Submitted by Karen Beth Martin

karen beth has a degree in english and art and runs a community market through her day-job. in her spare time, she is active in animal rescue, runs a successful online vintage boutique and has been busy renovating a 109-year-old bungalow.

karen had emergency open-heart surgery 18 months ago at the age of 32, so she knows how very important it is to listen to your body. follow her on her blog here.

Here are Karen's "Five Rules For Life":

1.) Have respect.
Not just for your elders or authority but for everything. Animals, the oceans, plant life, our planet, insects, your neighbors. Everything. We all affect one another each and everyday. You aren't the only one here. To expect respect, you have to give it. Freely and abundantly.

2.) Never lie.
Ever. Not even white lies. If you lie once, you will be tempted to lie again and you will end up weaving a web that you can't find your way out of. More times than not, the truth is a lot easier anyway. It may not seem easier right at the beginning, but it will end up being easier. I know this from experience.

3.) Listen to your body.
It really doesn't lie. If you feel bad, there is a reason. Don't ever let anyone tell you that it is "all in your head". Your body will tell you when it needs to move, when you need sleep, when you need water, when you just need to zone out or when you need to be in nature. If you don't know how to listen to your body, tune in and learn. It is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn and can literally save your life. This goes for your intuition as well.

4.) If you think something positive, say it.
I have what I call "bursts". If I have an overwhelming feeling of love or gratitude for someone at a certain moment, I say it. Right then. I don't wait. When this began, I got some odd looks but now people associate it with me and it is accepted and appreciated. Don't wait. Burst at the seams with positivity and gratitude and love!

5.) Do things you want to do.
We all have responsibilities. We all have to pay the bills. But, when you get home and have time, do what you want to do. Don't let your time be eaten up by mindless TV or video games or computer surfing. Do you love to cook? Cook. Do you love to read? Read. Do you like to walk in nature? Walk in nature. Get out your journal, watch a favorite movie, put on a CD that you love and enjoy, draw, meditate, do yoga. Spend the time you can on things you like to do. I had my TV service cut completely off and have never regretted it. My time now is spent on mindful things that matter to me.

Karen currently resides in Corinth, Mississippi.