Friday, April 30, 2010

Discovering & Restoring Through Creative Play

The second session of my e-course, Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery, is ending today.  It has been another magical, amazing, revealing, vulnerable, messy, exciting experience.  

For the last 4-weeks, over 70 people from all over the world joined me to become bold explorers of their lives.  Here are just a few moments we shared together.


Making messes.

Celebrating authenticity.

Defining values.

Discovering new affirmations.





And having SO much fun.

I continue to feel blessed that I get to connect, share, and grow with so many wonderful adventurers through this experience.  I am inspired to continue the Inside Out journey, and I'm still in the process of developing a new summer course that I'm really excited to share with you!

In the meantime, though, I'm taking the entire month of May off just to restore my own creativity!  I've signed up for Amelia's lovely and inspiring e-course, Experimental Art, and I'm treating myself to the Wish*Full virtual retreat this weekend!

So lots more doodling, staining, messing, painting, drawing, ripping, wondering, exploring, playing and just "being me" around here. 

Your Personal Reflection:  What creative messes are you getting into?

(*Several of the photos on this post were provided by class participants.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reduce Clutter Update

I started on my kitchen this week.  Reducing clutter can definitely be a daunting task, so luckily I'm giving myself one month per room.  And yesterday I conquered that "hard to reach" cupboard.  You know the one - above the fridge or microwave where we stash stuff that we never get to because we need a stool to get to it in the first place and instead of making the effort to do that we simply forget about it?

This cupboard holds my cookbooks and here's the stack I'm donating.  I picked out my favorites, a few sentimental ones (like from my grandma), and I'm giving the rest away.  I usually keep my favorite one by the juicer on the counter, and really, I rarely use cookbooks anyway.  When I make a meal from a recipe it's because a friend gave it to me, or I looked it up on-line, or I got inspired at the farmer's market (I'll be sharing my new asparagus leek soup soon. It is pure heaven!) So...bye bye cookbooks.  That cupboard is nearly empty now and just knowing that makes me feel...ah...lighter.

The attention I'm giving my kitchen, along with the change of season, has really inspired me to try new things.  Here's another new recipe that Suzanne shared for the green smoothie challenge.  I was happy to see not all of the smoothies have to be so green!

Orange & Blueberry
1 cup of greens (i.e. romaine lettuce, kale, spinach)
1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup of water
2 cups of frozen blueberries

My little guy Kestan is so excited for smoothies now that today he insisted I add more kale.  

I do believe that energy is freed up when we clear clutter.  I am fully embracing a healthy, abundant and nourishing spring, and I'm extremely excited that my kitchen is feeling more organized and clean - one cupboard at a time.  Letting go of more makes me feel energized and alive!

For those of you who have joined the Reduce Clutter; Create Space Challenge for 2010, my virtual friend, Sarah, and I are creating a list that will help guide us for the remaining months.  If you have a particular room. or area of your home or life, that you want to un-clutter, let me know and we'll add it to the list.  I'll publish the list in May.  (By the way, in May we are focusing on digital clutter.  Yippee!)

Join the reduce clutter discussion here.

Your Personal Reflection:  What kind of space are you creating?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seeing Green

This week I joined the green smoothie challenge.  It's pretty simple, really.  Start each day with a green smoothie, which consists of greens, fruits and water.  The first day I made one with kale and mango. It was incredible.  The second day I got really ambitious and added twice the amount of kale.  It tasted a lot like grass.  So I added a fuji apple and it sweetened it just enough.   

I love the natural boost of energy I get and drinking something so green just makes me feel good.  I especially love that my 2-year-old can down one of these in about 10 seconds flat.  Here's the first recipe I tried that is really yummy:
Green Kale & Mango Smoothie
1 cup of kale
1 mango
1 cup water

Blend in your blender until smooth.  Make a toast and enjoy!

For more information, check out Green For Life or join the challenge.

My seedlings have sprouted and they want to get in the ground.  This is the first time I've ever started seeds indoors and I'm very new to gardening.  So I'm extremely excited to get my hands in the dirt.  We've spent the last few weekends getting the shed, patio and screened porch ready for spring.  The goal this weekend:  tend to the garden!

Growing my own food and continuing to support local, organic farmers is my one small change for April.

I love how things come into our life at just the right time - seeing green - just in time for Earth Day.

Your Personal Reflection:  How will you celebrate, honor and respect yourself, others and our beautiful world this Earth Day?  Can you continue the celebration each and every day?

Monday, April 19, 2010

And the winner is...

Rachel Hower!  You won a spot in my new summer e-course.  I promise to tell you more about it very soon.  I'm busy stuffing it full of creative messes and summer easy-breezy fun.

Thanks to each of you for sharing your celebrations with me.  You all have so much gratitude in your life and that is beautiful to see.

Your Personal Reflection:  What fun will you have today?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reason to Celebrate

I was introduced to the coolest IPhone app this week called Hipstamatic.  These photos were all taken on my phone and there was no need to edit or alter them, because this app did it for me.  It is such a fun toy.

This first photo is taken from my perspective, looking down at Kestan. Yes, that is my belly.  Yes, there is a baby in there. Yes, Kestan is trying to see the baby.
"I want to see my baby."

"I want to kiss my baby."

"I want to tickle my baby!"

I thought it was appropriate to share my exciting news with you as I celebrate my 100th blog post.  In honor of baby #2, I feel a gift is in order!

Along with making a baby human, I'm also creating a new e-course that I'll be launching in a few short months.  Would you like to enter for a chance to win a spot?  I can't tell you what it is yet, but I'll give you a hint - it's fun, it's playful, it's creative, it's messy and it will be a great way to enjoy the lazy, breezy days of summer.  (I also plan on announcing Inside Out e-course dates soon.)

To enter:  Leave a comment on this post by, Sunday, April 18th.

Your Personal Reflection:  What's your reason to celebrate today? 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Letting Go of Perfect

The past few weeks have flown by, with returning from a family vacation, to starting my spring session of Inside Out e-course, to reducing clutter in my home.

So I decided to take a much needed break and enjoy the sunshine with paints and my 2-year-old.  I have my paints ready and set out some for Kestan with his own book.  Ahh, great...everything is perfect.  The birds are singing, not a cloud in the sky, the flowers are in bloom and I'm enjoying a clean patio (that we worked all weekend on!)

But, Kestan had other ideas.  He wanted to paint on mommy's paper.  At first I could feel a sense of resistance creep up.  "But this is my journal," I thought.  I took a deep breath and let go of expectations that this was going to be the perfect moment for creating.
As we started painting together, this experience turned into a new assignment for my class participants, which included encouraging them to explore their unique brush strokes.

In fact, Kestan gave me a great idea on how to make cool strokes with an old toothbrush!
I could have easily given up, put all the paints away and gotten frustrated that my perfect moment was ruined.  But instead, letting go of the idea that I must find the perfect moment for creating, I ended up discovering new things about my little boy and myself.  I learned that I still have tendencies to be uptight, despite my practice in letting go and implementing more play into my life.  And I was reminded, once again, that Kestan is my true teacher.

We both got lost in the moment - together.  We played.  We used our imaginations.  We had fun!  And we created something that is imperfectly wonderful.  

Your Personal Reflection:  Do you wait for the perfect moment to create?  Does that moment ever come?  How can you practice creating more in the middle of things, while letting go of perfect?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reduce Clutter Theme for April: The Kitchen!

It's time.  Spring is here, my seedlings are sprouting, and my kitchen needs an overhaul so that I can invite health and nourishment into my home this season!
No cupboard, drawer, nook or cranny is safe from my organizing bug.

Here's a peak into some of my messes.  I can't even remember the last time I pulled out any of these cookbooks.  I usually look up recipes online or by using the Whole Foods ap on my phone.  These books are just taking up space and collecting dust.  I'm excited and I plan to take it slow as to not get too overwhelmed.  Little steps each day and uh, breathe.  Will you join us?  

Reduce Clutter; Create Space Spotlight Interview #4
*Note:  So I made a little blogging boo boo.  I posted this awesome interview below with Erin, and unfortunately I put the wrong photo up.  Poor Erin stopped by for a visit only to find out that I had replaced her face with someone else!  It was purely an accident and luckily Erin has a great sense of humor.  We both are laughing about it, but I wanted to give her the space she so deserves.  This post will stay up through Monday. Enjoy her inspiration!  (Sorry, Erin!)

Meet Erin.  She is an explorer who is committed to creating more space in her life for what matters most!  Enjoy her inspiration and humor as she shares how reducing clutter is bringing her a new found sense of motivation and peace.
(Photo courtesy of Erin Reece) 

Why have you chosen to join the "Reduce Clutter; Create Space" challenge for 2010? 
I've been feeling overwhelmed and unhappy with the state of my teeny tiny townhouse for years.  It stresses me out and has kept me from having people over.  The straw that broke the camel's back was the night my house alarm malfunctioned and three hot police officers showed up to make sure I was OK.  I was so embarrassed by the mess that my new motto became "The house must at all times be presentable enough for three hot police officers to come over".  In order to fulfill that promise I made to myself, I knew I needed to streamline and live a more minimalist life.

What does "clutter" mean to you?  
In my world, clutter has categories.  First up is the stuff you don't use which includes:  The stuff you bought that you wound up not using, but kept out of guilt.  The stuff you bought because it was an awesome deal, but you don't use.  The stuff that you used to use, but don't anymore.  And finally, there's the stuff that has a memory or emotional attachment - stuff like ticket stubs, programs, etc. 
The second kind of clutter is the stuff you want to keep, but haven't put away.  For example: the large pile of old photos I've never put into an album.  Once I put them into an album, they cease to be clutter.

The third kind is mail-related: catalogues, magazines, advertisements, etc.  This one drives me BATTY.  I stop at the recycle bin after getting the mail so I can dispose of most of this immediately.  (Unless it's something I want to read, of course.)
(Photo courtesy of Erin Reece) 

What kinds of reducing have you started?  
My bedroom has been fully decluttered, including a complete closet and dresser re-organization to accommodate the fact that I'm a visual processor.  I need to see my clothes to remember that I have them.  I've completed small projects that I've been putting off for months.  (Installing those damn Comcast digital boxes comes to mind.  It wasn't hard, it just took a long time.)  I cleared the worst closet in the house (The Closet of DOOM, if you will) where I had previously put everything I didn't know what to do with.  And I've tackled my bookshelves. 

Have you noticed any new space being created as you let things physically, mentally and emotionally go?
My bedroom is the only room that is truly done and it is my favorite room in the house.  That is no coincidence!  It is so peaceful and lovely in there and I've effortlessly created new habits to maintain that feel.  For example, I used to store my clothes on the floor, in a pile.  That has been my system for most of my life.  Now I put them away simply because my organized closet makes me so happy.  I started opening my blinds every day as well (for a plant I moved into my room) and the natural light gives the room a cleansed feeling when I get home at the end of the day.  And I'm making my bed regularly for the first time in my life.  That one still baffles me!  Where did this bed-making version of me come from?  I'm changing in ways I did not expect.

What's been the easiest part for you?
The only thing I'm particularly good at is rifling through my clothes and pulling things for Goodwill because I've done it many, many times over the years.  (The result of multiple moves.  Nothing like being forced to haul your stuff around to inspire you to get rid of it.)  I also find it easy to get rid of things.  I'm so exhausted by all my STUFF that sending it off to Goodwill has become more fun than keeping it.
(Photo courtesy of Erin Reece)

How about the hardest?
Sitting down and figuring out how to organize things and where to keep them.  This is the first time I've tried the visual closet organization and it took a little while to puzzle through how to set it up.  I'm still not convinced I've put some things in the best place and I'm still working on creating better "processes" for myself.  For example, the process of "getting home from work".  Where do I want my coat to go?  What about my shoes?  Where do I put the mail and my purse or laptop bag?  This stuff has required a lot of thought and furniture movement.  I had no idea I'd have to think so much, but it's nice to create new habits to get around my old lazy ways.

Any surprises so far?  
I had no idea that a peaceful room would feel so good AND be so motivating.  I've never been a neat person, but the way I have maintained my bedroom for the last month is shocking.  I feel genuine motivation to keep it organized because it makes me so happy.  I'm hoping that will extend to the rest of the house once I'm done decluttering.

What are your intentions for joining other "explorers" on this journey?
I'm fascinated to hear about other people's experiences and ideas.  I'm especially open to organizational tips and tricks because that has been the hardest part of the process for me.  I love that you (Shannon) have created a community for declutterers to come together.  There is a lot of motivational power in groups of like-minded folks!

Any tips, thoughts or suggestions you might want to share with others who are interested in starting to "reduce clutter" so they can "create more "space" in their lives?
A lot of this process has involved being really honest with myself about who I am and then trying to outsmart myself.  As I mentioned above, I'm working on creating better processes for myself for the stuff I do every day that has the potential to create clutter.  Also, I've had to figure out how to motivate myself to do all this hard decluttering work.  A friend told me there are two ways to get unpleasant tasks done: All at once or a little at a time, consistently.  I'm more of an all-at-once girl, but the task has proved to be bigger than a couple of dedicated weekends.  So I've morphed my declutter time to extend through April (my parents will be visiting and they get to help with some of the heavy lifting tasks.  Also the garage, where the spiders live).  I generally only declutter on weekends, recognizing that I need a break during the week.  Giving myself dedicated declutter time has helped keep me focused.  In fact, I really wasn't feeling it last weekend, so I gave myself the weekend off.  Who says it's a race?  All that matters is getting to the finish line by the end of 2010.

Thank you, Erin.  Knowing that you are out there working magic in your home gives us the courage and determination to keep on clearing!

Your Personal Reflection:  Are you ready to let go of more to make space for what matters most?
Join the challenge and share your journey.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Celebrating Our Trip in Pictures

Your Personal Reflection:  What are YOU celebrating today?

(*Many photos courtesy of my hubby, Chris Duh.)