Happy, Happy Holidays!!

It’s been quite a year this year! We added a puppy to the family, the passing of my Mom, the diagnosis of my Mother in Law, getting serious about launching my Keep it Simple business…

This was my biggest blogging year since I started writing. Thank you to those you have stopped by! I appreciate you!

Enjoy this time. Feel the feels. Take care of you first. And most of all: Keep it Simple.

Happy Holidays❤

Give Yourself Permission 

Guilt, sadness, second guessing, fear. These are all feelings that surround the STUFF cluttering your home. These are the feelings that clutter your heart.

I’m just grabbing numbers out of thin air here, but let’s just say that for every one item in your home that makes your heart sing with love and happiness there are 10 items that bog you down with the guilt, sadness, second guessing, and fear.  Could that be possible? I think it it is possible in my own home and I have been on this journey for 3 years now!

Why do we harbor these feelings about STUFF? These are some of the things I hear from clients and that I have thought myself: it was a gift; it was handed down; my beloved (insert relative/friend) wanted me to have this;  it reminds me of (insert moments of time in the past we try to keep reliving); what if need it someday;  I can hand this down; I spent a lot of money on this; I can sell this; and so on.  Yet, the STUFF remains stagnant, not serving any purpose other than reminding you of what you need to do “later”. The very sight of it triggers exhaustion and defeat. It’s Pandora’s of emotional gobblydoop, and who has time for that? Let’s just keep the lid on it and ignore it. But, it won’t let you ignore it. It is still there beckoning your attention. Sound familiar? How does your body feel as you read this? I feel quite yucky right now as I write this.

What can you do about it? I think the very first step is to give yourself permission. Permission to acknowledge the STUFF, the feelings, and then Let It Go. Much of the reasons to hold on to STUFF are tied to obligations and expectations. Two words that mak me shudder. Two words telling us to drive our lives according to someone else’s GPS not our own internal GPS called intuition. Two words that are inevitably seeking permission from others. Intuition, that thing we have had since we were born but for some reason we are steered away from as we grow into adulthood. Intuition is a good thing. Listening to intuition is giving yourself permission. Giving yourself permission to let go of obligation and expectation. Embrace intuition and intention. Acknowledging the feelings and then letting go of the guilt, sadness, second guessing, the fear. Embracing love and happiness. Let go of the what-if and embrace the what is. Let go of the shoulds and shouldn’ts. Embrace your YES and your NO! Your likes your dislikes. Acknowledge your mistakes and embrace them as learning opportunities. Let go of being the victim and embrace empowerment.  Let go of who you think everyone wants you to be and embrace YOU! 

As you are giving yourself permission to acknowledge, let go and embrace remember that there will be some “not yets”. That is also your intuition. It’s telling you to listen more carefully. To pause, to slow down. It’s giving yourself permission to really tune into what you NEED in order to let go.

Keep It Simple

Simplifying the book shelves: Why books were hard for me to get rid of

When I was little we had a black lab named Stu. Cute, huh? Except it was short for Stupid. And, that was sometimes my nickname that my Dad used for me.

When I was in school, I was in the same class as all the GATE kids. However, I did not test high enough to actually be in GATE.

In high school, I struggled with math. After my sophomore year, I just stopped taking math since it caused my other grades to suffer. I had to take remedial math in college before I could take basic college algebra.

I flunked Chem 101 in college. Mostly because I talked on the phone all night to my future husband rather than study. 

I stopped going to college because I flunked that class and my major had many more math and chemistry classes in the future.

My Dad told me it was a waste of my time to go back to college if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.

I went back anyway. And I kicked ass.

I was always in awe of the book shelves of my profs filled with books that they would reference. It just seemed to seemed so intellectual. I wanted to be intellectual.

Aside from my science side I have a literature side. I took honors English throughout high school and had one of the best English teachers. She read Shakespeare to us and would interpret it so we could understand what the heck was going on. Again, literature was intellectual.

When we bought our first house I wanted a library with tall mahogany bookshelves that I could fill with my text books from my major and all of my literature books. I guess I collected books. It made me feel intellectual.

But then I started buying books that I thought a biologist SHOULD read or a literature buff MUST read. And they sat on my shelves for years. Making me feel less intellectual.

So when I read the article about hoarders that talked about the man with schizophrenia that had bookshelves full of books because without those books, he was just a man with a mental health problem, I could keep no of relate. Those books that used to be on my shelves made me feel like I was smart even though deep down I have always had an intellectual inferiority complex. 

But one day, I sat down with those books and went through them. What had I read that I would not reread. What sat On those shelves and never were read or I had tried to start reading them and just couldn’t do it. It’s actually ok to not like a book. Even if you think you SHOULD/MUST read them. 

E.O. Wilson’s “Diversity of Life” no longer taunts me and neither does “The Brothers Karamozov”.  I cleared those shelves, donated the books, sold the shelves. I refinished hubby’s shelves from his childhood and placed a few choice books that will always speak to my heart. I look at those shelves with joy now. I no longer shame myself. 

I know a lot of people struggle with letting go of books. There is something very alluring about walls full of books. We just love books! But we don’t have to keep them all. Especially when those books on the shelves are nagging at you rather than giving you joy.

Keep it Simple❤️


My Mom Was Dying and I Went to a Concert

Typically I write about Simplifying life in the sense of the home environment and schedules. Sometimes, I like to write about Self-care as well. I can’t articulate it but I truly feel that Simplifying and Self-care go hand in hand.

After dropping the boys off to school, I was listening to Coldplay. Their song “Everglow” was playing. That song reminds me of my Mom. You see, my Mom passed on the evening of  August 22nd. My husband, two boys, and I went to the Coldplay concert on the evening of August 20th. I struggled so much with whether to go to the concert or stay by my Mom’s side. I am an only child. I have fought my entire life against the stereo-type of being spoiled and selfish yet my whole family had been looking forward to this concert for MONTHS. This was to be my youngest son’s first concert.  This was to be a family experience. My Mom was transitioning. I was emotionally exhausted but I didn’t want to leaver her. I wanted to be by her side when she left this world. I was being pulled between my hearts that were living and my heart that was dying.

Music nurtures my soul. Music helps release stuck emotions. Lyrics put words to feelings. I feel the bass in my heart and soul. I can escape but at the same time be present.

My soul sister and I were talking on the phone and she said to me, “Seeking pleasure during an emotionally difficult time is not a bad thing. This is Self-care.” After I had confirmation from the hospice nurse that yes, Mom was on her way but it would most likely not be that night. I decided I was going. I had brought my things with me to my Mom’s and drove separately from my family so I could leave at the latest moment possible. I whispered to my Mom that we were going to see Coldplay,  how excited D was and that I wouldn’t be too far away. I would be back the next morning. I know in every fiber of my body that she wanted us to go.  Her husband and my Aunt knew to call if there was any drastic change and I would get there ASAP. I likened it to going home for the night. It’s just that “home” for that night was 1 1/2 hours away instead of 20 minutes.

The whole drive to Pasadena, I listened to their music. Old songs, new songs. Songs that made me smile, songs that made me cry. It was so therapeutic. I was able to break free from the intensity for just a few hours.

When I arrived, the boys were waiting for me to go get dinner. We ate, we talked, we hugged, we laughed, we walked, we held hands, we waited in line, we rode on a bus, we snuggled, we waited in line again, we finally got to our seats. We were together. Unplugged. Focused on the same thing. Experiencing an experience together. Connecting. My heart was breaking at the same time it was filling up. My God, how we needed this at this time more than ever. All of our cups had been drained over the summer. This helped nourish all of our souls at a time that our souls were feeling quite tender.

That concert was somewhat of a spiritual experience as well. I literally felt the music through my heart, body and soul. Their current album feels like a celebration of life to me. The symbol of their album is The Flower of Life. I wanted to celebrate my Mom and being there seemed very apropos.

So, yeah, my Mom was dying and I went to a concert. I think it was Mom approved:)

Oh, and, Mom, I want you to know that your light will “Everglow.”14192146_10210830924797436_4968507595582328293_n.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ll put THAT on eBay”- Your Parents Stuff…Still

Back at Mom’s yesterday. Cleverly hidden under a card table were 4 boxes of STUFF that she told me months ago she had tried to sell on eBay but nobody was biting. I suggested she donate it. Apparently, she did not.

I have lots of friends who eBay items or craigslist or sell them on local exchanges on Facebook. Most of them have quite an inventory stocked up. It’s not THEIR stuff, per se. The intention is to sell it. Sounds great! Until you have  acquired a warehouse in your garage of STUFF earmarked for eBay. 

I held my very first workshop at my home about a year ago and one of the women attending is a serious eBay seller. She also has a minimalist frame of mind. Her one rule is: if it doesn’t sell within 30 days, GET RID OF IT!  ‘Cause chances are, it isn’t going to sell at all or at least not for what you would want from it. Was it painful to send a set of China to Salvation Army that sat in my garage for at least 15 years because I thought for sure I could make money off of it? Nope. The painful part was realizing others didn’t have the same value attached to it as I thought they should. I just imagined the face of the person at the thrift store that felt like they scored on a gorgeous China set.

So, if you are purging your STUFF and think you can sell it, do yourself a favor and give yourself a deadline. Sell in 30 days or get it outta there! Your time is more valuable.

Keep it Simple✌🏻️