Living the Small Town Life

 

small town life lifecoachlinda.com

When people find out I moved from Southern California to a small town in Missouri, they seem surprised that anyone would want to do that. And then they start to look amused and ask how my transition is going. They know that I am a fish out of water, a stranger in a strange land, and am sure to be a source of silly entertainment as I learn to navigate this new world.

And, they are right.  I’ve done some silly things and I’m learning a lot.

My new life in this small southern town is not better or worse, it’s just different. Here are some of the things I have noticed:

There are no lines – not at the post office, the grocery store, city office, or restaurants. I can’t seem to find one anywhere.

Speed limits are really, really slow – I thought I would have trouble keeping to the 20 to 35 mph speed limits in town until I realized there are so many stop signs that you never get up to speed anyway. A few days ago I was with someone who got pulled over for going 33 mph. That would never happen in CA.

The crime rate is low – most of the posts on the police department Facebook page are about pets that have been found.

My weather app is my new best friend – you never know what the day will bring. I now check the weather every day and have alerts set for severe thunder storms and tornadoes.

If I don’t go to the high school football game, I can hear the play by play at my house – in small towns you always live near the high school.

But, I enjoy going to high school football games – mostly because I am with my family, but the rest is fun too.

It’s hard for a vegetarian to eat out – I always say I can eat anywhere, even in a town where biscuits and gravy with eggs and bacon are considered a healthy breakfast. What I have discovered though is that they cook everything on the same grill, so when I order pancakes they taste like bacon. I doubt there is much sensitivity toward vegetarians here.

Shopping and errands require strategic planning – the local city with “regular” stores is about a half hour away. I intend to shop local when I can, but still haven’t quite figured out how to plan the city trips well and make them efficient.

My yard is full of wild life (and bugs) – birds, rabbits, and squirrels are a part of my everyday life now and at night I get to listen to cicadas and watch lightening bugs flash across the lawn. My cats love watching out the windows, especially the antics of Seymour, the squirrel that lives in my front yard tree.

Mosquitoes love CA blood – it must be a delicacy around here.

The trash men will pick up anything – you just set it  out by the street and it’s gone. Maybe only my CA readers will understand how strange this seems.

There are a wide variety of accepted forms of transportation – it is not unusual to see people going down the street in golf carts or riding lawn mowers or tractors.

Customer service is a priority – everyone seems eager to help. I think I disappointed (or maybe insulted) someone the other day when I insisted I could carry my own bag of groceries out.

People are friendly – almost everyone says “hi” and I feel very welcome, but deep down I think they are just watching me carefully to see how I am going to do and if I will stick around.

And, that is okay. Because I WILL learn, adapt, and stick around, I also know that I have a lot to offer and will be able to serve this community in some way. I just haven’t figured out how I want to do that yet.

If you are looking to make a change in your life and would like the support of a Professional Life Coach, I would love to hear from you. Contact Me

Related Posts:

My First 7 Months After Moving to a Small Town in Missouri

Adjusting to Small Town Life – The Shopping Dilemma

Scenes from a Small Town Morning Walk

My First Big Storm in Small Town Missouri

storm

My son and daughter-in-law’s van after the storm

Just when I thought my transition from Southern California to a small town in Missouri was moving along gracefully, Mother Nature sent a welcome committee to test my commitment.

We were hit by a storm with 70 mph winds while I was still unpacking. It was the worst storm in decades and left most of our town (including me) without power for a couple days.

Sounds bad, right?

Not as much as you would think. There was a moment when I was standing in the middle of the street after hearing some of my roof shingles were found in someone’s yard and felt totally lost. My cell phone was not working. My landline, wifi, and everything in my home was electric and had no juice. I didn’t know what to do.

But, not for long.

A man I had never met before offered to help. He borrowed a tarp from one of my neighbors and nailed it to my roof. I had a rescuer. Can’t remember that ever happening to me before. A few days later he came back and replaced the shingles and wouldn’t even let me pay him for the work.

I was impressed with how quickly people came together to help each other. Chain saws were in action within minutes of the storm passing and every one worked together without regard to who owned what tree or property.

People here are resilient.  And, I learned I am too.

Without electricity I couldn’t cook, get water from my refrigerator, boil tap water if needed, and my new tankless hot water heater didn’t work.  Someone showed up at my door with a case of bottled water, which was a blessing since the stores were shut down. But mostly, I simply did what needed to be done.

I felt calm and capable, like the rest of the people in this town.

My search for wifi the second day so I could work was fruitless, so I let go of my attachment to getting work done. When something like this storm happens, you do what you can and accept what you can’t. I guess the serenity prayer would work well in times like these.

You might be surprised to hear that I am grateful for the experience of this storm. I now have a sense of how well I can adapt and accept situations outside of my control.  I also learned who my neighbors really are. No one complained. They just took action.  And, I am proud to live in a place where people take pride in their town and come together in times of need.

Photo of my son’s car at the top was taken by my daughter-in-law, Alexis Hudson.

Related Posts:

Living the Small Town Life

Leaving California

Scenes from a Small Town Morning Walk

Road Trip Magic – Moving Cross Country

road trip moving cross country

My friend Traci and I drove from California to Missouri with 2 cats in the back seat of my car. We took I-15 and then I-70 straight across the country, joking that it would be less likely we got lost with such a direct route.

We experienced California deserts, the glitz of Las Vegas, a tiny tip of Arizona, the dramatic red rock of Utah, majestic beauty in the Colorado Rocky mountains, the big sky of Kansas, and finally arrived in Missouri on the third day.

We were in awe of the scenery before us and even experienced a sunrise that brought us to tears.

Common themes in our conversations were:

  • Our country’s diverse and beautiful landscapes
  • How God’s hand was clearly evident in what we were seeing
  • Respect for the courage of  pioneers who traveled through these lands
  • How blessed we were to be experiencing it all

Looking back at the photographs I took it is hard to believe I was actually there. Even though the photos were taken through the car window and the quality is questionable, they still bring back those magical moments.

I would like to share a few with you: (All images:© 2017 Linda Luke)

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

road trip lifecoachlinda.com

 

Now just imagine the colors brighter and clearer, because they were.

Can you believe I was actually there? I saw these miracles with my own eyes?

I feel so humbled and blessed.

Related Posts:

Scenes from a Small Town Morning Walk

Leaving California

Living the Small Town Life

All images:© 2017 Linda Luke

Letting Go of Stuff

Letting go of stuff - releasing clutter life coach linda

The Shipping Cube with What I Decided to Take

While preparing for my move to Missouri, I decided to sell or give away more than 1/2 of my stuff. For some people this may not have been a big deal, but I lived simply and didn’t have much to begin with.

It was interesting observing how my thoughts about the things in my life shifted as my move date neared. It seemed to come in layers:

The Garage Sale – At this point I was still invested in the value of my things. After all, I was going to sell stuff and get money in return. I felt like I was being bold in my choices of what to include, not realizing this was only the beginning.

The Remains – When the garage sale was over I was faced with leftover items that I still thought were worth selling. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of just leaving things that I could get money for. This started a period of offering items in my city Facebook group and Craigslist. Some sold. Some didn’t.

Giving – And then, I just let the attachments go. This opened the door to my favorite part of the process, giving things away.  And, not just little things. I would go through my house each day and find more and more stuff to give. I fell in love with giving and it made it much easier to release what I owned. It was also a lot of fun.

Leaving – The buyer of my house had said that I could leave things and didn’t have to clean the house. At first, the idea of doing this was appalling to me. But, when the 100 degree heat wave arrived on my last week, I could only do so much. Packing and loading under the blistering sun was getting to me and making me dizzy. So, when I said goodbye to my house, there were still some things left behind. I feel sure they will find good homes. Everything I was taking to my new life was packed into a 6′ by 7′ pod to be shipped to my new home.

Wanting Less – As I am unpacking and settling into my new home I am being very careful about what I invite in. Surprisingly, I will have even more to give away. Some things just don’t fit my new home or life. Maybe living without them for a couple weeks diminished their importance in my mind. Whatever the reason, they feel like clutter and I just don’t want them anymore.

Balancing with More – I love simplicity, but am not sure I am a minimalist. I have made some purchases recently for my new lifestyle, a new washer and dryer and yard maintenance items like a weed wacker. I also plan on bringing in a new sofa that fits with the colors in my new home. What is different is that I am being very careful about what I bring in. I only want things that I use regularly or love. And, I don’t want very many of them.

Moving provided me with the opportunity for a fresh start. I have empty closets and cupboards with only a few items. Everything is organized and makes sense. (Well, almost everything. I haven’t got to the office yet.) I even have an extra bedroom that I don’t know what I will do with. The one thing I’m sure of is that it won’t become a junk room full of stuff.

My experience of letting go has revealed how tightly I held onto stuff that really wasn’t that meaningful to me. I was also attached to the idea of getting a return on what I thought was valuable. It was only when I let go and began to give things away that I felt truly authentic, peaceful, and was able to have fun with the process.

Even without a lot (although I had more than I thought) I was being smothered and controlled by my things. In the simple living movement about 20 years ago there was a slogan that said, “Don’t Stuffocate!”  I think I get it now.

Related Posts:

A Sense of Order Soothes the Soul

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

Infobesity: 5 Ways to Prevent Information Overload

All images:© 2017 Linda Luke

So Many Changes I’m At a Loss for Words

Linda and Traci changes

Linda and Traci after two 10 hour days of driving.

I’ve been quiet. Very quiet. And, I have also been very, very busy.

It has been several weeks since I last posted and I keep waiting for the words to come, but my brain seems to be busy synthesizing all the changes I have experienced. I think it needs time to catch up with my life.

So, maybe I will just start writing and see what happens.

In the last month or so I’ve made a lot of changes, including:

  • Sold my house in California
  • Sold or given away more than 1/2 of my possessions
  • Packed what was remaining in a moving pod in 111 degree heat
  • Welcomed my friend Traci who flew in from Tennessee to drive cross country with me
  • Road tripped with Traci from CA to Missouri with my 2 cats in the back seat of the car
  • Worried about my stressed out kitten cats the entire way
  • Experienced the incredible natural beauty of our country including red rock in Utah, mountain vistas in Colorado, and the big sky of Kansas
  • Felt awe at the courage of the pioneers who crossed our country in tiny wagons, often on the same land we were traveling
  • Felt tipsy and giggly after 2 sips of a Margarita on night two of our trip – it was Traci’s fault
  • Drove up to my new little house in Missouri on the evening of day 3
  • Was welcomed with wide open arms by my son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren
  • Took Traci to the airport and cried as she left
  • Started settling into my home

Yep! I’ve been busy. This was a courageous step for me and I couldn’t be happier.

Stay tuned. There is more to come…

Related Posts:

Leaving California

Letting Go of My Stuff

Living the Small Town Life

Leaving California & Moving to a Small Town in Missouri

 

southern ca leaving moving beach Laguna Beach

Am I crazy?!? 

I seem to have somehow turned my life upside down in the last few weeks. Totally topsy turvy. It’s been completely insane, and maybe I am too.

My grandchildren, son, and daughter-in-law have settled in to small town life in Missouri. I miss them terribly and  thought I would end up there at some point, but always felt anchored to this place where I was born and have lived my life for almost 62 years.

And then, three things happened within a few weeks: 

  • My friend died. She had been trapped in a body she couldn’t move and unable to speak for years and being her friend through this process has been a long road. Now she is free of her earthly body and I found myself feeling kind of floaty with new empty space in my life.
  • The University of Santa Monica (USM) discontinued it’s Master’s Program and I will no longer be needed as a volunteer. I have spent at least one weekend a month in this beloved environment since 2009 and will soon be grieving the loss of these special times and the amazing people I have had the privilege of working with.
  • And then, just before I left for my grandson’s graduation in Missouri, I got a surprise cash offer on my house that was very, very tempting.

It seemed as if God was giving me plenty of signs that leaving CA was the right thing to do.

The next week I was in MO for my grandson’s graduation and it was a rollercoaster ride of looking at houses, making big decisions, offers that were too late, looking for rental options when none existed, and a last minute opportunity that I made an offer on.

A few days later I cancelled escrow on the house when the inspection revealed some serious issues I was not comfortable with.

I might be leaving, but my fear of becoming homeless was getting stronger and stronger.  

But, that same night I negotiated a deal on a “for sale by owner” property I liked, but felt was overpriced. I was back in escrow again.

leaving CA and moving to small town Missouri

This is a good move for me: 

  • I will be near my family for the first time in years and get to enjoy time with my grandchildren
  • My house will be mortgage free and my financial future more secure
  • My business is portable since it is mostly online and by phone
  • I feel like I really needed both a new adventure and a fresh start
  • Life seems quieter and slower there, which may be just what I need
  • The small town I am in is really cute and only a half hour away from a city that is regularly on the Best Places to Retire lists.

It’s all good. 

And now, I enter a season of goodbyes. To people, communities, my hikes in the hills, places I love, and half of my possessions.  I can live with that because soon it will be a season of hello’s as I make new friends, find my place in a new community, explore the area, and build a home sanctuary.  Thanks to email and social media I can stay connected to all.

I will always love California.  It’s in my blood. I’m just ready for a new adventure. 

Goodbye sweet California. I will miss you.

House image: © 2017 Linda Luke

The Gift of Writing Letters from the Heart

pen paper writing letters letter writing

One of the things I loved about my friend Sybil who recently passed was her love of bringing people together for food  and stimulating conversation.  She loved to listen and bask in the warmth of being surrounded by interesting friends.

As she was losing her ability to speak, she loved writing letters to us. I came across a few of them recently and they were full of amusing observations and appreciation for the people around her. I could almost here her chuckling between the lines.

Eventually, she lost her ability to write or type her own letters, and the ones she received from others became a new source of joy. She would have me read them to her over and over again.

As time passed and her disease progressed the letters and visits from friends came less often and she felt more isolated. It was hard to watch her lose those connections to the outside world and I realized how valuable a simple letter could be.

Since then I have been writing letters from the heart. As I write them I am flooded with memories and appreciation for the person I am writing to. Their responses are incredible. They cry. I cry. And, I realized the gifts of those letters were not just for the recipients, but for me as well.

My friend Lynette Smith is a big fan of writing letters from the heart. At her son’s wedding, he and his bride presented their parents with framed letters of appreciation. Lynette cherishes this gift and it has inspired her mission to get people putting pen to paper again. The cornerstone of this mission is her book: How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure: For Special Occasions and Occasions Made Special. 

Who can you write a heartfelt letter of appreciation to? I encourage you to give it a try. You will find it is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Related Posts:

Return to Gratitude

4 Ways to Attract and Keep Great Relationships

Giving Gifts from the Heart

Simple Abundance

Simple Abundance book

I was going through some books this morning that I have gathered over the years and came across one by Sarah Ban Breathnach called, Simple Abundance.  I let the pages fall open where they would and saw this:

“When we cherish our dream and invest love, creative energy, perseverance, and passion for ourselves, we will achieve authentic success.”

Well said, Sarah.

This lovely book is based on her 6 principles of simple abundance:

  • Gratitude
  • Simplicity
  • Order
  • Harmony
  • Beauty
  • Joy

Just saying them brings peace to my heart.

I think I am going to spend some time with this book again. Apparently, it still has more to teach me.

The Power of the Pause and How It Can Empower Your Life

woman taking a break pause

Things move pretty fast in our world these days and that means we are moving fast too.  In order to keep, up we may feel we have to act and respond quickly to what is before us.  And, that can be a problem.

We end up reacting to what is happening in the moment.  We react instead of respond, and we do it without taking time to check within for what we really, really, really want.

Hitting the pause button and taking a moment to connect with your values and intuition allows you to act in ways that are more in alignment with your heart and soul.

Here are some ways that you can integrate the power of the pause into your life:

  • When you are craving unhealthy foods
  • When you want to lash out or react to something someone says or does
  • Taking time to gather your thoughts so you can communicate clearly and concisely
  • Making choices that are aligned with your core values and dreams
  • Pausing and setting an intention for what you are about to do
  • When you feel tired, sad, or upset and need to center yourself to be more effective
  • Taking time to question limiting beliefs that are making you fearful or keeping you stuck
  • When you want to spend money in a way that is not in alignment with your financial goals
  • When you feel tempted to do anything that you might wish you hadn’t later 

The power of the pause allows you to operate from the core of who you are and consciously create the life and relationships you desire.  And… it can prevent a whole lot of regrets…

Where in your life can you benefit from using the power of the pause?

Related Posts:

Try These Bedtime Practices for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep

How to Bring Balance to Your Relationship with Time

Living the Small Town Life

You Don’t Have to Be a Minimalist to Enjoy a Clutter Free Home

tidying up and clutter free closet

There are a lot of people feeling inspired to clear the clutter in their homes and lives right now. It’s a hot topic, and one that I can really get behind. I love living simply and creating a life that matters.

But, I wonder if some of the things being put out there can feel too rigid for some of you. Do they hold you back and prevent your getting started?  Or, make you judge yourself as not doing enough? 

I am in a number of Facebook Groups on minimalism, clutter, and simple living and sometimes I want to cringe when someone asks how to let go of things like their grandmother’s necklace or their childhood Bible. There is often a lot of encouragement from the group to give them away, but I sense that sometimes people are pushing themselves further than they want to go.

I am here to tell you there are no rules for releasing clutter. Clearing space and living simply will bring many gifts into your life, AND you get to do it your way. 

Guidelines are great, having a supportive coach experienced in this area is wonderful, but ultimately you need to follow your heart and find the level of simplicity that is right for you. Sometimes people are ready to jump in fully and for others it may be a process of one layer at a time.

Before starting a de-cluttering process I encourage you to spend time becoming clear about your intention and the vision you have for your end result. This intention can guide and motivate you along the way.  And, if you would like additional support, find a friend, coach, or professional organizer who will hold you to your vision in a gentle, caring way.

You CAN do this! Your home can become a sanctuary that is clean, organized, and full of light. And, you can do it your way. Just imagine what that will feel like…

If you would like the support of a professional coach who loves to help people create more simple and fulfilling lives, I would love to offer you a free consultation. Contact Linda

Related Posts:

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

How to Spark Joy in Your Life

A Sense of Order Soothes Your Soul

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Get Real! How to Live an Authentic Life

authentic living

When life isn’t working for you and just about everything feels off, it is a good sign that you may be living out of alignment with your authentic self. All of us are to some degree, but when you choose to embrace authenticity your life can be transformed.

Here is how:

Be Yourself
Life can shape and mold you and sometimes in order to cope or feel like you belong, you develop an external personality to share with the world. It may be bolder, quieter, nicer, naughtier, or one of the most common I see, a people pleaser. Ultimately, you just want to be accepted, and if you are lucky, loved. But, after a while you will start to doubt whether people would care about you if they could see who you truly are and your outward persona becomes your inner downfall.

The only way that you can attract the people in your life who will love you for who you really are is to share that authentic self with the world. To be vulnerable, open, strong, weak, angry, sad, and fully your own self. Just you. The real you. That takes more courage than just about anything in this world, but when you walk through life authentically you will know the love you experience is true and the right people are by your side.

Live and Speak the Truth
When you are grounded in the truth and it is expressed in the words you use and the way you live your life, you feel solid, strong, and connected to your soul. There is a sense of clarity and peacefulness because living the truth is simple. Not complicated. There is only one thing to say and one thing to be. The truth. This is one of the most powerful, empowering, and calming things you can do for yourself.

Be Fully Present in Each and Every Moment
Most of us just skim the surface of life, being distracted and missing the magic of our individual moments. When you choose to be fully present your life becomes richer and more beautiful. Your focus improves and your mind lets go of the challenges of the past and the worries of the future. Life becomes more peaceful as your mind stops spinning and you focus on what you are doing now. Right now.

Listen to Your Heart and Soul
Living Uthentically clears the way for your inner voice to be heard. It’s been there all along, but sometimes lost in the clutter of an inauthentic life.  From that voice comes your inner knowing, the part of you that is wise beyond all measure and can guide you through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes it speaks through your body and other times you hear a strong, calm voice in your head and you just know what it says is true. It has all the answers. They are right there waiting for you when you allow space for them to come through. 

Keep Your Agreements – Especially the Ones You Make to Yourself
Being in integrity feels good. For many of us, we have no problem keeping commitments we make to our jobs or other people, but when it comes to agreements with ourselves we act as if they don’t matter. How many diets, goals, and New Year resolutions have been left in the dust with barely a second thought?

When you break your agreements to yourself you undermine your self-trust, confidence, and self-esteem. So, don’t make big grand agreements. Be careful to only make commitments to yourself that you truly intend to keep. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you have. When you know you can trust yourself, anything is possible.

Thank God for All of Your Magical Moments and Blessings in Disguise
Living authentically includes remembering that your life in this human world is a gift and even the hardest times are in some way blessings because they expand your soul and teach you what you need to learn. Thank God for your days, your successes, the people in your life, and the beauty around you. And, while you are at it, express appreciation to others for what they do well or qualities they embody. Focusing on gratitude will fill your heart and let you know that living authentically is the best gift that you can give yourself.

Related Posts:

How to Reconnect with Your Playful Inner Child

Integrating Gratitude More Deeply Into Your Life

4 Ways to Attract and Keep a Great Relationship (being authentic is one of them)

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

What It Feels Like to Become a Grandmother

grandmother my grandkids grandma

Christopher, Thomas, and Becca

Nothing prepared me for what was going to happen when my first grandchild was born. Friends would get these mysterious smiles and say, “Just wait, it will be wonderful.”

And it was. More than wonderful.  Continue reading

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.

It is about discovering and preventing unconscious money leaks.

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. The little things add up too.

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. Everyone has money leaks.

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 an experienced professional life coach to help you improve your relationship with money and take control of your finances contact me (Linda) to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Related Posts:

A Sense of Order Soothes Your Soul

7 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment, Recreation, and Fun

Letting Go of Stuff

How I Let Go of Cable TV

cutting cable tv cutting 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

go slow down sign

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?

I have noticed an interesting pattern.  There have been times when my energy was low and I told my friend (who is also the person I share my daily wins with) that I was going to give myself a break and just putter through the day.

What happened was always surprising.

I would feel relaxed, peaceful, centered and still get more done than on the days when I hit the ground running.

When I slowed down, I accomplished more.  It felt good, too.

Now, the trick is to remember and embrace this art of puttering through my days.  One of my strategies is to adopt a new theme song.

I invite you to join me in groovy land.  All you have to do is slow down.

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

too busy woman checking watch

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.

How to Clear Out Your Wardrobe When You Don’t Want to Let Anything Go

clothes on hangers clear out wardrobe

With the change of seasons (not that it is very noticeable here in CA), I decided to pull out my winter clothes and see what I could piece together for my cool weather wardrobe.

I have to admit that while I am not a big shopper, I do like getting a good deal.  This has resulted in my having a hodgepodge of clothes, many of which do not go together.  It is challenging for me to clear some of them out because they are nice and might fit with something new I pick up in the future.  So, even though I don’t have a ton of clothes there is a sense of chaos.

What I want is a closet with nice, well made clothes that go together.  I want to open it and see a few complete outfits as my choices for each day.

And then, all I have to do each morning is ask them, “Who wants to come out and play?

This weekend I tried to tackle the project of clearing my closet.  I must not have been in the right mood for it because I kept putting back things that had been placed in the donate pile.  Instead of pushing myself, I simply accepted where I was at and chose an easier process that might work for you as well.

  • I discarded anything stained or damaged.  My two cats have a habit of putting holes in my clothes when they do that pawing thing before laying in my lap and I’m not really a fan of the shredded bag lady look.
  • I stashed summer clothing and things I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be wearing for a while in the back of the closet where they would be out of my line of vision.
  • I put together a few outfits for casual, business, and exercise/lounging with what remained and gave them center stage with lots of empty space around them.
  • I then turned all of the hangers for this season’s clothing backwards. When things are worn and laundered they will be hung the normal direction.  In a couple weeks it will be easy to see what I truly enjoy wearing.

My closet looks much better and the chaotic feeling is gone.  My choices are more clear each day and I am only wearing things I feel good in.  It feels very peaceful to have a simple wardrobe, even when I haven’t cleared it all out.

My intention is to return to this project for phase 2 in a couple weeks and move out all those items that I am not really wearing.  The experience of enjoying a simple organized wardrobe will make those choices much easier.