Posted by: clearspaces60 | October 26, 2018

What Are You Ready to Win?

Most people would love to win the lottery.  Lottery Fever is in the air with the recent record-breaking billion-dollar jackpots.  Even matching some of the numbers could lead you to becoming a millionaire. Daydreaming about how you would spend the money is a wonderful way to spend some time.  Many people say that they want to help their family and give to charity.  These are great goals and of course mostly fantasy, yet there are winners, few and far between, but people do win.

If you were one of the lucky winners, are you ready for it? Do you know your state’s laws about the lottery? Most states force you to be publicly identified, are you ready for that? Are you prepared for the onslaught of requests for money and the incredible number of long-lost relatives that are going to come out of the wood work?  Do you have a banker, an accountant, a financial adviser, and a lawyer?  Is it better for you to create a trust or a LLC?  Have you investigated the charities you want to give to? Do you want to start your own charitable foundation? Do you know how? Are you aware that you can only give a person $15,000 a year without any tax ramifications? Do you have a strong backbone as you will need to get really comfortable with the word “no”?

These are all great problems to be solved.  As with any dream or desire, we need to spend some time preparing ourselves for it to come true.  Turning our dreams and desires into goals helps us figure out what we need to learn as well as what steps to take.

Some lottery winners’ lives take a turn for the worse. They trust the wrong people, they find out the true nature of their relatives and friends, or they simply could not accept the windfall of wealth and spend the money until it is gone.  Greed, jealousy, anger and resentment fully come to the surface when someone does not support your success or good fortune.

Prepare yourself for receiving your dreams and desires, no matter what they are.  Surround yourself with spiritual armor so when people tell you that your idea is nuts, you’re crazy, you don’t deserve it, etc., you can boldly stand in the truth of your vision.  Spend some time thinking about what great problems you need to solve to get what you want, and then go about the business of learning how to solve them.  What are you ready to win today?

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Posted by: clearspaces60 | October 6, 2018

First Blog Post of October

Message to Myself-

Feed your Soul

Listen more, to your inner voice and to the voices of others

Engage in your passions

When you don’t know where to start, clean out your purse

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Be Love and Peace

Work to Live, don’t Live to Work

Acknowledge yourself daily

Empower and encourage others when you can

Support organizations that empower and encourage others

When you crave calm, close your eyes for a few minutes

Sitting is the new “smoking”, stand more often

When you know you are done with something, let it go with grace

Follow your Bliss

Add Joy and Beauty wherever you can

Eat more dark chocolate

Posted by: clearspaces60 | September 29, 2018

Mysterious Losses

Have you ever lost something and are still baffled by its disappearance? 30 years ago, I graduated from college and my three sisters gave me a Mont Blanc pen.  It was beautiful and expensive.  It meant the world to me.  Several years later, it disappeared.  I never took it out of the house and its loss is a mystery.  Did it somehow get stuck in papers that went in the trash? Did someone take it, accidentally or on purpose? I searched and searched my condo and hoped that it would turn up one day.  Seven years later, I sold my condo and moved out.  The pen never turned up.  To this day, that pen means a lot to me. Maybe it means more because I lost it.

Recently we remodeled our garage and went through every box, bin, bag and cabinet shelf.  Sorting through my stuff, I realized that none of my old writings, stories, essays were in any of the boxes or bins.  The pages I remember keeping are all gone.  I did find lots of notebooks and folders filled with notes from numerous high school and college classes.  I am bewildered by this, did the boxes get mixed up and the wrong ones tossed out.  I will never know and am currently in the process of accepting that I have no control over this, what’s done is done, I can’t change it.  I am disappointed but the fact that I never searched for them sooner means that I can easily live without them.  I know people who have lost everything to fires, floods and other disasters, they had no control over the timing of their loss. I am grateful, just a little sad.

The loss that hit me the hardest was in reading old cards and letters from my late friend, Jayne.  She passed away much too early at age 49 and I miss her dearly.  The mystery for me is her artistic talents and humor, where did they go when her addiction took over?  Holding things that she gave me and reading the funny words that she wrote to me broke my heart open even more. She often mixed up metaphors and cliches, I wish I could remember more clearly which ones as they were hilarious.

Maybe these losses give us more appreciation, help us make wiser decisions on what to keep and what to release in our lives, and give us the opportunity to reminisce about those we will never stop loving.

Posted by: clearspaces60 | September 15, 2018

Clear Your Mind with Reading

Many times, when my mind is going a million directions at once and I have a lot I need to accomplish, I stop everything and read.  Maybe for a few minutes, or about 15 minutes max.  I find that the need to focus calms my mind and helps me to regroup my thoughts into a plan.  If I just cannot stop all the critics and editors vying for space in my brain, I spend no more than 5 minutes writing down everything that I think I must get done or work on or make time for or think about or remember.  This clears up a little more space.

I am usually in the middle of half a dozen books at any given time, so I may read from one of those or I may pick up something inspirational or humorous, changing gears to free up space for ideas, creative solutions, and often a path to success forms effortlessly.

My current favorite go-to authors are (in no particular order) Mary Oliver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mark Nepo, Marianne Williamson, Gretchen Rubin, Dennis Merritt Jones, Jim Lockard, Edward Viljoen, Oprah Winfrey, Vicki Abelson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Natalie Goldberg, Ed Asner, Anne Lamott, Charles Blow and Patti Smith.

What authors help you clear your mind for greater productivity and creativity?

Posted by: clearspaces60 | September 8, 2018

Connections

I love making connections.  My first was connecting the dots. Those books were lots of fun.  The next was probably the telephone connection. Remember when calling long distance was expensive and you didn’t always have a clear connection to hear the other person.  I am sure somewhere in my childhood I heard adults talk about “connections”.  Who knew who and what could they do for you. In some families being “connected” had a whole other scary meaning.  I remember seeing The French Connection as a teen, not too sure I was following the story line, but who cared, Gene Hackman was so handsome and then I would fall for him again as a minister in The Poseidon Adventure a year or two later.

I didn’t learn about electrical connections or connecting flights until I was in my twenties.  One time I had to literally and I mean literally beg and plead with an airline to hold a plane for my boss because his flight was late, and it was the only connecting flight to a little town in West Virginia where our wood laboratory furniture factory was located.  I cannot imagine that even being possible today.  Now of course we talk about connection all the time, cell phones, computers, cable, WiFi.

I think there are more important connections and they are my favorite.  Connecting people to one another.  Introducing my friends to each other, encouraging people to reach out to others with the same interests, or answers and solutions to meet their needs.  I get excited when I can have one friend meet another.  I have created friendships this way all of my life.  Facebook has been great for this, back when it did not connect the same shared post but showed it over and over, I would get my friends and family who posted the same things to become friends.  I did this for two reasons- How awesome is it to connect people from different cities, states and countries who are like minded? And I didn’t want to see the same shared post 8 or 10 times!!

Lately, I have really opened my eyes to the reality that some people do not want their friends and family to communicate with each other.  They want walls and barriers.  They want to compartmentalize their lives and fill it with drama.  I believe that many people do not feel alive if there is no drama going on in and around their lives.  This has also given me an opportunity to see where I have had these types of friendship over the course of my life starting with the mean girls in elementary school.

I prefer people who are open and honest yet know the difference between secrecy and privacy.  If everything has to be a secret to the point that one friend cannot talk to a mutual party, not only is it exhausting but the level of dysfunction surely escalates.

Now I more clearly see that the demand to keep things separate and contained is based on fear.  Many people are terrified of sharing themselves.  Being open and authentic takes courage. I guess I have never felt so ashamed or embarrassed or humiliated about myself that I would not want the people I love to know and love each other.  I understand more clearly that this is a real issue for many people.  I am learning to accept it, and to see it with more compassion and forgiveness.

I will still do what I do, make connections, bring people together, encouraging friendships and business relationships.  Connections-when done in a healthy way with honest intentions- may bring us together in new and wonderful ways.

Posted by: clearspaces60 | July 18, 2018

Please Follow My Blog

What does Paula Poundstone have to do with ClearSpaces?  Follow me and let’s find out.

I have been in a writing rut all year. Other than Morning Pages, a few short personal essays for my writers group and some business emails, I have not done much “real” writing, whatever that is.  What is holding me back? Nothing.  Who is holding me back? ME!  At one point, I just decided to forget about it, let it go, and see if it came back to me. It did!!!

At the end of May, I had the pleasure to once again attend one of Vicki Abelson’s Women Who Write salons. (I follow her on Facebook and Twitter). She brings together incredibly talented musicians, writers and actors who perform and speak to “regular” women like me (and a few men) who love to write.  Her headliner was Paula Poundstone.!! I have always loved Paula’s work, but I had no idea that she was an author or has a regular NPR gig. Yes, I am late to that party.

A friend who is a HUGE fan of Paula’s was with me and I immediately joined that fangirl club.  Before the program started we each bought a copy Paula’s book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness and asked her to sign them.  She sweet, kind and funny.  During her part of the program, Paula was hilarious! Honestly, I think everyone’s face and stomach muscles hurt from laughing so hard.  Her wit is phenomenal.  She did a lively running commentary on all the other people who had read or performed before her, combined with the news of the day and the state of our world as well as sharing a great deal about her personal life.  After the program was over, we talked to her a little more, hugged her, found out that the three of us are all nearly the same age, just months apart, and took some pictures.

Later that week while my husband was watching the The Walking Dead or a baseball game, I picked up her book and started reading it.  I could not put it down.  How could she string these words together and have them feel so effortless that I was actually laughing out loud?  I am always telling people to read books or handing them a book and saying, “You must read this.”  Do they? Well sometimes.  How could I get everyone I know to know about this book?  Well I do have a blog…

I want to write an Amazon review for it, but when you buy the book directly from the author, as I often do at Vicki’s, it can be harder to get the review to show up. Also, our Amazon account is in my husband’s name and no matter how many times I have changed the review to may name, it still shows that my husband’s name on my review of Vicki’s book, Don’t Jump: Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘N Roll… And My Fucking Mother. It starts out “LEAP into this book.  I read this book as if gulping a bottle of Annie Green Springs and inhaling a lunch-size bag of Cheetos, it went by too fast.”- Sounds like every guy I know! Maybe after I get done with this, I will work on a review of Paula’s book which will be more pressure than writing for my blog with my 23 followers of which I am one.

Oh my, how I’ve digressed!

What does Paula Poundstone have to do with ClearSpaces?   In her book, Paula has not one, but TWO chapters on getting organized experiments.  I don’t want to give anything away but her insights are both hilarious and spot on.  I hope it is okay to just quote this one sentence from her book.  In her first experiment, her hypothesis is “I am sure that getting organized will make me happy. I just know it.”  Who hasn’t thought or said this? ) She knows us. She is us. She has three kids (so do I), so every mom can relate to many things she goes through, literally and figuratively; board games, kids artwork, clothes, toys – and the one thing I still don’t know what to do with- school pictures.  I swear I had tears rolling down my face.  When she writes about what she keeps and why, the memories that are evoked, you may have different tears streaming down your face. Then in her second experiment, she talks about interviewing, hiring and working with a professional organizer.  I swear I said, “No, Paula, No!” dozens of times. She did accomplish a lot. I would love to talk to Paula again, discuss her views on the movie “Cinderella” and be invited to her home to play ping-pong. No spoilers, Read the book 🙂

I am finally writing about this because earlier this week Paula showed up three times in one day, Facebook, Twitter and then she was on Stephen Colbert. Three times a charm, so get off your ass and write something.  Plus, she now has a new podcast “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone”.  So, whether she reads this blog, I will share it on Twitter and @ her as the kids say.  Read her book and Vicki’s too if you are so inspired.  And if you aren’t a follower of this blog but want to be, go over to the right-hand side of this post and figure out how to follow me.  If I could do it, then you can too!

Posted by: clearspaces60 | July 4, 2018

Independence Day 2018

A day to honor and celebrate our Freedom and Independence. Freedom requires discipline in thought and action. Independence invites a heart that is vulnerable and inclusive.

What shackles to you need to dissolve around your heart, your dreams, your desires? What misinformed beliefs need to be set free? Untangle the chains that bind you in fear, doubt, indecisiveness, resentment, hatred and judgement.

What more can you release? What needs to be carved away to reveal the Statue of Liberty that is You?

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
― Emma Lazarus

Posted by: clearspaces60 | December 30, 2017

A Better Mess

One more day to go and it will be 2018.  My blog postings were less than my ideal this year.  Maybe this recap will set a better tone for the coming year.  This entire year felt “off” in many ways and instead of bemoaning my failures and unmet goals, I realized that the things that happened in our lives this year led me to writing more than I have in a long time.  The writing was in the Morning Pages or other personal journaling.

I meditated and prayed more this year. Forgiveness has been another major undertaking, forgiving myself, others, the medical system, the legal systems, the financial system and the political system.  Being present in the moment and remembering to be compassionate with others and myself seemed to be a full-time job.

“A Better Mess” came out of my mouth a couple of months ago after I had cleaned out my closet for the umpteenth time this year.  My closet was already fairly organized, and I realized that by continuing to keep it that way, I was hanging on to something that had structure, purpose and felt complete.  This time I went through absolutely every piece of clothing and pairs of shoes, including my dresser.  What turned out to be a little straightening up turned into a huge mess, piles of clothes and shoes I had not worn in years or had never worn.

I looked at everything on my bed and floor and thought, What a mess!  Then I said to myself, it’s A Better Mess!  And it was!  All the space and energy these items took up was now free and freeing.  I bagged up items to donate and items to gift to a local consignment shop.

Decorating for the holidays always creates its own mess. Looking at it in a new way lessened the overwhelming sensation many of us feel at this time of year. I am hopeful it will feel this way when we undecorate next week.

As I thought more about this concept of A Better Mess, I realized that it had played quite a role in my life this year.  Our business has done well creating more paper and files and major decisions.  We emptied my husband’s office, rearranged some filing cabinets, bought him a new desk which created an entirely new mess, but A Better Mess.  Members of our family have gone through challenges this year with health, jobs, school, finances and moving.  This led to many new messes. Yet as we all faced the struggles and learned about things we had never dealt with before, the education, experience and trusting the process made the results better.  A Better Mess led to A Better Life!

Let’s dive in to this New Year and whether we are embracing new ways of handling our health, finances, clutter, clothes, closets, books, papers, files or the “stuff” in our heads, let the mess that we create be A Better Mess! Then the Clear Spaces we create will bring us more love, beauty, joy and peace.  Happy 2018!

 

Posted by: clearspaces60 | August 31, 2017

Closets! Closets! Closets!

With all due respect to Modern Family, right now, many people across our country and around the world have lost everything they own due to natural disasters, war and other forms of violence.  This destruction and the toll it takes on the human psyche often leads me to wonder why we are so inundated with ways to organize, declutter, rearrange and store our possessions.  Why do we crave order?

Order keeps us sane, it gives us something comforting to hold or hang on to.  We organize supplies, food, volunteers and troops.  When you see footage of refugee camps or evacuation centers, you see the longing for order and space.  Women sweeping the dirt floor of a tent, parents organizing the space within their blankets and cots and people naturally forming lines.  It is inherent in most of us.

My last blog post was about organizing closets.  After I posted it, a friend from church contacted me asking for help organizing and downsizing.  When I arrived at her house and saw her closet, I couldn’t believe it.  Her walk-in closet was a dream!!  Nothing was on the floor or looked out of place.  We even had the same black felt hangers.   What could she possibly need from me?  I had no idea so I went about my same process; I asked her what she wanted to do first, what was bugging her the most and what seemed the most overwhelming.  She told me that her dresser was full of clothes she didn’t wear and there were clothes to put away, but no room.  She also had a pile of socks on her dresser.  In a couple of hours, she had four bags to donate, we matched up all the socks leaving her with  room in her drawers and a clear dresser top.  She did what most of us do, she told me the story of her clothes and why she bought them, who gave them to her, when she wore them, why she still had it and was able to talk herself into letting things go.  She was a dream to work with.

What could she possibly need from me?  She needed me to give her permission to stop and take the time to do this for herself.  This freed her of the burden that was weighing down her mind and heart.  She knew what to do and how to do it, she just put everyone and everything else first.  We know this is not uncommon.

As we take better care of our possessions by using or releasing them with gratitude,  plus relieving the internal burdens of constant thoughts and lack of action,  I believe we are contributing to a more peaceful world.  At the same time, when we deeply understand that it could all be destroyed in minutes, our love and reverence for our friends, family and everyone else soars.

How will organizing your closet help the world?

Posted by: clearspaces60 | June 22, 2017

Embracing the Resistance

At the beginning of this year, I made a commitment to myself and to my blog followers, to post on the 11th of each month as a minimum.  I have failed to do so these last two months.  Is anyone clamoring for me to keep this promise?  Not really, unless you count the mean-spirited editor voice in my head.

You know that voice, the one that chastises you for not keeping your commitments and then doubles down by telling you that you have no business writing, no one wants to hear from you anyway.  Nothing you write is good, it’s all crap.  Perhaps your voice talks to you about a different subject, but I think the theme song is the same.

Over the years I have quieted down this voice to a mere annoyance, realizing that it is part of the human experience, as most of my friends deal with the same thing.  As far we know, animals to do not deal with this. From birds to whales, I have never seen one look conflicted or distraught or hesitant to act or express themselves.

This year I wanted to focus more on the calling of my Soul.  What is it that I want to do?  How do I want to treat my physical body? In what ways can I express myself more creatively?  I decided to spend a cumulative hour nearly every day in spiritual practice, physical exercise, visualizing, writing, creating and whatever else feeds these questions.

A collective 60 minutes is my goal.  I have had some success with this practice along with acknowledging myself for things I did accomplish or situations that I dreaded but faced anyway.  I learned this technique from Rhonda Britten’s book, Change Your Life In 30 Days.  It really helps combat that voice.  But as I kept up both practices, this voice kept getting louder and louder, thoughts, fears and beliefs from my whole life would pop up.  Stuff I thought I had healed, resolved or at least was aware of and had dealt with in some way.  I do know that this is Shadow work (thank you Debbie Ford for The Dark Side of the Light Chasers) and that you are never done with it.

However, it became quite intense on May 11th, the day I had committed to post on my blog, and my grandmother’s birthday, she would have been 105.  I was missing her terribly that day and all the wonderful qualities she possessed and modeled without every criticizing or belittling me.  She worked hard, sometimes held two jobs while taking care of my dad and grandfather, often along with other relatives. She was organized but not a perfectionist.  She may not always have had everything she needed, but she used everything she had.  She was a great cook and handled the bills and paperwork.  She also marveled at the choices and opportunities that her granddaughters had and supported each of us in her own way.  Then I remembered something else, she was always amazed and appreciated the way I would organize her closet after she was no longer able to do so. I would say, “Grandma, your closets were always neat and organized, I must have learned it from you.”   I have helped a few other people with their closets and I love it.  I am not a professional organizer, I feel like I approach it in a different way, with fun and feeling!

All that day I was thinking, you need to post something, anything, it doesn’t have to be great, just check in, tell everyone what is going on with you.  Why is this so hard? I have a great life, I was under a self-imposed deadline.  What was up with all the procrastination and self-sabotage?  Well that voice was on rapid fire with its list of things I was– lazy, ungrateful, selfish, procrastinator, failure, daydreamer, fraud, loser, weak, pathetic, and was not– successful, writer, blogger, organized, educated, knowledgeable and had anything worthy to say.

I have spent a great deal of time lately unraveling the guilt and lack of self-worth that came on full force that day.  It has been healing and revealing because as you TRULY focus on what your soul is calling you to do, the resistance comes on just as strong.  But this resistance is not something to battle, it is something to embrace and comfort.  I don’t know whether it is your inner child, shadow, ego, psycho or a demon you possess, but being kind and compassionate is the key.  Loving this voice and embracing its strength, conviction and tenacity not to mention its complete lack of procrastination and changing its messages to what you want to hear is absolutely worth the work!

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