winter3

This is the time of year many are planning, decluttering, deciding to lose weight and really be productive. We want schedules to keep us in line. Maybe a new app (I am enjoying Google Keep). We want to make our x’s in a chain of never missing a day of our new habit.

We think if we just stop being lazy we could have all our goals met. But, laziness isn’t the real monster. The real monster is…

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is alive and well now. It will keep you locked in planning rather than doing because if you do, you might not do it perfectly. It searches out the perfect system to control your life. The minute the schedule falls apart – so do you. It makes you go around in circles wondering what the right thing to do next is or where to start.

Start anywhere. Do a shoddy job. See what happens. Use that feedback to do better.

If you miss a day (like in the Declutter Calendar), see how to make it easier and more likely you will follow through the next day. Don’t use it to give up.

If your goal is so big it is overwhelming, break it down. Then break it down again. Then break it down again until there is almost no resistance. The main resistance will be the perfectionism saying you aren’t doing enough. Tell yourself doing something is better than doing nothing.

Let yourself do just enough. How many times have you forced yourself to go over something so it’s perfect that meant very little in the big picture of your life?

Where is perfectionism blocking you? What haven’t you completed because of perfectionism? Where has the pursuit of perfectionism held back your authenticity?

It’s more important to have good character, to begin things and complete things and to be resilient when things don’t happen as we wish than to be perfect (which is impossible anyway).

How can you be kind to yourself this year and be resilient with the challenges that come your way?

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Having a group with you is also a great way to achieve goals. You can see how imperfect we all are but make progress anyway. If you are wanting to declutter this year, you can join the Declutter Group.

 

 

postoffice

I was standing in a really long line at the post office yesterday. Most people were settled in and calmly waiting with their packages, though you could tell they didn’t want to be there. A couple people were complaining about other places that were closed that required them to come wait at the post office.

Then the man behind me said, “If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, it’s been a great day!”

As he said that, the atmosphere lifted. People smiled and started chatting.

During this sometimes hectic season we all need a reminder that waiting isn’t the biggest problem to have. We tend to start catastrophizing small inconveniences when we are stressed.

Time to regain our perspective.

 

 

wreath

With a season that is immersed in wanting and feeling not enough or like you have enough, here is my list of Simple Pleasures.

  • An enchanting song
  • Delicious smelling lotion
  • Good chocolate
  • When hair feels silky
  • Petting my cat
  • Soft, comfortable blankets
  • A walk in the woods
  • Laughter
  • A new lipstick
  • A kiss
  • Sparkle
  • Lavender magnesium lotion on my feet before bed
  • Looking at holiday lights
  • Singing carols
  • Dangling earrings
  • A dreamy scarf under the nativity scene
  • Purple nail polish
  • Tulips and hibiscus in the backyard
  • Garden tomatoes
  • Off-roading in the Jeep
  • Visiting with friends and family
  • Choir night
  • Going to the farmer’s market with my daughter
  • Homemade hot chocolate
  • Looking at art
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Exploring someplace new
  • Writing at the beach

What are your favorite simple pleasures?

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Wreath photo by Brea Dargis, here in our town of Zeeland, MI

 

 

Simple Holiday Plan PLUS Simple Annual Plan Bundle

Do you want a holiday plan that doesn’t have you do a million things you just don’t have time for?

I’ve tried the holiday plans that are online. But, I never finished them. Having simplified my Christmas I didn’t use many of the parts of those plans. And they just made me feel guilty.

Would you like a simpler holiday plan?

I created a plan that I use to keep my holidays organized without overwhelming me.

Plan includes:

  • a checklist for each week
  • simple steps to take to create the holiday you want
  • short cuts and simplifications for many holiday tasks
  • questions to help you decide what is important to you and your family
  • worksheets and forms

Bundle it with the Simple Annual Plan to help plan your year ahead.

Simple Holiday Plan PLUS the Simple Annual Plan Bundle

img_20120317_194839

Everyone is feeling the nastiness of post election right now. Some are angry and terrified. Some are being blasted for who they voted for or for going 3rd party. Some are called hateful words in the name of love. We cannot heal when people are lashing out and shaming from their own lack of peace and from fear that rose. We all need to bring our best selves to this world.

Here are some ways to add peace to your day:

  • Turn off social media completely or scroll by stuff you know will trigger you.
  • Stay away from the news (which is most likely just reporting half truths anyway).
  • Spend each morning in prayer, meditation, or journaling for a longer time than usual.
  • Process your emotions rather than spewing them on others.
  • Listen to music that helps you process emotions and/or makes you hopeful or calmer.
  • Get out into nature and take a walk.
  • Be your higher, kinder self in all interactions.
  • Take 10 deep breaths before responding.
  • Surround yourself with more silence. Turn off the radio in the car. Don’t have the TV on as background noise.
  • Dance and sing.
  • Turn off the computer, TV and phone three hours before bed for a week.
  • Stretch – take note of your jaw, shoulders and neck.
  • Browse a bookstore.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Read an easy book that you can immerse yourself in. Maybe a book from your childhood.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Notice things in your current season. Fall in Michigan is beautiful. We made roasted pumpkin seeds last night.
  • Think about what makes us all similar as humans – worry over work, wanting our kids to have a better life, longing to belong, longing for love and kindness.
  • Create a collage.
  • Volunteer.

Peace within, peace without. Isn’t that what they say? How can you create more peace within this week?

 

picturedrocks

You know a great way to simplify your life? Quit hovering.

My husband and I were in Pictured Rocks in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on a boat. It was a little chilly, but beautiful scenery. We were enjoying the quiet and the nature.

Until behind me a high, nasally voice asked her husband, “Are you cold?” He said, “No.” She continued to ask, “Are you sure?” Over and over.

She fiddled with whether they should change places numerous times and if he was using the right lens to take the pictures. She asked him if he was cold, hungry, comfortable, if he wanted to go downstairs or if he needed anything. Every time he said no, she asked, “Are you sure?” Multiple times.

This was an adult man in his 50’s, not a 5-year old.

I was exhausted just listening to it all. I can’t imagine how it would feel to have my spouse constantly checking in with me and then not believing me. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be constantly in someone else’s space and head to make sure they are o.k.

Sometimes in the name of love, we over-step. We hover. We helicopter. Not only can it be annoying, but we are taking some of their power away. An adult male can fix a peanut butter and jelly while you are out of town without you filling the fridge. A teenager can turn in their homework or face the consequences. However, they won’t grow in responsibility if you call the teachers and make excuses or spend all evening nagging.

The hovering tends to be about us. We have to make sure everything is good or we think we are a bad spouse, parent or host. Or worry other people will think that. Other people are other people. You are your own person. You can only control yourself. If you are trying to control other people’s experiences and emotions – that is called manipulation.

Go ahead and ask once, if you think someone is uncomfortable. But, don’t ask again and again.

Where have you been hovering? Where have you been trying to control other’s experiences and emotions? Where do you need to let someone regain their own power?

 

Community

The reason people are so passionate about politics is because they want to make the world a better place. If you want to make the world a better place, perhaps start by not calling 1/2 the country names, ascribing evil motives to them or demonizing them. This is the first election I remember when supporters of the candidate have been villianized as much as the candidate. I read it all the time.

I also read about people unfriending people because of who they are voting for – whether online or outside the computer. “They don’t hold the same worldview as me, so I just can’t have them around me.”

I’m sorry, but I don’t think we are going to solve problems by leaving half the country out of the equation. Our country was founded on open discussion of ideas. This is how we will make the world a better place. It comes from friends talking to friends respectfully and more importantly, listening.

People aren’t evil because they don’t believe the same way you do. They have a different set of filters with which they see the world through – past experiences, upbringing, what media they consume, their personality. It also doesn’t make them wrong and you right. We can’t be so arrogant to think we know it all and can see the future.

You also have to be aware about where you are being manipulated by the media and by campaigns. You are seeing caricatures of candidates. You are seeing narratives crafted by others. So anytime you see or read something about a candidate that you already have an idea about (from the media or campaigns) that fits the narrative, you believe it. Confirmation bias.

Campaigns are really, really good at spinning and creating narratives. For example, undercover video shows that Clinton operatives paid or got people to incite violence at Trump rallies and pretend they were Bernie Sanders supporters. That way they could create the narrative that Trump supporters are violent. If you are a Democrat, did you believe the narrative?

Wikileaks, maybe with Russian influence, has been dripping emails. Do we know if they are true or false? No, but if they feed into what you already believe about a candidate you are going to believe them. Confirmation bias.

If you believe every negative story about an opponent and disbelieve/downplay every negative story about your own candidate you are probably not seeing clearly. Like I said, campaigns are really good at this. People are not all good and all bad. If you think that, you are believing the caricature of a candidate, not the true person. Which is good news. Whichever candidate wins is most likely not going to be as bad as half the nation thinks.

Be very careful about sensational Facebook memes telling how terrible someone is. Be very careful of biased media (the stats are really shocking at what certain media will and will not cover and the time they give to stories). Fact check for yourself. Always question when you read something, rather than falling into confirmation bias. Assume you are being manipulated by experts. Things will be taken out of context or not what was intended or really a slip of the tongue.

Be awake. Be kind.

After this election we all need to come together. This will not happen if we don’t talk to each other or treat one another with respect.

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Photo by Rebecca Siegel

 

 

letgo

After doing a decluttering group for about 7 years now I have found that almost everyone wants to declutter. But, people rarely make progress. Mainly for these reasons:

  • They are overwhelmed by the huge project
  • They keep telling themselves they can’t do it
  • Excuses like no time or energy
  • Doing do much then crashing when you have chronic pain
  • Wanting to hold on to things, memories, eras
  • Not wanting to deal with emotions that come up with stuff
  • Not knowing where to start

Which of these are your main obstacles?

What can you do about your obstacle?

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Need specific help with your obstacle, join the declutter group
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creamy_mushroom_soup_1852

My daughter and I were at the Farmer’s Market and found some lovely looking mushroom noodle soup at the homemade pasta place. We thought it would be nice to have it ready for lunch so we put it in the crockpot. The smell of that soup was so enticing.

At lunch time we had our bowls and couldn’t wait to dig in. As I scooped it into the bowls I noticed that the fresh pasta was now a gooey-bread batter consistency. We tried it anyway. The noodles were gaggable and I didn’t like the spices at all. My daughter wasn’t impressed either.

This is not our first kitchen idea that didn’t work out, but we are always trying new things anyway.

We do the same thing at restaurants. We always order something new and if it’s something we haven’t tried before that’s even better. (Except at Subway. She gets tuna and I get sweet onion teriyaki chicken. But we tried a lot before we found our favorites.)

Our job is not to go through life making no mistakes. If we are to live a full, alive life then it’s a guarantee we will make mistakes. We want to be experiencing and learning on this earth.

If we only did what we were completely good at we would never try new things. We would be doing the same thing day after day in fear of screwing up and maybe looking badly.

Where are you afraid of making a mistake? What is something you’d like to try if you wouldn’t feel foolish? How can you expand this life of yours?

 

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Pix from Cook Diary which has some delicious looking soup: http://cookdiary.net/creamy-mushroom-soup/

 

 

stove

My stove stared at me crusted and greasy. I’d been meaning to clean it for a week. It’s a black and stainless steel stove so it looks grimy quickly.

But, I didn’t want to do the scrubbing it would take to get it clean. So I left it. And left it. And left it.

While making my morning smoothie the next day I had to wipe up peach juice the got everywhere. (I am such a messy cook.)

Then I thought, “What if I put on damp rags on a stove section and leave it until I was done with my smoothie?”

It took a few seconds to set up and then I drank my smoothie. By the time I was done drinking, that section of the stove was easy to wipe up. Bingo. I did it for the four sections of the stove over four days, breaking down my procrastinated task into bits that weren’t so hard.

What has you been procrastinating on that needs broken down into smaller steps? Is there anything you can use that breakfast time to clean?