Looking for a sense of relief?

Yesterday I was on an intake call with a potential client.  She was describing her projects and we were talking through her goals.  As the call wrapped up, she said, “I feel better already.” 

It seems like a simple phrase, but I know to pay attention when I hear these words because I can sense a shift happening and I am flooded with gratitude!  Gratitude because I can feel the relief through the phone.  The relief of giving voice to a burden that has been a source of struggle.  And the relief that someone will be a partner and take the lead on making a plan.   

And it isn’t just relief, I can also hear hope. 

We all have dreams and visions of how we want life to go, and when those dreams seem like they have been taken off-course, then it can feel daunting to find the path back without support.  And while it takes courage to ask for what you need, the reward is that sense of relief.  You have opened the door for some light to shine in.  You have started to set your course in a new direction, even if it is ever so slight.  Things feel hopeful!

Mark Nepo, author of The Book of Awakening, wisely says, “it helps to share our journey with others, because in doing so we become a chorus of voices, and the stress of going solo lessens once we discover that we are not alone.”

So if you are longing for support, but are embarrassed, intimidated, or still unsure of how to ask for help, then try one of these ideas.

Write about it.  Journal about the things that are keeping you stuck.  Getting it out, even if it’s on paper, can decrease the heaviness.

Offer yourself some self-compassion.  Notice when you are judging yourself harshly and instead offer yourself the same warmth & compassion that you would share with a friend.  Recognize all the things that do come easily to you, embrace your unique talents, and remind yourself that we all have different gifts.

Take a baby step.  Start by asking for help with something small so that you can ease into the experience of sharing your burdens.

Lift someone else’s burden.  Watch for an opportunity to offer your time or talent and notice the benefits of working with a partner or team.  Then remind yourself of those things when you find yourself questioning if you should/can ask for help on your own projects.Let’s ask for what we need, support each other, and embrace all the possibilities that are open and available on this journey!  Relief and hope are waiting.

If you have a project or area in your home that keeps tripping you up &  you wish you could get a fresh perspective or a partner to help you tackle it, then be in touch!  Let’s lighten things up together!



Decluttering Seasons

If there is one good thing about owning a dog with tons of energy, it is the fact that he needs exercise.  This translates into a daily walk with yours truly.  And I can’t complain.  This routine ensures that I get time to engage with nature, which is something that I love!  And even though our pace is fast – he likes to move! – these walks slow down my internal speed and allow my creativity to percolate.

This week, as I passed the shoots of bright green reaching out of the brown earth, I was struck once again by how easy it is to connect what is happening in nature with the process of decluttering.  I started to ponder the seasons and how each season offers a visual reminder of the journey of letting go of our stuff and our worn-out habits.  

I’ll start with spring since it is happening in real time right outside our open windows!   Yes, it really is warm enough here in Minnesota to let the breeze in!  Heavenly!    

Spring time with all of it’s mud and mess, growth and life, reminds me of how often we have to make a mess before things get better.  If you walked into the middle of a pantry reorganization session, you might wonder how we will ever make sense of all of the stuff that has been pulled out.  Cans, boxes, bags of noodles, rice, spices.  A mess of stuff getting looked over, categorized, cleared out, and eventually offered the spaces that feel right and allow for ease.  Order & boundaries get implemented and the mess turns into relief.

Spring also reminds me of how often we find ourselves in a state of complete overwhelm before we find a way to breakthrough.  We have been waiting and hoping for another way, sort of stuck in the same cycle, UNTIL, something happens and we see a bud of hope.  Something shifts and we are ready for growth.  Ready for new systems and routines to take hold & flourish.   

Next comes summer and it reminds me of the joy that can be felt after the work.  Everything is blooming and producing & it feels like it’s time to play!  In decluttering, when systems are offered time to take shape & grow, then we enjoy the benefits- a feeling of lightness, ease, efficiency, productivity.  We don’t have to work so hard to maintain our spaces because we have prepped and planned to create solutions and routines that really fit our daily life and our desires.   

But summer also reminds me of the need to tend and weed.  We must continue to be mindful about what is coming in and watching for spaces where things are starting to congest.  We have to continue to weed and clear to stay on top of the growth that can so easily creep into our lives.

Of course the season of fall would remind me of the letting go that happens as we clear out.  We take a cue from the trees and shed all that needs to go in order to grow.  We are letting go of the stuff that keeps getting in our way, the stuff that continues to be moved from one surface to another, never finding a resting place.  We are clearing out the piles.  Cutting back on what is unnecessary or has served it’s purpose in our life.  We are making decisions to keep the things that we use, need, and want & then offering them dedicated spaces.

Winter reminds me that decluttering requires reflection.  It involves checking in & recognizing what is important and why.  This winter, I watched the trees handle the heavy snow, and thought of all of the times when we can feel the weight of clutter & unfinished projects holding us down.  These burdens nag at the energy we need for daily inspiration and creativity. 

Just as our winter season can provide space for introspection, decluttering creates opportunities to check in and offer ourselves compassion for where we have been and where we want to go on this journey.  We have a chance to listen to the longings that might have been buried deep.  And just like those days when we see the bright sun shine on a cold day,  winter reminds me of hope.  And hope is exactly what you need on a decluttering journey. 

I love living in a climate where I get to see all of the seasons play themselves out.  The mess, the beauty, the growth, and the shedding all playing their role and offering a million reminders of the decluttering journey that is worth taking.

Your Turn…

What season of decluttering are you in right now?   Tell me about it!


How Bullet Journaling is Offering a Lesson in Letting Go

It’s a new year which means that many of us have changed out our calendar or purchased a new planner to keep us organized.  And I am a big proponent of finding (& using) the organizing solution that really fits your personality, so I’m pretty sure there is no one-size-fits-all tool.  But, I also know there are alot of people out there fumbling with apps & planners & sticky notes & multiple calendars, feeling frustrated as they work to get a handle on their tasks, lists & dreams.  So, after getting a tutorial on the Bullet Journal, I thought it would be fun to share what I am learning about this tool & the process.

You see, I had resisted figuring out what Bullet Journaling really involved because I thought it might feed into my perfectionist tendencies… and because I already use Google calendar, a paper planner, a journal & a notebook.  I was pretty sure I didn’t need to introduce one more thing, but friends were raving about this method, so I sat in on the intro. to bullet journaling event offered at Content Bookstore last night. 

The talk was led by Cynthia Gilbertson, whose love of this tool and description of all of the great shifts that it has created in her life was so inspiring, that I found myself heading home with a new journal, a little pen-holding accessory, & some cute little tabs.

I let it all sink in overnight & then took the plunge today.  I pulled out some pens and started to fill in the blank journal.

I will admit that I ended up ripping out the very first entry that I made and then starting over, but I’m giving myself a pass on that one.  It’s not easy for a perfectionist to give up that desire to “do it right.”

What I am finding is that this process is actually very intentional, just as Cynthia said it would be.  And for me, it involves a ton of letting go– which is a recurring theme in my life.

Here are all the ways I was letting go as I started to fill in the first pages.

  • how messy or neat my handwriting is going to be 
  • that I’m not going to be able to erase!
  • that the themes of the pages need to go in order or be grouped together- they don’t!
  • that I might run out of space for notes on a topic if I start a new idea on the next page
  • that it has to be set up “right” from the very beginning
  • that I need to know all the tricks & gather fancy pens & stickers in order to start
  • that spending time on this is taking away time from something more critical
  • that someone else is using it more efficiently, more creatively, more intelligently than I am 

Cynthia said that there is a “right way” to Bullet Journal, but the right way is to make it work for YOU

That idea was just what I needed to hear as it fits one of my commitments to myself this year – Listening to what feels “right for me” and allowing it to find it’s way.

I have always been a journaler.  I love to write lists, collect quotes, jot down words of gratitude, and keep notes on lots of things, so it doesn’t feel like a big jump to try a Bullet Journal.  What I’m noticing though, is a little sense of freedom in having only one dedicated place to store all these writings & I’m pretty sure the process will have me considering how much I really need to collect. 

Intention & focus seem to be circling this new book.

Cynthia said that the process allows her to be more mindful & focused each day.  I can see how that can happen as you spend time creating your daily log & reflecting on the tasks that were completed and the ones that need to be migrated or reevaluated. 

I’m also feeling a sense of relief & excitement that the weight of my work bag could lighten up as I set aside some of my other journals & notebooks and allow the Bullet Journal to carry the load. 

I’m willing to see what happens.  Willing to watch this Bullet Journaling process unfold.  And I’m letting go of the need to make big any judgments until I have really had time to see how this tool enhances or complicates my life. 

More letting go… it seems the bullet journal is already doing it’s job.

Your Turn…

How do you stay productive & organized each day?  Do you reach for paper or are you a digital fan?  Are you ready to try something new?

No matter the tool you use, keep this thought by Greg Mckeown in mind, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”  Setting aside time to get clear on the tasks & events that line up with what is really important to you will allow your day to run with more ease & fulfillment.   I hope whatever tool you use, it offers you a chance to create that.

If you have never heard of Bullet Journaling, check out this quick video.  And I’d love to hear more about the system that works for you!  Submit a comment in the box below & I’ll get your message in my inbox.

Why Dreaming Isn’t a Solo Endeavor

The other day I was listening to a podcast when two inspiring women, Kristin Hanggi & Natalie Roy, shared this thought-

“It takes a village to raise a dream.”

I had to jot it down.  I had to dig into it further.  I had to share it with you. 

And I had to ask myself – why was I so struck by this idea? 

I’m pretty sure I already knew this to be true, but I think it must have come at a time when I needed a reminder that we don’t need to do it alone.  I needed to hear that our dreams are meant to be shared.

Stated.  Offered up.  Allowed to be seen & heard, so that they can be supported, nurtured & guided along their way.

But sharing a dream doesn’t always feel easy.

I understand that.  I’m an introvert.  Someone who isn’t afraid to do things independently.  My natural inclination is to spend a lot of time with my own thinking (overthinking, actually).  Learning, planning, mapping the course, setting goals & making lists.  Being “busy” on things that feel safe & comfortable.  Things that I can justify as making progress toward something.

So sharing my dreams with the world feels like a scary idea.  Letting people in on a dream means that I might have to let go of the reins a little – yikes!  I might not be able to follow a map.  

But what I am finding is that I can putter away on my own, busy in my little safety net for only so long.  My “busy” work becomes a holding pattern, UNTIL I get a little nudge of curiosity & longing from being around someone who sees things in another way.  Or when I notice someone who is doing something that I have always wanted to try & it sparks desire.  Or when someone makes a comment that causes a lightbulb to go off

That is when I feel the dream gathering power.  That is when a shift can occur & I begin to feel an opening for growth. 

hearing that it takes a village to raise a dream is a big reminder that to really move ahead, I have to open up my dream to the world.  And I can rely on others to support it’s progress. 

My role in all of this is to be willing to take one step at a time, as I listen & watch for the people along the path that have the next piece of wisdom to keep the journey unfolding toward the dream. 

Stating a dream aloud & allowing the path to unfold toward that dream can be scary for anyone who likes to do things independently or enjoys a plan, or anyone who has a big aversion to failure.  BUT, trusting that a village is just waiting to support the dream makes it easier to open up.  To trust & to allow the path to get a little twisty or brambling and yet to still keep dreaming.

I have been using this last month to stay open to the dream.  To look from a wide-angle lens at what I spend my time on and how those things relate to my dreams.  It has been an exercise in patience & acceptance.  It has brought up fears, as well as curiosity & courage.

And the idea of allowing a village to share the journey offers a new perspective on how much weight is resting on my shoulders to find the right directions & take all the right steps.  

Your Turn…

Inspiration, insight, and momentum are allowed to enter & move us along our journey when we look to others for new ideas, allow friends & colleagues to shoulder some of our fears, and allow curiosity into our life. 

Learning from someone else’s mistakes or successes, asking for support, accepting feedback or sharing your dream out loud with someone, are all ways that we can use the village.

In my work, I ask you to open your doors & share the dreams for your space.  The dream you have for your daily interactions with your stuff.  The dream about how you want to spend your time or relate to your children and your stuff.  And I am honored when I can be a small piece of the village that allows the dream to unfold a little easier. 

Thank you to the village that supports this blog & all the villagers that keep popping up on my journey (to find & state my dreams).

Do you have a dream waiting for some room to grow?

Are you getting worn out trying so hard to make it happen? 

What would it feel like to step back and look to the village for support?

Tell me about it.

The 6 Big Lessons I Learned from Moving

9 years ago we decided it was time to make a move.  We had a cute little old house in a quiet neighborhood, but we were ready for a change, so we started the process to put our house on the market

I think about that little house with the dormers often.  All the hard-work, sweat, paint & memories of our first home.  It was a great place to start our family.  A great beginning.  And the decision to move was a good one, but the steps that it took to get the house ready to sell almost made me change my mind & decide to stay put.

We had two kids under 5 and an old fixer-upper.  It was a recipe for lots of late night sessions with a paint brush & a radio, as well as the decision to rent a storage unit to contain all the extra clutter that we couldn’t deal with at the time. 

The funny thing is that once we had cleared the house of clutter & wrapped up the projects, I had fallen in love with the house all over again. 

Everything had a place & cleaning up was so much easier.  There was room to breath & space to relax.  We had just enough to keep everyone happy and had taken away the extras that had continued to get in our way. 

Moving had offered me a chance to feel what it would be like to live with less, and I liked it. 

We sold the house & eventually had to deal with all of the extra stuff that we had squirreled away in the storage unit.  It was the perfect opportunity to decide how we wanted to live in our next house.  Moving gave us fresh perspective on what we wanted to surround ourselves with & how we wanted our space to feel. 

Here are the lessons I learned from moving –

living without things for a while makes the decision to let go much easier 

All of that stuff that we had sent to the storage unit ended up being things we really didn’t miss & we were able to let go of much easier when we went to unload the unit.  In this case, time apart made the heart grow less fonder.  And the idea of bringing those “extras” to our new space made us cringe, so we knew it was ok to let them go.

You don’t have to take it all with you

As we prepped our house to be put on the market, we had a yard sale to offload some of the things that we knew wouldn’t be going on the moving truck.  Moving takes work, so I kept this sale simple by pricing categories of things, not individual items.  Getting rid of stuff before we packed saved time & energy all around.

It’s ok to need a little time with decisions

Moving involves lots of decisions, so I needed to give myself permission to have some items that I was “on the fence about.”  Those items needed their own box so they wouldn’t get unpacked with everything else. If I had to do it all over again, I would label that box with the DATE & some words like RETHINK THESE or ITEMS TO DECIDE ON.  If I was still “on the fence” when I unpacked, then they probably weren’t favorites & could be given away.

Be choosy as you unpack

Unpacking offered another chance to check if the items getting put away were going to be used, needed, or loved.  It offered another chance to pare down and start fresh in the new space.  It was a great opportunity to get clear about the things we enjoy spending time on & the items that help us do that.

Don’t hold on to things for “just in case”

Often “just in case” items are the ones that get forgotten in the back of the closet & only surface after years in hiding.  We found those items in our extra bedroom closet or stored up in the rafters of our garage.  I began to realize that setting aside space in the new house for items that we never used would limit space for the things that we really used, needed & wanted.  Moving offered a great chance to look at all that extra stuff with fresh eyes & get honest about the likelihood that those “just in case” items would be needed.   

Set up your house to work for you Now!

The biggest lesson from the whole experience was not to wait to find places for our things.  We remembered how good it felt when our old house was pared down & everything had a place that made sense, so we made it a priority to make this happen in our new home.  We thought about how we wanted each space to function & best serve our family before we added the stuff that would be used in those spaces.   We wanted to create a new home that felt good, functioned well, and was easy to tidy up.  It didn’t happen overnight, but we went into our new house with this goal in mind.  

Your Turn…

Are you contemplating a move but feel overwhelmed by the thought of it?

Moving is a big job!  It’s not something that most people can do on the spur of the moment.  It usually takes planning, clearing, lots of packing and loads of decisions.  So how can you face this job without the overwhelm crippling you in the process?  Decide to take it step-by-step.   One thing at a time.

To get the process rolling, sign up for my FREE Tip Sheet on the 5 Spaces to Declutter to Sell. 

To find out more about the services I offer to ease the overwhelm of the moving process click HERE & together we will get your new home ready to support this new chapter in your life!