I believe we can be anyone

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you like everybody else is to fight the hardest battle you can fight--but never stop fighting! E.E. Cummings

Friday, December 09, 2011

Holiday Altar 2011

"Tis the season", as they say.  I enjoy the holiday season and it gives me another reason to decorate with beauty around my home.  Hope you enjoy and get some ideas as well!

This is in the entranceway of our apartment.

Still in the entranceway.  I have so many beautiful Christmas cards that I have saved over the years and decided to frame some for the month of December!  A great way to enjoy them all over again.

On the bottom right is a German Advent calendar on display.  I always got these as a child.  There are 24 "doors" to open on these calendars with a little surprise behind each door.  Some have pictures and some have chocolates.  I just thought it was beautiful.

Another Advent calendar on the wall above the Holiday altar.

In the living room.

On the chair below, more Christmas items including a German Advent wreath.  On each Sunday before Christmas, one candle is lit until the week before Christmas when all four are finally lit up.  Best to get dripless candles, which these are.

Happy Holidays and keep tuned for more!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Words of Wisdom


        Laugh from the toes up

      Take time for yourself

Give handmade birthday cards

       Lie in a field and watch the clouds

      Shovel someone else’s sidewalk

      Feed the birds

       Seek the wisdom of older people

     Use only one parking stall at a time (either for a car or a bike!)

     Howl, even if the moon isn’t full

     Eat dessert first

    Phone someone for no reason

    Focus on people’s good points

    Never stop learning

      Be known as the one who always gets things done

     Make someone’s day

    Listen to the quiet

    Instead of making promises, make commitments

     Be proud of your accomplishments

      Never refuse homemade food

      Be spontaneous

      Make the most of the weather

    Exercise your body and mind

     Get involved – volunteer

      Start your day with a smile

     Make memories

       Count your blessings

      Give flowers to someone for no reason

     Return borrowed books and items

      Laugh at yourself

      Listen to a child

      Watch a sunrise; share a sunset

     Leave the toilet seat down

      Think big and relish small pleasures

      Remember other people’s birthdays

       Be the first to say “Hello”

      Enjoy the moment

     Eat by candlelight

      Believe in yourself and others

       Always say “Please” and “Thank you”

      Admit your mistakes

     Surround yourself with positive people

      Give compliments often

      Look for opportunities, not guarantees

      Celebrate life

     Give credit where credit is due

     Influence by example

      Be patient

       Hug your computer

      Look for shooting stars

     Smile at a stranger

      Initiate change and changes

      Be your own best friend

     Plant a tree, flowers or vegetables

    Tell those you love that you do

       Leave things a little better than you found them

      Be forgiving of yourself and others

      Never hesitate to say “I don’t know”

       Make new friends but cherish old ones

     Always accept an outstretched hand

      Strive for excellence, not perfection

     Give your enthusiasm to everyone

     Eat an ice cream cone from the bottom

       Treat others as you would like to be treated

       Have fun and do what you love

      Spend time with friends

       Be kind to yourself and others

Blessings to you all!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

STOP!! Get Off the Clutter Insanity Train!

My outer world is a direct reflection of my inner world.

"Where are my keys?"
"Where the heck are my business receipts for my taxes?"
"Why do we have three spatulas?"

Are these some of the questions you have asked yourself over the years?  Then maybe it's time to declutter and get organized.

My outer world is a direct reflection of my inner world.

Clutter is the physical manifestation of how I feel about myself on the inside.  On an energetic level, if I feel chaotic on the inside, guess what?  It manifests as chaos in my physical reality in the form of clutter in my environment.

Strangely, organizing has become a passion of mine.  I love to be organized and to be able to find things.  I like to know that my keys are where I left them. 

While many people are scrambling around to find their receipts and get their taxes done by April 30th (this was me, by the way), I like having our receipts and finances so organized that when tax time comes around, we're getting our tax refund by mid to end of March and deposited directly into our bank account.

And yes, we have two spatulas but each are different.

It's been quite a journey for me over the last twelve years getting to this place.  But it's so worth it and continues to be an ongoing process.

There are many reasons why people have clutter in their lives.  I would like to share a few ideas with you.

On a deeper subconscious level, I believe that some people have clutter and chaos in their lives because they are addicted to the drama it creates.  Or, sometimes people have clutter because it makes them "feel bad" and continues to feed their low self worth.  Sometimes, people like to collect stuff and things just start to get out of hand.  But there are many, many reasons and they are as unique as people are.

"Where are my keys?  Why can't I find my keys?  I'm going to be late!!!"

And every day it's the same pattern creating stress, anxiety and a constant adrenaline rush.

The following is taken from the "24 Hours" local mini newspaper on February 15, 2008.
"Clutter anxiety is a burgeoning affliction, according to a new study from Australia.  The explosion of stuff piling up around us is causing 40% of people to feel anxious, guilty or depressed.

According to professional organizer Judi Culbertson, clutter can create unhappiness and a feeling of being at the mercy of your environment.

Clutter robs you of the sense of being in control of your life.  It's frustrating to not be able to find something you know you have, especially when you then have to replace it and create more clutter.

It's actually toxic to a person's well being.  Walsh, star of TLC's "Clean Sweep" and a regular on the "Oprah" show, says that "When we talk about clutter, we use very specific language -- 'I felt suffocated in that room with all that stuff' or 'There was so much stuff in that house I could hardly breathe' or 'I felt buried every time I went into that space.'  This is no accident."

I started to notice this myself every time I would give things away that I no longer needed.  I could feel the shift of energy in a room. 

I also notice it when I clean, dust or move things around to change things up once in a while.   When I tune in, I can feel the shift of energy change in a room.

"According to Walsh, "We are all caught in an orgy of consumption.  Buying things is the new recreational sport and we excel at it!"  Clutter is filling but not fulfilling -- it leaves us empty."

Hopefully I have convinced you to Get Off the Clutter Insanity Train!  But now what?  How do I get started, you might ask yourself?  I will share three simple ways to support you in getting started.

1.  Stop buying stuff.
2.  Honour and respect your space.
3.  Declutter at least once a year.

1.  Stop buying stuff.  Sounds simple right (says the former Shopaholic)?  There are things that we NEED and then, there are things that we WANT. (This will be another upcoming article for discussion, "Why We Buy and Do We Really Have Control?"). 

Before buying those things you just WANT, ask yourself this question:  "Does this thing move me closer to the vision I have for the life I want to be living?"  If so, then buy it.  But if not, why are you buying it?

Let go of the impulse to buy impulse items on the spot.  If I go window shopping and browsing and happen to see something I would like, I no longer buy it on the spot.    I use this rule:  I give myself 24 hours to think about that item before buying it.  If I'm still thinking about it after 24 hours and I absolutely feel it's worth for me to have, then I buy it.  But more often than not, the impulse has passed and I have forgotten about it.  I have now saved myself some money and space!

Another tip:  let's say an item costs $60.  Figure out how many hours you need to work in order to pay for that item.  This will help to give you a new perspective on how hard you need to work to pay for an item that is potentially going to take up space, energy and hard earned money.

2.  Honour and respect your space.  No matter how hard you try, you can't fit ten cubic feet of stuff into five cubic feet of space.  If you have to start walking over stuff to get into your home or into a room, then it's definitely time to declutter and get organized!

If you do decide to buy something (either new or used) and bring it into your home, I use this rule:  I make a promise to myself that if I bring one item home, I give away one item that I no longer love or use.  This keeps things moving and flowing in my home. 

Keep things current by only keeping those things that you LOVE and USE regularly.

3.  Declutter at least once a year.  If you haven't used or worn an item in the last twelve months, do you really need it?

I like to declutter at least once a year.  I generally do this throughout the year but mostly in the winter and spring.  In the winter it's cold out and spring has this motivating kind of energy where most people like to "spring clean", including myself.  Do whatever works for you.  Find your own rhythm and way of doing things.

I find it too overwhelming to declutter my whole home at once, so I break it down into rooms.  Then I will break the room down into chunks or sections, perhaps starting with a piece of furniture or I may start with a drawer. 

Again, do whatever works for you.  The important thing is to commit to yourself and schedule a day and time to do this.  But also, MAKE IT FUN!  This doesn't have to be drudgery.  Put on some of your favourite music and get to "work"!

Listen and pay attention to how you feel.  You might surprise yourself by feeling inspired to do more than you thought you were capable of.  You may start on one small thing and feel so good by the shift in energy that you end up doing the whole room.  That happens for me sometimes and when I feel motivated like that, I continue. 

But sometimes I can feel when I have had enough.  My head feels like it's starting to spin because there is a lot of energy and stuff moving.  If something like this happens, stop or take a break.  But again, MAKE IT FUN!  Don't be hard on yourself throughout this process.

I know from my own experience, how much better I feel knowing where things are.  I don't need to second guess myself any longer.  Am I 100% organized?  Not yet.  It's a work in progress.  But I have come a LONG way!

Make a coffee or tea date with yourself and take some time and get writing.  Get out your journal (right now if you can) and start brainstorming ideas with some of the suggestions below.

Ask yourself:  "Why do I want to be organized?"  What are you going to get in return?  How will you feel when you are organized?  If you aren't sure how to answer this, ask yourself: what is it about your life currently, with being disorganized, that you don't like?  Write down the opposite feeling of that.

Write down the things you would love to be and do.  Who would you like to be?  Do you have time to do the things you love?  Or, are you so disorganized and bogged down with "stuff" you can't think straight or clearly?

It helps if you can visualize how you would like your life and your home to be.  My home is a reflection of who I am and it can be for you to.  If visualizing your life and home in the big picture is too huge of a step right now, start with one room.  Start with one area in your life.  If you can create an image in your mind, you can work toward it and discard everything that doesn't fit into that vision.

Getting clear about your goals will help you to stay motivated to declutter and create the home and life you really want.  Get ideas from magazines, books and the internet.  Get inspired by seeing how others live.  Ask for support or suggestions from people you know.  Get a "declutter buddy".  Or, if you can, hire a professional organizer who can coach you through the process and support you in your goals.  (Maybe this will be my new career.  Who knows?)

Having clutter and being disorganized can be a sensitive and touchy subject for people.  It can stir up emotions including embarrassment.  I know it did for me.  I would look at my life and think "How did I let things get so out of control?"  But please don't let these feelings and thoughts stop you from moving forward.

The physical manifestation of my clutter was a reflection of where I was at in my life.  Twelve years ago, I was stuck emotionally, physically and mentally.  I had gained 50 pounds and didn't take care of myself like I needed to.  I had so much "emotional clutter" and baggage I hadn't dealt with, that it ended up manifesting in my home physically as clutter and being disorganized.  Once I started the journey of personal growth, healing and dealing with my emotional baggage, it prompted me to start taking care of myself and my life.

It's been a number of years to get where I am today, but coming from the Clutter Insanity Train, I can happily say it was well worth the time and energy to get off that Train.  Once I decluttered emotionally, mentally and physically (both in body and home), it created space, time and energy for me to decorate my home the way I wanted, to create beauty and to play with my creative and artistic side.  Decluttering will help you to create space, time and energy to do the things you really want to do, whatever that is.

The time, energy and money that is wasted from being disorganized and having too much stuff is NOT worth it in the long run.  Decluttering is a continuous and ongoing process, so patience and kindness with yourself is key.  It took some time to get where you are so realize it may take some time to get where you want to go.  But if you don't start somewhere, you won't get anywhere.  And hey, AREN'T YOU WORTH IT!!!  I know you are!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drunken by his beauty

Creation of Bliss by Sherry Arthur

Innocently, the young man said "Good afternoon" and flashed me a huge smile. 
I replied “Hello” back to him as a smile washed across my face. 
I looked over my shoulder and our eyes met. 
We waved to each other and I walked away, happy and “in love”, drunken by his beauty. 
I want to kiss you. 
Thank you for putting a smile on my face and joy in my heart that lasted longer than the moment we shared.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When ....

When the winds blow,

the leaves get to dance.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Goddess Altar 2011

We are definitely in the season of fall.  There is a crispness and coolness in the air.  The days are getting shorter.  Leaves are falling down every day.  The colors are striking though and I always enjoy the beauty of that.  Bike riding days will soon be gone, especially for me since I don't particularly like riding on snowy and/or icy streets.  That's when my walking and dancing legs come out once again.  The thing about walking is it just takes so much longer to do everything.  Oh well.  That's the way it is.

Shortly after September 23, I went to work on creating a new altar to honour the season.  I always enjoy the process of creating something new and beautiful.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  And I hope it inspires you to create some beauty as the dark, grey days come forth.

Happy Autumn Blessings to you all!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bliss and then some....

To know all of who we are, we need to tap into those parts of ourselves we don't like to look at.

Not just the light side of ourselves, but the deepest and darkest parts of our soul.

For in order to transform into the lightness of who we are, we must know the dark.

The dark is not pretty.  It is messy, chaotic and ugly at times. 

I  do not like to go there myself but in order to enjoy the feeling of joy and bliss, I must know the opposite spectrum.

It is the only way.  Otherwise, we don't fully engage in the process of life. 

We cannot selectively numb the feelings we don't like.  It doesn't work that way.

I wish I could just feel bliss and joy all the time.  It doesn't work that way or maybe it does and I haven't quite figured it out yet.  Nonetheless, this is my journey.

I must know the feeling of hopelessness, despair, torment, frustration and sadness to recognize joy, bliss, happiness and the light.

I have fought against wanting to look at the dark parts of myself and when I do this it just comes back to haunt me.

I must journey to the dark to travel into the light.

And that means feeling and seeing all of it no matter how challenging it can be at times.

I continue to peel away the layers of the onion so that I can experience moments of bliss, joy and happiness.

Once you taste and experience the feeling of bliss, there is no going back to the way things were.  I want more.  I can't just be okay with settling any longer.

I deserve more and so do you.

So continue seeking, searching and becoming clear about what it is you would love to be, do and have in your world.

Follow your heart and move towards your dreams, whatever they are.

Live the Life You Love and Love the Life you Live.  No matter what.