Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a podcast about healing. This particular episode was about the ways in which decluttering can be a tool for healing. I can easily talk about simplifying as a means to free up your space, mind, calendar and creativity. I am a fervent proponent of the many benefits; the freedom, the momentum, the lightness….
But when asked to speak of decluttering as a practice for healing, I have to take a deep breath. The topic goes straight to my heart and conjures up the experience of navigating my own core wound. Indeed, I do believe that decluttering is a tool for allowing and uncovering what needs our attention. Freed from distractions and clutter, we are left to face ourselves, to come home to ourselves.
The conversation took that deeper dive, and if I had to summarize it in one passage, it would be this:
My book, The Uncluttered Mother: Free Up Your Space, Mind & Heart has been nominated for this year’s COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) awards. My vision for this book is to inspire mothers to simplify in ways that uncover their magnificent, divine selves.
Pleaseconsider voting and please accept my heartfelt thank you!
I love the momentum that takes place while decluttering. Clearing off my writing space by putting some books back in a bookshelf led to me organizing the whole bookshelf. A few books got donated and the rest are now properly categorized. I no longer feel the need to keep my desk cluttered with writing books because if I need one, I know exactly where to find it now. Simplifying one area often leads to a desire to simplify another area. Best of all, as tolerance for clutter decreases, clarity and inspiration increases.
Iam so very grateful for the 5-star review I received on Amazon yesterday for The Uncluttered Mother! I appreciate each and every reader, and I hope my book continues to inspire moms of all agesand stages.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” -Rumi
This morning I awoke feeling especially committed to finishing and seeking publication for my memoir. It is my writing project that requires the most vulnerability, risk, and the biggest investment of time and heart and mental strength.
Several years ago, I took first place at Boston MOTH live storytelling event while performing a piece from my memoir-in-progress. I was recently able to obtain a recording of this event, although I haven’t played it yet. I had been very encouraged after that night at the MOTH – elated even- and I had high hopes for my memoir. But then everyday life and fear and the distractions of other projects kicked in and it was just so easy to deny how much time was slipping by without making a lot of progress. I had excerpts published here and there, but too often I let the work go untouched for weeks, and often months, at a time. Those months turned into years of a project that rarely saw the light of day. I was moving it forward, but at a snails pace.
I guess it has taken me until now to finally give myself the permission that is required to complete such a thing. I think that permission has been building, coming from many sources, both internal and external, but the bottom line is that I finally accept that this book is part of my purpose.
Shining a light on our woundswhile also showing how we are transformed by the wisdom that is granted, or the knowledge, or healing or forgiveness, is the gift of memoir. It is one way, my way, of being of service and finding meaning in a world where suffering happens.
Perhaps I’ve been a slow learner, or a fearful participant, and am finally embracing the work is that is mine to do. I am grateful to be all-in on this project once again, and this time to see it all the way through to the light.
If you have read and enjoyed this book, please consider leaving me a review. It would be greatly appreciated. I want to share my book with hardworking, overwhelmed moms far and wide. Reviews are an important part of making this happen. Thank you!
Like most of us, I am horrified and saddened by the war in Ukraine. It has me thinking about the rise to power of Putin and other authoritarian leaders, past and current, and about the terrible harm that stems from the abuse of power.
Don’t most problems, at their core, stem from an abuse of power? Disconnected from their authentic power, people seek destructive, egoic power. From psychological or physical dominance over a child, a partner, a family, a company, a race, a nation, or the Earth itself, when unempathetic, toxic people hold power, people suffer greatly. And how did these people in power become toxic in the first place? Oftentimes from someone else abusing them much earlier in life.
Contemplating this idea runs the risk of leaving me feeling hopeless and powerless; hopeless for the vulnerable, for the children, for a world where people can intimidate and control and manipulate their way to power.
But feeling hopeless just contributes negative energy to an already chaotic time, so what is the antidote to that? For some it is activism, donations, or prayer. I think for all of us, returning again and again to our authentic power, our true Self will contribute positively, collectively, to humanity.
Meditation, caring for ourselves and others, doing our own healing work, taking a single deep breath.
Moment by moment there is a choice to help tip the scale toward love.
Just as we feel better when we clean up our outer environment, so too do we feel good when we clean up shop in our bodies. I am not typically one to follow a very specific diet or a fad, but I have fallen in love with intermittent fasting. Even without COVID-19 restrictions, I write from home, I spend a lot of time at home, and having 24-7 access to my kitchen can lead to an unstructured, cluttered eating routine (hello grazing!) Intermittent fasting provides some welcomed structure to my daily eating without unnecessary complication or rigidity.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet at all, but rather an eating style that involves alternating between periods of eating and fasting. There is plenty of information on the benefits of intermittent fasting and I encourage you to do your own research if you are interested, or consult your doctor if you have any medical concerns, but in a nutshell, IF has amazing health benefits, especially brainhealth which of course is connected to overall health. If you follow a reasonably healthy, whole-foods eating plan of your choice while also practicing intermittent fasting, you are likely to start feeling the benefits pretty quickly.
We all fast at night while we sleep, and the time-restricted intermittent fasting I now follow is simply a matter of lengthening the fasting window and shortening the eating window. I follow the 16:8 window (fasting for sixteen hours & eating for eight) because I am able to consistently maintain this without feeling like I am suffering, while still gaining the benefits of feeling lighter, clearer, and just overall good.
On a typical day I have a nutritious brunch at ten o’clock in the morning, a decent sized snack mid-day (usually a healthy smoothie or fruit and nuts), and a filling supper by six o’clock in the evening. Then I close my kitchen for the night and repeat the same thing the next day, eating sixteen hours later. I am an early to bed kind of person, but people who stay up late and like to eat a later dinner, could follow the 16:8 window by having their last meal around eight o’clock in the evening and eat their first meal at noon the next day. If 16:8 feels too restrictive, you could try 14:10. Some people are able to do a 18:6 window, and they may benefit greatly, but I don’t think I could stick to that. 16:8 seems to be my sweet spot.
This was just a minimal amount of information on intermittent fasting, and I will likely continue the conversation on another Minimal Monday as I continue to learn and experience this eating lifestyle.
Somewhere in Germany, a young man named Rahul Yadav, from India, is pursuing his PhD in engineering while his heart is also very much in the social sciences. His new podcast, Q-T.A.L.K.S, is his own project and unique contribution to society. Q-T.A.L.K.S stands for Quest for The Adventure of Learning and Knowing through Stories. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rahul on the topic of my book, The Uncluttered Mother.
Several years ago, I worked at a college as an academic coach. My students needed assistance with organizing their workload, breaking down large assignments into logical small steps, making lists and recording important dates in their academic agendas. Sometimes I would help them with assignments such as writing papers, but mostly my job was to help them with executive functioning skills and meeting goals.
Their parents were paying the college a premium price for this coaching, and for some of them it worked very well. But for many others, there was a glaring problem that was getting in the way of their success.
The goals weren’t theirs.
One particular student comes to mind (though there were several). He had wanted to go to a film school in California with his best friend. He was a kid who did not make friends easily and this friendship was important to him. They shared a passion and he lit up when talking about his dream. His friend went off alone to this California school and my student talked about it with a mix of excitement, longing, and resignation. His parents wanted him to go the more practical route of this traditional school and so here he was. Unmotivated. Sad. Bored. No matter how detailed we made his agenda, no matter how much encouragement and perfect to-do lists I gave him, he would return to our next session with very little crossed off his list. He would make the least amount of progress towards “his goals”, and carry the same sad look in his eyes. There was no joy, no energy, no flow. The most alive I had seen him was the day we talked about what he really wanted to be doing.
Isn’t it true for all of us that working toward someone else’s goal is like swimming upstream? A goal we think we should go after, rather than the thing that our heart is calling us to try may lead to some success, but at what cost? And more importantly than what we are doing, is who we are becoming while doing that. Are we meeting challenges with optimism and courage, growing and changing, or are we on automatic pilot to attain the goals that we don’t even recall truly having a longing for in the first place?
My student’s parents were well intentioned and I certainly understand the fear and desires of a parent. It is scary to let go of control and honor our own or our child’s heart desires. But we have a finite amount of time on this earth, and our desires, curiosities, and interests are seeds planted within us like precious breadcrumbs leading us along our journey. How many of us jumped on a path that was never our own?
The more we can silence the fears, the distractions, and the doubts, the clearer the path becomes.
I struggle with digital clutter. Every now and then I get a handle on it by deleting all remaining emails and unsubscribing to a few things. I spend a lot of my writing time at the computer and when I am finished, I don’t want to spend more time on digital decluttering tasks. But I know that part of the answer lies in keeping up with it; in not letting my digital life get out of control to begin with.
I am embarrassed to say how many emails I currently have in my inbox. The sheer volume is simply because I have not prioritized keeping my online quarters clean and manageable. In short, I’ve been a digital slob.
There is a lot of good content online these days and I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I can keep up with a lot of it. But in reality, like most of us, I have limited time each day to read, listen to, or engage in others’ online work, no matter how enticing.
The good news that I keep returning to again and again is this: The most important voice we will ever listen to is our own. A thousand subscriptions to newsletters, email updates or any other fabulous content will never, ever be enough if we can’t hear our own voice. Too many distractions, too much input, will crowd out our own intuition. Clutter – even the good kind- will dilute our own knowingness until it fades far into the background of all the other people’s voices and words and suggestions and opinions that we have hoarded.
One area of simplifying and decluttering that I think has a big payoff is food and kitchen, so I will definitely visit this topic more than once and in many different ways.
What we eat and how we manage meal planning has such an effect on our energy! Better energy equals more creativity, wellness, peace and abundance. I’ll take more of that, please.
Today I went going through all of my cookbooks, choosing which ones to keep, and donating a few others. The ones I hung on to tell some sort of story, or were gifts, or simply have content that I love. For instance, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen was a gift from a thoughtful aunt when my husband was going through cancer treatments. Simply in Season, Buddha Bowls and Oh She Glows Every Day are some other favorites.
The next step I took is going to sound tedious, and I am sure it is not for everyone, but I decided that this effort today will simplify things a bit in the kitchen forevermore.
I browsed through my chosen cookbooks, jotting down the titles of several appealing recipes along with the book and page numbers of where to find them. This has brought my attention to several recipes I had overlooked in the past and now want to try. I will file this “master list” in a small binder to be kept in my pantry.
One more idea. This one is for when you need to use up a few ingredients in your kitchen and aren’t sure what to cook. I simply google the ingredients I want to use, followed by the word “recipe” and voila. Good ole Google gives me some options.