Minimal Monday

I want to pivot back to the kitchen today and express my love for a clean and organized refrigerator. I know it may sound trivial to some, but if it is true that “how we do one thing is how we do everything”, then I declare our kitchen habits are important.

A simple way to stay on top of refrigerator hygiene is to get in the habit of checking it before every grocery day. The thought of adding more food to a fridge that may have expired items, sticky shelves, or condiment chaos, is unappealing. On the other hand, emptying groceries into a clean and well organized fridge is a pleasure.

If we have tidy fridge habits, we will likely also have tidy pantry habits and organized shopping lists, and sensible meal planning patterns. One small area can have ripple effects in other areas, on peace of mind, time, energy, and health.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

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:

If there is too much inner and outer extraneous matter, we will avoid – or never find – the way to healing. On the contrary, it is hard to be uncluttered and remain lost, because the way forward is revealed in the open spaces. Clarity will lead you home every time.

THE UNCLUTTERED MOTHER: Free Up Your Space, Mind & Heart

Minimal Monday

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.

Please consider voting and please accept my heartfelt thank you!

Voting link here: https://covr.org/covr-awards-public-voting/

You will see The Uncluttered Mother on the ballot in the Visionary Non-fiction BOOKS category, Question 2.36.

Thank you so much for voting! https://covr.org/covr-awards-public-voting/

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

 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.

Minimal Monday

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.

Minimal Monday

Happy 2022!  I am late to the party, I know. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this year and it just comes back to this:  I want to keep simplifying my life in ways that support living according to my top priorities. I think we all want this to some extent, don’t we?

My top priorities continue to be health, family and writing. It was never difficult for me to narrow down what I value most to just three areas, but these three encompass a lot. For instance, “health” includes physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. “Family” includes strong relationships with multiple VIP members. And “writing” is code for completing my memoir, continuing to share my nonfiction title, The Uncluttered Mother, and seeking out various speaking opportunities. In addition, my writing life includes a lot of reading, some of which I will share in my blog posts.

I am so happy that you are along for the ride with me in 2022. I know that you have your own top priorities as well as your own challenges in honoring them.  I really think this is a universal desire – to do more of what we value and less of what we don’t – because in doing so, we feel more like our unique, creative selves. While living life on our own terms, we have more to offer the world that is authentically generous.

All of this is to say that in 2022 my blog posts will be called “Minimal Monday” and each week I will share one thing that I am doing to increase creativity, energy, and peace. Like The Uncluttered Mother‘s subtitle, I will finding more ways to Free Up Your Space, Mind & Heart.  In keeping with the minimal theme, I will keep my posts to a minimum – nothing too lengthy – just one simple idea at a time to nudge us into manifesting the lives we desire.

Are you in?

I will see you next Monday.

Life is complex, but you are simply divine.

December News

Happy December! I hope this season fills you with far more peace than stress, more healing than chaos, more open spaces for dreaming, breathing, being.

An excerpt from my book The Uncluttered Mother is available in the December 2021 issue of BaystateParent Magazine. If you are looking to simplify your holidays, you will enjoy “Have Yourself a Mediocre Holiday”. You can also read it here: https://www.baystateparent.com/story/lifestyle/family/2021/12/02/have-yourself-mediocre-holiday/8572493002/

If you want the whole book, The Uncluttered Mother is available as an apple ebook and ibook:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-uncluttered-mother/id1593686311?ls=1

And of course, on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875169163/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_NF90YHKDCJ2K3WSGB0VF

If you enjoy 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!

Review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=0875169163

The Uncluttered Mother

I can hardly wait to share my new book with you! It is being released by Devorss & Company in September, and is available now for preorder almost everywhere books are sold.

A few fall author event dates to share, mostly outdoors:

*9/25/21 @10:30 am Douglas MA Orchard & Farm at the pavilion

*9/26/21 @1-3pm Westboro, MA Tatnuck Bookseller

* 9/29/21 @2-6pm Grafton Farmer’s Market Providence Rd.

*10/10/21 @2pm Hardwick, MA Vineyard & Winery

Relevance

In the midst of a pandemic I get my first book contract and let the cognitive dissonance settle in.  I am elated!  It is meaningless! By the time the book is published, will the words I’ve written even matter?  In a world full of sickness and chaos, is art even relevant?

My husband and I go away to celebrate our 33rd anniversary.  He is reluctant in these times, but I’ve found us a private spot on Cape Cod, we pack a bag, some food, and we go.  On the drive down I am describing the adorable guest house I have secured for us. I am happy to escape the everydayness of our lives, the news, the impertinence of my writing.  It is called the Sweetest Little Suite, I tell him.

It has probably been renamed The Covid Cabin, he quips.

Don’t make me laugh, I say. There is nowhere to pee.

I know the state of the country, the world for God’s sake, is not funny right now.  It is dark and uncertain, but we need to laugh when we can because the crying will come too, if not for ourselves, for others.

It is freakishly warm for the middle of November, but we don’t see anyone else at the seashore except for maybe a few people sitting so far down the beach they are like large grains of sand, their movement almost imperceptible.

It starts off as a dare, me tempting my husband to jump into the crashing waves, and it ends with both of us running into the ocean, going under.  He disappears first and when he pops up he is shouting for me to hurry before the next wave drags me violently across the sand.  Shrieking, I dive in, my timing more a reflex of panic than any kind of strategy.

When you’ve been married this long, there aren’t many firsts you haven’t met; first home, first child, first move, job loss, illness. We’ve had them all.  But this- today- swimming in the ocean  in the middle of fall- for our November anniversary- this is a new first.

I emerge from the cold, invigorated. The sun warms my skin as it creates glitter across the water.  The reflection is spectacular; there is so much light.  I am insignificant, but at the same time connected to the brilliance of God’s creativity.

Fully present, mind and body in harmony, I take it all in. I see and feel the ocean, the world, as the most amazing work of art.

In this moment, the art is everything.

Where’d You Go, Creativity?

It is no accident that I am writing about the challenge of carving out a creative life when it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here.

Why is it so challenging to carve out a creative life that stays consistent?

Allow me to state the obvious:  Creative projects are often  solo pursuits in which we have to give ourselves permission, accountability, boundaries around our time and the will to keep going when it is just so easy to let it go among everything else competing for our time and attention.

And in addition to a creative life requiring time to create, it also requires time to just be. Writers and other creatives need alone time like they need air and water.  So if we need quiet time to prime the pump and quiet time to create, and we live in a time that practically insists – or at least expects – us to be hyper focused on the outside world, much more so than on our inner selves,  then of course it takes more than a little effort to protect a creative life.

Essentially though, I know I am capable of doing better, of doing more. Life is full of choices and I think I am running out of excuses.

Recently, I saw the movie Where’d You Go, Bernadette, based on the bestselling novel. Bernadette, so far removed from her former artistic career, has become anxious, destructive and unhappy.

It’s not so difficult to imagine a bout of writer’s block that goes on far too long resulting in my own demise. Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but the longer I leave a written book gathering dust, an essay unwritten, or new ideas to die on the vine, the more intimidating it feels to crack open the door to the work. It’s as though I cannot bear to face what I have neglected.

Good things, life affirming things, happen during a creative spell that are hard to replicate. When engaged in a creative pursuit, we are in the flow of a higher consciousness. In the act of creation we feel energized,  joyful, at peace, and expanded.

We don’t think and feel in the same way. Those neural networks our survival thinking had wired are turned off …we see new possibilities. We are now quantum observers of a new destiny. And that release heals the body and frees the mind”.

 ­- Dr. Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.

In short, we are better when we are creating! We are happier, calmer and freer. Who doesn’t want that, for themselves and every creative person they love?

***

I could write about how to fight the good fight and maintain consistency in creativity, but clearly after such a dry spell, I am not the one to give such advice. Besides, it’s been spelled out already in some fabulous books such as The War of Art and Big Magic.

But speaking of magic, I occasionally get some good insights in my dreams and recently I awoke with these words in my head:  Just do a little bit each day.  The message was that simple and that clear.

So there you have it. This was my little bit for today.