How to Discover and Prevent Hidden Money Leaks

money leaks princess piggy bank

Money is a touchy topic. Having money brings a sense of security and safety and allows us to keep up appearances so we feel more acceptable in the world around us. We can use it to look good and feel good, or even comfort ourselves when we are feeling low.

And yet, most of us feel some level of shame around it, even when we handle our money well.

Either we don’t feel we have enough or we judge ourselves for how we spend what we do have.

Feeling peaceful about money comes from using it in a way that is in alignment with your values and making conscious choices when you spend. It comes from finding the sweet spot between thrift and giving occasional gifts to yourself.

What usually happens though is that we get all fired up by someone’s expert marketing or something someone said and our mind convinces us that we “need” to buy things. Not necessarily big things, all the little things add up to.

And in the end. we find ourselves with a lot of stuff we didn’t really need and probably don’t use.

How much could you have saved last year if you avoided these extra purchases? Let’s find out.

Get a notepad and pen and walk through your house listing everything you have purchased in the last year that:

  • You don’t wear regularly
  • Doesn’t bring value to your life
  • Are not using
  • You don’t really like
  • Forgot you even bought it
  • Didn’t live up to your expectations
  • You could have gotten free, like books from the library

Look in your closets, drawers, and on your shelves. You might be surprised what you find. When you have your list, go through and estimate how much money you spent on each item and then total them up. Shocking isn’t it?  Keep in mind that this is meant to open your eyes to new opportunities for saving money and no self-judgment is allowed.

The first step to changing our habits is awareness and just imagine how much money you can save this year by shifting this pattern. Make a new commitment to using your money in ways that do not allow advertisers or the people next door to run your financial life.

What about the things you bought last year? They have become clutter and don’t belong in your home. Selling or donating them can help you anchor what you have learned and reinforce your new decision to play with money in a way that is in alignment with your values and goals.

If you would like the support of a coach to help you improve your relationship with money and take control of your finances CONTACT LINDA to schedule a complimentary consultation.

How to Spark Joy in All Areas of Your Life (Not Just Clutter)

Marie Kondo books

When I first read Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up I wasn’t all that impressed. It felt too harsh, rigid, and maybe even a little OCD, but for some reason I felt drawn to checking out her next book called, “Spark Joy”.

One of the things she suggests with her Konmari method is to hold each thing we own and ask ourselves, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, we let it go.

While making us joyful is a pretty high standard to hold all of our possessions to, the real value of this question is that it opens the door to awareness and allows us to make conscious choices about what we fill our lives with.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves if what we do sparks joy in other areas as well.

  • How we spend our time
  • What we do with our money
  • Commitments we make to others
  • Our schedules and calendars
  • What we do when we have free time
  • Our relationships, friendships, and alliances

Maybe there is more to this tidying up trend then I realized. By letting go of things that no longer serve me and focusing on what brings me joy, my life is becoming richer and more meaningful.

Care to join me?

Don’t forget to leave a comment! I would love to hear what you think about tidying up our homes and lives.

The Tidying Up Website

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Spark Joy

One Year to Live

dandelion

Death has been stalking me. Not my death, though.  It has been fluttering it’s wings around people I care about. In the last few months I have lost 2 friends, several people I know have lost loved ones, and my friend Sybil is still in hospice experiencing an extended farewell to this world.

I worry that people will start to avoid me and am at a loss sometimes for how to respond to the simple question, “How are you?”  It’s not that I am all doom and gloom. I process my feelings privately, focus on gratitude, and seem to be recovering quickly.  But, it just keeps happening.

A Year to LiveSo I’ve been thinking about the limited time we have on earth and how to live more fully. When someone mentioned doing a journaling practice around the book, “A Year to Live” by Stephen Levine it caught my interest. I remember considering this years ago, but decided the time wasn’t right. Maybe it is now.

I ordered the book at the library and coincidentally the author himself passed away on that day. I decided not to consider that a bad sign.

“A Year to Live” is about living life as if you knew when your expiration date is. It is about embracing life and making choices that enhance the time you have. It is about becoming grounded in what matters most to you and amplifying what you love. 

What would that look like for you?  What would you change or do if you only had one year to live?

Would you finally go after your dream? Heal relationships? Forgive? Travel? Spend more time in nature? Relax? Serve the world in a big way? Be more connected to the ones you love?

I am creating my own personal program around this, not necessarily following the book and can already feel things shifting inside. My focus is more on how I want to live life, what is most meaningful, and, I seem to be clearing out some things that didn’t feel worth my precious time.

  • I let go of a book I was reading and not enjoying fully
  • I spent a morning gardening instead of working on the computer
  • My conversations are seeming more precious
  • The urge to do another round of decluttering and organizing is getting stronger
  • I seem to be moving forward gracefully on some projects that have been on my to do list for a while.

The process I am creating includes practices related to awareness, authenticity, and being connected to my feelings. More will come as it evolves. 

I intend to write every day. The first journal entry will be day 365 of my yearlong process and I will count down from there. The next day will be day 364, then day 363, until I get to day 1.  I don’t know what will happen after that, but I believe that my life will be fuller and richer for having done this process.  And, since I will be vibrantly alive, I may decide to do it all over again. Or, something totally different.

I will be starting this journaling journey soon and would like to invite you to join me. I haven’t thought out the details yet, but would love to share this adventure of living fully with whoever feels called to join in.

If it speaks to you and you want to be included or have questions email me or contact me here.

Let’s live this year wholeheartedly together.

The Pros and Cons of Simple Living

simplicity

I have always felt drawn to living a simple life. It feels peaceful to me and helps calm my scattered mind.

At first living simply was a matter of necessity. I was a young single mother with limited resources and every penny counted. I could not acquire a lot of stuff and lived at a level based on needs with a few little extras thrown in.

Now, my simple lifestyle is a choice. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not perfect. I have “things”, but not as many as most people do. I gravitate toward light, color, room to move around in, and things that feel soft and snuggly.

I even joined the simple living movement and attended Simplicity Circles in the past, but there really wasn’t much interest and the groups eventually fell away.

That seems to be changing now as people are feeling more overwhelmed by crazy busy lives and brains that are overloaded. Clearing clutter, simple living, and minimalism are getting a lot of attention again.

Choosing to live simply is not about scarcity and living without. It is about discovering and focusing on what we find meaningful, beautiful, and useful. Our lives become full and rich because we have cleared the way to reveal what feeds our soul. 

There are pros and cons to choosing a simple life, but as you can see by my list below, for me the scales are definitely tipped in one direction.

The Pros

  • It feels calm, peaceful and less constricted
  • You are surrounded by things you really love
  • It’s easier to clean
  • You have more space and less clutter
  • You can find things quickly when you need them
  • It saves time and energy
  • Your ability to focus improves
  • Your focus will be on people and experiences before things
  • You are free from trying to live up to a false image
  • You know what you have and where it is kept
  • It’s good for the environment
  • You have more money in the bank
  • It’s less stressful
  • You can afford quality when you minimize quantity
  • You have more time and money to do what you love
  • You attract people who like you for who you are, not your image
  • You can cultivate more meaningful relationships and spend more time with family

The Cons

  • You have fewer things to give or donate to people in need
  • People may perceive you differently when you stop playing the image game
  • You may see them differently
  • You may trade old friends for new ones who are more open
  • Can you tell I’m really having a hard time with the cons list?

Living simply is not an all or nothing thing. You can try it out in a small way and if it feels good move forward at your own speed. If you are like me, each step you take will lead you to a more peaceful life.

In the meantime, you might enjoy these blogs about the simple life:

Be More with Less

Becoming Minimalist

Hip Diggs

The Minimalists

Joel Zaslofsky

The Simple Dollar

Don’t forget to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

6 Proven Ways to Reduce Anxiety

 

anxiety sign and lightbulb

For some reason, anxiety has been a big subject with my coaching clients this week.  Maybe it is the time of year or something in the air, but it seems like a lot of people are feeling anxious.

That makes it the perfect time to share some of my strategies for stopping anxiety in it’s tracks.

4 Count Breathing – With the exception of real emergencies, anxiety is usually about something that may happen in the future or a reaction to something you already experienced. Focusing on your breathing brings you back to the peaceful present moment.  And, since your mind can only focus on one thing at a time, counting blocks out the thoughts that feed your anxious moments. It goes like this:

Take a deep breath in as you slowly count to 4

Hold your breath for a count of 4

Breathe out slowly to the count of 4

Pause before your next breath to the count of 4 

Challenge Your Anxiety – Most of what worries you never really happens.  It is probably not even true.  Your mind just takes you on a wild ride of creative bad scenarios.  I know mine sure does.  When this happens, ask yourself the following questions to bring your focus back into reality:

  • Can I be absolutely sure what I am anxious about will really happen?
  • Could I be blowing this out of proportion?
  • Am I really in danger right now?
  • Is what you are feeling temporary?
  • Do I really need to put my body into a fight or flight response now?
  • What are the facts?  What is the truth?
  • How would it feel to let this go and remember that I will be okay?

Give It To God – Many of the things that cause anxiety are not in your control.  So, what would happen if you just let the Big Guy handle them?  Let him know you are going to put the issue in his hands and will check in with him after a certain period of time.  And then, set the issue out of your mind until it is time to check in.  It is amazing how well this can work.

I give my concerns over to God every night before I go to sleep.  This not only allows for a good night of rest, but can be an excellent preventive measure in the battle with anxiety.  I often wake up with the worrisome situation being resolved or the solutions given to me. Sometimes, I just no longer care as it has lost it’s power over me.

Make Friends with It – Anxiety can feel like a big, powerful thing that has control over you, but that is just not true.  Many things that trigger anxious thoughts were installed in us when we were little and vulnerable and everything felt more powerful than it was.

When you see anxiety for what it really is you can relate to it in a different way.  Even make friends with it.  Some of my clients give their anxiety names like Minnie Mouse, Cookie Monster, or Jumpy George. Doing this facilitates seeing it in a different, less controlling way.

When it shows up, talk to it.  Thank it for offering to help and let it know that you are all grown up now and have things under control.  Have a nice little chat with your new friend and then give him a new assignment, like Protector of Peace or Facilitator of Fun.

Audit Your Input – What you put into your mind and body can contribute to either peace or anxiety.  I am often surprised when clients who drink a lot of caffeine or energy drinks don’t realize that this can contribute to their feeling anxious. You can cultivate more peace within by drinking calming teas and allowing your body and mind to work at their normal capacity.

Another way you can set yourself up for feeling tense and worried is by reading or watching movies and shows that are full of violence or tense energy, especially before bed.  If these are your preferred forms of entertainment give yourself a cushion between them and your bed time to let your body and mind calm down. Even better than that, switch to more peaceful, fun, or meaningful entertainment.  I once read that our bodies react to violence we watch or read as if it is really happening. Do you really want to put yourself through that?

Practice Peaceful Habits – Creating habits and practices that support your calm and well-being can lead to an anxiety free life.  Let go of what no longer serves you and bring in people and things that feed your soul.  Many of my clients find that simplifying their lives by de-cluttering and learning to say no make a big difference.  Others, will swear that exercise, art, meditation, prayer, yoga, or music have minimized the anxiety in their lives. Find what works for you and make a commitment to doing it regularly.

These tool have proven successful for my clients and myself.  I am confident that they can help you too.  Go ahead, give them a try.  You will find more peace when you do.

If you would like coaching support to deal with the anxiety in your life, I would love to help.  Contact Me

Related posts:

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

3 Steps for Successfully Navigating Life Challenges

Rewire Your Brain to Feel More Positive

How I Came to Be a Vegetarian

vegetarian vegetables on plate

The truth is, I think I was born a vegetarian.  I can remember being a young girl and feeling sick to my stomach when I saw raw meat or bird bodies defrosting in the sink.  My parents weren’t open to the idea of me eating differently and eventually I adapted and became an average American carnivore.

I used to love chicken pot pies and traditional Thanksgiving dinners.

And then, one day about 15 years ago I broke out in hives and had to go to the emergency room.  The doctors thought it was a reaction to something I ate and suggested I get screened for allergies. It took a couple weeks to get an appointment and I didn’t want to risk getting hives again, so I began to research food and allergies on my own.

Along the way, I learned some really disturbing things about the foods we are sold and my heart guided me into a vegetarian lifestyle.

It felt like coming home.

While I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 decades, I am not a political one.  I like my meat eating friends and family and it is not up to me to say what is right for them.  I don’t go around introducing myself as “Linda the Vegetarian” and some of my friends may even be surprised when they read this.

What I do know is that being a vegetarian feels right for me on a soul level.  It doesn’t feel like a decision I made, it feels like who I am.

There are other reasons why this lifestyle feels in alignment for me and might appeal to you:

  • My doctor says I am a lot healthier than her other patients my age
  • Food production is bad for the environment
  • If we ate less meat, we could produce more food for starving populations
  • Food production can be cruel to animals
  • Animal products are often full of hormones and other drugs
  • Food animals are often sick and already dying
  • We take in the energy of what we eat

If you are interested in learning more, these resources can get you started:

Movies: (most of these are available on Netflix)

Food Inc

Vegucated

Forks Over Knives

Food Matters

Websites:

Vegetarian Times

Cookie and Kate

The Vegetarian Resource Group

Vegweb

Vegsource

And, of course, there is always me.  Just ask your questions in the comments below and I will be happy to respond.

4 Ways to Feel Abundant & Attract More Money

abundance wayne dyer

If you are a human on this planet Earth, you probably feel like you don’t have enough money.

Since money represents security, safety, and worthiness in our culture this can be a real problem.

The very thought of it can trigger thousands of voices in your head that make you feel afraid for your future or not good enough.

And then, there is all of the programming you received as a child. Money is the root of all evil. It’s selfish to want money.  Our family will always be poor.  Rich people are the enemy. Continue reading

Infobesity: 5 Ways to Prevent Information Overload

infobesity information overload computer phone and newspaper

The internet, email, and cell phones have enhanced our lives in many ways, but they have also filled our brains with more information than ever before, creating an epidemic of infobesity.

For many of us, the new tools of the information age have an addictive quality that can stress our brains and limit our success in other areas of our lives. We may not even realize that our lives are centered more on technology than participating in real life.

Whether you feel addicted or are just trying your best to keep up with the world, this mass of information coming into your brain can impact your life with: Continue reading

How a Little Yellow Lamborghini Taught Me to Stop Comparing Myself to Others

yellow Lamborghini

Someone in my neighborhood is driving a snazzy yellow Lamborghini. You can’t help but notice it, especially when they keep revving the engine when stopped at lights.

I may not be a big car person, but the sleek lines and deep rumble of that engine were calling out to me.  Continue reading

15 Money Saving Tips that Help You Avoid Impulse Buying

impulse buying

If you want to avoid impulse buying it may feel like the odds are stacked against you. Advertisers, stores, and even your peers are masters of hypnosis.  They hypnotize you into believing your long term goals don’t matter and there is nothing more you want in the world than to buy their product.

You become their puppet, disconnected from who you really are and what you really want.

Unless, you utilize the following tips …   Continue reading

Choosing What Not To Do

not to do list don't do list

Most everyone is familiar with the value of having a To Do list where you keep track of the projects and actions you intend to take.  But, have you ever considered creating a Don’t Do list?  Continue reading

How to Prevent Those Where Did I Put My Car Keys Moments

dementia, forgetful, woman losing glasses on her head

I lost my favorite pair of yoga pants. In my house. They have to be here somewhere, but I can’t find them. I’ve been looking for days.

And, I am not alone. My clients and friends talk about it often. One found her earrings in her underwear drawer and another opened her freezer the other day and discovered frozen car keys.  Continue reading

Need Clarity Quick? Try These Magic Questions

clarity for possibilities and options

My client was in a dilemma. She had been invited to join friends on a weekend getaway that sounded exciting, but there was one person going that always seemed to cause some kind of drama.

She kept saying she would like to go, but…  Continue reading

How I Let Go of Cable TV

woman cutting cable tv cord

A couple years back I got a great deal on cable TV. It was almost free when I bundled it with my other services.

When the special rate was over, I was astonished at how much the cost went up and decided to research other options. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, I just couldn’t rationalize paying so much when there were other possibilities.

And so, my TV research adventure began… Continue reading

Slow Down to Get More Done

sign that says Go Slow

My weekly schedule has it’s own little routine.  I generally have the same clients, meetings, and things to accomplish along with some time allotted for projects.  And yet, sometimes I struggle to get it all done, while other weeks flow with ease.  Why is that?  Continue reading

Too Busy? It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Schedule

stressed woman holding clock

One of the common concerns that my clients talk about is not having enough time.  They are working very hard and feeling very, very busy.  We often discover that they are operating in a time warp that is not based in reality.

Here is a process that will help you evaluate your relationship with time and begin to use it wisely:

1. Start by exploring and writing down what you value most in life.  Common core values include things like family, success, happiness, service, inner peace, religious beliefs, or love.  (Contact me if you would like a free list of sample values to work with.)

2. Make a list of all of the things that you spend time on or that call for your attention. (Appointments, meetings, things you do for your children, work, connecting with others, playing on Facebook, watching TV, organizations you belong to, housework, and more)  When it feels complete, take a moment to look over your list.  How does it make you feel?

3. Now, for the fun part.  Cross off everything on the list.  Everything! (Do it in a way that you can still see what was written beneath.) You do not “have to” do any of these things. Take a moment to absorb this.   It’s a clean sweep.  There is nothing left on your schedule or to do list.

4. Set an intention for creating a stress-free schedule that will serve you and your life.

5. Create a new list that only includes things that are in alignment with your values and supports the life you want to create.   Be careful not to add everything back.  This is your priority list.  Everything else is an option to plug in only if it feels meaningful, is in alignment, and you have plenty of time.  There is one exception.  If you have not included time for yourself on the list, please add it now.

6. Double check the list for illusions like the ones below:

  • Keeping you and your children busy with multiple after school activities may seem in alignment with your family values, but could really be limiting your special times together.
  • Spending a lot of time working on a website or marketing in social media may seem like a necessary use of your time, but it could be preventing you from getting out and connecting with potential clients.

7. Review your new list.  It should be much, much shorter than the original and feel in alignment with who you are and what you want.  It should feel more peaceful and leave space for spontaneity and magic.

8. Plug your new list into your schedule.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Don’t forget to leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

From Clutter to Clarity – A Client Story

woman with flowers

My client Carol came to me for support with some big decisions to be made with her upcoming retirement.  She felt unclear and overwhelmed as to what to do.

The situation became even more interesting when during our first call she described her life as “itchy”.  I hadn’t heard that one before, so I asked her to tell me more.  She shared that her home felt like a burden instead of a sanctuary, volunteer work and other obligations were filling up her time, and she didn’t feel like there was space for her in her own life.

No wonder she was having trouble making decisions.

Carol was surprised when I shared that external clutter (things, people, or activities) could be contributing to her feeling of being overwhelmed and blocking the clarity she needed to find her answers.  I could tell that she was doubtful at first, but something inside of her knew it felt right.

So, we created a plan to simplify her life. 

We began with a journey through the things she owned.  While her house was neat and well organized, she had a lot of stuff.  Each week she cleared out an area and sent me before and after pictures.  Her goal was to only keep what was meaningful, beautiful, or used on a regular basis.

After experiencing how great it felt to clear out the first areas, Carol became motivated and moved quickly through her home.  Some areas were easy and others a little more challenging.  Going through her photographs brought back joyous memories and also facilitated healing around the death of her husband.

Before moving on to other areas of her life, we clarified her core values and personal intentions.

This gave her guideposts she could use as she reviewed her calendar and the people in her life.  She was surprised to see how many people were draining her energy and how many things she did out of a sense of obligation.  She started making changes.

Carol says that simplifying her external life gave her that space she craved for herself.

Clearing the clutter brought a sense of peace and clarity into her life.  The answers to her decisions became clearer and clearer as she made space for them to come through.

She decided to sell her larger home and continue her journey of living simply in a smaller space.  Her time is focused on her grandchildren and re-connecting with her love of painting.  She feels like this process of right sizing her life has allowed her to be happy and live whole-heartedly for the first time.

Most people don’t realize that feelings of being overwhelmed, stuck, or indecisive can be related to their physical space.  Clutter is a symptom that can show up in both your environment and your mind.  Clearing one often helps the other.   So, if you are feeling stuck with a decision or project, check your space.  Taking a few moments to de-clutter may be just what you need.

You don’t have to wait until you are challenged.  You can de-clutter your life now as a preventive measure and start experiencing that same peace, calm, and clarity that Carol found.

Cleaning out your junk drawer has just become your new therapy.

If you would like support in resolving a challenge or creating a better life, please feel free to contact me for a consultation.  I would love to talk to you. 

Thank you Carol for allowing me to share your story.

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

 

leaf dipped in water

My friend Marcy and I are creating a retreat for women focused on experiencing and cultivating inner peace.  Our focus on this subject has reminded me how important it is to nurture the peace within us and return to it often.  It is only from that place that we can really experience all life has to offer and the joy it can bring.

If you are like most people on earth today, you may not be feeling very connected to your inner peace.  There is probably a lot on your schedule and even more on your mind.  What you need are some tools that will help you ground in peace fairly quickly and I just happen to have some for you.

Focus on the Present Moment – Easier said than done.  Right?  You might be surprised how simple it is when you practice regularly.  In moments of stress, worry, or dis-ease, try one of these easy strategies for grounding in the moment:

  • Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, focusing on the air moving through you
  • Put your hand over your heart and count each breath you take
  • Bring mindfulness to your movements and what is around you – feel and watch every detail
  • Designate something as an anchor to your present moments, like a specific hand movement, the face of your watch, the veins in your wrist, or anything you can focus on quickly and easily.

Create Daily Peace Practices – when you start and end your day with activities that calm and center you, the time in between will be peaceful as well.  There are unlimited ways to do this and it is important to choose what feels right and you are willing to commit to.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Affirmations
  • Walking in nature
  • Reading meaningful or uplifting material

Live Simply– inner and outer clutter are distracting and complicate our lives.  On some level they keep us on edge all the time.  Creating a physical environment that is peaceful and calm will nurture the same within you.  Take a careful look at your space, calendar, and the people in your life.  It may be time to let some things go.  When you are able to focus on what you love and what is meaningful to you, more peaceful moments will follow.  This isn’t selfish.  When you are in a calm and relaxed state you will be more effective in what you do and present with the ones you love.

Don’t Marinate in Your Upsets – we are all faced with events and people that disturb our peace.  It’s part of living in a world of humans.  When you are triggered, the feeling that comes as a response only lasts about a minute.  The problem is that you keep replaying the story and triggering the feeling over and over again.  The opportunity here is to learn not to keep repeating the story so that you can return to a peaceful state as soon as possible.  Here are some of the strategies you might choose to work with:

  • Give it a minute or two – let the feeling dissipate on its own
  • Any of the tools above for returning to the present moment
  • Ask yourself if being upset is serving you and if not, let it go
  • Move into neutrality by stepping outside of yourself and observing the situation
  • Imagine you are watching what is happening on a movie screen
  • Bring compassion and understanding to all involved, knowing everyone is doing the best they are capable of in that moment

Cultivating inner peace is a gift to yourself and those around you.  It is from this grounded space that you can be your best self and create your best life.  And, it feels sooooo good.

Learn more about the Inner Peace Retreat

Feeling Scattered or Overwhelmed? Try This…

women with puzzle pieces falling away

We all have a lot going on in our lives and it is easy to get caught up in it.  The result may be feeling overwhelmed or like pieces of you are scattered all around.  Some of my clients describe feeling drained, not fully present, or just stressed about all they are trying to do.

The following visualization has supported many of my clients in returning to a more peaceful and empowered state.  I hope it supports you, as well.

  • Find a quiet, peaceful place (if possible)
  • Take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to come into a relaxed state
  • Visualize pieces of yourself scattered around you and maybe even at a distance
  • Form an intention to draw them back in and become whole again
  • Breathe in deeply and as you breathe in visualize the scattered parts returning to you
  • Sit quietly for a few minutes breathing in and out and enjoying the feeling of wholeness