Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The ordinary art

"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."
                        Thomas Moore

   How we do is more important than what we do.  One of the most inspiring people I ever met was a man named Kenny.  He picked up the grounds at an apartment complex.  We met Kenny in the early 90's.  He picked up trash and smiled.  Every time you saw Kenny he was happy.  It didn't matter what he was doing, he was happy.  His job didn't define him, his attitude did. 

   I still think of this happy man picking up trash.  Somehow he made his job seem like the best job ever.  He was outside, chatting, whistling, working and being.   

  How do you show up at work?  Or more importantly how do you want to show up at work?
                   


Monday, May 1, 2017

Shifting your perspective of work

Work and play are exactly what you decide they are.

   This spring I gave one of my "chores" over to Dallas.  Mowing our lawn.  As he was mowing and I was working on something else I was thankful and felt relieved not to have to mow the lawn that week.  But a funny thing happened when I walked into our back yard... I missed it! I missed being outside, I missed the smell of freshly cut grass, I missed the feel of a newly mowed lawn.  I missed moving to the rhythm of mowing, the meditative quality of one foot in front of the other. I missed the physical work out. I missed mowing my lawn.  I missed my chore!!

   And it turns out it wasn't a chore all along it was a gift of nature and meditation and accomplishment.  It was so much more than a chore.   It is exactly what I decide it to be.

  The truth is, mowing or washing dishes or cleaning or sitting on the deck, reading, grocery shopping are all things we do.  How we do them is what matters most.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Change your perception...lighten your life

It is said your eyes are the windows to your soul. 
What do you see...when it comes to your chores?

  I'm super excited to share my upcoming class with you.  When I work with clients in my coaching and clutter clearing,  I'm most aware of their energy shifts.  I'm looking for eye shifts, body shifts.  Eyes that light up and sparkle and bodies that tighten and become stuck.  Body movements tell me more than the words spoken.

 Cleaning and clutter clearing are very personal.  How you clean is more important that what you know or the cleaners and tools you use.  It is the energy you bring to the task that means the most.

  Life is too short to let a ongoing chore take any of your spark.  Cleaning and clutter clearing tend either deplete your energy or uplift your spirits.  The task is the same, how you see this task makes all the difference in the world 

Over the past 26 years of working with families and business I have discovered a common thread.

               It isn't the task as much as the perception
         of that task that matters the most

Do you see cleaning as a way to reground yourself, to reboot your  home and create balance in this world?

Do you think of cleaning as a weight, an ongoing and never ending exhausting ball wrapped around your spirit and soul?  

There is no right or wrong answer here, it is only your perspective.  How you think about cleaning or anything will dictate if this task depletes you or gives you energy.

On March 30st, I will be holding a class on this very subject.  "Three ways to make friends with house cleaning"   The principles I will share can be used for shifting any perception. 
( In this class, I will also share tips residue free or green cleaning.)

 My class will be held at Marlene's Market in Federal Way.  The city of Federal Way has graciously sponsored this talk as part of their green home series. Thank you Federal Way

The classes are listed by date- ours is held on March 31st (scroll down)

Does the thought of cleaning as a practice of joy, flow and gratitude sound a little better than heavy item on your never ending to do list?  If so come join me.  

I'll also be teaching this same class for the 
city of Kirkland April 11th!! 

    




Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ounce of Prevention Tip:

The best defense is good prevention.  Keep viruses out of your home is easier than getting over a cold or the flu.  A few years ago when the H1N1 virus was a major health concern, the CDC ( Center for Disease Control) put out a bulletin with their top prevention tips.  I remember being surprised to see washing your hands as one of their top tips.  I expected some brilliant insight of unexpected wisdom but no it was simply:  wash your hands.

Hand washing reminders:
   Wash hands as soon as you return home from being in public.
          Make it a habit of washing your hands as soon as you walk in the door
   Wash your hands before eating
         This includes- eating in the car, fast food restaurants and snacking
    When you wash your hands- wash for 20 seconds
         Wash- rinse and dry

I know so simple and yet when you don't get the flu it's priceless!!!!!

Wishing you all health and vitality this winter!!
          Denise
  

Friday, January 20, 2017

2 Steps in Overcoming Your Resistence

Clutter clearing and resistance go hand in hand.  If it wasn't for resistance, clutter would feel more like a kitten than a fire breathing dragon.  But like the poem I found at my great aunt Velma's house said.  "Every time I tried to throw my long kept things away- my hand's were stayed!"
      Yup- resistance.

Resistance has a funny way of turning into procrastination. Procrastination creates stress.  Constant stress build the feelings of being stuck, overwhelmed and heavy.

                                                 Today, I have two step practice for you
                                  Build new anti-resistance muscles.  Muscles of fearlessness


  Step one:  First thing in the morning ask yourself three questions
        What do I really need to do today but don't want to?
        What has been weighing heavily on my mind and spirit?
        What have I been putting off?

  Sept two:  Do the thing you most resist first!
           Maybe it is working out, eating a salad, calling someone, or ... diving into a box of clutter.  The what doesn't matter so much as the recognition of what you are avoiding and taking action.  Instead of avoiding" it"- you dive in!

 The key is to take action, small consistent actions. The first step is the hardest part. Take the first step.  Do a little bit everyday.  Put on your shoes, roll up your sleeves and move a little bit forward. Look at what "stays" your hands and do it anyway.  5- 30 minutes is a great habit to create.  10 minutes everyday is awesome practice!  It's not the how much you do, it is the action in the face of fear that will give you freedom.  Do a little action forward everyday.

  Consistency, persistence and fearlessness will turn your resistance into your triumphs.  Instead of carrying the weight of what you haven't done with you all day, you get to enjoy your achievement.

  Dive in everyday for 30 days.  Be fearless. Notice what you most resist, scoff at the bully and do it anyway.

  It takes time to build muscles.  We are building muscles of action, fearless action,   The more often you work these muscles the stronger you will be!

Wishing you, a fearless spirit and power over your resistances. Let me know how you are doing. I'm right there with you- everyday doing the very thing that stops me in my tracks!!
            Denise
   
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Clutter clearing- removing residue from your wild soul

What do clutter, residue and weeds all have in common?  They all cover up or hide your essence.  To me clutter is a form of residue.  Residue is what covers up,  muddles your own personal clarity, your enthusiasm for life.  If you want your eyes to sparkle again, your heart to be open and your joy of living to expand, you must clear the residues, the clutter or weeds in your life.  Residue is stress.

 When we clear the clutter from our life, it is never about the stuff, it is about your spirit.  It's what is weighing heavily, exhausting, muddling, over whelming our lives.  It can be stuff, or tasks, people, or emotions.. the what doesn't matter.  Every garden has weeds trying to take root.  I love helping clean out residues and clutter and weeds because I want to see that sparkle, the uplifted breath, the smile pop out.  I love seeing a little wildness...


 Last night I was reading from John O'Donohue's book Anam Cara.   I happened on a passage called:  The Passionate Heart never ages- page 187-188.  This is exactly what I mean when I say clutter, residue or weeds:  physical, mental, spiritual and emotional..

"I know some very old people who have hearts full of roguery, devilment and fun; there is a sparkle in their presence.  When you meet them, you have a sense of light, lightness and gaiety.  Sometimes in very old bodies there are incredibly young wild souls looking out at you.  It is so invigorating to meet a wild old person who has remained faithful to their wild life force."

I have had the privileged of spending time with my 4 grandparents and great aunt Velma.  In their 90's and even Aunt Velma at 103- they had a clarity, a curiosity, a since of innocence and excitement in living. Was life always easy?  No, but they never lost that wild spark!  This is what I want for myself and you.  Wild joy!  A wild spark - a place that is untouchable from life.  This is sacred space.


I wish you joy, not because you are trying to be happy but because joy unexpectedly bubbles up from somewhere inside,
        Denise

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Prune in January for a happy year

This year think beyond your clutter and stuff.  Look at your to-do lists, your calendar and your expectations for the new year.  

Think Less Is More and Start Pruning!

How do you want to feel this time next year?  How do you want to feel next December?  I doubt I'm alone, when I look at my calendar and see it fill up with no space - no breathing space.  I feel myself tighten.  

We all need space to play, to create, to rest, to just be

If you want your new year to shine, first clear the clutter in your time and schedule.  Find little spaces just for you.  I realize this is easier said than done.  Life can take you on some wild rides.  But no matter what ride you are on, we all need a little space to just be.   

This space doesn't need to be grand vacations or weeks of nothing.  Maybe the healthiest practices are creating space everyday... 15 minute recesses, 30 minute nap time, 5 minutes to breathe, a walk in the woods, going to bed early just because.


Here is the pay off...
Your nervous system is nourished by play and rest
When you are happy and at ease you are naturally more creative intelligent, resilient, healthier, flexible.
When you are stressed the exact opposite is true.  

By giving yourself bits of time and space to just be, to play, to create and rest you will not only be giving yourself a huge gift but you will also be gifting everyone around you.  

Here's to another new year!  
And here's to creating a year that is well pruned with space to grow

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

5 gifts from clearing your clutter

Happy new year!  I love this time of year.  It gives the feeling of a fresh start, a clean slate,and new beginnings all wrapped up in a tidy little bundle.  Cleaning out is the natural way to follow up the holidays.  That's is why January is filled with sales on organization products. 




Below are of 5 of my favorite gifts you receive from letting go, downsizing and clearing your clutter.  I'm talking all kinds of clutter...emotional, time, mental and physical clutter.  Too much is still too much no matter what form in shows up in

Gift #1  Less gives us a feeling of spaciousness.  Room to breathe

Gift #2  Too much, muddles your time and thoughts.  By simplifying you create clarity

Gift #3  Cleaning out shifts energy and starts life flowing again
             You move out of unhealthy life ruts

Gift #4  Gratitude, by looking closely at what we really have we gain feeling of abundance.   
              Sometimes even over abundance.  In this we see how truly blessed we are

Gift # 5   By letting go of our excesses, we release the drains on our time and energy.  
                Less requires less from us. Less = Freedom
              
There are oodles more gifts to be had by cleaning out but there is no need to clutter up this blog...

     Wishing you all a beautiful new year, filled with a sense of ease and wonder,
              Denise

Monday, December 5, 2016

Practices for a smoother season

     As I type this post today, we are right dab in the middle of the holiday season.  No matter what and when you celebrate this season, the month of December seems to take on a life of its own.  By the time the new year rolls around we are feeling a huge need to reboot our lives.  The feeling doesn't always come from a centered joyful place but more of a panic, frustrated and determined to make this next year better place.

    This post is all about creating rituals and practices that support new habits for the month of December.  Habits that will help create a place for you to celebrate, reboot and refresh.




   The practice I'm talking about is called Beginning, Middle and End.  When I work in a home to help downsize or clear the clutter, there is usually a part of this equation that is missing- maybe two or three parts.  Setting the intention and getting started is the first part.  Staying clear, focused and taking action is the second part and finally there needs to be an ending time to wrap up, celebration and pause.


Like our calendars life moves in seasons and circles.  Starting in Jan, rounding through July and back to December our years are not straight lines but circles.  You can't jump around, you need to stay in the flow of time.  Just like clutter clearing and just like the month of December.

For this month not to feel like a treadmill going nowhere here are a few practices you might consider implementing this season.

The beginning- Setting the intention and getting started
    How you start your day sets the stage for the entire day.  Wake up with enough time for a bit of am movement, connection time and setting the intention of the day.  A cup of warm water with lemon or lime will help get your digestive system flowing.   Movement gets you moving and uncrinks the night.
    Set the intention of the day- how do you want it to feel, to flow?  Ask for what you want for the day.  Say thank you in advance.  Breathe deeply and take a minute of two to set your course for the day.  What would you love to do?  What have you been putting off?  What is essential to this day?  These are wonderful questions to ask yourself. 
   Give yourself a time to start your day.  Depending on when my first appointment is I try to give myself at least 30 minutes of am free time- time to move, set intentions and connection time.  It is also important to start the day with good fuel- not coffee and sugar but foods that nourish and support you.

The middle- Time for focus and action
    You may have a lot on your plate this time of year, more than normal.  And yet this season is the season of reflection and rest.  Be very mindful to add on only things you really love.  We are not creating Hallmark movies here, we are living in the real world. 
    Set little blocks or spaces of time for yourself.  Set your timer, work in segments.  Having little pausing points of the day keeps your day from becoming a giant blur.  Set an intention for your drive to work,  give yourself 42 minutes to go outside and walk, set your timer for 30 minutes to call someone you love.  If you are feeling overworked- take a mid day break to be still for 10 minutes.
   By starting with a clear focus and working in time segments it keeps you engaged in what you are working/playing on.  It gives you tiny beginning, middles and ends to each little project.  We all have plenty of time- we all have the same amount of time. The biggest gift you can give yourself is the gift of less on your list.  Be nice to yourself, add in only what you truly love, let go of what is on someone else's to-do list.

Start with the end- Completing and Pausing
    As tempting as it is to put more in your days and stay up later, I suggest the opposite.  Go to bed earlier.  Set a time for the completion of the day.  For me 9pm is the time.  At that time I'm done with doing.  I give myself 1 hour to just Be.  Washing my face, getting into my pjs, unplugging from electronics.  Now I have about 30-40 minutes of pure freedom.  My task list is not part of this time.  I might add in: deep breathing, reading, maybe yoga, meditation or being still.
    The ending of the day is the perfect time to reflect on moments of gratitude or inspirations from the past 24 hours.  I give myself time to pamper and set the stage for a deep and restful sleep.  Sometimes I do nothing- and that's perfect- the most important thing is to give yourself the breathing space at the end of the day to appreciate the day and to just be.

These are ideas I have cultivated over many years, but the basics are these:
      Create a Beginning- setting the intention and getting started
      Having a Middle- the meat of the sandwich is in the middle
      Every good story needs an ending- let yours be sweet and kind.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season, let your traditions be uplifting and your nights restful,
          Denise




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Simple Solutions to One of Life's Most Complex Problems

It is November!  Wow, life is so consistent in its moving forward!!  I suppose this is a good thing but every once in a while don't you wish it would slow down just a touch?  Of course, if it did chaos would ensue, the environment would get out of sink and we would all be praying for life to pick up the pace again.

So now that we have the whole matter of slowing down time off our plate...what can we do instead that will give us a good sense of stillness?

I cleaned my pantry.  As it turns out cleaning is not only good for having company over but it is also very calming.  A clean and organized space is good for your nervous system.

 In a few weeks we will be having what we call our Fake Turkey day.  Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving on Nov 24th, we host our big NW family gathering on the 12th.  The earlier date opens the date for lots more family and friends to attend.  Plus it kind of extends the time from Thanksgiving to the December Holidays. (As a side note to this blog post- I highly recommend the fake turkey day- day.  It was done for practical matters but is now a family favorite!!)

Because of the impending day, last weekend, I was feeling a bit of the got to hurry up syndrome.   Instead of hurrying up I started puttering in my kitchen.  Puttering may not be the correct word as I moved pretty swiftly.  I "puttered" into my giant pantry and there I spent the rest of the day- cleaning, purging, organizing and then admiring.

When you putter, you are present but not super focused.  You just keep moving, one bottle at a time, one shelf, one box until you are all done.  Your brain relaxes, your mind wanders, you keep moving forward.  This full clean out wasn't a little process but now that my pantry is back to order, I realize how relaxing it is to my spirit to open that door and see bright colored herbs, nuts and teas all lined up.  There is no weight of an undone task, to should-a, would-a or could-a waiting for me behind my pantry door.

 There is an ease to my life because I cleaned out a pantry that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  A simple solution?  Maybe but isn't that the best kind???

    I wish you all simple solutions for what may appear as complex problems,
              Denise