Ireland At Last!

Last week found me celebrating my birthday in Ireland. As you may know, it’s been my desire for a while to travel to Ireland. While I’ve visited England many times to visit my husband’s family I’d never taken that short hop to Ireland. For the past few years I’ve been drawn to reading books about the power of the Irish landscape and its people, of the “little people” who inhabit the land, and of the sacred sites that have drawn people for thousands of years. How did I come to spend a weekend in Ireland? And what does decluttering have to do with the trip? Read on.

 

January – My Favorite Month

I love the month of January. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, a time to look forward. It’s month full of possibilities. But like Janus, after whom the month is named, it’s also a time for looking back, to taking stock. And for me it’s also a time for decluttering; for looking at what no longer serves me or makes me happy – and releasing it. I need space to grow – and the decluttering clears physical and non-physical spaces.

 

Decluttering

I’m continuing to declutter my house, looking at objects and asking when the last time was I used it, or whether I like it, whether it fits in with the feeling I want my home to have, whether it’s outdated or no longer fits, etc. And the more I clear, the freer I feel. I love books – and buy way too many – and I’ve held onto them even though I don’t re-read them. So, I’ve begun to gather the books that I’ve liked reading but know I don’t have to hold onto them. They are new books that have only been read once. I’ve decided to begin to give them away and not hold on to them.

 

I equate the clutter with holding way too many things in my hands –and this holding prevents me from receiving anything new. As I drop these things from my hands, from my plate, etc. I open myself to receiving. I want my living space to be a sanctuary. I want to feel rested, restored, and renewed in my home. I want to be surrounded with a few things that make me happy. And I want a lot of clear, open space – in my physical life and in my calendar. For example, I’ve begun saying no to speaking engagements that feel like a chore.

 

Hygge and Deluttering

Some of you have asked me to write a little more about hygge. I’m reading How to Live Danishly and really enjoying picking up tips on how to incorporate it into all aspects of my life. Hygge asks you to look at the space you inhabit and make it as cozy as possible. It recommends having several light sources that scatter the light in a room, surrounding yourself with books you like, having comfy blankets and pillows. It’s minimalist in its décor; there is no clutter. And there are lots of white candles. Like the New York Times, the Washington Post also recently featured an article on hygge. And if you’re near Philadelphia, there’s a brewpub on Fairmount Avenue called Bar Hygge.

 

There’s only so much space in your home or office or calendar. I encourage you to let these things serve you instead of the other way around. Make your living space warm and inviting. Make your workspace inspire you. Let the activities on your calendar nourish you instead of deplete you. Declutter in small bits. Do a little bit every day. You might declining an invitation or clean out one drawer in your dresser. Each little step brings you closer to creating the life you want and the space that helps you flourish.

 

One thing I’m trying to eliminate from my life (mental decluttering) is the concept of putting things off for another time. I’ve come to realize that life really is unpredictable and quite short. I’ve put off doing so many things because I held onto the false notion that I have all the time in the world. I don’t – and neither do you.

 

The Funeral

January found me in England for the funeral of my dear mother-in-law, Rosemary, the matriarch of her family. It was a bittersweet time. The service was beautiful and touching. She had a beautiful voice and sang in many local choirs. One of the choirs showed up unexpectedly and sang at her service. And her six great-grandbabies brought such joy to the day. My husband, Martin, and I stayed in her house for the week we were there, surrounded by her life in a way. Her books, her apron, her sheet music were all where she left them. I cherished my time with Rosemary and I truly miss her.

 

The Trip From Hell

As we were planning our trip to England for the funeral, it was cheaper for us to fly into Dublin and take a short flight to England instead of flying directly to England. Martin suggested spending a few nights in Dublin on our way home over my birthday weekend.

 

But the trip was met with such calamities that we almost didn’t make it to the funeral or to Dublin. To quote Martin, “You couldn’t make this stuff ( a nicer word than Martin used) up.”

 

The day we were scheduled to fly to Dublin it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. And the heater in the house broke that morning. PSEG managed to come out to fix it before we had to leave for the airport. We arrived at the airport 3 hours ahead of our scheduled flight. And we sat in the airport. And sat. And sat. Until we finally boarded at midnight, 4 hours late. And then the pilot came on and said there was a problem in the cockpit and by the time it would be fixed he would be over his hours. So the flight was cancelled. And, due to the snow, they informed us that there were no available flights to Europe for four days.

 

Because we had to attend a funeral, the airline suggested we wait until the ticket counter opened in the morning to try to get on a standby flight.The ticket counter opened at 3:30am – so we waited only to be told there we might be able to get a flight out on standby but we had to return closer to the flight time of 8pm. So we went home only and managed to find the last 2 seats out on another airline that evening – to London. So, the tickets for the connecting flight from Dublin to Manchester, England were not able to be used.

 

Flight #2 took off on time! And about 2 hours into the flight an announcement was made that we were being diverted back to Boston for some repairs. But because the plane was full of fuel for an international flight, a landing was a bit sketchy – so we were going to be met my emergency crews (ambulances and fire trucks) in case the brakes caught on fire. After landing safely and having the repairs made we took off – only to arrive in London too late to make our connecting flight to Leeds, England. So be booked another flight to Manchester, England.

 

But, our luggage never made it to London. Luckily we had packed our clothes for the funeral in our carry-on luggage.

 

We made it to Manchester (without luggage) and caught the train to Martin’s hometown. We settled in for the hour ride. At this point we had been traveling for 48 hours. And then the train stopped one station short of our destination. We were told the train could go no further due to a problem on the tracks.

 

We got off the train, without a cell phone, and had to find a pay phone to inform Martin’s family as to where we were. It was late in the evening. cold, and rainy. We were tired and defeated. But, Martin’s brother-in-law picked us up and deposited us safely at our destination.

 

Destination Dublin

Which is long way of telling you how I came to visit Ireland for the first time. I think it was the combination of having attended a funeral, been met with traveling disasters, and taking stock of my life on my birthday, that as I sat in a pub (the Hairy Lemon) on my birthday listening to a live band, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer defer doing things that I’ve wanted to do. I realize that I can do things in little increments to get to where I want to go, to do what I want to do. While I only spent two days in Ireland and not the two weeks that I’ve been dreaming of – at least I made the first of what I know will be many trips to Ireland. By suggesting the weekend, Martin showed me how to think outside of the box – and how to declutter limiting thoughts; houghts like I have to spend a long time in Ireland to experience it. And thoughts like if things aren’t going smoothly they aren’t meant to me. Sometimes, we are meant to plow through those rough patches, meet those challenges, and not give up. Whew.

 

I’d love to hear how you’ve been spending these first few weeks of the new year. Have you had a desire to declutter? Is the concept of hygge of interest to you?

As we close out my favorite month of the year I wish you warm nights in the sanctuary of your home and a new calendar to fill with activities that bring you joy!

Peace,

Anne

 

P.S. The photo is of my clearance candle holder from Anthropologie filled with white Ikea candles.

 

 

 

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What is Hygee and How Can it Make You Happy?

Last month while Christmas shopping I splurged on the softest blanket I had ever felt. I imagined myself curled on the sofa covered in this wonderful blanket reading on quiet winter evenings. I also bought myself quite a lot of new books. One for me, one for them as I Christmas shopped. And then I made a trip to Ikea to update my supply of candles.

Unknowingly I seemed to have been preparing to hygee, a concept I had only recently been introduced to. Hygee is a Danish word that translates loosely to “cozy.” It’s a lifestyle that focus on intimate settings, candles, blankets, feeling relaxed at home either alone or with a small group of friends and family, surrounding yourself with books (reading or coloring), and being kind to yourself. Think of it as the ultimate cocooning during winter. Hygee must have some merit because the Danes are tied with the Swiss for being the happiest people. Coincidentally, this weekend the New York Times featured an article on hygee as it slowly spreads to this country.

I encourage you to join me in thinking of ways that you can embrace hygee this winter season. What can you do to relax, slow down, and cocoon? Remember, winter is a season for planning and dreaming versus doing. It’s a quiet, introspective time; a time of seeming darkness where internal light shines.

For me, I’m going to continue planning the launch of my book on pilgrimage that’s about to be delivered to the publisher, I’m going to gather with friends and family to celebrate the season and the new year. I’m going to slow down after the rush of holiday baking and shopping, sit on the sofa, cover myself in that blanket, and read, read, read. Next on my reading list is The Year of Living Danishly to get some hints from those happy people on how to live!

As we close out December may you be warmed by the love of friends and family. I wish you quiet, peaceful, candlelit nights for dreaming. See you on the flip side!

Peace,

Anne

 

P.S. The book in the photo is Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy, a writer based in Pennsylvania. I highly recommend it.

I’d love you hear from you at anne@annegrecolifecoaching.com or on my Facebook page Anne Greco Life Coaching.

 

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A Little Goes a Long Way

A little goes a long way.

A little word of encouragement to help someone get through the day.

A kind glance to let someone know they are seen.

A small gesture to let someone know they are not navigating this world alone.

A short note to tell someone that you remember.

A bit of forgiveness when someone acts in a less than kind way.

A pause of gratitude for the small things in life that we tend to overlook.

A word of thanks to the person who loves you on days when you are a bit challenging to even like.

A little rest when you are weary.

A quick hug for yourself because you really are trying so hard.

During this time of year when gratitude and thankfulness take center stage, take a little time to do your part to move the world closer to healing and peace; the world that is comprised of individuals. When you help one person you create a ripple effect that helps many.

Because as Ram Dass reminds us, we’re all just walking each other home.

As we close out November I wish for you an abundance of good health, happiness, and love.

Peace,

Anne

Anne Greco Life Coaching

P.S. The photo is of my husband, Martin, walking his Auntie Florence back home in their hometown of Hoyland Common in Yorkshire, England.

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How Envy and a Burned Barn Can Be Good Things

How Envy and  a Burned Barn Can Be Good Thingsimg_4032

Envy can be a good thing.

It can be a way to hear your inner self or soul speaking to you if you listen in a healthy way.

The other day I was reading a memoir and the woman’s daily life – what she did for a living, what her schedule was like, where she lived – made me envious. My heart just danced around when I imagined having a similar lifestyle – one that I wanted for myself.

I wasn’t jealous. Jealousy is tinged with resentment.

I wasn’t covetous. I didn’t want to take her job and home from her and claim it as my own.

The envy made me notice what type of lifestyle would really make me happy. And then the envy spurred me on to begin to make changes so that one day I would be able to live in a style that is more authentic at this stage in my life.

Have you ever heard about a job someone had and felt that was exactly the type of work you wanted to be doing? Have you ever visited someone and felt that their home – whether it was the style of decorating, the location, the type of dwelling, or even how de-cluttered it was – was exactly how or where you wanted to be living?

That’s the healthy, sit-up-and-take-notice type of envy that I’m talking about. It’s letting you know what you really, really want deep down inside.

When you hear words in your head telling you want you should want that’s not your soul speaking to you; that’s your rational mind. When you feel in your gut what you want – now that is your soul. Your soul speaks in feelings, through an inner knowing, and intuition.

As I wrote earlier, I’ve begun to take steps – some large and some not so large – to claim the lifestyle that I want so dearly. It’s one that I know will make me be more of service to my self, my loved ones and my community. It’s one that is more in tune with the real Anne. But – steps need to be taken. – by me

I firmly believe that as we take action – whether it’s looking for a new place to live, returning to school for a certificate or degree, leaving a bad relationship, taking a class, traveling , even changing our mindset– you name it – that our actions are met with some form of divine intervention. You get a tip on a job posting, an apartment listing, you meet someone who can provide guidance or assistance. It’s your doing that is the catalyst to bringing in assistance from a higher source (however you chose to name it).

The Burning Barn

I know I’ve been writing a bit cagily about some challenges that I’ve been experiencing since the beginning of the year. It’s taken all my energy to see the upside while standing in the middle of rubble. But it can be done – with a lot of effort and self-talk and prayer.

A poet and samurai from the 17th century, Mizuta Masahide, spoke to me through his haiku and this has helped carry me these past months.

Barn’s burnt down now I can see the moon.

I try to begin and end each day outdoors because it makes me feel connected to the natural world around me. It takes me out of my head and places me among the other things – the trees, the rabbits, the robins, the rocks – with which I share the earth. I took a moon bath the other night under that beautiful harvest moon – allowing the moon to bathe me in its light. And I remembered Mizuta and his poem.

For You

As the summer draws to a close and we near the end of September, my wish for you is that you take the advice of the great singer/songwriter, Steve Forbert as he sang in Romeo’s Tune:

Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say everything’s alright
Sneak on out beneath the stars and run

Pay attention to what you envy and then take steps to turn your desires into reality.

Take a moon bath.

And go run beneath the stars.

Peace,

Anne

 

 

 

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Transitions

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The cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears, or the sea.

Isak Dinesen

 

True confession #1: I have a difficult time resting. Even now, when I promised myself a rest I picked up the computer to write to you about resting.

I can slow down.

I can take it easy.

I can saunter.

But resting is hard.

I don’t mean resting as in sitting in front of the television and zoning out.

I don’t mean resting as in sitting on the porch and reading a great book.

I don’t mean resting as in sitting at an outdoor café and nursing a coffee or iced tea.

I mean resting where my body relaxes and does nothing but what it does on its own without my directing it – like breathing.

I have been physically and mentally exhausted for months. And yet, while I might sit down, I still find myself doing things like folding laundry or paying bills or putting finishing touches on my book on pilgrimage or thinking of ways to update my website (hello Kim!). Doing, doing, doing.

For now I have shut off the television. I have set aside the book I am reading. I have turned off the music. I have lit the candle that my daughter gave me. All I hear is the ticking of the clock and the sound of the wind chimes hanging on the porch through the open window.

I am going to rest my body. And most importantly I am going to rest my mind. I am going to allow my shoulders to drop from the base of my earlobes where they have stressfully seemed to have taken up residence.

I’m not going to look at the clock. I’m not going to mentally make lists. I’m not going to jump up to dust the furniture in this room.

Resting is not a natural state for me. How about you? Do you find it easy to really rest? Do you feel guilty in resting or do you think it’s mandatory for your physical and mental health? Do you live with people who “get” the importance of resting?

I will rest now. And continue writing in a bit.

True Confession #2: It’s been a few weeks since I last worked on the newsletter and in that time I did not rest much. In fact, I found it nearly impossible to rest. Most nights I tossed and turned until the early morning hours. When I attempted to relax my mind and push aside all the thoughts that were bombarding me I was less than successful. And I paid the price.

My good friend and I spent the past weekend together. We sat and ate and talked and laughed and had a few glasses of wine. At the end of our visit she commented that she hadn’t felt so relaxed in a long time – and she also told me that I looked tired and needed to relax more. Good friends always speak with love and honesty. We had one last sit on my porch with the water fountain bubbling and the wind chimes chiming when she gave me a few tips on how to relax. I felt like the shoemaker whose kids are shoeless.

The day after she left I picked a time that I felt I could give myself 10 uninterrupted minutes. For example, I did not choose to do this right before I needed to prepare dinner. I set the timer on my phone for 10 minutes. I sat and noticed my breathing. Short, shallow breathing is evidence of stress. I was nearing the panting stage.

I paid attention to my breath, placed my hand on my belly and felt how I was breathing. I inhaled deeply and slowly released the breath. I repeated a phrase or mantra as I breathed, eyes closed. 10 minutes – what a game changer.

Birthing

My daughters have always liked to hear the stories of when they were born but both never could wrap their heads around the bit when I told them that during both births I was so tired that I just wanted to sleep – right in the middle of active labor. And I also wanted to give up. I felt there was no way I could continue. I had resolved myself to living in a pregnant state for the rest of my life. I just wanted to close my eyes and quit.

That’s the phase called transition – when you feel you can’t go on, when you’re tired and feel defeated, when there’s no end in sight to the pain and discomfort. And then the strength rises within you from a place that you never knew existed – and you surge forward – and this miraculous event occurs and you birth a baby. And then you forget about the pain and you become re-energized.

This happens all the time in life – and not just in birthing babies. It happens when we birth anything – businesses, creative ideas, and new ways of living and seeing the world.

So, if you’re going through a transition now, keep going. You may be tired, and feel defeated and overwhelmed. You might even think you can live with the pain of the current situation and want to stop the birthing process of whatever it is you are birthing. That feeling of wanting to stop a birthing process is as unnatural as me thinking I could remain pregnant for my entire life.

Is there something that you’re trying to birth but are resisting moving through the discomfort of the process? Do you find yourself giving up when you have come so far? Do you begin to doubt that you can handle those final pushes to bring something wonderful to life? It’s not easy; it’s often not pleasant. But the labor, the transition does not last forever. Remember that. Plow forward through the doubts, fears, and fatigue.

You might need to change how you’re approaching a situation. You might need to ask for a bit of help and encouragement. But it’s all on you. You have to move through the transition.

There are a few (!) things that I know I need to change in how I live my life. Over the past two months I’ve had to make a few decisions and I know how I would traditionally handle a certain situation. And for the past few decisions I did the exact opposite of what I normally would have done. And by doing so I created shifts in the energy surrounding the situations. I slowly stepped out of the rutted road that was leading me down a path that I no longer wanted to travel. And my feelings changed from ‘same old, same old” to “you go, girl!” And the world continued turning and things really did work out better. The decisions weren’t easy and I wasn’t comfortable making them but in hindsight I can see that they are part of the transition.

Relax and Renew

The transition I’ve been going through, this new way of living my life has not been easy. It’s not been without a mix of fear and tears. I will head to the sea soon. To relax. To renew. To restore.

You

Wishing you relaxing days as we approach a holiday weekend, a bounty of summer fruit and vegetables, no labor on Labor Day, and some precious time with just you taking in the wonder that surrounds us all day, every day.

Peace.

Anne

 annegrecolifecoaching.com

 

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The Broken Steps and Paul McCartney

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The Steps

A few months ago a friend was visiting. For some reason we walked into the garage. I navigated the steps like a pro. He stepped on them and the wooden steps moved from the wall. I had learned how to walk on the steps without making them move. He didn’t know the secret way of stepping. I had adapted over the years to walking on shaky steps instead of fixing them.

I think all of us, to some extent, adapt to things, to people, to situations – learning how to sidestep a difficult relative, friend or co-worker. We learn how to tolerate toxic situations. We teach ourselves how to ignore unfinished projects around the house.

Adapting versus changing drains our energy. Whether we are aware of it or not, this constant suppressing creates stress.

Maybe then you avoid the shaky steps, pass on the family outing if the difficult relative will also be attending, look to see if the bothersome neighbor is around before you step into your yard that should be a sanctuary, do a happy dance when the difficult co-worker is out of the office. Avoid versus change.

Change takes determination and courage. Avoiding also takes determination but it lacks courage. In fact, avoidance actually contributes to the continuation of the stressful situations.

This month I’ve asked my husband to fix the steps. No more sidestepping.

Fun

Let me tell you what I’m good at. I’m good at making lists and completing projects. I’m good at keeping things in order. I’m good at organizing and planning. Very much Capricorn traits if you’re into astrology or 4 Path traits if numerology is your thing. What I am not is spontaneous.

I recently took a few days off from work. I had things planned out that I needed to do. Also on the list were things that other family members wanted to do. Nowhere on the list was anything that I really, really wanted to do to relax, to disconnect – and most importantly, to reconnect with myself.

One day I was sitting on the couch planning out another “vacation” day when my daughter asked me if I had forgotten how to have fun.

Fun – what a concept. You mean, do something without lists, something that might not have any end game (any accomplishments or list check-off)? Something that I could totally lose myself in doing, where I experienced pure joy, where time passes so quickly without my noticing? Yes, at some point fun had taken a backseat to obligations. How very sad.

She asked me what I like to do. I gave her a list – and she noticed that they all involved something on my “to do” vacation list; they were all somehow related to work versus play. So even though I like writing and it was on my list to do the final edits on my book – truth be told it wasn’t fun.

Doing something fun doesn’t need to take a lot of time. It can be a short period of reading something you really desire to read, uninterrupted. Or going for a swim. Or going to the dollar store and buying bubbles, or jacks, or sidewalk chalk – and playing for a bit. It might be going to a morning or afternoon movie. Visiting an art museum. Going to tea. Think of the things that seem frivolous to you. Think of the things that make you feel like you’re playing hooky from life. You might be getting close to fun.

I took my daughter’s advice and had fun for the remainder of the week. I tossed the list aside. My husband and I went on a spontaneous trip to Annapolis. We took at few boat rides on the Chesapeake Bay, ate at great restaurants. I sat at the water’s edge for hours watching the sailboats (my idea of fun) while he toured the Naval Academy (his idea of fun). I went to see Paul McCartney in concert!

At the end of the week I hadn’t “accomplished” anything but I was more relaxed and happy than I had been in a long time. My creativity blossomed, stress dissolved, and I created some space in my mind for clearer thinking.

Freedom

July is a month that celebrates freedom namely with Independence Day. In the past year some of my greatest fears were manifest. And I’m still here. They did not do me in. My friend, Anne the Elder, and I were commenting on the “eventful” year that we’ve both experienced. I observed that the thing that really does us in, that which deadens our spirit, kills our joy, and makes us play small is fear. Have you ever experienced the thing you feared most only to notice that the time you spent living in fear of it was far worse than the actual experience? Those experiences come and go. But fear-based living is endless. What small steps can you take to liberate yourself from fear?

I am not looking to experience what happened this year again. But I do know from coming through it that I can handle more than I ever thought was possible. I know that I am stronger than I ever imagined. And I know that I need to really live instead of exist and go through the days, weeks, months and years as if I have forever to get my stuff together, to wait for someone else to recognize my needs and make me happy, to do what I really want to do instead of have to do. I am more aware than ever that the one precious commodity that once spent cannot be regained is time. I’m more mindful than ever as to how I spend my time now. And that’s liberating!

You

I invite you to join me on living with more self-imposed freedom. I invite you to join me in playing more. I invite you to join me in creating a joyful life – one that will carry you through the less-than-joyful times that are sure to come.

What I’m Reading

Those books on Ireland keep coming to me. Right now I’m reading two books. Pilgrimage with Leprechauns by Tanis Helliwell is a memoir of a trip to sacred sites of Ireland where Tanis is accompanied by “elementals.” In Rising Ground: A Search for the Spirit of Place, Philip Marsden is taking me on contemplative walks through the English countryside to show how connected we are to place.

I’d love to hear your comments on this post. I’d love to hear what you’re reading.

Wishing you fun-filled summer days, all the juicy fruit and ripe produce you desire, and evenings lit by fireflies.

Peace,

Anne

 

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Burn the Incense. Today’s the Rainy Day

Burn the incense. Today’s the rainy day.

That’s what my good friend, Anne the Elder, texted me today. (I call her Anne the Elder because she is a whole ten days older than I. She’s also English and I think the nickname has a sort of regal sound to it. Want the back story on the incense?

It starts with me admitting to you that I had a tad bit of a problem with hoarding. I who teach workshops on decluttering. I love to help others look at why they hold onto things and then help them gently release their stranglehold on them. But, like the shoemaker’s kids going without shoes, I had a hard time coaching myself around the incense.

To start at the beginning, I need to go back to 1970 when I received a four-piece set of Love’s Baby Soft Lemon bath products for my birthday. I loved the scent. Did I wear it? No. I kept it in my bedroom and looked at it. I decided that I had to save it for a special occasion, namely my wedding day. Oh little 11 year old Anne, I doubt you’ll want to wear that on your wedding day. So I saved it and I saved it. And I didn’t wear it or enjoy it. And then I moved it to the bathroom vanity and forgot about it.

Over the years I developed this tendency to not use things – Love’s Baby Soft and vacation days to name a few. I’d hold onto them. Not enjoy them. Not wanting to use or spend them “just in case,” waiting for that rainy day.

If you’ve taken one of my workshops you know I speak of the “just in case” mentality. And now you’ve been let in on the secret that I know of it from first-hand experience. It comes from a feeling of lack. A fear of not having enough. Of not trusting that I will be provided for. But when you hold onto things you become stagnant, you stop the flow. And you never get around to enjoying those things that are in your life that you are hoarding.

So now to Anne and the incense. Anne and I would periodically meet up in Frenchtown to shop at Liz Gilbert’s store, Two Buttons. It was the only store I’d found that carried the incense that I loved. So I’d buy some, bring it home and burn it. And then Liz decided to close the store. So I kept returning to Two Buttons before it shut its doors to buy up the incense just knowing that I would never be able to find it anywhere else. And I began to hoard it. (The photo at the bottom of the newsletter shows just a portion of my incense stash – about 70 in the photo with 25 sticks in each pack. Do the math.)

And then I stopped burning it because, well, if I burned it (and consequently enjoyed it) then I would eventually run out of it. And I just knew I could never replace it. (Oh come on, this sounds mildly familiar to you, right? You might not do it with incense but you do it with something, don’t you?) I was convinced that Two Buttons was the only place on earth selling it. So I stopped burning it. And I stopped enjoying the scent that filled my home and inspired me when I wrote or calmed me in the evening when I wanted to relax.

Enter Anne. She had come to visit me in January and I showed her my incense stash. And she was gobsmacked (a cute English term). And then she admonished me (gently) and encouraged me (strongly) to enjoy the incense.

What’s made me change? I got hit in the back of the head by a two-by-four called Life a few weeks after Anne’s visit. Which is why I say now that I had the problem with saving things for rainy days, or wedding days, or when I felt worthy enough to enjoy something. So now I gladly enjoy my incense. I use my vacation days. And, I found out that Walmart sells Loves Baby Soft Lemon just in case I want to smell like an eleven year old or if I plan on getting married again.

And holding onto things “just in case” that rainy day comes? I say, save wisely but enjoy the sunny days, too. Treat yourself like a guest in your own life. Use the good china to eat your dinner. Put the good sheets on your bed. Bring flowers into your home on a regular basis. Eat dessert. Sign up for that dream vacation – and then plan another one when you return. Don’t wait until retirement to live.

What about you? What do you hold onto? What do you deny yourself? Think deep on this. Do you deny yourself working in a nice environment because you hold onto a toxic job? Do you commit to things out of sense of obligation and then resent it? Do you hold onto labels about yourself? Are you the flighty one? The undependable one? Do you live in a space that you hate or have you created a peaceful sanctuary in your home? Do you sign up for the class that you really want to take even though it seems frivolous (say, painting wide-eyed animals on black velvet)?

Anne called me last night and happened to catch me when I was “in the rabbit hole” as she likes to say – meaning I was just a tad bit down. I guess she remembered about my saving the incense for a “rainy day.” She texted me a gentle reminder this morning; my accountability partner, which I encourage you to have it you’re trying to declutter. I need to text her back to tell her, too late, soul sister, I burned it as soon as we got off the phone and I was winding down for bed.

Wishing you love and peace in this wonderful month of June. Enjoy the upcoming summer solstice!

Peace,

Anne the Younger

 

P.S. If you’re interested in having an accountability partner as you declutter email me at anne@anngrecolifecoaching.com and we’ll arrange a time to speak. Also, a few of you have asked if I speak at events (women’s clubs, professional development for small businesses) on topics such as decluttering and time management and the answer is YES. Again, email me so we can set up a time to speak.

 

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