Monday, April 27, 2009

Staying Accountable

Hello gentle readers!

I went after the piles in my kitchen. I actually finished on Saturday morning. I have a box packed and ready to go out tomorrow for donation pick up. I sorted a big box of papers and put away a BUNCH of art supplies. I sorted decorative papers into collage packs to share as "goodie bags" at an upcoming retreat. Still to be sorted: A large container of project samples, instructions and supplies.

I once again found the top of my kitchen table:

I want to find a place to keep the extra leaf for my table. I don't want to put it back in my table, because that just creates a larger flat space that tempts me to set stuff down. As organizer Peter Walsh says, "Flat spaces are not for storage."

Speaking of Peter Walsh, he's teamed up with Office Max to present a new line or organization products. I signed-up for an online seminar (free) and received these samples for free:
The best tip for me from this seminar: Instead of post-it notes everywhere, I now keep a journal at my desk for notes, reminders, etc. This is working out well for me.

I keep reminding myself that I don't have to be perfectly organized. Every day that I make any effort is a step in the right direction. Yay me!
And something really strange happened yesterday. I was walking through my pantry area and thought, "I'd like to organize these shelves." Wow! Was that really my brain talking?!? Yay! I sense an internal shift and it is exciting.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Building Faith in Myself

Hello gentle readers!

Day by day I am building faith in myself. I am beginning to trust myself to follow-through. In a personal growth class we were talking this week about the difference between "false hopes" and "healthy hopes." Our instructor said that healthy hopes are based on history.

If I "hope" to keep my studio and office clean and organizers AND I take action day-by-day towards that goal, then I have healthy hope.

If I "hope" to keep my spaces clean and organized but take no action, then I have false hope. It is false hope that makes the heart sick.

This is one reason that I outed myself about the piles in my kitchen space. I undermine my faith in myself every day that I walk by that stuff without taking care of it. I want to build faith in myself. I want to build a history of taking action. I want to have healthy hope.

What are you hoping for? Is it a healthy hope? What action can you take today to begin to build a history upon which to base your hope?

Yesterday I went into my art studio and created a project for an upcoming retreat. I must be breaking through my creative block...

Here is the mess I created:

Here is the project I created:

Here is the clean space I created:

And my studio is all ready to use for my next project!

Here's to a spirit of healthy hope!! Yay me!



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time to Come Clean

Hello gentle readers!

It is time for me to check in.

We went to the ocean this weekend. When we got home I went into my office and dropped a bunch of stuff on my desk. This is what it looked like when I went in Monday morning:

Well, yuck. My flowers are dead, the work surface is covered and I had no room to write my morning pages. I like coming in to a clean desk in the morning. It is wonderful, I feel like I'm getting a fresh start every day. When I come in to a cluttered work space I feel overwhelmed before I even get started.

Yesterday I worked at the computer wayyyy too long. I was past ready to stop. I just wanted to get out of my office. However, no matter how tired I was, I knew that I wanted to come in and find a clean desk in the morning. So, I cleaned up my desk might say I "tucked it in" for the night. Here's the pic:

Now, I need accountability for something else. No, let me put it this way: I WANT (gulp) accountability. (Its funny how using the word "want" instead of the word "need" makes such a difference to my perspective. Try it sometime.)

I have a big pile of stuff in my kitchen that I want to get sorted, given away and cleaned out. It has been sitting there since O 9-1-1. I walk past it over and over again.

I think, "If you cleaned out two rooms in your house in three days, surely you can get this stuff sorted and dealt with. What's going on with you?!?" If nothing else, I want to get rid of it so that I stop passing judgment on my self every time I walk past it.

And so, dear readers, I put myself before you once again. I want to take care of this by the end of this week. I will post pictures of the space when I have it clean.

I'm thinking there may be a few guidelines here for me to consider:

* Flat areas are not for storage.

* If I don't know where to keep it, I probably don't need it.

* If I'm going to give something away, get it out of the house right away.

Thank you for sharing my journey.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Creating in my Studio - Messing it up!

Hello Gentle Readers,

I went into my studio a week ago and (gasp) I got it messy!

I decided to make a present for a baby shower. I began to gather what I needed. I began to spread out across the work tables.

As I connected more and more with the creative process, I took out more and more components (supplies) to work with. Guess what? I had everything I needed in my studio AND I knew where to find it! Wow. What a concept! What a reality! Here's what my work surface typically looks like when I'm in the midst of a creative burst:

And here, as a point of accountability, is a photo that shows I cleaned up after myself. Not only did I know where to find everything to begin with, I knew where to put it when I cleaned up. This is big! It helps so much when things have a specific home.

Here are closer looks at the gift I made. It is a box that flips open when the lid is removed. There are places to attach photos inside.

And here is an example of a fip-out photo box with pictures attached:

Woo-hoo! I made a mess in my studio, I created a wonderful gift that I hope will be a keepsake for years to come....and I cleaned up after myself!!!!! Yay me! I can do it.

Being Real

Hello gentle readers,

Have you ever anticipated a Big Event? Have you ever looked forward to something wonderful? Let’s just take Christmas as an example. You plan. You make preparations. You imagine the activities of the season. You talk to people about upcoming gatherings. You think about the Big Event; it consumes your thoughts more and more everyday as the day grows closer. You try to foresee and plan for every contingency. You think about what you'd like to receive. You think about what you'll give to others. You imagine people's reactions. Ahhhh, sweet anticipation.

And the day arrives, the one you've been looking forward to for so long: The Big Experience. The event that you've been planning for has arrived. All your preparation comes together into reality. Your anticipation culminates in actualization. This is it! This is really happening! The moment is now here...

And then it is done.
The event is past. Where there was planning and preparation, there is now a void. Where once was anticipation, now there is a kind of mental and emotional floundering. There is a kind of casting about, fishing for what's next. “Now what?” our brain and heart asks.

Imagine the end of a vacation or retreat. Have you ever thought, with a sigh, “Well, it’s back to reality now”?

It’s not so much about being “let down” by the experience, its more accurate to say there is a certain amount of “let down” following a significant experience.

I've been experiencing this kind of "let down;" the kind that often follows a long-anticipated event or experience. I've been trying to deny it. I mean, this event was amazing. This experience changed my life. I received an amazing gift. I gave away amazing gifts. All the anticipation and preparation culminated in undeniable results....and yet. And yet, I will not deny where I'm at.

I've been avoiding this blog. I've been avoiding talking about where I'm at right now. "After all," my inner critic says, "What have you got to be feeling down about?!? You won a big prize! You received an incredible gift. Get over it! Get on with it!" I stuffed a sock in my inner critic's mouth and sat down to write this blog entry.

What has held me back is that I'm afraid that my post-event let down will taint the experience itself. I felt resistant to share. I told myself the story that it will reflect badly on the event as a whole. I told myself the story that it will detract from the joy of the results. I feel ashamed to be feeling this way, like I am a greedy child who is not happy with what she’s received. So, now I’m not only feeling the post-experience “let down” I’m also beating myself up for feeling this way at all.

Well, I guess its time for me to coach myself.

I’ve avoided even mentioning how I’m feeling. Now, I’m bringing these feelings into the light. I’m going to admit feeling this way. I believe that this act in itself will begin to take away the power of those feelings of “let down.”

The reality is: It is normal to experience some degree of let down following the culmination of a Big Experience. I think we all feel it to varying degrees. I’m considering what keys there may be to counteract post-event let down.

One key question I’m asking myself is, “What did I do differently in preparation for the Big Experience that I'm not doing now?” Well, for one thing, I was listening to affirmation CDs at least once and often twice a day. I was walking at least once every other day. I was imagining the end result. I was talking to people about it. I was feeding into the energy of anticipation and preparation. Once the event was past I quit doing these things. Now that I have this awareness, I have the opportunity to re-introduce some or all of these components into my life and see what difference they may make when applied to my daily living.

Another key is my source of daily motivation. Before, I was motivated by the anticipation of the Big Event. Now, I can look inside and learn to become motivated for myself, for my personal growth. Can I begin to see my life as the Big Event, The Big Experience above all others?

Another key that I suspect is very powerful is this: Find something new to look forward to. I can fill the void by settling my anticipation on a new experience or event. I can find a new source of motivation. I can determine a new target to reach for. I can begin to plan and prepare myself for another Big Experience.

What keys have you found to counteract post-event let down? Will you please share them with us here?

Blessings, dear gentle readers. Blessings to you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Before and After Pictures

Hello wonderful readers!
I discovered how to imbed pics in my posts. Yay!
I thought I'd share these before and after pictures.
The transformation is stunning!

This room had become a "catch all" room ~

Now I have a quiet reading area.

I can even meet with clients here!

This room was really not being utilized at all.

Isn't it amazing what we keep around?

We aren't using it, but we don't want to let it go.

In the end, we end up in the grip of the clutter.

Why not release?

Release and be free!

This room is now useful. Well, really, it was always useful ... potentially.

Now this space welcomes me to write and work.

Let's go down to the other end of my house now, into my art studio.

I used to call it my "craft room."

I appreciate crafting because it birthed who I am as an artist.

This mess, however, stifled both the crafter and the artist.

Now I am calling this side of the room my "movement studio."

Every morning I dance with Ellen.

Last night I bounced on my exercise ball for 30 minutes. Yay me!

Too much stuff!

Blocking my way, blocking my creativity, blocking my life.

No more!


A space where my creative spirit can discover and explore.

More pictures tomorrow, dear readers.

I have something exciting to tell you!
I went into my art studio and ... well, I'll save it for my next post.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Space, the Final Frontier

Hello dear readers.

During Organization 9-1-1 six professional organizers a day for three days for six hours a day worked in my home. Professional organizers earn about $65 an hour. This means that, just in labor alone, I was given a gift valued at over $7000. I do not take lightly the efforts and energy invested in me. I am humbled and grateful. I want to honor this gift. While I cannot pay it back, I will pay it forward.

A big part of showing my appreciation for the investment made in me is to USE the space. I will squander the investment if I let the space go unused. It really isn’t much different whether I am unable to use the space due to too much clutter or whether I do not use the space because I want to keep it clean. Either way the POTENTIAL of the space is going untapped.

I love my new office! I’ve added a few more books to the shelves. I’ve been writing here every morning. It is great to have this space just for me. So far I’m putting things away every night when I step away from my desk.

On the other hand, I’ve yet to really stake my claim on my new studio. For one thing, it has been very cold and the room is not heated. That is just a surface reason, though.

There is just so much open space. It is strange. I don’t have a desire or urge to fill it with stuff. I’m more afraid that I will mess it up and so I don’t want to touch it. I’m anxious just thinking about it.

I must admit, I’m afraid that I won’t keep the space cleaned up. You see, I’ve broken faith with myself before; and of course I’m talking about my inner rooms here. In many ways, I don’t trust myself. I have the best of intentions, really, and then, in the past, I’ve not followed through on those intentions. Oh, I didn’t do this with all of my intentions. I managed to follow through on some. But I let myself and others down often enough that my faith in myself was damaged.

Breaking faith with myself and others has cost me dearly. Not only did I develop a deep distrust of my own word; I have pulled back and isolated from people who I feel I’ve disappointed. Now that I type those words, I suppose that in many ways I pulled back and isolated within myself --- even from myself --- out of disappointment, guilt and shame.

Today is a new day. I can choose to go to the people I’ve let down and ask forgiveness. I can be released from that guilt and shame. I can move forward and come out of isolation.

Today is a new day. I have the opportunity today to make the choices, small and large, that will begin to rebuild my faith in myself. There is only one way and that is to practice. Every intention that I set and follow-through with action begins to rebuild that trust in myself.

In regards to my studio, I’m just going to get in there and create something. And you know what? I’m planning ahead to give myself grace when I fall short. Falling short from time to time is going to happen. I will not hold myself to a standard of perfection, it won’t happen anyway. Trying to be perfect will just stifle my creativity and my joy of the space. Trying to be perfect will instill a spirit of fear that may ultimately cause me to isolate into inertia. I fully embrace my inner wonkiness!

I’m going to approach my studio fearlessly, as though it were a blank canvas. I’m going to mess up the space and then I’m going to prove to myself that I can clean it up. I can do it!