Monday, April 27, 2015

classic quote from Albert Einstein about the definition of madness, and a post to go with it about habits, facing our fears, and celebrating when we make a change.

We are creatures of habit.

We fall into routines, we bind ourselves to behaviors, we take things to be as they are based upon the fact that it’s how they’ve always been. We are as adept at forming bad habits as effective ones, and some of us spend whole lifetimes repeating patterns despite knowing full well that they result in us feeling lousy. 

We forget that a new choice lies just on the other side of our losing habit–like two sides of a coin that we alone have the power to flip at the moment we fully commit ourselves to change. 

But behavior is so hard-wired into us that harnessing the power to flip that coin can be a tremendously difficult task. When and if we do, it’s nothing short of monumental–if we stop to recognize it as that. 

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in an eerily familiar situation. It was a different time, perhaps, with a different person, and with different context, but the overall construct was the same.

For a moment it was overwhelmingly frustrating–how had I, after all this, come to reach this point, yet again? Hadn’t I vowed not to engage in such situations? Hadn’t I evolved past certain character traits in others? Evolved past being at the whim of them? I mean, what the eff?!

And then it hit me: I had been brought or I brought myself or by some cosmic force arrived at this moment in order that I be able to demonstrate to myself just how far I’ve come. It wasn’t contrary evidence to my growth, but an opportunity to seal the deal, put my thoughts and beliefs and internal change to external application. If it was a chess match that had always resulted in identical positioning–and in the past I’d always made the move that sacrificed my queen or however it works when you totally blow it for yourself–this time I made a different move. And in doing so, I won my game.

Right after, as my fearlessness registered, it was like this hum started somewhere in me, real quiet like. The more I paid attention to the feeling, the more pronounced it became. And quite possibly because I was simultaneously exercising, and so maybe the endorphins combined with the feeling thing or maybe they became one, I felt excitement spring from my fingerprints and happiness–or maybe it was relief–pound through my pinky toes, until–I am on top of the world!

(What’s the takeaway here because I, for one, am sitting in a hotel room in Mexico City as I write this and my eyes are getting so tired it’s hard to see and I seem to be skating around the point, but you’ll forgive me this one time, right?)

- It doesn’t matter how much practice, growth, reflection, or adoption of new habits or behaviors it takes: we can all change.

- There will be a moment for each one of us where we’re challenged to prove it. The moment before we do will be the scariest, as we wonder whether we really do dare to try a new way.

- Every time thereafter that we choose this better way will further establish it as the only way.

- This is why we must always choose behavior wisely, live with intention, and, when the moment calls for it, stick to our frickin’ guns. Which here, is oddly another word for love. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You might be wondering why I’d prescribe the assignment of editing and organizing kid’s artwork now, as opposed to any other time of year, say, around summer break.

And I’ll tell you, there’s no good reason other than now is always a better time than later, and since I’ve been tackling the project with quite a few of my clients recently it’s top of mind.

 

Inspiration and motivation to finally get the kids' art and schoolwork under control and beautifully organized!

 

Besides, further on down the road you’ll only have more materials to sort through, making the project seem even more daunting.

But picture this: if you tackle your children’s artwork and school creations now, come June you’ll get to feel like Parent of The Year when you so effortlessly slip the latest editions into whatever system you’ve already put into place.

There, I’m satisfied I’ve given that intro my very best efforts of persuasion and justification.

 

Inspiration and motivation to finally get the kids' art and schoolwork under control and beautifully organized!

 

The Live Simply Method

 

 Spend no time shaming yourself for how pathetically you’ve stored and/or sorted your small humans’ art and schoolwork in the past. The situation is going to be improved henceforth.

Gather all the books and paintings and collages and so on into one central spot. Depending upon your children’s age, you may want to invite them to be a part of the editing process. Any artwork they, themselves, choose to keep will ultimately be more meaningful for them later on. If you feel you can’t be ruthless enough in their presence, go on a solo mission.

 

Inspiration and motivation to finally get the kids' art and schoolwork under control and beautifully organized!

 

So long as you realize that not keeping every creation not only doesn’t make you a bad parent, but a good one, since your children will be able to look back at their work later on without being burdened by it, you’re a-okay.

Keep the best from the rest. Choose the ones that are dated, that contain little quoted explanations from your kids about what the hell their pictures are depicting, choose the most elaborate. Select a few from each grade or age so that later on your kids will be able to have a sense of their development (READ: they do not need 5,000 things to get this sense. 50 would probably convey the message much more clearly and succinctly, for example).

Let go of the extras. That’s right, I said let go. Not photograph. Why? Because in this case photographing every item for fear of is merely a virtual equivalent to physical cluttering/hoarding. More on this later, but the bottom line is: how many photos of your own artwork would you have the patience to scroll through 20 years from now?

(Note: whether or not your preferred method of preservation is virtual, it’s crucial that you first edit the creations to be preserved.)

 

Inspiration and motivation to finally get the kids' art and schoolwork under control and beautifully organized!

 

Then, you’ll want to get a little display system for hot of the press items (if you don’t have one already), as well as implement a proper storage method for the long-term keepers.

If you choose to go the digital route, there are plenty of apps, websites and services that specialize in capturing and preserving kids’ artwork, like ArtKiveArtifact Uprising, Blurb books, and Pinhole Press to name a few.

If you choose to keep the originals, you can easily store them in standard art portfolios or storage boxes.

 Psssst: Tips on specific artwork systems over here

 Look at you: Parent of the Year.

 

 P.S. No kids? Organize your own art. Or, hey, I’ve got plenty of other non-child specific weekend assignments, so, please.

P.P.S. If you decide to take on the weekend assignment, be sure to pass the urge on to others by sharing on social media using the hashtag #MYLIVESIMPLY.

 

Image credits: Young House Love, Sawyer Berson, Photography by Jamie of The Paper Deer for Artifact Uprising, Clare Scholes, Mondocherry via life instyle

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eye-opening read: the most common reasons used to hold onto things aren't actually good reasons at all!

1. Whether or not it was a gift

2. How much it cost

3. Where it came from

4. How long you’ve had it

5. What it entailed to get it

6. How many times you’ve used it

7. How much it may be worth to others

8. How much you could get or not get for selling it

9. Its potential utility

10. Your caring for the environment

11. How much you love the idea of it 

12. Whether or not it belongs to a larger set

13. Who it belonged to before you

14. Whether or not everyone you know has kept their version of it 

 

And, ladies and gentleman, the only real reasons to ever keep anything: 

1. You love it with every corner of your heart 

2. You use it with unfaltering regularity

3. Its presence in your life and utility in your days makes you unquestionably the best possible version of yourself

 

Image credit: Photography by Saretta Jimenez via Glitter Guide