“Who in my life can I just bare my soul to without receiving any judgment and just support?”


Rosa’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • Who are the people that are important to me?
  • Am I proud of the person I am when I go to sleep at night?
  • Where is my life headed to in the next year?


Photography : Rosa Park

Creating Mindful Experiences With Meghan Godin

After graduating from design school and working as a user-experience and product designer in New York City for many years, Meghan Godin decided it was time to go try something new. She knew she wanted to start something of her own, but was not quite sure what that was. After moving to live by the water in Northern Michigan for a summer to reflect and rediscover conscious living, her path became clear. With a passion for mindful living, intentional design, thoughtful conversation, and creating spaces where a sense of community can thrive, Meghan began Some_____Things, a mindful, design-oriented company dedicated to helping hotels, retailers, and makers evolve their businesses through creating authentic environments and memorable experiences.


“Something that defines me is this notion of inclusivity and bringing people together in really intentional and thoughtful ways.”


Living By The Water

Taking a break and living by the water positively impacted and inspired Meghan in a big way. “I think the water in general has such healing properties,” she shared. “Especially if you just need to get thoughts out and think clearly.” While Meghan was collecting her thoughts and organizing her mind, she discovered multiple mindfulness practices that helped her to do so. She consistently journaled and wrote, as well as meditated and practiced yoga daily. Meghan shared that mindfulness allows you to “put intentions into the universe and see it come to fruition in interesting ways.” Living this way gave her a fresh perspective on what she wanted to do and how she wanted to live her life.


“The universe speaks to you when you’re tapped into finding your path and journey.”


Innovating, Creating & Designing

Megan began to ask herself questions like, “what would be an ideal job for me? What would be the ideal business that I would want to create? How do I want to live?” She also paid attention to her love for travel, hotels, retailers, and small, mindful brands that have a story to tell. Shortly after, she came across a book of poems called, “Some Natural Things” which inspired the idea for Some_____Things. With Some_____Things, Meghan gets to develop brand stories and evolve experiences for people and businesses while innovating, creating and designing mindful environments and products.


“It’s wonderful to see how design can play into any environment.”


Creating Mindful Experiences

One of the most important elements in creating an inviting atmosphere and mindful experience for guests is incorporating all the senses. For example, scent reminds people of places they’ve stayed and music can alter the mood of an environment. With hotels, Meghan immerses herself in the location’s culture to get an understanding of how to convey the nature of the place. Her goal is to make people feel as if they have learned something new. “You can tell if people feel light when they walk in.” Meghan loves what she does and is grateful for the opportunity to be able to create experiences and influence them with her own unique tastes and her passion for mindfulness, often without many limitations.


“I’m going to influence it in the most intentional ways because that’s my heart and my soul.”


Reflection, Patience & Compassion

Meghan uses journaling to check in with herself and plan her day. After waking up, the first thing she does is reflect on three things she is grateful for then writes down her intentions for the day. This helps her stay organized and prioritize her to-do list without overwhelming herself. She then takes five or ten minutes to meditate before beginning her day.

She expressed that as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become very self-focused. Through living mindfully, and incorporating mindfulness into what she does, she has learned how to be patient and have compassion for others. While looking out for yourself is important, she shared how important it is to also ask yourself, “How can I make sure that I’m also doing for others?”


Meghan’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • How am I helping those outside of me?
  • Is this in line with what I truly want to be doing?
  • Where do I see myself in three months? Six months?


Photography by 1 Hotels