Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. My name is Karen. I am a Midwesterner by birth, but I have firmly planted Southern roots having lived in North Carolina for nearly 40 years. I spent more than two decades working for non-profit organizations where I had the opportunity to travel around North Carolina and to meet and talk with people from diverse backgrounds. It’s mostly these experiences - the people I’ve met and talked with, interviewed, photographed and written about - that have made me the person I am. And that spills over into my personal life as well -- that I’ve been fortunate enough to know and love people from around the world. My parents gave me a foundation, but it’s the many other wonderful, supportive, encouraging, and sometimes challenging people I’ve interacted with in my life journey who have been -- and still are -- central to my development as a person.
Q. What is your work?
A. I am owner-operator of a retail/coffee shop called The People’s Perk. It always makes me happy when people tell me they enjoy “the vibe” of my shop. I put energy into creating a comfy, cozy, welcoming, and artful atmosphere here at The People’s Perk. The shop expresses who I am so it feels affirming to have people feel comfortable and at home here. I am also a painter and have my studio inside the shop.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I am excited about coming to the shop each day. I have a good host of regulars and I meet new people every day. I love connecting people, and have a habit of introducing people. I’ve even done some successful romantic match-making!
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. I applied to Penland School of Craft in western North Carolina for a scholarship to do a workshop this summer. I am focusing more on building my technical skill, promoting my artwork and getting into different venues besides my shop. I have three paintings right now in the You A Wonder exhibit at the Center for Visual Artists.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not, why not? What's stopping you?
A. I want to paint more. I am prioritizing rest and renewal right now, if I am not running the shop.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Let go. It’s all going to be ok and you are ok.
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Figure out if something is a need or really just a want. It will put your challenges into perspective and ease your stress.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Setting aside my feelings and just working. Once I am creating and accomplishing things, my feelings usually change. Funny how that works.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. Camel Pose. I haven’t done yoga in many years, but I still remember doing this pose because I had a spontaneous reaction of “oh, look what my body can do. I love my body.” I’ll never forget that moment. It was transformative.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. By honoring my extrovert nature: I spend a lot of time interacting with people in fun and substantive ways. And by not wanting anything from people. I find the more I focus on giving without expectation, my life becomes richer and fuller in ways I could not have even imagined.
Find out more about the People’s Perk here http://www.thepeoplesperk.com/