When you were starting out in your career how did you know you were making the right choice as far as pursuing that career for yourself? 

I've always loved writing stories since I was a little girl.  At seven years old I would write little poems and letters to my mother.  She was disabled, and I wanted to cheer her up.  I do believe this is why I write to encourage and inspire women today.

Who were you biggest influences growing up?

Well, Paris, of course!  I lived in Paris in the mid-70's after graduating from college, but I didn't return again until 2005 and oh my goodness, the world opened up to me.  I do believe that for a femme d'un certain age, Paris can be completely transformational.  When I was growing up, my grandmother, who was French-American and spoke with a French accent talked a great deal about French cooking, gardening, and the importance of good posture and dance.  I stayed with her and my grandmother after my mother was in hospital and that summer changed my life forever.  I would sleep on the couch in the afternoons and wake up to the picture of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, and think--ah, someday I will go to Paris!  

When you faced obstacles or fears along the way how did you overcome them, and move beyond them? 

I've experienced many obstacles, tragedies in my life and I do find that prayer helps a lot.  I pray all the time--especially when I'm walking in nature.  I find it calms me.  Also, I take care of myself.  I'm old enough to know that I don't have to be superwoman.  I can take a "secret garden day" and stay in bed.  I am gentle with myself.  I journal.  I dance.  I laugh.  I listen to the wisdom of my own heart.

What or who inspires you and why?

My husband inspires me!  He is so different from me.  He's calm and quiet and he's very earthy and he's taught this city girl so much about nature.

If you could go back in time and change anything about your life would you change anything? If so what would you change and why?

If I could go back in time, I would paint and draw more.  I gave up art in my teens because a mean high school art teacher didn't care for my work.  And now, many decades later, I've joined a local sketchbook club and I love it.  I am making art on a daily basis.  I just wish I never stopped.

What are the most important lessons you have learned along the way?

I've learned to take my time, slow down and enjoy the journey.

What do you hope others will remember most about you and your life? 

What a lovely question.  I hope I will be remembered for being kind.  I love that Laurie McKenna song called "Humble and Kind."  I've embraced her lyrics as my guiding light. 

What is the best advice you would give other women who are not sure what path to choose in their life?

I think the best advice would be to listen to your heart. This is easier said than done, because there is so much noise in this world, but it's important to find a quiet place to think and dream and write and really listen to the music of your soul.  That said, I often find messages when I'm dancing or looking at something beautiful.  So, in order to communicate with your heart, you must first find your heart center--that relates to the wellspring of your joie de vivre or your bliss as Joseph Campbell put it.  Ask yourself, when and where did I feel the happiest--the most myself.  And then, create a list of those happy moments in your life and look for commonalities.  Ask yourself, did I find this joy at the seaside, in the mountains?  Was it during a visit to an art gallery, the theatre, a campground?  Was it when you talked to a particular friend?  Was it when you were taking a class, baking bread, breaking barriers?  And ask yourself what do I consistently daydream about?  When you are procrastinating, what do you love to do?  What is you guilty pleasure?  There are secret and powerful messages all around you, everyday, in the ordinary things that you do.  It's a matter of paying attention.  So, my basic message is this:  pay attention.  After this, embrace the beauty and grace of your ordinary life right now, because, it is extraordinary.  It really is.

What does success mean to you?

Loving and being loved.

I hope you enjoyed this fabulous interview with Jamie. She was inspired by her French grandmother to return to France and interview hundreds and hundreds of French women to discover their secrets to joie de vivre, timeless beauty, love, romance, lingerie and ooh la la!

She is the author of Parisian Charm School. You can get this Fabulous Book by clicking the link below.

Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi

You can also visit her website http://www.jamiecatcallan.com

Her Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/jamiecatcallan

Her Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/ParisianCharmSchool

Photo Credit goes to the talented Krystal Kenny

Jamie Cat Callan

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