Monday’s Meditation: On Why The Time To Make A Change Is Now

Monday, January 16, 2017

A reminder about why you should never wait for the ideal moment to come around to make a positive change in your life.

I’ve taken a critical stance on the whole notion of the new year, this year, it turns out.

Tending to believe that the calendar is, to a large degree, arbitrary, I’ve tried to remind you that external timelines pale in comparison to your inner, intuitive clock. I’ve wanted to create content that alleviates your anxiety and diminishes the pressure that can be so common this time of year. 

Time continues, I’ve said.

Life goes as it has been going, I’ve written.

But there’s a caveat that accompanies that sentiment. It isn’t that I want to turn the tables on you, but that I feel obliged to also remind you that unless we actively decide to change things, life will invariably, with some amount of The Unexpected thrown in there for good measure, stay the same. If we let it.

If you believe that there will be a glorious point in the future the clouds will part, and the seas will stand still, and the flurry of activity of your family will pause, and the myriad responsibilities you have will momentarily abate; and you will recognize this moment as your Chance to finally address the aspect of your life that’s been slowly diminishing your wellbeing for years, or to finally face the Big Scary, or to, at long last, answer the question of what a joyful, fulfilling life really looks like for you, you will likely never make those changes or explore that different way of being, or adopt those new habits.

Minutes will keep expiring in a sixty second cycle, the kids will need to be fed breakfast again tomorrow morning, and your boss will expect that report on her desk next Friday.

You and I are on a moving walkway that keeps us headed wherever we’re going. It doesn’t make stops; it’s not a bus. “Here, hop off so you can stand still and figure everything out,” is a sentence it never says.

Part of our work here is to figure out how to make space for our needs and desires in the midst of motion. We must learn how to decode clarity from complex scenarios, and how to declare a moment that arrives looking like any other as one bound for momentous shifts.

We have to understand that if we experience everyday life as overwhelming, we will always feel as though we are drowning. And the more we believe this, the harder it becomes for us to fathom our ability to take on another challenge.

A project that will ultimately bring us more fulfillment and contentment than we have ever before experienced often first appears as one that merely adds to our load. And perhaps it will be that, in the outset.

But if we can just make peace with that fact; if we can remember that pretty much everything we’ve undertaken in the past has been launched in conditions that were decidedly not ideal; if we can recall that some of the best decisions we’ve ever made have been instantaneous, fleeting feelings of clarity, and if we rely mainly on hope and faith, then we can open ourselves up to the possibility that every moment has the capacity to be the start of something new. 

 

 

10 Superior (& Superior Looking) Versions Of Common Household Necessities

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A primary tenent of Live Simply is the concept of elevating the everyday, i.e. relishing every opportunity to make the seemingly or would-be mundane into something beautiful and delightful. 

It is due to this that when one of my clients stopped me in my tracks the other day to regale me about the superiority of her dustpan, I completely appreciated her remarks. I had previously been giving the dustpan very little regard; I wasn’t sweeping and it was merely out because, hello, all the things were. 

Evidently, this dustpan was superior to all others. For one thing, there was its weight to consider. And for second, the crucial detail of its lip-to-floor positioning. I’m not sure how long one can possibly talk about a dustpan, but I feel we had to have at least come close to the record. 

But the bottom line was that my client was living proof of the fact that one may truly love everything one owns, and feel as though they have chosen it purposefully over the rest. Even your dang dust pan can and should be something that in some way delights you.

But don’t stop there; this fact holds true for any number of household tools. Less with the mundane! More with the elevated everyday! 

Superior (and better looking!) versions of common household items.

 

1. Sweeper and dustpan

2. Gold shredder

3. Simplehuman step can

4. Laundry stain brush

5. Blade brush (For handy knife cleaning that–bonus!–helps to ensure you won’t slice your fingers off.)

6. Braided extension cord

7. Tabletop brush and dustpan

8. Goat hair duster wand

9. Copper cloths

10. Hardwood floor broom

 

 

 

Please, DON’T Try This Organizing “Trick” At Home!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The other day I was casually scrolling through my Pinterest feed when a nicely designed graphic on closet editing appeared. This is far from uncommon; Pinterest detects a theme to my posts (weird) and assumes I want to see pins relating to organization almost exclusively. Mostly, I ignore them because the advice they contain is helpful, if somewhat benign. 

But this particular pin caught my eye. It originated from a very popular website, and it was written in an approachable and concise manner. I glanced over the text, casually co-signing its straight-forward advice. But as I read further down, I cringed. What was being advised, happily, clearly, pseudo-Simply was one of my least favorite organizing techniques. I oppose it so strongly that I’ve already once decried it.

The common organizing technique that professional organizer Annie Traurig warns against. "Only use this 'trick' if you want to increase the clutter in your life.'"

Pin: Take all the stuff you think you want but can’t in any way articulate a reason as to why and shove it in a box. Close up the box and put it up high, high above or somewhere low, low down. The darker and more remote the area you can place this box of maybe’s in, the better. That way you won’t have to look at them for the duration of your test period, which shall last no more and no less than thirty days. (Which, conveniently, is just long enough for you to completely forget the box and anything within exists!) After thirty days has elapsed, if you didn’t find yourself desperately yearning for anything in the by-now-complete-mystery-box, don’t even think about opening it up, just donate it! (We know you’ll do that hahahahah good luck dummy.) (We’ve never tried this, by the way! But we read it somewhere else so it must be good and hey, this is totally gonna get us loads of traffic, weeeeee!).

Annie: NOOOOOO!!

STOPPPPPPP!!!! 

DON’T YOU EVEN REALIZE WHAT YOU’RE DOING?!?! 

PEOPLE CAN SEE THIS!!!!

Okay, okay, so I’ll admit I’m overdramatizing the issue a bit. 

I know that everyone is unique, and that there are people–maybe even some of you reading–who commonly use this and other similar techniques for editing with success. I know that’s so because the three people who actually follow through with this practice have assured me they exist. I just haven’t personally encountered a single client case where anything resembling this practice results in a person dutifully and blindly donating the collection of stuff they put away to see if they miss. (That was painful to type).

Unless you are one of the three miraculous souls mentioned above, please, please don’t try this at home. Please don’t indulge your desire to delay decisions by pretending you have “maybes.” Please don’t mistake your having owned things for as long as you have as not qualifying as your trial run. Please don’t think you should extend this period, to further prove to yourself what you already know in your gut. Please don’t purposefully set yourself a task that’s so damn near impossible to remember to follow through on. Please don’t prioritize safeguarding your anxiety above pushing yourself in the direction of clarity.

I have faith in you. I have so much confidence in your ability to make decisive choices. I know that you know, in your bones, right this second, what you really love and need and what you don’t.

Be bold. Trust your intuition. Don’t box it up.