25 Productive and Fun Indoor Activities for When It’s Cold Outside

indoor activities raining outside

This is my first winter outside of California and I am learning a lot about the seasons and cold weather. I’m still not comfortable driving in snow and icy conditions and am grateful that I work from home and can stay in on those days. My CA friends are experiencing an unusual amount of rain and feeling house bound too.

Wintry weather makes me want to sit on the couch with a cat in my lap and read novels or binge watch Netflix. It feels great for awhile, but I can only sit for so long before getting antsy and wanting to find something to do. Something productive or fun that doesn’t involve putting on a coat or chipping ice off my car. Continue reading

7 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment, Recreation and Fun

 

Piggy bank save money life coach linda

For years I was a single mom. My son and I would consider bean burritos at Taco Bell a big night out. I learned to be thrifty out of necessity and now that I am in my 60’s and still wanting to save money for my future, those lessons continue to serve me well.

Some might say I’m cheap, but others like minimalists, extreme couponers, or the guy who writes the blog: Things I Find in the Trash, might think I live extravagantly. I feel like I have found a nice balance between enjoying life and protecting my finances at the same time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have the same money fears that plague most of us. Continue reading

A Simple and Powerful Year End Process

 

woman writing year end process lifecoachlinda.com

I believe that it is important to review and close out the year that is ending to learn all that we can from it.  This simple year end process also opens the door to a deeper understanding for heartfelt intentions you want to set for the New Year.

I encourage you to find quiet time and a snugly place to curl up with pen and paper and ask yourself these questions: Continue reading

30 Fun Ways to Get into the Christmas Spirit and Spread Holiday Cheer

christmas-spirit

My son started celebrating Christmas early this year, trying to convince people to “Get Their Christmas On” long before Thanksgiving. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I could see how happy he became with this new focus on the holidays and their meaning. Continue reading

The Four Agreements – Simple & Powerful Tools for Life

Four Agreements Book

Every year about this time I revisit The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. Some years I even lead classes about them. They are simple, yet powerful tools that can help you:

  • Feel less reactive, hurt, or upset
  • Improve your relationships
  • Let go of limiting beliefs
  • Feel more peaceful and empowered
  • Become more grounded when facing the business of the holidays

Continue reading

2 Fun Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving More Meaningful

thanksgiving special decor

I do not have the benefit of family nearby to spend my Thanksgiving with, but don’t feel bad for me. I have a nice long visit with my loved ones coming up. I also have invitations for breakfast and dinners with other Thanksgiving misfits. And, sometimes I choose to spend this special holiday alone as a restful, self-nurturing day.

Whatever my day looks like, there are a couple Thanksgiving practices I never miss that fill my heart and feed my soul. I feel more grounded in the meaning of the holiday because of them. You might enjoy them, too. Continue reading

Return to Gratitude

gratitude grateful

For me, it shows up as a sense of being disconnected from myself and my higher power. I start to get mired in what is going wrong in my life or the world. Sometimes fantasies of impending doom or victim stories play through my mind. If I let it go too long, it can turn into depression.

I don’t know what to call it, but I think you might know what I am talking about.

What I do know is that when we start to fall into this trap of negativity, the quickest path back to our true selves includes a return to gratitude. Continue reading

Adjusting to Small Town Life – The Shopping Dilemma

small town shopping in Centralia MO

I’m still adjusting to my new small town life in Missouri. One of the things that still has me spinning is the whole shopping thing. Just when I thought I had it figured out and was settling in, fall weather came. And, I heard winter is on it’s way too.

My intention is to stock up and have what I need from the local city before Thanksgiving to avoid going there during the holiday craziness. Columbia is 30 to 40 minutes away, depending on what part of town you are going to.  I’m trying to shop local as much as possible, but there are some things that are either not available or cost much higher here. Continue reading

6 Simple Steps to Self Confidence & Self Trust

kid in super hero costume confident confidence

Confidence and self-esteem are based on a foundation of being able to trust yourself. When you know that you will take care of your own needs, you will feel safe enough to move confidently into the world.

This may feel hard or impossible in some moments, but it doesn’t need to.

Simply practice the following steps to increase self trust and the confidence that you desire will naturally follow. Continue reading

How to Bring Balance to Your Relationship with Time

relationship with time clock

We can feel driven by our clocks, calendars, and the expectations of others. Even more so by the expectations we have of ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but when I get caught up in this full on “doing” mode, I find that I miss out on the little special moments of my days. When the day comes to an end I may have a long list of wins, but did I really live? Was I fully present with and enjoying what was before me?

There are times when driving ourselves feels good or necessary, but it shouldn’t be our only way of being.

I love achieving goals, but I also crave feeling peaceful and being in touch with magical moments that show up each day.

The following ideas can support you in bringing more balance to how you use time and a sense of grace to your days.

Focus On Your Priorities: It’s easy to get distracted by working hard on the wrong things. Get clear about your values and most meaningful goals. These are what you should be focusing on. If you are spending time on something that is not working, try something else. It’s important to be intentional about how you use your valuable time and life energy.

Watch Out for Time Wasters: For me, it can be checking email or Facebook and then letting something I see sidetrack me. Time wasters can be things you just fall into, people who don’t respect your time, or choices you make influenced by underlying fears and other things that want to keep you stuck. If you find yourself spending too much time off track, return your focus to your intended goal.

Do Little Things with Great Love: Stay present to whatever you are doing. Even mundane activities can bring joy when you focus on their meditative quality. Every moment and every task has it’s own beauty. When you slow down enough to appreciate them your work can be more fulfilling.

Develop the Art of Puttering: Every once in awhile, especially if I have been too caught up in getting things done, I set aside a day for puttering. Puttering is the art of flowing gracefully from one thing to another as they come up naturally. I follow my whims. And, I usually get more things done than I do on those days when I am pushing. At the end of the day I feel at peace and grateful for how much I accomplished without even trying.

Don’t Make It Hard: If I had a dime for every time I told myself something was going to be hard I would be rich. Most of the time the things I was resisting turned out to not be hard at all. I spent more time in the uncomfortable resistance than it took to actually get the thing done. Beware of thoughts or words that make things seem difficult or challenging and if you are really courageous, eliminate the word “hard” from your vocabulary completely.

Give Yourself a Break: Lately, my favorite break is Squirrel Time. I step away from my work to sit on the porch and feed squirrels. They amuse me, warm my heart, and connect me with nature. Other breaks might include going for a walk, stretching, having a snack, dancing, or reading. Science says that our minds and bodies are more efficient when we give them regular breaks. I know they work for me.

Feed Your Engine: You will be more efficient in how you use your time when your mind and body are able to operate at their fullest potential. This means that eating healthy, taking breaks, exercise, and all those common sense things you know you should do will help you be more effective in the long run.

Having a healthy relationship with time is all about balance. You can push yourself at times, but not all the time. It is important to allow space in your days to observe special moments and let your work flow with natural focus instead of forcing things. When you do, you will limit stress, feel more peace within, and still get things done. And that, is a good thing.

Related posts:

Slow Down to Get More Done

Simple Abundance

Choosing What Not To Do

Life Coaching and More – How My Business Has Evolved

coaching balanced rocks with heart

I started my business as a life coach in 2003, which is a long time ago. A lot can happen in 14 years and it is really interesting how my business has expanded and evolved. It’s also really fun!

You most likely know me as Life Coach Linda and think of me that way.

  • Supporting people as they go through challenges
  • Providing tools and fresh perspectives
  • Guiding them through healing journeys
  • Lifting them out of stuckness and into their dreams
  • Helping them reconnect with their true selves
  • Building their confidence and self love
  • Bringing more peace into their lives
  • Helping them create something new that is calling to them

In the last 14 years I have coached just about everything, working with courageous new coaches, cancer patients, students, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, truck drivers, photographers, doctors, dentists, adventurers, psychologists, and more.

And, I still love this work.

Over time a new layer to my work began to evolve. Many of my clients had businesses and it was becoming clear that my intuition worked for business as well. I also had a lot of experience starting businesses, helping them grow, and working through the challenges that come up along the way. People began to hire me as their Business Coach.

I get really exited about what my clients want to create and love supporting them as they bring their visions to life. Some of my clients are new to business and still in the startup phase. Others have been around for years and are either facing challenges or ready to refresh or simplify what they already have. On April Fool’s Day in 2012 I made it official by launching my business coaching website and blog: Simple Smart Business

But, there was more. My clients continued to guide my journey by asking for what they wanted.

When I was recommending a dentist client consider getting a blog and Facebook page he told me he didn’t have the time and asked if I would do it for him. And, this is how the third branch of my business was born.

I began to offer Online Marketing Services, at first just for my dentist clients, but now for most types of businesses. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this work and found it was a great counterbalance to coaching, allowing me to shift back and forth from working with people to playing on the computer.

My marketing clients are mostly small businesses or solo-entrepreneurs who want affordable marketing options or to learn how to market online themselves. So, in my spare time between coaching clients you might find me:

  • Setting up or updating Facebook pages, simple websites, or blogs
  • Providing content and posting to Facebook pages and blogs
  • Setting up or writing email newsletters
  • Improving search engine optimization on websites
  • Teaching classes and training clients how to do it themselves

I know it sounds like a lot, but I protect my time and have found a balance between these offerings that works for me. I love my work. I love my clients. And, I only take on as many clients as I can serve well. My business right sized for me and there is plenty of space for quiet time and fun.

I learned that work doesn’t have to be just one thing. It took 14 years for my business to evolve to this point and I am grateful that I listened to my clients when they told me what they wanted. It feels good to be able to offer a variety of services and customize what will work best for each client. My clients agree.

Now that I am feeling settled into my new home after a recent move cross country, I am ready to open the door to a few more clients. If you would like to receive professional support in your life or business, please feel free to Contact Me.  Who knows, you might be my next client, and I can’t wait to meet you.

 

How to Stay Calm When Stretching Your Comfort Zone

woman hiding - stepping out of comfort zone

I recently was a guest on a radio show and was a little nervous about it. So, I wrote up a few notes and set them in front of me as the interview started. What happened next was a little strange. My left eye became blurry and I couldn’t read. My notes were useless and I knew I had to “wing it”. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and fear started telling me to run.

When comfort zones are stretched, fear will start chattering about staying safe. “Don’t do that. They may not like you. It’s too big a risk. Why put yourself out there? I can keep you safe if you don’t do it.”

If we let that voice of fear control us, we stay stuck and play small. Without building new skills and meeting new people we miss out on the possibilities before us and will eventually regret not living our lives fully. 

Comfort zones are flexible and meant to grow. I knew this in that moment before my radio interview and even though I felt like running, I faced my fear, stayed calm, and did it anyway. Here is how you can too.

Recognize fear for what it is. Your fears want to keep you safe, but they are often over reactive. They were installed when you were younger and less able to take care of yourself. So, when you are afraid of meeting someone new the risk may be low, but your fear is still operating from the point of view of the 5 year old who was made fun of at school.

Fear doesn’t realize you have grown and developed new skills. It is a gut reaction that wants to protect you at all costs. Even if that protection hurts you in other ways.

Breathe deeply, and relax your face, neck, and shoulders.

Focus on other people or being of service. Take your mind off yourself and make the experience about the other people involved. How can you make them more comfortable? What can you ask them about themselves? How can you leave the situation better than it was when you entered it?  Fear is self-absorbed and focusing on other things can help shift you out of it.

Trust your inner self and speak from the heart.  This is what I did on that radio show when I couldn’t read my notes. I had to answer from my heart and experience.  By doing so, my interview was much more powerful than it would have been if I had used the notes. Trust yourself. You have everything you need inside of you.

Look for humor in the situation. When you look through an observer’s fly on the wall perspective things can seem quite amusing. Funny things happen when you stretch your comfort zone…

I remember being nervous about speaking before a group of people I didn’t know. When I went to the restroom before going on stage the water from the sink splashed over the front of my pants leaving very obvious water spots. For a moment, I just wanted to escape, but instead I went on stage and the first thing I did was make a joke about being attacked by their sink. It was a great ice breaker and the presentation went over well.

Humor can help you and the people around you feel lighter in stressful situations.

Make friends with your fear. Fear is not your enemy. It only wants what is best for you. It’s just a little over protective. So, have a conversation with it. Thank it for warning you. Let it know you’ve got things covered. And, ask it to help you in another way, like standing in the wings and cheering you on. You might be surprised how well it listens.

If fear is keeping you locked into your comfort zone and you would like the support of a professional life coach, I would love to talk to you. You can connect with me here.

Related Posts:

How to Tell the Difference Between Fear and Intuition

Fear and Anxiety: How to Make Friends with Your Lizard Brain

6 Proven Ways to Reduce Anxiety

Fear, Love, and Scaredy Cat Joey

How to Recover Quickly When Something Upsets You

upset upsets you

We have a lot of potential upsets in our lives, big and small. Some we can move through gracefully and others that keep us stuck. Like walking through glue.

There is a quick and easy solution to getting over these upsets. All you have to do is choose to use it. 

It goes like this…

  1. Notice when you get stuck in upset-ness.
  2. When it happens, decide if it is worth staying in that feeling or not.
  3. If not, BAM it!
  4. Turn your thoughts to something else.

What is BAM? 

It’s short for BLESS IT AND MOVE ON. This doesn’t necessarily mean physically leaving a situation. You can BAM a disagreement with your husband and not get a divorce.

It’s a mental process of giving yourself permission to let it go, leave it in God’s hands, and spend your precious life energy on things that matter more.

You can BAM situations, memories, people, habits, thought patterns, and anything that upsets you.

Maybe everything is BAM-able. 

  • If someone cuts you off on the road – BAM!
  • When your mind is spinning with negative thoughts – BAM!
  • You can’t seem to resolve a disagreement – BAM!
  • When your past seems to control your present – BAM!

You get the idea. BLESS IT AND MOVE ON!

So, I’m curious. What other ways can you use BAM in your life? I bet you have some creative ideas and I would love to hear them. Please share your ideas by commenting below.

If you are interested in hiring a professional coach to help you resolve what is not working in your life, improve your relationship with yourself, or create something new, I would love to support you. Let’s schedule a phone call.  Contact Linda 

Related Posts:

How to Get Back on Track After Falling Into Inertia

A Quick and Easy Way to Stop Out of Control Snacking

25 Ways to Stay Positive in Trying Times

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

When Someone Upsets You – Remember This

crying little girl, upset upsets

There are some people…

You know what I mean. They don’t do or say what you think they should and sometimes people get hurt. Maybe even you. It could be a spouse, relative, politician, or someone you work with who upsets you. Just thinking about them makes your stomach clench, your body tighten, and your heart rate go up.

They make your life miserable.

Or, do they?

When someone upsets you, it is important to remember three things: 

Who is Responsible for What: Everyone is responsible for their own behavior. It’s between them and God. You do not have to be in the middle.What you are responsible for is your reaction. You get to choose how you respond and feel in any situation. This is good news, because the point of power for healing and shifting is within you.

There is a Reason They Do What They Do: Behavior patterns often come from our histories. Someone who talks a lot may not have felt heard as a child. A person who puts others down, likely feels unworthy. And, people with more passive characteristics may have felt a need to hide.  Being aware that people are the way they are for a reason can help you feel more compassionate and diminish your reactions to them.

Everyone Deserves a Blessing: We all have different journeys in this adventure called life. Some are not as pretty as others. My clients who live in the South joke that you can say anything about someone as long as you follow it with – “God bless her soul”.  My radical idea is to think those very words about the people who upset you the most.  Just bless them. And if you need to, move on.

Related Posts:

How to Have Great Relationships

Let Your Soul Guide Your Healing

Friday Favorites: Healing Depression, Feeling Unstoppable, and More

 

Fear, Love & Scaredy-Cat Joey

my cat Joey

This is Joey, my little scaredy cat.  He is on constant high alert and can disappear at the speed of light, running to his safety zone under my bed. His latest scary thing is the air coming from the vents when the air conditioner comes on.

Recently, I noticed that his anxiety was getting worse. He was spending entire days under the bed and had a constant look of panic when he was downstairs. It was breaking my heart.

So, I decided to immerse him in love therapy. Every chance I had, I would pet and love on him. He took to it well and soon he was following me around everywhere I went and I was totally covered in cat fur 24 hours a day. His confidence grew. His anxiety dissipated.  And, he became an active member of the family again.

I have heard that fear is the opposite of love. So, is it also possible that love is the antidote to being fearful? 

What would happen if we learned to focus on loving ourselves through our scary experiences? Love the experiences? And, even love fear itself?

It wouldn’t hurt to try.  Shall we?

Related Posts:

The Simple Truth about Fear, Worry, and Anxiety

Shift Out of Fear in 3 Quick and Easy Steps

How to Stay Calm When Stretching Your Comfort Zone

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.

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All images:© 2017 Linda Luke