January Juggle

January Juggle

 

“JANUARY, The first month of the year, A perfect time to start all over again, Changing energies and deserting old moods, New beginnings, new attitudes”Charmaine J Forde

It is officially a brand-new year and for me that means staring at the long road ahead of me and wondering how in the world will I get organized and more purposeful this year? The best way for me to get into that scary but exciting head space is to remember that there is nothing better than taking stock of my have’s and giving to those that have not. On the surface I took care of some of those things during the holiday season and quite frankly I do it throughout the year but there is just something so refreshing and rejuvenating and renewing about a clean sweep that begins at the start of a new year.

This year I came up with my “top 5” list for each month of the year. I’m not a fan of tackling too much in a short amount of time. My reason is simple, everything I will get my hands on needs the dedication, time and care to be handled and thought about thoughtfully and lovingly and, I’ll be honest, everything has a memory attached to it and I want to allow for that impromptu trip down memory lane. I know myself well enough that the trip down memory lane will eat up time and a small top 5 list will very likely take at least a week or two to get through depending where my trip takes me. I give myself the whole month to get completely through my list because the other thing I know for sure is that one action, one thought, one intention will absolutely lead to another and before I know it I have a second top five list and maybe even a third. It all depends on what comes up along the way and how my creativity blossoms.

This year my focus for January is all about organizing, sorting and storing my holiday decorations, gifts, cards and winter gear. Here is how my thought process formed….

My daughter has adopted the task of being the household decorator of all things holiday throughout the year but especially the end of year holidays when things get very crazy busy and we go from one celebration to the next. Boxes are stacked neatly in a corner for easy access and the decorations change almost daily if she happened to go to the store to buy something new (ugh).

Once the holiday is over I am ready to clean up but she isn’t so I start thinking about how I will tackle the clean-up once I get the all clear permission from her. It’s just too sad of a chore for her to participate in the clean-up so I gladly do my share and take that task on by myself. During the clean-up I make lists of what we will need for the following year in the event that something broke or got squished beyond recognition or if I saw something that was too beautiful to pass up for next time. I then create new ways to pack all the decorations so that I don’t have too many boxes going back into the attic. It’s challenging and fun to put that puzzle together.

So, when I thought about putting away the decorations this year I also realized that some of the holiday gifts were still piled up in a corner and so I considered that once the decorations were all set and in their place until next year what will I do with all the gifts that need to be gone through and put away? I am an absolute supporter of donating whether it be food, time, clothing, or services so I knew right away that opening the donation station at home was going to take more than a few hours of my time. I would need everyone’s help with making those decisions.

Are you ready for the list? Here we go:

  1. Set up a recycling and donation station that is accessible for all hands to contribute to at any time either for this specific project or set up for deposits throughout the year.
  2. Organize, label and put away holiday decorations and wrap those decorations safely and carefully for easy access next year. You might find some creative ideas here http://www.homemadehomeideas.com/27-creative-storage-ideas/
  3. Break up empty gift boxes and card board boxes and wrap them tightly together for recycling. I have a few rolls of colored vinyl tape in the garage so I use that as my wrapping material. The recycling company in my area picks up with the garbage each week so it makes life easier for me and the guys appreciate the single bundle so it’s a win/win.
  4. Recycle Christmas trees and wreaths. I would check to see if your town has specific pick up dates and times for recycling of these items or perhaps your landscaper will haul it away for you for a small fee or you can find a local recycling company in your area that takes debris like trees, shrubs, etc. One town near me has the entire month of January available for residents to drop off their tree with a few guidelines to follow and set times. Knowing the tree will get a second chance to be of good use to the land is a great way to give back to the earth.
  5. Save the front of your greeting cards and use for projects throughout the year stored in a labeled box for things such as pictures sent that can be framed, or cherished words that can be embellished into a collage or gift tags for next year. Another idea is to donate the front part of the cards you are not looking to keep. One place I know for sure that uses those card faces is: https://stjudesranch.org/recycled-card-program/ .The children make the old cards into new cards for the following year. AWESOME!!
  6. Sort through your gift cards, returnable items, broken or damaged items or gifts that you might think to re-gift and see if you can repair those that are broken or donate the gift cards or returnable items to a shelter or places like Ronald McDonald house.
  7. It is at this point where going through those gift items led me to go through my own closets of “stuff” to see what needs keeping and what could gain new life for someone else. So, I decided to keep to winter clothing this month. Please consider donating gently used or new winter gear such as blankets, sports equipment, boots, gloves, scarves, hats, coats, shovels, scrapers, sweaters, flannels, electric heating blankets, pads or rubs and creams, hand warmers, socks, knee hi stockings, shawls, jeans, etc.

Last thought: If you find that every month this year you want to declutter your pantry and give to food banks throughout the year instead of only at Thanksgiving time then this month would be a great time to check for the items you might have purchased a bit too much of like soup, canned goods, pasta, cereals, anything boxed or canned that can be made into a warm meal.

And just like that my top 5 list became my top 8 list and I didn’t lift a finger yet to get to the clean-up. Sheesh!!

I hope this has been helpful for you and most of all I hope you have fun with it. Allow your imagination and creativity to bloom and grow while going through this list. If it is easier for you, save your new list for February when I will post a whole new set of top 5 ideas. If you are really ambitious just remember how January feels like the longest month of the year so go ahead and tackle your emerging ideas as they happen. Good Luck and I’ll see you back here in February.

Call to Action

What stops you from getting organized?

What would be helpful to you in order to win at organizing?

Happy Organizing!!

6 Pathways toward Attracting your Dreams

Attracting Dreams pic

“She wasn’t where she had been. She wasn’t where she was going, but she was on her way.” Jodi Hills

I’m sure by now many of you have heard about visioning, vision statements, laws of attraction, positive energy, etc. It sounds good on paper and in conversations but does it really work and how can you make all that magic happen for your life?

An article appeared in the Business Insider in July of 2012 and writers Aimee Groth and Ashley Lutz interviewed Esther and Jerry Hicks, authors of the book, Law of Attraction: The basics of the Teachings of Abraham. In their article the writers listed ways in which you can attract more of the life you want. In a nutshell here is the list:

  1. You attract good or bad experiences based on your thoughts. In other words keep your thoughts as honest and pure as you can because even the bad stuff gets in.
  2. Thinking about something means you invite it in, even if you don’t want it.
  3. The more you focus on something, the more powerful it becomes. Don’t worry, be happy.
  4. It’s better to trust your emotions than over-think a decision. I talked about this in my post, Decisions, Decisions ( http://journeyoncoaching.com/2014/07/14/decisions-decisions-5-mindsets-toward-making-your-best-choice/).
  5. Make good things happen more quickly by thinking about them more. Jerry Hicks says, “When you give your attention to a subject and you feel only positive emotion about it, it will come very quickly into your experience.”
  6. You have to see things as you hope them to be, not as they are. The example here was that Michael Phelps would envision himself winning each swim race every night before he went to sleep.
  7. Devote time to powerful thinking. Spending time each day thinking and visioning your goals increases your chances for success.
  8. Everyone has the same chance at success. Success is not a limited resource.
  9. When disappointment shows up allow it in but do not allow it to make a home there.
  10. Avoid negative experiences if at all possible. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting experiences as much as you can. “Your attention to anything  has the power to draw it closer to you.”

While I was going through my coach training one of the hardest yet at times most impactful questions we were encouraged to keep in our arsenal was the question of what do you see for yourself or where do you want to be in 3, 5, or 10 years from now? It’s a hard question to answer for most but a great pathway toward a true vision for your life for some if not all of us.

A college student came to me for a few sessions wonderingif she was on the right path for her life. She said that she goes through this type of angst at the start of every school year because so much money is required in order for her to keep on her path toward her bachelor degree goal. Each year she wonders if the money is worth it because she has yet to sit in a classroom and not only find respect for the professors but to feel like she is learning anything of value for what she struggles to pay for this degree.

So the question came up in a session, “what do you see for yourself when these last 18 months are over?” There was no hesitation for her to answer and say that she wants to get her bachelor’s degree yet she kept on going with her thought process until I jumped in and stopped her. “Stop right there. Don’t think beyond the want. Let’s see what it will take to make the want possible.”  And so began her journey toward her vision of becoming a bachelor degree graduate. My client felt that her overwhelm was not only in finding the money each semester but also in the unknown of whether she could finish in 18 months or would she have to extend her education time line.

Visioning becomes easier when it’s broken into smaller pieces. If 3, 5, or 10 years is too much to manage then break it down into more doable pieces like 3, 5 or 10 months or even smaller pieces by measuring progress and achievements by weeks or days.

So, let’s start with a vision statement. A vision statement is a description of a desired outcome. The statement is filled with energy and determination. The statement creates a mental picture of your goal and would reflect the best possible outcome. A vision statement is letting go of all of your inhibitions and really stretching way outside of your comfort zone by imagining only the good that will come of your creativity in the end. The challenge is to go as far out of your normal way of thinking in order to get to where you want to be, in other words to open your eyes and see things as they could be.

So how do we begin to form a vision statement? Assuming you have already asked and answered the burning question of “what do I want” here are a few steps to help you get started:

According to Dr. Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D. and her book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, “visionaries are asked to surrender and allow the dream or vision to materialize rather than to force it. Visioning emphasizes the heart’s desire, not what we ‘think’ we want or what we think is ‘possible’ or ‘practical’.”

  1. Describe your vision statement using “now” words. Use words as if your vision were really happening and you are working it every day. “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” –Victoria Moran
  2. Make it personal. Use emotion when talking about or describing your vision. How does it make you feel to talk about it or work toward the goal you envision? Do you get excited, overwhelmed, scared, or energized? Let all the emotions come as they may. In other words how passionate are you? Does what you describe inspire you to do more, go further? Do others feel compelled to listen and support you? “The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there is nothing to make it last.” – Nicholas Sparks
  3. Stay in touch. Use describing words like colors, smells, sounds, shapes, activities, outcomes. Make the vision as detailed as possible. Make your vision as tangible to the listener as possible, even if the listener is only you. “When you work on the little things big things happen.” –Rodger Halston
  4. Let the journey take you away. Get lost in the flow of working toward your dreams. Don’t limit yourself to only what you see. Follow your heart but stay flexible so that when the road curves and twists and bends away from your original path you will be able to expand and hone your vision even further. It’s not so much how you start but that you start. The journey is in the details and the story is the journey. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
  5. Leave the inner critic at the door. Try not to let the “logical” part of you take control of the creative part of you. Think like a child who doesn’t know about limits and let the limitless you shine through. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein
  6. Say a prayer. The more energy and support you can bring to what you want the greater the likelihood of your vision coming true. “’Help’ is a prayer that is always answered.” – Anne Lamott

“The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life. ” Tony Dungy

Call To Action

What do you want? Start with something small and build from there. As you make each small want a reality you are building confidence and limitless possibilities toward the bigger visions of your life. Don’t hold back. Share your wants with me and remember I’m here to help in any way that I can.

Images by bing.com/futuresobright.com

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building and strengthening your success characteristics, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

Metamorphosis

Whispers from my Wallpaper

Metamorphosis

001

On my very white, unpainted wall behind my desk top computer, surrounding my children’s elementary school art, rests taped rectangles and squares in myriad colors of inspirational and motivational words, phrases and quotes that resonate with me in a deep, personal, spiritually uplifting way. It is my wallpaper. It greets me every morning and whispers to me throughout my day.

Call it a mid-life crisis, or whatever crazy notion you can relate it to but I started thinking about all of these whispers of hope and empowerment that greet me every day and how I could start living the words, how could I start making all of these magical streams of consciousness apply to my life? Maybe it is the change of seasons affecting me but I had a need to transform, to change, a shedding of old skin, a metamorphosis. This need for change really started back in 2012 when so much of my life seemed to be at a precipice. I wanted to redesign my life, adapt it to the changes that were taking place all around me and within me.  So how was I going to start my metamorphosis and keep my spirits up and feel like I could move in a forward motion?

A few months ago I made up my mind to set out to metamorphose myself. I began with my wallpaper whispers yes, but I also asked myself some tough questions:

1)      What makes me come alive?

2)      What are the obstacles holding me back?

3)      What are the possibilities?

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering because it is familiar.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

When I first read the above words I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was one thing to know deep inside that I was unhappy but it was another thing entirely to see that someone had actually articulated the exact reason why I was staying unhappy. For many years I hated myself for feeling what I assumed was helpless unhappiness and yet when I read this quote I was comforted to realize that if my feelings were on paper then I was not alone in how I felt.

What would it take for me to break free of whatever “suffering” I was going through? What changes needed to take place in order for me to stop suffering?

The season of winter is a good example of using time to create a metamorphosis; to create a cocoon. Winter is hard. It keeps us coiled up like a snake trying to stay warm, to horde food and wood for those harsh, cold days ahead. Winter is lifeless on the outside and it’s quiet. Winter brings its own kind of suffering that we acclimate ourselves to. We hunker down, dig in and wait for it to end. However, winter is also reflective and it rejuvenates us and makes us contemplative if we allow ourselves to be. How can we use this down time to our advantage? We need some kind of cocoon we can hide in, contemplate in, and transform in so that when we emerge we will be a shiny, new person.

003

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”

Thank you so much Mr. Henri Bergson. You have given me my banner, my high flying metamorphosis flag to anchor in the ground of my new soil in which I can sow and grow. I allowed these words to whisper to me, wash over and through me and to push me.

I wanted to choose to courageously change and exist and find meaning to my life. I know I am changing all the time just by existing, every day that I am allowed to get up and start anew. My body ages; that is my significant outward change. However, a consequence to change is the development of maturity. If I never learn anything then my maturity is stunted but I know I am learning every day so therefore I am maturing not only in my body but in my mind. As my mind matures so does my creativity, my courage, my perspective, my authenticity, my perseverance, my gratitude, and my spirituality. This is true for you too, no matter what kind of change you are seeking. I realized that if I expand a bit further on this thought then the thought becomes like a road map for change and helps me set a course for whatever my mind can dream up.

On March 20, 2013 at 7:45am the spring equinox occurred. Not much to see in the way of a seasonal occurrence; most northern states ushered in the new season with snow. Winter prefers its suffering; it is afraid of the rejection by the masses to yield itself to the warmth and the longer sunshine filled days and the hope that spring brings, but it knows its time is coming to an end. While the darkness of winter grips us in its quiet, lifeless hold, the promise of spring creates a natural metamorphosis that takes place inside the earth, the trees, inside human beings. There is a co-evolution going on as we begin to emerge from winter to spring. According to www.morning-earth.org, “Co-evolution is the process in which species slowly transform together toward a mutual fit. Evolution is mutual, and it takes place in communities or groups.”

We are all familiar with the caterpillar that changes into a beautiful butterfly through the scientific process of metamorphosis. Similarly our own lives mimic nature in so many ways. One way is in how we are collectively ready to let go of the “suffering” of winter and step into the individualism and the welcoming hope of spring. We successfully adapt to the change of seasons. We are ready for our renewal, ready to blossom like the flowers.

I wanted to bloom like never before; I wanted to take a leap of faith. I was tired of watching my life from the side lines and not risking getting fully involved. I had reached a saturation point with my fear, my unhappiness, my negative frame of mind and my idleness.

Author and researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky refers to our saturation point as our set point. In her book the “How of Happiness” she talks at length about her research which suggests that we all have a happiness set point. No matter how happy we are we will level out to our set point; the happiness high doesn’t last forever. I took this idea and flipped it around, realizing that I had reached my unhappiness, my loneliness and my negative frame of mind set point.

Each of us must take a leap of faith to courageously walk into the new season of our lives full of hope and strength and energy to make the most of ourselves, for ourselves and for the world while the world starts to feel open and full of promise.

What did your winter metamorphosis yield? Are you ready to answer the tough questions? Are you ready to finally say YES or NO and declare your own happiness? Will you hold on to familiar suffering for fear of the unknown happiness you could have by letting go? Will you choose your natural, evolutionary right to change and see what you are made of, where will your journey take you…..will you take a leap of faith? Journey on……

lisa@journeyoncoaching.com