Minimal Monday

I must admit, in light of Elon Musk’s recent shenanigans, I was happy to have the perfect excuse to ditch Twitter. It’s not as though I really needed an excuse, but until the quit-twitter bandwagon, I had been letting inertia keep me there. I was an inactive user (wait, is that an oximoron?) I had created the account long ago, back when I thought I had to do All the Things, and then I felt inadequate because I was too overwhelmed and inconsistent to actually partake in any meaningful way. I do appreciate that many people will miss the old Twitter; I am just not one of them.

I don’t want to do All the Things. I want to do a couple things well. I want to be happy with how my memoir is turning out, and once it’s published I want to do my part to get it in the right readers’ hands, those who will benefit from my story. I want to do this mindfully.

At a time when writers and other artists and entrepreneurs are being told to be heard, play big, and be seen, be everywhere, all I want to do is the opposite of that. More and more, I just want to be quiet. I want to keep writing and sharing my writing, but beyond that I want to be still. I crave to be in nature, and cook creative and healthy meals, and, borrowing from James Taylor, to shower the people I love with love.

It must be the act of writing memoir, the calling forth of my memories, regrets, and truth that is causing me to feel, I don’t know, reverent? Humble? I am at peace with the process but I require a lot of reflection, presence, and solitude to nurture this process and to allow the right words to come through me. And I am beginning to trust that this is enough for now, and that things are going to unfold as they should. I believe that my story will shed light, educate, and offer hope. I believe it so much that I don’t want to shout it. I want to whisper with my whole heart.

Or maybe I’m just lazy. But I don’t think so.

Perhaps it is partly due to the stage of writing that I am in, or my age, but I think it’s more than that, and I am curious to find out where this feeling takes me.

I know I am not the only one tired of all that steals our attention when we just need to be still. We are all finding our way to our balance, our sweet spot, the outer reflection of our inner worlds. It looks different for each person and it is never a linear path, is it?

Minimal Monday

I have been thinking about the ways in which we do or do not honor our commitments to ourselves. I think this is an area that I sometimes struggle with. I am great at honoring my commitments to others. If I say I am going to do something, you can bet I will follow through. But although I keep some commitments to myself, I have broken others on many occasions.

Why is that? Why is my word to others more important than my word to myself? This is something I am working on changing right now. I believe that this one skill- prioritizing our own commitments to things we say we want to do for our own lives- is a meta skill that can uplevel our whole lives.

Exercising this skill builds a sense of self-trust which is so important, but what if the habit of putting others’ wants, needs, or expectations above our own is so ingrained, so seemingly natural, that it is hard to change?

Here is an empowering thought that I feel is helping me:

Every time I make a choice to honor my own purpose, health or wellbeing, and then follow through, I am ultimately adding light to the world. And every choice that stifles or limits my potential denies those benefits to others as well.

Honor yourself first and see how your light expands.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

I love that quote and I believe in it with my whole heart. Any worthwhile commitment made with sincerity and certainty, even if we haven’t spoken it aloud, will reveal all manner of support. But it seems that something much less fortunate can also be true:

The moment you commit to something big or new or scary, your reptile brain tries to keep you safe by sabotaging you.

How can both of these things be true? Aren’t they contradictory?

When I finally knew with absolute certainty that I would launch my memoir into the world, I found a publisher. And when I agreed to a deadline, all sorts of other “needs” cropped up; I suddenly needed to help others, to travel, to throw a party, enter a race, and cook nightly gourmet meals.

The best explanation that I can come up with is this: Every day, and perhaps even every moment, we are choosing between our higher and lower selves. Just because our higher selves set a valuable goal and we have the means to achieve it, doesn’t mean our lower brains won’t try to lure us back to safety, familiarity, or laziness. And it really gets tricky when the so-called distractions are good, noble pursuits.

How do we know when we are engaging in “shiny new object” syndrome (SOS), and when we are simply adding more fun, meaning, or creativity to our lives? When is it self-sabotage and when is it just living?

I think that is something we all have to answer for ourselves. I’d love to ponder this more, but you’ll have to excuse me; I’ve got a party to throw.

Minimal Monday

My twin granddaughters are turning five, and they requested a cheetah-rainbow cake. At first, I wasn’t sure if it would be a cake with cheetahs and rainbows on it, or a rainbow in cheetah pattern, or a cheetah in rainbow pattern. I told them I wanted to be surprised. Turns out the frosting was made in a rainbow-colored cheetah pattern. Why didn’t I think of that?

I love how these little girls know what they like and what they want. With their lives still a blank canvas, they are expressing themselves authentically; the world hasn’t had a chance to direct their paintbrush, doling out preferences or critiques that cast doubt on their own desires.

Some of us were lucky enough to reach adulthood with our own intrinsic motivation in tact, which is amazing. Many others developed self-doubt under the influences of society, rigid parenting, or other outside forces that teach a still-developing person to seek the approval of others; this path comes with a lot of cognitive dissonance, as we want or feel one thing but say or do another, for the sake of acceptance. Worse than that is when we no longer feel the dissonance because we’ve adopted others’ demands or preferences as our own.

I am not at all shunning societal norms or construction criticism or mature guidance; all of that has its proper place. It becomes a problem only when we become so outer-focused that we lose touch with our own compass. I love the wise strategy of asking children what they think of their own various projects, choices, outfits, artwork, instead of just doling out a compliment or opinion. Children growing up trusting themselves is a beautiful thing.

When it was time to cut the birthday cake, my granddaughters didn’t seem to notice or care what anyone else thought of it. They loved it. They had confidently made their choice and enjoyed every rainbow-cheetah bite.

Oh the simplicity of that. I hope they hold on to it forever.

Minimal Monday

Here is a simple recipe that I’ve used over and over to make this yummy, portable snack. I think the official recipe name is Peanut Butter Bites, but in my home they’ve been called Blobs, Balls and “Those Round Things”. You can eat them right out of the freezer or fridge. In my opinion, the colder they are the better they taste.

1 Cup oats

2/3 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup peanut butter, partially melted for easy stirring

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/3 cup honey

*optional 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix it all together, roll into small balls, and you are done.

Minimal Monday

Last night I had the great pleasure of attending a James Taylor concert at the beautiful Tanglewood outdoor music venue in Lenox, Massachusetts. He put on a great show, and so did my adorable four-year-old twin granddaughters who got to stay up way past their bedtime. By the time the concert began, we had already enjoyed more than two hours of food, drinks, conversation, eventful potty trips and exploring the grounds. When darkness fell, the twins thought it was great fun to hold their little lanterns and adorn themselves with glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces their parents had packed.

I got a kick out of their quiet but silly commentary as James Taylor sang “Carolina In My Mind”.

“Can’t you see the sunshine?”

“No, no I can’t”, one of them exclaimed. “It’s dark!”

Last night was a late night for all of us, and I had no particular plans to celebrate the 4th of July today, on the actual holiday. But I did the urge to make a special dessert of acai bowls, so off I went to a nearby grocery store for granola and fresh raspberries and blueberries for the bowls. But once I arrived at the store, I realized I had left my credit card in last night’s purse.

I considered going back to the store after driving back home, but instead that thing happened when I am just still and peaceful enough to let a better idea enter my mind. The idea was a very simple one: to make do with what I had; to relax instead of returning to the store; to get creative, to simplify, to embrace the idea of less.

So that is what I did. I pulled some frozen blueberries out of my freezer, gathered a few chia seeds, walnuts and hemp hearts from my pantry and we had some simple fixings for the acai bowls to enjoy on this beautiful day.

Happy 4th of July!

Can’t you see the sunshine?

Acai bowls

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.