Find us on Facebook Pin us on Pinterest Follow us on Twitter

Savor the Essence of Life





We’ve all experienced delicious moments in our lives, when we feel touched by and connected to the essence of life. These essence moments come when we are truly at peace, feeling that life is good and we have enough, we are not rushed, and we are connected to amazing people. It may be during a family reunion, a romantic dinner with a partner, an overdue catch-up conversation with a dear friend, or even a moment of solitude in nature.  You know these moments – you feel them down to your toes and your heart smiles.


I’m convinced that these moments are the fountain of well-being. In fact, the popular concept of being mindful or more in the present moment stems from our soul’s yearning to have more of these precious essence moments. The challenge comes in making room for such experiences. Our modern world moves so fast with input coming from multiple sources that it may seem impossible to welcome the essence moments into your life. The good news is there are several simple steps you can take to capture and savor them even amidst the hectic pace of daily life.


One of the easiest ways to have an essence moment is to decide you will have one, at least once a day. Commit to creating and enjoying a sweet spot in every day. You could find a nourishing way to wake up in the morning. I am known for my slow wake up ritual. Maybe because I had to wake to the 6 a.m. alarm and be ready for legal battles by 8 a.m. for many years as a trial lawyer, I now relish a full hour to wake up slowly. I try to stop every day for just a minute and soak up the joy I get from my morning ritual. You might find the evening time is your sweet spot. A hot bath before bed is a no-fail way to capture and enjoy a few good moments.


Sometimes the essence moments come to us serendipitously when we take a few detours from our expected life path. One of my favorite classes in college was a seminar about the history of LA architecture.  Every Friday we took a bus to visit some of the iconic buildings in Los Angeles and discuss the history of that period. This class had nothing to do with my major, which was Political Science, but I took the course to fill my electives. What a great twist! That class awakened in me a love of architecture and design that has brought me many essence moments admiring a skyline or an historical building. When the inner voice urges us to explore the path less traveled, we need to pay attention and be prepared to be surprised and delighted by what we find along that unplanned path.


Leaving pockets of open time in your schedule is a fun way to experience more essence moments. Try being a little early to your next few appointments – say 15 or 20 minutes early. When you arrive early, stop and take a breath. Realize you have ten whole minutes to check your phone, return a call, brush your hair and get to your appointment with a sense of ease. Just having the time to pause, catch a breath, and feel ease will become a very special moment. Of course it won’t last, but you can take the essence with you.


The majority of my essence moments have involved members of my tribe – the friends, family members, partners and colleagues with whom I laugh, cry, break bread, drink wine and love life. If your tribe does not feel as full as you would like, you can build up your tribe.  Think about the people you really enjoy, the ones that fuel you, and list their traits. Consciously decide where more of these types of people would be, go there, and challenge yourself to make a few connections. This is the “tuna” theory.  If you wanted to catch a tuna, you could drop your pole anywhere in the ocean and you might get very lucky to get a tuna. However, if you found out where the tuna swim, you could drop your pole there and most likely get one. So think about who is your tuna, your tribe, and how you can connect with them often.


My favorite way to enjoy the essence of life, for a moment, is to have a real conversation with a live person who is actually sitting next to me. I believe there is a primal need to make human contact and share from within. Our technology driven world makes this hard.  We try to substitute human contact with Skype, text, e-mails and the rest, but it is not the same. The key is to pick a time for a pause, turn off the beeps and phone chimes, get close enough to feel the person’s energy and connect. Share a story from the day, ask for advice, or just enjoy listening to someone else. The chatter in our own head gets tiring. It is nice to pause and listen to what someone else is experiencing. This is an especially valuable skill when attending family gatherings. The event can go by in a blur of people and activities, but it can be a much richer visit if you take the time to pause and have some real conversations. Those moments will most likely be what you remember most!



Cindy Clemens is a life coach and motivational speaker who helps people redesign their lives and savor every moment. Find out more at


The Summer Issue 2013 - Drench Your Soul









Water, together with Wind, Earth and Fire, is one of the four known basic Elements representing the substance of the world. The ancient Greek philosopher, Thales of Miletus, concluded that water was the beginning of all things and the first of all elements and most potent because of its mastery over the rest. 


In Taoist tradition, water is considered an aspect of wisdom. The concept being that water takes on the form in which it is held and moves in the path of least resistance. Ancient Egyptians believed their beloved (and heavily relied upon) Nile river was akin to the birth canal of their existence. To the early Native Americans who graced the arid plains and southwestern regions of North America, water was a valuable commodity and considered to be a symbol of life.


Water has been known to symbolize the following:











My relationship with water is intimate. As a child I frolicked in the fascination of buoyancy. With the Colorado River as my literal front yard, I knew the power water had over me and embraced how something so simple could make me feel so alive. I also understood that man often controlled the river - I feared the water’s force and wept over it’s vulnerability. 


Water is also a reflection of the power of transition. From liquid, to solid, to vapor - water is the epitomic symbol for metamorphosis...profound change. The Summer Issue of Élan humbly honors this transparent, odorless, tasteless, yet precious liquid known as water. Our pages celebrate life’s transitions, explorations, and adventures. From cooking to glamping and from bathing to hiking, Élan finds complete joy in drenching your soul with our Summer content. All you have to do is dive in!


Darci Hansen - Founder

Editor in Chief





I love to travel. Big trips, little trips, backyard trips ... they all can be wonderful experiences. And the best thing about it is that often the best times are the simpler trips, you don’t always have to go to exotic locations or on grand cruises. Road trips are my very favorite thing – just packing up your car, and bringing your dog (it’s amazing how many pet-friendly hotels there are now) and hitting the road. You can choose your destination, and change your mind if you want, stay longer or shorter times, and be on your own timetable.


But I also hate to travel. It can be exhausting. You can get tired of living out of a suitcase. Air travel is frustrating, crowded and expensive. The good news about living in this area is the wealth of amazing places to see in our own backyard that are all relatively short drives.

We are so fortunate to live in America, where the open road still beckons and the things to see boggle the mind. I love to meet Europeans who are traveling here and watch their disbelief at just how much open country there is. They don’t have these endless skies and landscapes void of population, just sheer beauty and wildness. Our National Park Systems and the wonderful job they have done of protecting our wild places, and yet making them very comfortable and educational to visit, is one of the greatest gifts we have as Americans. It’s why we have to continue to fight to protect these pristine places, because once they are gone, they are truly lost.


This brings me to another reason I love to travel. As beautiful as it is here, it is good to get out of Dodge sometimes. Just to be around different mindsets, politics, cultures, etc. As many changes that are happening in our communities, there seems to be some things that just don’t change. Politics, public policies, and general support for progressive ideas are some of those things. It’s as if we are living behind the “Zion Curtain”, that irrational Utah law that demands a partition be in a restaurant so that customers can’t see their cocktails poured. Like we couldn’t handle the sight of it even though we have ordered the drink, are going to drink the drink, we are not allowed to see the drink being made. What would be the worst thing that could happen be if we peeked around this proverbial curtain, and saw what other possibilities are out there? We shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy more artistic freedom and explore new ideas.


Travel used to be a part of young people’s education. In some countries, such as England it still is, with their “gap year” where young students take a year off to go somewhere else and live. Even in the 1800’s, it was considered a part of a young woman’s education to go to Europe and spend some time there. In the 1960’s flocks of young people headed to Europe with a backpack and a copy of “Europe on $5.00 a Day.” Of course, those days are long gone. But they can still do road trips!


Traveling, near or far, gives you a chance to see new things and explore new cultures, and often discover that whatever stereotypical notion you might have about people or an area is often incorrect. And it’s fun to have no agenda, or interest in learning anything, and grab a friend and head out on the road just for the pure freedom and camaraderie. It’s always fascinating how different we all are, but still surprisingly similar. And it’s always wonderful to come home to Southern Utah.


June Pace - Elan Contributing WriterJune Pace

Contributing Writer

The opinions presented in Just Sayin’ are that of its author.


Choose Your Path - The Travel Issue 2013



It was July of 1993. It had to have been at least 117 degrees outside as my husband passed through Mesquite, Nevada on our final trek to St. George, Utah. As we entered into “The Gorge” on that last stretch into Southern Utah, we rolled the windows down and turned off the air conditioner to prevent the moving van from overheating. I turned my face towards the overhead sun and deeply inhaled the hot desert air. “Home...,” I thought to myself, “I am home.” 


Growing up along the Colorado River in the small town of Parker, Arizona, the desert was my sanctuary. Other cities I have lived in, although charming in their own right, have never resonated with my heart in the way that Parker always did...until July 11, 1993. As we passed onto the remote section of the Arizona Strip and entered into the Virgin River Gorge, 29.43 miles of sweltering pavement never felt so right. Every one of my five senses were alive as I hung my head out the window that day and rejoiced in the new path we had chosen for our family. 


Since that moment, now twenty years ago, I have traveled down countless dirt roads and explored this glorious ‘Zion’ which I am privileged to call home. Many of our extended family members have since followed. Although my husband and I have joked about being ‘modern day pioneers’ it is hard to truly imagine what the actual settlers of this area thought when they stumbled upon places like the Valley of Fire, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, The Grand Staircase, and Zion (only to name a few). I penned the following sentiments a few years back...


“They headed west for opportunity, new frontiers, silver and gold. Many braved encounters with the elements, terrain, and a rendezvous with survival. These courageous settlers laid down roots in the midst of a place that took the lives of many through its harsh challenges. Yet with love and care, those who came before created communities within some of the country’s grandest of landscapes.


More picturesque than portrayed by painters and photographers, is the region east of Las Vegas beginning with the rise of the Valley of Fire, extending through the powerful Virgin River Gorge, leading northward to the diverse range of colors and textures within Utah’s Snow Canyon, and embracing the silent moment of wonder within Zion Canyon. It is here, along this highway of countless overlooks, that towns remain and cities have emerged.”


These people represent heritage and evolution mixed with vision. They live here because they are connected to the core of lifestyle that exists; one that appreciates beauty and serenity tossed with adventure and excitement. This Travel Issue of Élan is but a magnificent smattering of pages filled with just a few of the sites existing within our own ‘backyard’. From breathtaking photography and historical gathering places, to a selection of hikes recommended by those who reside here, Élan has captured the very essence of what it is to call Southern Utah ‘home’.


To live here is a gift. To visit here is a must. Regardless of the road you roam, there is an adventure awaiting. Heed the call. Choose your path.


Darci Hansen, Founder

Editor in Chief


7th Anniversary Edition 2013

“Peculiar.” Awesome word. It’s all about being unusual; different; distinct from others; and even at times, a little ‘odd.’ Since its inception, Élan Woman magazine has consciously worked to deliver to our readers what you’d least expect in our pages – something unusual. Our glossy cover, fresh content and expressive images combine to provide for a powerful narrative. Our team thrives on the challenge to continually evolve.
It has been seven years since the first issue of Élan Woman came off the press ... yes, seven years. I like the number “7.” It has its own peculiarity. Throughout the ages “7” has defied the law of averages. It has been the charm of luck and good fortune. The number seven also symbolizes ‘togetherness’ and kismet relationships. So it is with Élan Woman, the team of support she has on her 7th Anniversary is serendipity.
As the Founder, I look back when Élan Woman magazine was simply an idea burning inside of my head. I am thankful that I didn’t fully conceive what it would take to sustain her ... but it was destiny. I have unconsciously prepared my entire life for this moment. Growing up on the C.R.I.T. reservation I learned the words ‘diversity’ and ‘minority’ at an early age. I have been ‘low income’ and know its challenges. I have worked physical jobs such as janitor, waitress, fitness instructor and landscaper. I have been a director of development in the health care industry and for higher education athletics. With over twenty years of charitable work, I have advocated for women, children, the arts, the environment, the disabled, animal rights and those in recovery. I am a wife, a mother, a friend, and at the service of my fellow human beings. Élan Woman has been rushing through my veins long before she appeared in my conscious.
What you see in Élan Woman’s pages is the collaboration of brilliantly creative people who have been compelled to be a part of her. It is because of these talented individuals - writers, photographers, designers, and our supporters - that Élan Woman magazine has grown amidst an unstable economy and the rise of technology. It is her destiny...
“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.” - Langston Coleman
So on this, our 7th Anniversary and our Arts Issue, we at Élan Woman magazine celebrate our ‘peculiarity’ with the passion that ignites our souls. Hard work, enduring commitment and unbridled dedication is what truly defines her ... and the reason why she’s called, “Élan.”

Darci Hansen, Founder
Editor in Chief