My fashion label took off when I was in my 30s, and I went from wearing jeans and a Peruvian alpaca poncho to shopping for designer clothes. I had never had regular haircuts, then suddenly I was getting weekly blowouts at Frédéric Fekkai. No one said I had to change my look—it's just that I now had the financial resources to do so. But as I became more polished on the outside, I paid less attention to how I felt on the inside. I was exhausted, and I let my daily meditation and yoga practice go.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, so I took a 30-day leave of absence from work; it was the first time I'd had more than a week off in 20 years. But after recovering from surgery, I kind of forgot about the cancer and went back to my job. For the next couple of years, I totally immersed myself in my company even though I wasn't sure it would survive. When it finally closed in 2008, I had two choices: wallow in self-pity or take hold of my life and do something positive. I was forced to reinvent myself. I started going to the gym and recommitted to yoga and meditation. Several months later, I began organizing inspirational retreats for women and devoted myself to the art gallery I'd opened a few years earlier.
I used to wake up every morning frustrated that I had little control over how I'd spend my day. Now I'm living a life I've chosen, not one that chose me. I'm physically well, and I can create art every day without inhibition. My body, mind, and spirit are in alignment, and it shows.