One of Cat Lavoie’s characters shares her guide to being Zen.

You can’t go to a place like the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort without learning a thing or two. Even though I didn’t go to the resort willingly, the time I spent there wasn’t a total waste. In fact, it ended up being pretty awesome. (Cat made me promise to keep everything spoiler-free, so you’ll have to read the book to get all the details.) There are so many guides to being Zen on the shelves of my local bookstore that I thought I’d put together my own version inspired by my forced vacation. Here goes:

cat lavoie

BREATHE: You’d think I was walking around holding my breath because it seemed like, everywhere I went, someone was reminding me to breathe — and giving me instructions, too! Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, and out through your mouth for a count of four. But even though I’ve been doing it my whole life, I discovered I didn’t really know how to breathe with purpose. (Yes, that’s a thing.) It turns out using breathing techniques can help you stop focusing on negative feelings, like how angry you are at your aunt and best friend for sending you away to a wellness resort — or any other stressful situation you might be going through.

TALK TO STRANGERS: (You know … within reason. Safety first.) When Shane sat down next to me on the flight to Mexico, I didn’t even want to look at him — let alone have an entire conversation. The fact that he could have been my ex-boyfriend’s twin made me want to avoid him at all costs. But his constant chatting (he wouldn’t shut up!) really helped me get over my fear of flying. And, as fate would have it, we were both going to the same place. It also turns out that one of the other “strangers” I met at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort happened to know me when I was a child. How crazy is that? Speaking of crazy…

DO SOMETHING (KINDA) CRAZY: Stepping out of your comfort zone can be terrifying. (Trust me, I’ve been there.) But doing something completely out of character can also be incredibly exciting and just the thing you need to break out of your funk. Just be sure you don’t go overboard and end up doing something you’ll regret. And it might be a good idea to go back to your comfort zone now and again. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a permanent vacation — at some point you have to step off the resort and face the real world. All good things must come to an end, right?

And last but not least:

DRINK COFFEE: Some Zen guides I’ve read (or, rather, flipped though) will tell you to stay away from caffeine — but I say drink coffee! Lots of it. (Full disclosure: I own Everwood’s Coffee Shop and I can hardly function without a cup of Everwood’s Signature Breakfast Blend in the morning. And in the afternoon. And before bed.) So if giving up caffeine is going to make you moody and irritable — and make you want to snatch the paper cup from the hands of the person walking next to you on the street — then go right ahead and drink away! In fact, that’s what I’m going to do right now. Cheers!

zoey and the moment of zen
When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone — except Zoey — is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all. But Zoey’s relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort’s owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes — Shane’s grumpy friend— to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm. When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn’t completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn’t the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true — what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.

Cat Lavoie was born in the small town of Jonquiere in Quebec, Canada. At the age of nineteen, she moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie. An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since she’s an expert at the art of procrastination, Cat is easily distracted by cooking and home improvement shows – even though she’s not particularly good at either. Cat grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and – had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night – she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children (which is what she really wanted to be when she was twelve). Breaking the Rules is her first novel. Cat blogs about the writing life and posts adorable pictures of Abbie over at the Catenabi Chronicles. Come say hello at: and follow @Catenabi on Twitter.


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