Madame Clement’s Advice on Living Well

Blog_Well Lived Life

Madame Clement is a vivacious sixty-nine year lady who lives in the South of France.

She invited me to her home many years ago for dinner and greeted me at the door wearing black wrap dress and scarf with her silver hair pulled tight into a bun. Her style embodied simple elegance.

Her home was no exception.  It was small and charming, with every object carefully chosen and meticulously placed.

During dinner with her family, a conversation ignited around the table about what it meant to live a well-lived life.  They were curious about the American mentality of constantly striving for more, and I was equally mesmerized by their focus on enjoying more.

I had the ambition part down to an art.   They had perfected l’art de vivre (the art of living).  I wanted to know how to combine the two.

Madame Clement confidently chimed in and gave me some nuggets of wisdom that embedded upon my heart and continue to impact my life in a beautiful way.

“The secret to a well-lived life is simple:  choose quality, cultivate your own garden, and love what you have.”

Good, good stuff.  So, let’s break it down:

1. Choose Quality

We live in a culture that stresses quantity over quality.  We stuff our lives, minds, bodies and homes with excess, leaving very little room for enjoyment.

When you focus on quality, you look at everything through a different eye (a more elegant one). You’ll ask questions, such as:

What is the fabric?

Where was this grown?

What does this company believe in?

How will this cultivate my mind?

What will this person bring into my life (and vice versa)?

Do I really love it?

Will this add true value to my life?

Making quality choices will lead to a quality life.  (tweet it!)

2. Cultivate Your Own Garden

This piece of advice from Madame Clement is a more elegant way of saying, “Stay in your own business.” 

I spent years in other people’s gardens, precious time I could have dedicated to my growing my own. 

You know when you’re not in your garden when you find yourself asking questions, such as:

What does he/she think?

What did he/she say?

What is he/she doing?

That’s their garden, darling.  Get back into yours and get busy weeding, planting and fertilizing.

3. Love What You Have

I used to live my life in acquisition mode.  Meaning:  chasing, getting, buying, collecting. 

Instead of loving and cherishing what I had, I suffocated my life with more. 

Not only did this cost me money, but it also cost me time.  The more you have, the more time you spend paying and caring for it.  As Edwin Way Teale said, “Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”

By intentionally loving and cherishing what I have, I cannot describe the amount of joy and appreciation it’s brought me (not to mention the time and money I’ve saved).

My life has more quality than ever with less stuff than ever!

Abundance is not found in stuff.  It’s a feeling.  And, when you get into that feel good state, what you truly desire will flow to you with elegance.  There won’t be that desperate neediness that is so prevalent in today’s society. 

When you love what you have, you create a new love affair with everything in your world (tweet it).

That paralyzing feeling of lacking and scarcity will begin to dissipate.    You’ll discover that you feel more abundant than ever. 

These three pieces of advice seem so simple, right?  Hearing her say those words alongside seeing the life she had created inspired me to put it into practice.

Yet, even with it at the forefront of my life, I still make meaningless purchases, get into someone’s business or take something or someone for granted.   I’m sure Madame Clement doesn’t live by her advice flawlessly either, but therein lies the grace of life.

What I do know is that if you strive to live by these three tips, you’ll see your life change in beautiful ways! 

Oh, and I almost forgot Madame Clement’s final two tips:  Have lots of sex and drink Champagne!  My God, I love the French!  (and, you can surely tweet that!)

What piece of Madame Clement’s advice will you focus on this week?  Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,


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14 Responses to Madame Clement’s Advice on Living Well

  1. I think I need to work on #3 loving what I have. I feel like I am constantly chasing after happiness and abundance and I never seem to catch it. Anytime I try to identify happiness it’s always in past memories. I’ve been struggling in a scarcity mindset for the past 2 months and I can’t seem to get myself out of it! 🙁

    • Hi Brittany,

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. You are not alone. It’s tempting to think that happiness is just over the horizon, and you just need to work a bit harder and it will be yours. I’ve certainly done that to myself.

      However, what’s really helpful is to want what you already have. For example, I want this house I live in or I want this business I’ve created. From that place, you can stretch yourself even further with, “I love this house I live in and I love this business I’ve created.”

      As you desire more, it feels so good to acknowledge that you’ve already created and have.



    • I am working on #2 and #3….Cultivating my own garden, and loving what I have! I am doing a lot of weeding and pruning in my life in how I feel about myself, my relationships, my possessions–the things I don’t want, or need anymore and creating the space for the things that I do. I am just starting a new business as a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach! And over the last year I have done a tremendous amount of growing, healing. What’s been missing from my life is beauty, stillness, peace, space. I am doing a lot of cleaning and purging of some of my posessions–clothes, shoes, anything that I know I don’t need anymore. I am preparing to move in 2015 into my own apartment and it has been a long time since I had my own space! These tips remind me to give my life a Big French Kiss!

  2. Tonya –
    I love Madame Clement’s advice on “Living Well”. I have been taking action towards “choosing quality”. Thank you to the SCS program, “choosing quality” has really opened my eyes and increased my energy. I most recently have been removing from my home the “needless stuff” and placing those things I love where I can enjoy them. It has been very freeing!
    Thank you so much for sharing this advice in your blog….it is another reminder, I am continuing on an amazing path!!

  3. These are lovely bits of advice. I enjoyed reading your article and probably need to pay attention to all three. I have always loved quality. But, I also have a lot of accumulated “stuff” to get rid of and appreciate what is left.

    • Karen, it’s a lifelong process of addition and subtraction. I got rid of two bags of stuff today! Thank for joining the conversation!

  4. Thank you Tonya. This is so beautiful and simple. Simple and powerful. I will be focusing on numbe 3. Love what I have. and living in enoughness.



  5. All the messages are very meaningful I’m working on getting rid of lots of things &alsoplplanning to keep some troubled people out of my life they have been very difficult to deal with I plan to live a peaceful happy &fulfilled life from today

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