This past December, when I was at our local bookstore picking some things up for the folks on my list, I left with something for me, too. I knew as soon as I read the title The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up* that it was going under the tree for me –to Kate, love Kate.
I don’t really enjoy cleaning—which to me says scrubbing, vacuuming and getting dirty. But I really get in to tidying—putting things back where they go, clearing a crowded counter so we can use it again, restoring order to chaotic room. And life-changing magic—who’s not intrigued by that?
You’ve probably read about the approach the book takes – that you should systematically go through everything you own and get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy”—perhaps you’re even one of the 8 million people who have read the book! I’m not going to tell you about how I rearranged my t-shirt drawer or fit all my jeans in one boot-box sized storage container.
I read a great book with the kids (technically, they read it to me, which has been a really cool thing to witness—but that’s a subject for another post) and it has such a great lesson in it, I had to share.
It’s called Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, about two friends who decide they want something spectacular to happen today. So they decide to dig a hole until something cool occurs.
This is what happens (spoiler alert, kind of): Read more…
If you’ve been following me a while, you know that in addition to coaching I am also a writer. I covered wellness for national magazines for years (before the recession), and I have written a few books, including one coming out at Christmas time from National Geographic Books, called A Year of Daily Calm (whee!).
As a coach, a topic I cover a lot with folks is this idea of de-compartmentalizing, or finding ways to unite parts of your life that feel separate in your mind—whether that’s parenting and being a business owner, or finding ways to bring your artistic talents in to your day job.
There’s a saying in the coaching world—that we teach what we need to learn. Turns out, I had some more de-compartmentalizing to do.
Apologies for not writing last week—we were on our annual family pilgrimage to Block Island, aka “Bermuda of the North,” a gorgeous, sweet-smelling place located 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island.
While there we mostly went to the beach (six out of seven days—not bad!). But one day, we needed a break from sandy suits and sunscreen. So we went to the labyrinth.
Set on a hilltop with 180-degree views of the ocean, this labyrinth is gorgeous, but bare bones. The path is dirt, outlined by rocks, with a pile of rocks in the center. It doesn’t seem that big when you look at it, but the path takes a very roundabout route to the center.
“The degree to which you do not believe you have time to spend ten minutes sitting quietly is the degree to which you desperately need to spend ten minutes sitting quietly.”
— Donna Farhi, in Bringing Yoga to Life
It’s so tempting to tell yourself that you’re too busy to do anything quiet and contemplative. It seems to make so much sense—there are only so many hours in a day. And you already have so many things you need to do on any given day. So every minute you spend not getting things done would be a waste.
I get the logic there, I really do. It’s what got me to quit a 10-year mind-body practice cold turkey after I had my second child in two years. I thought it was the responsible thing to do. I thought I would be able to get so much more done! (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.)
It is heaven.
Here’s what I love about it:
- No interruptions
- Don’t have to talk to anyone, much less three people at the same time
- Any messes are my own
- I can stay up reading as late as I want
- I get to follow my natural rhythms
Those first four items on the list are unique to being on a trip by myself to a town where I know no one. I love those sweet questions that my kids can’t stop asking, and that my husband loves to share his thought process with me about the craziest things. I do. It’s just that sometimes, this introvert needs quiet.
But about those natural rhythms—I’ve gotten some great intel about how I work best and when. And I realize, I’ve got to incorporate into my normal daily life.
Feeling overwhelmed is the pits. It feels like there is so much coming at you that you are drowning, you are powerless, you are rendered incapable of even thinking clearly. Which makes overwhelm extremely tricky, because how can you make good decisions in the grips of something that causes confusion? It’s like Carrie Matheson trying to do espionage when she’s off her meds on Homeland—it’s harrowing.
As much as you may tell yourself that it’s just the nature of modern life—with its information overload—or your life—with all its complexities and competing priorities—to be overwhelming, it’s just not true.
Overwhelm is not a state of being that you have to simply accept.
My kids spent the past weekend at my Dad’s house. It was heaven! They had a great time, and my husband and I had that most precious commodity—down time. Or rather, a chance to choose how we spent every minute of our time. For me, that included cleaning out the basement, going to Lowe’s to buy patio umbrellas and cooking a Sunday dinner that only appealed to grown-up palates. We also went out to dinner (Ken’s Ramen, delish) and to a party downtown on Saturday night. It was a delectable glimpse of our once and future lives. (It also flew by, but that is not the point of this post.)
At the party I chatted with a woman who didn’t have kids and who works as a personal chef. We bonded over our gluten intolerance and our respective husband’s recent injuries. I honestly didn’t expect to ever see her again as she lived a few towns away, and one of the jokes about Rhode Island is that because it’s such a small state, people start to think even short distances are entirely too far to travel.
Two years ago, I wrote a blog post called “How I Stopped Hating My Husband, and You Can Too.” It is still getting comments to this day, because people are Googling “I hate my husband.” As sad as the thought of people typing “I hate myself” into a search box is, it happens. And I hope this post will help when it does. If you found this because you searched “I hate myself,” welcome, you’re in the right place.
I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. Curly since the day it first appeared, it never went into smooth, shiny pigtails in elementary school, or feathered in middle school, or tossed effortlessly over my shoulder in high school or college.
I made a kind of peace with it as an adult, even as I continually toyed with the cut. It’s been short, long, and everything in between at least three times in the two decades. Then I had my second child and turned 40, and my hair changed. It got finer, crispier. Certain sections lost their curl. It took me five years to find a style that suited this new entity.
You know: Your gut, your inner wisdom, what you know to be true. Because when you rekindle that connection to your higher Self, everything starts flowing and feeling juicy and exciting again. Kind of like falling in love. =)
In just 10 short days, I’m bringing back my tried-and-true-yet-still-improved Kate’s Reboot Camp. This program is my way of taking all the basic elements that I cover in my private coaching and make it affordable and accessible to more people. If you’ve ever thought Gee, I’d like some guidance on how to start doing more of the things that matter but the timing hasn’t been right for hiring a coach, this is your chance to get a majority of the benefits at a fraction of the cost! Read more…