Tag Archives: understand


Workshop Opportunity – Back to Basics

29 Apr 15
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Are you looking for a simple, sustainable & meaningful life?

We’ve taken the plunge, and are planning to share our journey with you and help you start your own journey via a 6-week online workshop.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • What makes life meaningful for us?
  • Identifying our values, passions, and life goals
  • What does it mean to be sustainable?
  • Are our current lifestyles sustainable?
  • Developing an action plan towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

What do we get?

This 6-week workshop will begin 1 June 2015 and will consist of regular emails with guiding questions and activities and group discussions via Facebook.

At this stage we are also planning to run at least one webinar during the 6-week period.

Everything will be available for you to access in your own time, and you will have lifetime access to the LiveKen Community via our closed Facebook Page.

How much is the workshop?

The workshop costs a minimal AUD$25  AUD$19.95** and you can sign up using the link below.

** We’ve reduced the cost to make the course more accessible for you.**

Once you’re payment has been received, you’ll be sent a link to access the Facebook page and you can introduce yourself to the other participants before the workshop commences on 1 June 2015. mid-June.************We’re working extra hard to make the course contents as exciting and useful as possible. As a result we’re postponing the start until mid-June. This gives you another few weeks to sign up for the workshop*****

I look forward to sharing this journey with you and hope to see many of you online in June.

I feel best

I feel best when… My Manifesto

14 Apr 15
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When you live every day with chronic pain and fatigue it can sometimes be difficult to remember what it’s like to feel good, to feel ‘normal’. It’s important though to not focus just on your symptoms but to find at least something each and every day to be grateful for. Something that will make you feel as good as you possibly can given everything you’re living with.

I feel best when…

I feel best when I’m making a difference. When I’m able to find a way in which I can contribute something of meaning to the community. I currently do this by sharing my stories here on the blog and through other social media outlets. By sharing I hope to help others to live simple, sustainable and meaningful lives of their own.

I feel best when I’m able to pace myself well. At the moment that means:

  • only working 1-2 hours a day, up to 4 days a week
  • finding time each day to do some stretches and yoga
  • maintaining a step count of around 5,000 steps a day
  • ensuring I get adequate rest throughout the day

I feel best when I’m adequately hydrated. Remembering to drink enough water can be difficult when I’m at my most foggy, but I try hard to remember.

I feel best when I eat a balanced diet. Eating enough nutritious fruit, veg, nuts and meat, mainly eating home cooked meals with fresh produce and avoiding alcohol, dairy and gluten all help to keep me healthy.

I feel best when I have a project to work on that I’m passionate about. At the moment, my passion project is to try and build the sense of community on my street. Although I feel connected to my wider community online, I feel like I don’t really know my neighbours that well.

I feel best when I’m part of a connected community that supports one another and works together towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

I feel best when I’m surrounded by supportive friends and family.

First step on the journey to a simple, sustainable, meaningful life

First step towards a simple, sustainable life

28 Aug 14
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What’s the first step to move towards a simple, sustainable, meaningful life?

Know where you are now and know where you want to be.

How do you do that?

By taking time out to reflect on your life and considering what is going well and what areas you’re struggling with. This allows you to actually consider whether what you are doing actually fits in with your passions, and can help to guide you in the areas where you will be able to improve.

When reflecting on your life you’ll most likely find that there are things you are doing that you’d really like to increase doing and other things that you don’t really know why you are doing it at all.

Reflecting on my life I’ve been able to see that for me, my family and friends, my health, and being able to help others are three of the big things that are important to me. Since starting on this journey I try to combine these three into most of my daily activities.

Celebrating with my family and friends earlier this year when we launched the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign

Celebrating with my family and friends earlier this year when we launched the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign

Once you have an idea of where you are and where you want to be. It’s time to get started and take the first step towards your goal (where you want to be).

This step will be different for everyone because it will be based on where you are and where you want to go, but we’ve shared a few ideas below to help get you started.

Simple ideas to use as a first step towards a simple, sustainable, meaningful life…


Depending on where you are and where you’re heading you may decide to focus on simplifying your physical environment, your timetable, or your spiritual/emotional wellbeing.

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  • Declutter your wardrobe (or your medicine cabinet, bathroom or laundry). Start with a small area in your house and physically clear it out keeping only what you’ll need. If you’re worried about throwing out something you’ll need later, pack them away and if you haven’t used them in 3 – 6 months get rid of it by donating, recycling or other means. You’ll find when your physical environment is more open you”ll feel calmer and more organised.
  • Declutter your timetable by modifying, cutting back or removing activities you don’t like doing or don’t really need to do. Say ‘No’ to all new commitments that don’t fit with your definition of what you want your life to be.
  • Meditate for 1o minutes each day. This will help you clear your mind and help you to realise what is most important to you.
  • Plant some herbs. Growing your own food can be very satisfying but also very time consuming. Herbs can easily be grown in pots inside if you don’t have room, are not too expensive, and are great for encouraging you to cook simple homemade meals.



Fresh veggies cut from our veggie patch.

Fresh veggies cut from our veggie patch.

As we start our journey we’ve begun with a bit of each of these.

Personally, I have added meditation into my daily routine, I’ve begun decluttering our house, and have a veggie patch and some fruit trees in the garden. Thanks to my illness I have had to cut back on a lot of my activities and I’m very careful about adding new activities to my schedule without considering my values and my life goals.

Janelle has begun decluttering her wardrobe, and will be sharing this journey with you next week. She is adding fruit trees to their garden and sharing responsibility of looking after our veggie patch.

We’d love to hear about your journey and what first steps you are considering taking towards your dream lifestyle.

Let us know in the comments below or contact us directly.

Which area of your life do you most want to change?

What’s one small step you could take today to start moving towards the change you want in your life?

Where are we now? - We're at the start

Where are we now? The start of the LiveKen Journey

14 Aug 14
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If you’ve been following us over the last few weeks you’d know that we are working towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we are wanting to share this journey with you.

About a month ago Janelle and I shared with you where we both came from and what our previous experiences had been, but where are we now?

What have we been doing and where are we going?

To put it bluntly, we’re at the start of this journey…

We have begun the research and experimentation we feel we need to do to work out the answers to the questions:

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  • Where are we coming from?
  • Where are we wanting to get?
  • What do we need to do to get there?
  • Where are we going to find support and guidance?


This research includes reading inspirational stories (see the links below in – Where are we getting our inspiration?) and reading books and articles that describe what it is we are trying to achieve and how others have achieved it.

Although we’ve begun researching and taking actions, we are still at the very early stages of identifying what a Simple, Sustainable and Meaningful life means for us. We are trying to work out how we are going to achieve our goals while taking into consideration the other people in our lives; our partners, our friends, and our extended family.

We will be working to clearly define our goals over the next month or so and will be sharing this process with you here on the blog.

As mentioned above, we have already started taking action to move towards the lifestyle that we want:

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  • We’ve begun decluttering our homes and our schedules.
  • We’ve almost completed the illustrations (just need colour) for the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book. The first step in our Foggy Frog Campaign for invisible illnesses.
  • We’ve started being more sustainable, with homemade cleaning supplies and a veggie garden set up.
  • We’ve begun identifying our expenditure for our budgets so that we can have a clear picture of where we are starting from.


Where are we getting our inspiration?

I think that for as long as I’ve been in the workforce I’ve had a niggling desire to make these changes, but the final push for me was my chronic illnesses.

Since being ill, I have been inspired by many people including Leo from ZenHabits, Courtney from Be More with Less, and (more recently on a financial note) Mr Money Moustache

Both Janelle and I also receive inspirational posts regularly from Mind, Body, Green.

We are inspired to follow our passions and ignite our dreams so that we can live the best life we can and make a positive impact on the world.

Our background is in environmental science and sustainability is one of our strongest values, but the journey we are on is one that anyone can take and that can be adapted to suit your own dreams and values.

Where are we wanting to go?

This is something we will answer next week, when we begin to question what a simple, sustainable and meaningful life is for us.

We’d love to hear what you see it as for you as well.

LiveKen’s hopes for you in the Next Year

07 Aug 14
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Last week Megan spoke to you all about our goals, both within the business and personally.

This week we thought we would take some time to share with you what we hope you achieve with us.

Start Thinking

I know it seems too obvious, but that is all we would like you to start doing.

Just start thinking…

But don’t just think about nothing.

We would like you to think what it means, for you now and for the future to lead a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Remember, this is not a race you do not need to have an answer straight away and it does require some real thought – it’s not as easy as deciding want you would like to eat for breakfast.

Also for most, it’s not just singular – do you have a partner? Children? A family? Then you will need to think about what it means for you and discuss this with your loved ones and find some time to learn what it means for them.

Once you have thought about it quantify it – say it out loud, write it down – make sure YOU understand what you mean by a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

Steps Forwards

After identifying what a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle is for yourself start to think again.

Do you have areas that need work? Can you identify problem areas that are holding you back? What steps can you take to move forward towards a more meaningful life?

And most importantly start taking these steps in your own life on your journey to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Share With Us

We would also love to hear your stories as you discover what is important to you and your journey to them.

Also there will be opportunities for you to share your story here with us and to join, our growing community, through feedback and discussion groups.

Most of all we look forward to your feedback on our journeys and to share with us your ideas and suggestions on leading a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

My Personal Targets for 2014/15

Now, like Megan last week I will share with you a few of my personal targets for the coming year.

I have decided to set myself some general targets and a few specific ones at this point of time in my journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life, as I am still determining what this means to me.

This is after all a journey and we are never, hopefully set in ours ways and as we grow and learn we need to change and review our targets. What follows are some of the goals I am setting for myself;

Reduce the energy I waste on worrying about things that continue to be out of my control and to accept things that have happened and to not waste time dwelling on them.

Re-direct my energy into activities I enjoy, like this journey.

To take time for myself, learn to say “no” and stop apologizing – I have recently realised that I am a bit of a push over!

To get myself fit again – everyone has decided at one point or another that the couch looks better than getting up and doing something and this has been myself over the past year. Its time I started to get back some of that energy I have lost to eating too much chocolate 🙂

Reconnect with the enjoyment I have when I bake – I shall hopefully share some of my time in the kitchen with you all.

And finally the one I am very excited about – start planning my wedding!

What are your targets for the year? Have you thought about setting yourself some goals?

What do you hope to achieve and learn with us on your own personal journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life?

The first step forward is to start thinking about what is meaningful to you and if you are focusing energy towards what is meaningful to you. If not then why, and does something need to change?

Please share with us your targets for 2014/15.

LiveKen sets Targets for 2014/15 – Looking Forward

31 Jul 14
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Over the last few weeks Janelle and I have been having a think about what we’d really like to achieve in the next 12 months and how that can fit in with things here at LiveKen. As a result we’ve set ourselves and LiveKen targets for 2014/15.

LiveKen Targets for 2014/15 (as a business)

We  obviously want to make sure LiveKen is a viable (read profitable) business.

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  • Increase readership here at LiveKen. It’s a new site so we don’t expect miracles but we do want to bring in new people who are interested in what we have to say.
  • Publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Picture Book.
  • Raise a minimum $1,500 through donations towards the Foggy Frog Campaign, which I’ll go into in further detail in future posts. $1,500 would allow us to develop a educational workshop for schools about life with an invisible chronic illness.
  • Look at options for adding adverts (looking into Google Adsense) to the site and for joining affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates.


We will be making sure that with each of these options we align with the LiveKen values. For example, through affiliate links we will only recommend products that we have reviewed ourselves and believe will be helpful.

On top of this we would like to develop a small support/action group, beginning with our friends, that focuses on simple, sustainable and meaningful living.

This group is still in it’s infancy (currently comprises of the 2 of us) but we have so far come up with the following activities that we will be involved in:

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  • Shared gardening areas. We have space in our garden to have a veggie patch while Janelle doesn’t, so we will be sharing gardening tasks and produce from the garden.
  • Sharing practical tips for living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.
  • Homemade cleaning supplies. We’ve started with laundry detergent.


Shared Veggie Beds

One of two veggie beds already set up in the garden. There is space for more when we feel confident looking after them.

Our (Joint) Personal Targets for 2014/15

In our personal lives, we will be working together to set up budgeting for both of our households and working to declutter and simplify our own lives and houses.  We will also be working with our partners to really determine what is meaningful to each of us so that we can work out how to focus our energy there.

We will continue to share our journey here on the LiveKen blog in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.

My Personal Targets for 2014/15

Thanks to my chronic illnesses, the targets I have for myself may seem almost insignificant to those of you who are healthy, but for those of you out there who are facing the difficulties of living with chronic illness here are my personal goals for 2014/15: [checklist style=”green”]

  • Continue to work on finding a balance in life and work towards returning to work.
  • Build up to being able to walk/ride at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Complete my current unit for my University degree (last assignment due next week) and then focus on completing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment by April 2015.
  • Go on a wonderful holiday with my husband to somewhere we can just relax on the beach for a week or two.


So, there you have it. Those are our aspirations and targets for this financial year. Next week we’ll be sharing what we hope you will get out of joining us on this adventure in 2014/15.

Until then, use the comment box below to let us know what you think of our goals and targets here at LiveKen.

What targets are you aiming for in 2014/15?

What would you like to see more of here on LiveKen?

LiveKen Values and what they mean for you!

17 Jun 14
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Here at LiveKen our purpose in life is to help others live more sustainable and fulfilling lives. As we said in the previous post we believe that if we all work together we can create a world where people respect their bodies, each other and the environment they live in. To do that we have some clear values that we live and work by here at LiveKen. In no particular order they are:

  • With the Community for the Community
  • Make a positive impact (be sustainable and aware)
  • Respect yourself and each other
  • Be genuine and transparent
  • Love what you do and do what you love
  • Never stop learning

Let’s take a closer look at each of these and see what they mean to us, why we do it and how it is important for you.

With the Community for the Community

Every thing we do here at LiveKen is done with the Community’s best interest in mind. We also include the community in the development of everything we deliver to make sure that what we’re developing and delivering actually meets the needs of the Community.

Who is the Community?

When we’re talking about working with the Community for the Community, who do we mean by the Community? The simple answer to that is that we mean you, the complete answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Our Community are those who:

  • are feeling overwhelmed by life and looking for a way to simplify it
  • suffer from a chronic illness, such as Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, MS or any other lifelong illness that interferes with their ability to live a ‘normal’ life
  • Have multiple symptoms that interfere with life, such as constant pain, fatigue, and brain fog, but no diagnosis
  • are simply struggling with life and unsure where you are heading
  • are looking for guidance on living a more sustainable, fulfilling life

If you recognise yourself in even one of the statements above then you are part of our community and we welcome you to join us in identifying the issues and finding the solutions to solve them.

Our initial services are focusing specifically on those with health concerns and chronic illness but other services are on their way shortly, so please join us for the ride. Sign up to our newsletter to get monthly updates on what we’re doing, useful links, and special offers.

Make a positive impact (be sustainable and aware)

With every decision we make we consider the impact of that decision on our lives, the lives of others and the planet around us. We aim to make our impact on the world a positive one. Creating a legacy that helps others to live fulfilling and sustainable lives that have a positive impact on those around them.

By joining us at LiveKen, you are making the first step in the direction of a positive life change. You are making the decision to consider your health, those around you and the environment you live in when you make decisions.

We know that at times all of us will make decisions that don’t have a positive impact, but when this occurs we will learn from these experiences and make better decisions the next time.

Respect Yourself and Others

In the past we have lived our lives by pushing ourselves to the limits and trying to do as much as we can. For some of us, this has led to chronic illness and an inforced need to respect our own bodies. Because of this, and the negative experiences many of us have had since being ill, we are hyper-aware of the need to respect ourselves and each other.

You never know what other people are going through so try not to judge them. By trying to empathise with, and respect, each other and our own bodies we are able to listen to understand and not just to respond.

Be Genuine and Transparent

We only talk about things that we have experience with and an understanding of. We approach our products and services with open hearts and open minds. That means we are open to constructive criticism and will consider others’ thoughts and opinions on what we are delivering.

Through this blog we aim to be transparent about how we are working, what we are hoping to do, and what we’re able to do for you.

In many ways we are learning as we go. We do not claim to be experts in our field, instead we claim to know enough to help you and to find ways to discover what we don’t know so that we can help the best we can.

We will be honest when we don’t know the answer and, when ever possible, will direct you to the appropriate people if we know someone who is better able to help you.

Love what you do and do what you love

All of us here at LiveKen are starting out volunteering our time to get these projects of the ground because we believe in them and believe they are important to get out in the world. If you don’t actually enjoy what you’re doing then we will be asking you to stop doing it, if that means leaving us then so be it!

Because we actually believe in these projects, our aim is to provide as much as we can for free. However, we can’t live off air alone so we’ll be offering fee for service offerings to cover business expenses.

Never Stop Learning

To be able to Understand, Inspire and Empower we need to have that first step in place; we need to understand. A big part of understanding is actually knowing what is going on, as such continual learning through courses, conferences, interviews, reading and experimenting is key to LiveKen philosophy. We will be sharing what we learn through our blog, our courses and our other products and services.

So, there you have it! These are LiveKen’s values. We believe that these values fit well not only with staff and volunteers but also with our clients. If you believe in working with the community to develop services to assist the community, respecting yourself, others and the planet we live on, and continually learning to improve your own life and the lives of those around you then you have come to the right place!

We will begin sharing posts on how to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life, especially if you’re suffering from a chronic illness, over the next few weeks so please join us by signing up to our newsletter and getting regular updates.

LiveKen – Understanding, Inspiring and Empowering the community

09 Jun 14
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Welcome everyone to LiveKen’s brand new blog. LiveKen Website Banner This blog is the first step in the creation of a business that will work with you as a clients to create and find the knowledge and tools necessary to live sustainable and fulfilling lives, even with a chronic illness.

Megan Schartner

My name’s Megan and I’m the creative mind behind the LiveKen concept.

I believe that if we work together we can create a world where people respect their needs, each other, and the environment they live in. 

Our Story so far…

In October 2013, I built up enough courage to share my story about living with invisible chronic illnesses. Fast forward to March 2014 and, with input and support from the community, we raised enough money through Kickstarter to publish a picture book to explain chronic illness, Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang, the invisible characters that keep me and many others company every day. The book will be available on this site from late 2014/early 2015. The success of the Kickstarter campaign, and my lifelong passion in sustainability and community engagement led to where we are today. The start of LiveKen!

What do we do?

At LiveKen, we aim to provide the knowledge, understanding, awareness and support necessary to achieve a fulfilling, sustainable lifestyle where you have a positive impact on your health, the people around you, and the planet we live on. We are business working with the community for the community. All of our products have been, and will be, developed through an open and transparent method that (like with the picture book) allows the community to be involved from the very beginning of development so that the products and services fit their needs.

Why do we do it?

A strong passion for sustainable living and community engagement, combined with a deep understanding and awareness of the issues faced by those of us with invisible chronic illnesses. Without knowing how and why we should act, we won’t. We want to make sure people have the understanding and awareness to make their own decisions about life, and we want to help them reach their goals once they understand what is involved.

What does LiveKen mean?

LiveKen is the combination of two separate words, ‘live’ and ‘ken’. Live is the process by which we act or do things to create our own future. Ken is our understanding and awareness of what is happening in the world around us and what we can do about it.

Why the frog?

Foggy Frog Full size The frog was our very first concept drawing of Foggy Frog. As the illustrations progressed the image used in the book evolved. This simplified frog not only reminds us of the invisible symptoms faced by those with chronic illnesses, but also reminds us that frogs are a great indicator of the health and wellbeing of our environment.

How can you get involved?

You can get involved in our communal effort to help people live sustainable and fulfilling lives by:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter. Since beginning the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Campaign I have been sending out a monthly newsletter with updates on the project and links to other relevant and useful information. By signing up to our newsletter you will get access to up-to-date relevant information, previews of new product and service ideas, and the opportunity to participate in the community development of the products and services available.
  2. Let us know how you’d like to help us. Use the contact form below to get in touch and let us know how you’d like to help us. This could be through writing guest posts, being part of our creative board of community members, or by donating your time, skills or funds to help progress our cause.
  3. Spreading the word. Share our posts and spread the word about our cause so that others can get involved. The more people who know about what we are trying to do, the more people we can reach.

Tweet: working together we can create a world where people respect their needs, each other, and the environment they live in http://ctt.ec/Mxi3L+ #spoonieRemember… working together we can create a world where people respect their needs, each  other, and the environment they live in.


Over the next few weeks we will provide more information on our people, our values and what they mean for you as a customer. We will begin providing informative posts with simple actions people can do to improve their life, whether you live with a chronic illness or are looking for a way to live a more sustainable and simple life.