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What I know:

It isn't about our stuff.
It's about our connections.

Bigger. Better. More.
Rarely is.

Our best lives create space
in our homes and hearts
for the people and activities
that make us genuinely happy.

You must be present to win.

Do what you can

Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are.  
Theodore Roosevelt

These are overwhelming times.
The guidelines and protocols surrounding the virus.
The shifts in social awareness around justice issues.
The continuing polarization of political ideologies.
Economic uncertainty.
(not to mention the pile of unfolded laundry on the dryer)

It is challenging to know what to do, how we can help, 
what our contribution can be, and how to feel calm within all the storms.

Wanting to save the world, 
care for others and make decisions that support our own well being
can leave us feeling unable to make any decisions.
Admit it’s challenging.
Take another breath.

Start small.
Trust your heart to lead your actions.
Do what you can.

Clearing by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.

Make it easy

Help yourself be successful by making it easy to take care of the mechanics of daily living.

Instead of dropping your cozy clothes onto the bedroom chair;
put hooks on the back of the door so you can easily hang them up as you take them off.

Have a donation bag near the dryer so you can easily add unwanted clothes to it ​as they come out of the dryer.

Open your mail over the recycle container so you can easily drop unwanted mail as you open it.

Keep your grocery list on your phone so you don’t have to remember to take a paper list with you.

Set up automatic payments through your bank for reoccurring bills.

Keep a few clean garbage bags in the bottom of your trash cans so you can easily change them when you remove a full one.

By eliminating steps-both mental and physical ones, 
and changing a few small habits, you can simplify your life.

Choose to make your life easy.
You’ll be happier and more content.

Paying the price

“People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. 
And they pay for it very simply: by the lives they lead.”
James Baldwin

How you think.
What you value.
Who you esteem.
Where you spend your energy.
When you say yes, or no.

You pay with every choice.
Make sure your choices rest lightly on your head and heart.

One small space

With everything going on in our lives and world right now; it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
Decluttering and organizing don’t seem like very high priorities.

However, outer order can often result in inner calm. 
Taking a few minutes to bring a small amount of order to our stuff
can result in feeling less anxious about life in general.
Not to mention, the little boost of happiness you’ll get when
you can find something when you need it!

You don’t have to organize you entire office today.
Start by emptying the pencil cup and tossing the pens that don’t write,
the nubby little pencil, the odd items that somehow randomly ended up in the cup.
Maybe organize your top desk drawer.
Again, toss the dry pens, the markers that don’t mark,
the sticky notes that aren’t sticky, the odd chunk of staples.
There is probably a drawer organizer underneath all that random stuff.
Use it.

Tackle one shelf of a book case.
Books are meant to be read.
If you’re not reading the books, they are just paper and ink.
Give them to someone who will get lost in the stories like you once did.

One cup, one drawer, one shelf.
Tiny little bites.
Small doable projects.
Create spaces that support the calmer, more organized life you want.

Life is short.

“Life is short. Live accordingly.”Patti Digh

(And time flies, whether you are having fun or not)

Although it may feel that our choices are currently limited, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Perhaps fewer distractions or temptations means we can focus on who and what we truly value.

We can’t have it all: Where would we put it?
We can’t do it all: No one has that kind of energy.
We can’t be it all:  Our job is just to be our best imperfect self.

Every action is a choice.
Every decision is an opportunity to walk your talk.
Pay attention to where you are putting your thoughts, your time, and your money.
Tune into your self talk.
Make sure you are being as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend.

Trust your own wisdom.
Make is your best life, ever.  

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Mary Oliver

Every dollar you spend.

Every dollar I spend is a statement about the kind of world I want
and the quality of life I value.

Spending more time at home this past few months has lead many of us to change
how and where we spend our money.
Maybe we are shopping less,
or having more things delivered,
or not going and doing things we used to do.
Due to unemployment or a reduction in work hours
some of us may not have as much to spend as we have in the past.

This is a great time to pay closer attention to what we are purchasing,
as well as where we are making those purchases.
To consider not just the price we pay but the cost.
Who benefits?
Who are we supporting?
When does spending a bit more now actually save us money in the future?
What impact does our choice make in our community and to the environment?
How can we align our spending habits to reflect not just our financial priorities
but the quality of life we value?

Here are some ideas:
Consider buying less. Period.
How many ____________ is enough?
Buy fewer things of better quality.
If possible, buy the things you know you use in quantity.
It saves on packaging and repeat trips.
Support local businesses when possible.
If you like where you live; spending money in your own community
keeps the majority of that money in your own town.
Think about the why of your purchase.
Are they needs, desires, shoulds, habits or distractions?

I believe we all want to live lives of integrity.
That we’d like our homes to reflect who and what we value.
To that end, let us use the power of our money to support the people, businesses 
and causes that make that life possible.

To live content…..

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, 
and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, 
and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, 
act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, 
with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. 
In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. 
​This is to be my symphony.”
William Henry Channing

Use something you’ve been saving.

40.  Use something you’ve been saving like candles, nail polish, lotion.
Love this idea from (once again), Gretchen Rubin.

You know I discourage people from keeping things for Justin Case.
(just in case…)
And perhaps the new socks or the nicer bottle of wine or the new towels don’t really belong to Justin;
you’ve just been waiting for the right time to wear, drink or use them.
Make that time now.

Small treats, little indulgences, and moments of self care seem especially important in our lives right now.
With so much uncertainty, loss, and mixed emotions; finding small ways to feel better, make the routine a bit more interesting, and use what we already have will brighten our days.

So go ahead, open the jar, uncork the bottle, snuggle into the socks, light the candle,
enjoy the chocolate.

Be kind to yourself.
​It’s okay.  Really……

Two minutes is still two minutes.

For many of us now it seems as though we have an abundance of time.
(Although probably not for those of you working from home, home schooling,
parenting, making three meals a day, etc. etc. etc.)
A friend commented recently that she feels a sense of luxury around the time she can now spend
on things that interest her.
How lovely is that?

How can we best use our time to give our lives shape and meaning?
To do what we have to do, so we can have time to do the things we love to do?
And connect to the people we love and care for-even if it is from a distance.

I’ve talked before about how there really is no saving, making or wasting of time;
there is just how you manage it.

Better time management skills helps us to keep our clutter under control.
As I have mentioned numerous times, and will continue to remind people,
one of the best of those skills is The Two Minute Rule.

If you can do something in two minutes or less: Do it now.
Hang up your sweater.
Put the dirty dish in the dishwasher.
Move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
Recycle the junk mail.
Throw away the dried up pen.
Cancel an email subscription.
Say Thank You.
It’s really rather remarkable how much you can accomplish in two minutes or less.

Use the time you have now to create small changes and habits that will have
an impact long after we go back to work, kids are back in school,
and we begin to adjust to the inevitable changes that await us.

A secret of adulthood

Just because something is fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for you.
And vice versa.
Gretchen Rubin

Along this same line; just because journaling, Zoom meetings, binge watching Netflix,
learning algebra via Youtube is working for someone else during this time of staying home-
doesn’t mean it will work for you.

I know we’ve all seen lots of suggestions for how to cope with being home, maintaining a routine and 
keeping ourselves engaged and connected as we adjust to our new circumstances.
Now, as always, we need to pay attention to our physical, mental, emotional health and well being.

True, this could be a great time to try a new hobby, find a different way to connect to people,
and practice self care.
And this is also a great time to do what has worked for you in the past.
Familiarity and routine help ground us and give us the sense that although many things 
seem crazy and out of control, there are activities that a center us and make us feel at home with our selves.

If you’re not a phone person, it’s great to connect through short texts.
Frustrated by trying to keep a journal?  Maybe just writing down one thing a day you’re grateful for.
Love to read but can’t seem to concentrate or find a new book that holds your attention?
Reread something you loved in the past.

Find ways to engage yourself.
New things maybe or the tried and true.
No beating yourself up because ‘everyone else is ________’
and you aren’t interested/don’t want to/tried it and you didn’t like it.

And most of all, be gentle with yourself.
This is a challenging time.
Remember to breathe.

(Here are several more of Gretchen’s Secrets of Adulthood)