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What is Zen?

I wanted to come on here today, and talk about my business name, Zen by Hannah Katherine.


I am keen to talk about the different meanings the word Zen takes on in our modern world, and what my interpretation of it was and is now, being respectful and acknowledging of the Buddhist Religion - Zen Buddism.


I could not, and would not want to try to explain the religion in a sentence. Many people say it is not easy to explain with words, as zen should be experienced. But I will leave a quote below from Thich Naht Hanh, and would encourage you to do some reading up about Zen Buddhism, if you are called to do so, so many of the principles have helped to guide me.


"Whatever you do mindfully is mediation" Thich Naht Hanh


When I started using the word Zen frequently, it was during my job as a Buyer, I still remember it clearly. Days in the office could frequently be busy, and testing, with problems arising and needing immediate attention - normally all at the same time, of course! Zen was a word I chose

to use, to help calm myself, and the team around me. You would catch me saying


"Its okay, no problem, lets just be Zen and it will all be okay!"


I am sure a few people could vouch for this one haha! and I am pretty sure at this moment I had a lovely serene imagine in my head, of me out on a beach, without a care in the world totally stress free and relaxed - that was Zen!


I think this is a pretty mainstream way that we use the word Zen in our vocabulary today, below is a meaning I have taken from the Urban Dictionary (there are lots more if you want to check them out);


I am so zen. This guy dumped muddy water on me and I just smiled and waved.

October 01, 2002



This is a period in my life I can look back at now and notice, that trauma and stressful situations where poking me to question life, what was it all about? how do you find happiness? - what even IS happiness?! Zen by Hannah Katherine was born, simply as a way for me to journal all of this out, and figure out what my Zen - 'stress free state' was, and how to attain it in life!


My journey began originally as an emotional healing journey. I began to throw myself into anything that claimed to de-stress, and heal your mind, body and spirit. You name, it I tried it - Yoga, Mediations, Crystal healing, Reiki, Reflexology, Tarot Readings, Journaling, Retreats, Talking Therapies, CBT - many of which I still practise myself to this day, I have now studied and will continue to study more, to be able to help other people on their journeys.


It is only now that I realise this was the beginning of my spiritual awakening.


I am keen to make it clear that some of these practises brought up a lot of blocked energies and emotions, memories, taught beliefs, self limiting beliefs that I had to let go of. It was a crazy whirlwind of tears and frustrations, highs - and lows!


A good few years on, I now have a spiritual coach, and commit to continually doing the inner work and shadow work to get to know myself better. To loving myself first, trusting my gut and my intuition, and taking leaps of faith.


The moral of the story ...... it hasn't all been 'Zen' there have been some heavy loads to release, a lot of learning to say no to the things that don't serve me, and setting so many boundaries (turns out I didn't have many! and no is a hard word to use!)


But I would say that I feel like I am finding that balance in my life, and I know it is a lifestyle, not just a class, or a session or a course, but lifelong commitment to living this way, but it is TOTALLY worth it.


I hope you found some value in this blog, wherever you are at on your journey!


Love H x


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