What are you birthing?

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This week we celebrate Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere, the time when nature is reborn. It’s the season when we feel the subtle call to bring forth what is new in us.

Many of us are on a spiritual path, yet the roles we’re playing in our careers or relationships may feel unaligned with our Soul’s purpose. Or maybe your work and relationships used to feel aligned with your Soul’s purpose– until your last growth spurt… and now something feels dated, old, or just “off.”

Do you:

  • Feel a longing to change or expand the work you are doing?
  • See glimpses of up-leveling your work or your life in some way… but can’t quite bring your vision into reality?
  • Recognize that some of your relationships are no longer sustainably supportive?
  • Feel ready to bring a new, higher resonance into your work or life, but you’re not sure how?

wombIf you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be gestating a new creation, a fresh updated version of yourself or your career.

And if you want to bring your vision into actual reality, you must treat it with the same respect and care that you’d have for a newborn child.

There are 2 steps I use when I’m birthing a new version of myself or my work:

  1. TRANSFORM MY SPACE: I create a sacred space for my vision somewhere in my home. Just like a woman in the last trimester of pregnancy instinctively begins to “nest,” I create a womb-like area in my home that welcomes the “new me.” When I was manifesting my relationship with my now-husband, I completely redecorated my bedroom (which was in the Love area of my home) and transformed it into a nurturing sensual haven. When I’m manifesting a new vision for my work, I edit the books and items in my workspace and create a new altar that activates my intentions. I actively create an environment that vibrates at the resonance I chose to enjoy.
  2. TRANSFORM MYSELF: I clear any old limiting beliefs that don’t support my expansion. I ask for and receive support from my coaches, mentors, friends, colleagues, and from my spiritual support team (my guardian angel, spirit guides, and my loved ones who’ve already graduated from this life). I actively cultivate within myself the resonance of the vision I chose to embody and enjoy, and I ask others to hold that intention with me.

If there is something that you are longing to birth in your life, a new version of yourself that you chose to embody, or some new work that you’d enjoy doing, I would love to hold that intention with you. Just hit reply to this page and I’ll put your name and intention on my manifestation altar, along with my own.

Remember to be tender and loving to yourself in the process of gestating and bringing forth the new you!  And if you would like to give yourself the support of a spiritual midwife/coach and loving sisters, consider joining our 9-month gestation for women, Embodying Source: Clearing Your Home and Heart to Birth Your Legacy Life.

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Your Home as Your Sanctuary during the Holy Days

The word “holidays” comes from the Old English haligdæg or “Holy Days.” In olden times, this dark time of year was the time to gather around the hearth, to find light and love within our hearts and homes. Now, our commercialized holiday season is over-stuffed with consumption and stress.

Let’s take the holidays back, you and I. Let’s be deliberate about our choices. Let’s honor the holidays as our own Holy Days this year. And let’s start by creating sanctuary in our homes, so that each time we return home, we’ll feel the power and resonance of what we hold sacred.

Creating Sanctuary Connects our Everyday World with the Divine

In any temple or cathedral that earns the title of “sanctuary,” we experience being deeply connected to—and nourished by—both the immanent physical world of nature and by the transcendent expansiveness of the divine. Inside a sanctuary, we are both grounded in physical reality while, at the same time, encouraged to lift our attention into the realm of sublime possibility, of new paradigms, ideas and beliefs.

Start by Emptying the Space

We can’t create sanctuary in a busy, cluttered space. So, I always start my holiday decorating by removing most of the decorative items from each room, to create the space for my seasonal altars. I pack those items away for the season, in the same bins I use to store holiday decorations.

Bring in Nature

Do you feel deeply nourished by the natural world at this time of year? You can increase your connection by bringing real bits of nature indoors. Before you decorate for the holiday, go for a walk in your neighborhood and collect what calls to you: pinecones, fir boughs, berries.

Eighteen years ago, my youngest and I collected some vines as we hiked through the woods in early December; we spray painted them gold and they’ve been part of our holiday altar ever since. As I unpack them, I still remember her 4-year old exuberance as we gathered those vines.

As you integrate gifts of nature from your neighborhood into your Holy Day decor, you—and your home—will feel more connected to the land you live on.

Bring in the Divine

As you unpack your holiday decorations, really ask yourself: How do these items connect my attention to the Divine?

  • Do your holiday lights bring your attention to the Light of Love?
  • Do your ornaments bring joyful memories to mind?
  • Does each holiday decoration hold uplifting meaning?

As You Decorate, Create Altars

An altar is any item or group of items that alters, or uplifts, your mood or energy level. In a church or temple, an altar lifts your attention to the divine. In your home, an altar creates the same kind of portal for you attention. But only if you place the items with intention.

So, I decorate mindfully, using my intention to weave the sacred into each of my altars.

  • As I string lights on the tree and around the house, I intend to strengthen the light of love within my heart.
  • As I set up the nativity, I invoke into my own heart the protectiveness of Joseph, the love of Mary, the innocence of her newborn babe, the reverence of the shepherds and the generosity of the wise men.
  • As I place the Santa, I remember my answer when my young children asked me if Santa was real: “Santa is as real as your parents!” And… I remember their excitement when they were finally old enough to stay up on Christmas Eve and stuff the stockings and play Santa. I choose to feel that kind of joy in my gift-giving!
  • This year, as I find a place for the Nutcracker that belonged to my Dad and stepmother (which came to us after her passing this year), I’ll take a moment to be grateful for all the many gifts they gave me.

Edit Your Collection

Each holiday season, if I find ornaments that no longer hold meaning for any of us, I donate or regift them. As our children became adults with homes of their own, each one got to claim a favorite holiday decoration to start their own collection, which has also helped to edit our decorations.

Write Your Intention for the Holy Days

When we write our intentions, we are committing to them. So, write down a few words that describe how you prefer to experience this holiday season. Then, place your intention on one of your Holy Day altars, one you will see every day.

Thanksgiving Ezine pix 5I encourage you to use your favorite visual decoration on this altar, a decoration that you really love. This visual image needs to give you the body-sense of enjoying the kind of holiday you prefer. It could be the menorah, the nativity, a photo of your last family Christmas.

Know that your intention doesn’t have to show; you may not want it to be on display, to be read by others. It can be rolled up in a scroll and tied with a ribbon, or folded and placed under or inside another item on the altar. This year, I rolled my intention into a candle I formed from sheets of sweet-smelling beeswax, which I’ll light for a few moments each evening.

As you place your intention on the altar, take a moment to hold your intention in prayer. Allow yourself to FEEL the body-sense of creating the experience you intend. Give thanks to your seen and unseen spiritual support team, for working with you to create a restorative, uplifting holiday season.

Then, each time you pass the altar which holds you intention, notice it, even if just for a second. If your intention is hidden, allow the visual item on the altar to act as a lightening rod, directing your attention to your intention.

Experiencing Sanctuary Takes Time

It doesn’t take much more time to create sanctuary in your home as you decorate for your Holy Days than it would if you were just throwing up your holiday decorations without mindfulness. Doing it mindfully takes just a few minutes more, perhaps.

But allowing yourself to EXPERIENCE sanctuary does take time. Little bits of time, strung together like pearls on a string.

Kind of like creating a sustainable system in your home office or kitchen takes more than just a space to put stuff on or in. For a system to be sustainable, you need more than a shelf or drawer, a bin or basket. A sustainable system also requires time. You can’t just declutter and organize and have a sustainable system. You have to devote a small amount of time, on a regular basis, to maintain it.

Happily, the BEST sustainable systems take the LEAST amount of time and space!

The same is true of creating sanctuary in your home. You don’t need to spend massive amounts of time. Just minutes a day spent admiring the twinkling tree, or inhaling the aroma of the pine wreath on the door, or sipping cocoa near the crackling fire as you enjoy the altar you created for the mantle… these moments are your pearls, your sacred moments that will make Holy Days out of the holidays.

May it be so for you and me, and all of us around the world, this year.

Turning Your Home into Your Power Place, Part 2

Last month in my article, I talked about how experiencing a deep connection to the land you live on will support you in the process of transforming your home into your Power Place.  In this article, I will share the mythic perspective which has allowed me to transmute my own personal suffering and losses into personal power. Because in order for your home to be your Power Place, you first have to know what “medicine,” or personal power, is yours to bring the world.  (Stay tuned next month for more on how to transform your home into your Power Place.)

Usually, this process is referred to as The Hero’s Journey, but here I’ve reframed it for women.  I ask my male readers to just notice the feminine pronouns and keep reading; if
you do, you may find something here for you.

In all great myths, you’ll find the main character going into a challenging situation, facing her fears, learning big lessons, experiencing triumph over those fears, and returning to
her community to share those lessons.  Below are the elements in the Heroine’s Journey.

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First there is the call to adventure. This is the point in a woman’s life when she realizes that everything is going to change.  Something shifts, externally or internally—and she can no longer stay the same.  Anais Nin said it best: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom.”

Often, the Heroine at first refuses the call.  This may be from fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy.  There are many reasons why we might feel the need to “stay tight in a bud,” safe in our current circumstances.

But once the heroine has actually committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, a guide or guardian will appear to help her cross the threshold.  This is the point where the Heroine steps out of her comfort zone, moving into the underworld of her shadow (her unconscious), leaving the known limits of her world behind.

As she ventures into this unfamiliar territory, where rules and results are unknown, she will find a helper or a mentor if she will look.  A Buddhist proverb says “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

And so the Heroine moves on to a road of trials, for which she does not feel prepared. Her former accomplishments do not count here.  This road represents an uncomfortable separation from her known world and her known self. Challenges appear; sometimes she fails the test.  The Heroine must call on her inner WILL, to get up when she falls, and to keep going.  Temptations to abort the process seem appealing.  Her determination will be tested, but if the Heroine focuses on her goal, she will make progress, however messy it may be.

As she puts one foot in front of another, for a time things may get even darker and more bleak.  This abyss is the dark night of the soul… that sacred womb in which she transitions between worlds and selves.  At times she can feel the potential for her new self, her new life.  At other moments, all is dark and she feels lost.  The abyss can be frightening territory.  By breathing through this process, the Heroine shows her willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to allow some aspects of her self to die so that she can be reborn.

Often at a moment of surrender, revelation or divine guidance flows into her despairing heart and mind.  She begins to see and feel who she is becoming.  Her transformation doesn’t happen all at once… rebirthing is a messy organic process, but finally the Heroine realizes that she is no longer the caterpillar oozing goo in the cocoon.

She’s become the graceful butterfly, emerging from the limitations that once held her captive.  She experiences the freedom of having released all judgments on herself and others.  It’s now easy for her to feel At-One-With-All-That-Is in every moment.  This is the meaning of atonement: At-One-Ment.

With her inner work done, she is now ready to return to her community to be of service in a bigger way.  As she crosses the return threshold, she wears the insight, maturity and compassion she gained on her quest.  Her well-earned wisdom blesses all who come into her sphere.

Questions for Your Journey

  1. In how many ways is the Heroine’s Journey like your de-cluttering and organizing
    process?
  2. Which part of the Journey are you currently in right now?
  3. What kind of support do you need to help you move into the next part of the process?
  4. Have you been through a Heroine’s Journey before, of any kind?  If yes, can you call upon what you learned then?
  5. Do you have any colleagues, mentors, family members or friends who have traveled their own Heroine’s Journey? If yes, is there anyone you can ask for support as you complete yours?
  6. A Journey is like an initiation.  For those of you emerging from a Journey, how can you create an Altar in your home that will assist you in fully integrating the
    power of this initiation?
  7. How can your home support your process as you return to your community with new gifts?

Turning Your Home into Your Power Place, Part 1

Do you ever feel depleted, overwhelmed, or in need of inspiration? Much of what we need at times like this can be found in nature.  The indigenous believe that each of us has a Power Place in nature, a place where we feel our best, our strongest, our most powerful.

Every part of our planet has healing gifts for us, gifts that help us connect with the power inside ourselves.

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Gift of the Oceans: cleansing, peace, renewal, power, majesty, diversity                          

Gift of the Waterfalls, Rivers:  they remind us to be clear, clean, and current, and inspire us to flow around obstacles

Gifts of the Streams, Creeks: they may be small, but are life-giving

GIfts of the Lakes and Wetlands: they purify, and serve a diverse community

Gifts of the Tundra (frozen prairie): they hold rich inner resources, they are wild and free

Gifts of the RainForest: bountiful, healing, they have Grandmother power, they are the lungs of our planet

Gifts of the Mountains: majestic, stable, commanding, powerful, perspective: allow us to “take the long view”

Gifts of the Forest:  healing, alive, singing with insects, frogs, birds

Gifts of the Meadows:  bursting with chi, blooming with crops, flowers and medicinal plants (“weeds”)

Gifts of the Prairies: open, vast

Gifts of the Savannah:  wild, instinctual, open, free

Gifts of the Deserts:  harsh, extreme, rugged

Perhaps when you need a certain kind of inner healing, you long for the ocean.  When you need another kind of respite, you might long for the mountains, or the woods, the prairie or the desert.  If you ponder the place you most long to go on vacation, you’ll probably realize that it’s your Power Place. 

Turning Your Home into Your Power Place

Does your home function as your Power Place? Is your home a place in which you feel and function your best, in which you feel personally powerful?

It’s my passion and purpose to help my clients transform the space they live in, because when they do, their entire lives will transform!  One of the ways I do that is to help them turn their homes into a Power Place.

Here are some ways to transform your own home into your Power Place:

  1. Look over the list above and identify which of Nature’s Gifts you most need at this time. 
  2. Ask yourself how you can bring evidence of those gifts of nature into your home.
    (If you long for the cleansing and renewal of the ocean, add shells, sea glass, and images of the ocean to your decor.  If you long for the stable perspective of the mountains, display crystals, rocks, and mountain landscapes in your home.)
  3. You may want to create a Nature Altar on a table or counter you see daily.  (An Altar is any grouping of items that alters your mood and energy level. An Altar inspires you because it brings your attention to whatever you want to activate in your life!)
  4. Or you may want to integrate your items from nature in your Feng Shui Altars throughout your home.
  5. And don’t forget to receive the gifts of the land you live on!

Experience the Land you live on holding you

Ancient peoples knew that their safety relied on their intimate connection to, and their alignment with, the land they lived on. They experienced their relationship with nature as a
sacred relationship with a wise guardian elder whom they both revered and loved.

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They both protected and nourished the land and allowed themselves to be protected and nourished by it. They never made decisions that would harm nature, or their relationship with the land. They co-created their future WITH the land. 

Do you feel protected and nourished by the land you live on?  AND… do you actively protect and nourish it?

Receiving the Gifts of the Land You Live On

In addition to the vital life-force, or chi, that Mother Earth has to give all of us, each piece of land offers its own unique gifts.  Some neighborhoods have rolling hills, some have
streams or creeks, some are heavily wooded, some have long, lovely views. 

What are the gifts of the land you live on?  When you really connect with these gifts, what do they do for you?

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Stay tuned for more on turning your home into your Power Place in my next article!

Clean Sweep: before, during, after

I thank those of you who have honestly shared with me your frustrations about the clutter in your life.  Many of you are experiencing the same frustrations that I was, 30 years ago, when my home was such a mess:

  • you have too little space (or storage space) in your home
  • you have too many distractions and responsibilities
  • you have too little time to get de-cluttered and organized
  • you don’t have the energy to get de-cluttered and organized
  • you’re unsure how to get maximum results from the time/energy you spend de-cluttering and organizing (you feel like you’re spinning your wheels)

So I decided to share with you two Clean Sweep Success Stories, both still in progress, written by two of the recent participants in my recent Mess to Success program.  Like you, they struggled with those same issues.

I’ll share Silke’s story first.  Because she lives in Germany, she wasn’t able to attend any of the calls live, so for her, it truly was a home study course.  Silke has young children to care for, plus she is taking classes to up-level her career, so she’s a very busy young mom!  Her comments are bolded; mine are italicized.

Before the Program: We have so little storage and our basement is huge, so we resorted to storing things there.  Soon after we moved in, the basement became a mess, and it takes a huge effort to clean.  This is most annoying: no matter how often I tidy, it keeps filling up quickly.  It takes so much effort… and often I give up halfway through.

[What Silke was telling me was that she didn’t have systems for the items that collected in the basement… and she didn’t know how to create systems.  I could also feel how the stagnant energy in the basement was adversely affecting her self-esteem and energy level.]

Week 1:  I appreciate how you deliver your knowledge!  The first session motivated me to get into the process of clearing stuff in my home, mind and probably even my soul.  Ever since I started with this program, I’m more organized and have less adverse feelings toward cleaning and getting things in order and—most importantly—keeping things this way.

[In the first session, we learn to clear our relationship with our home and the clutter in it.  We learn how to release our judgment on the home and on ourself, so we can be FULLY PRESENT to clear the clutter.  This session always makes a huge difference to people who have been tolerating clutter for a long time!]

Week 2:  I squeezed in two de-cluttering sessions (listening to the audios as I went along, which really motivated me). I have never gotten so much done in such a short time!!  That was really amazing.  I feel calm and happy in the basement, going through the sorting process.  I think your work is wonderful.  I feel my energy level is better and the space is, too!

[In the 2nd session, I share my Professional Organizer’s secrets on how to maximize your results from your time spent de-cluttering and organizing, as well as how to make the experience enjoyable!  I’ve structured both the audios and the workbook to give you maximum results for a minimum of effort spent de-cluttering, because it’s important to experience initial successes, so you’re motivated to keep going.]

After Week 5:  Your program works wonders!  During last five weeks, I didn’t have much time to devote to de-cluttering, yet the results are amazing!!!  I’ve tossed and donated so much, to get rid of the clutter as soon as possible.  I got more done in an extremely short period of time than in the last 10 years!  Now that I know how to create Sustainable Systems I’m looking forward to sorting the remaining papers in the basement!
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[It’s so important to understand how to create Sustainable Systems, which are ways of organizing your home that are sustainable, that grow and evolve as your life does.  It’s also important to align your Sustainable Systems with the way your brain remembers where you’ve put something.  See http://transformingspace.com/messtosuccess/ where I share the specifics taught in Sessions 1-5 of Mess to Success, for more on this.]

Silke’s Clean Sweep Success is still in progress, as she continues to implement the techniques and strategies she learned in Mess to Success, in every room of her home.
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Below is Dawn’s story.  Like many of my clients, Dawn has been in a time of transition.  Several years ago, she became ill and her normal life was “put on hold” while she recovered her health.  During that time, her lovely home became overrun with clutter.  Again, Dawn’s comments are bolded; mine are italicized.

Before the Program:  Before doing Melody’s Mess to Success Program, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated.  My living room has always been my beautiful “sacred space” but in the last few years of stress, it had gotten completely messy.  Too embarrassed to have anyone over, I was angry myself for letting it get that bad.

[The first thing Dawn needed to clear was her judgment on herself.  Many of us think we have compassion for ourselves… until we listen deeply to our self-talk.]

During the Program:  Listening to the first session, I was able to release that judgment and just accept my situation.  I deliberately chose to move forward from this point, without continuing to spin in self-judgement.  I found Melody’s compassion and the way she creates community so motivating.

Here’s a summary of how I re-created sacred space in my living room:

  1. I immediately started tossing items I no longer needed.
  2. Then, I removed all items from the living room items that needed to be elsewhere in the home.
  3. I finished the living room by containing items I wanted to keep in attractive baskets

After the Program:  I’m very thankful that that I stumbled upon Melody’s course on the very day I felt so frustrated!  I knew that God sent me an angel to help me.  I’m so grateful that through the processes of the course I discovered:

  • it’s ok to let go 
  • I’m not alone on my journey
  • how to harness my desire to complete this long-delayed project

I felt so peaceful once the living room was cleaned of my clutter.  I love my living room again!

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It’s very clear from the photos that both Silke and Dawn have the ability to create both order AND beauty in their homes.  They just needed my help to get that process jumpstarted. 

If YOU need some help to get YOUR Clean Sweep project complete, I have a gift for you, below.

I want to give you $300
to get your Clean Sweep done!

I created my Mess to Success program to give you the four basic steps to clearing clutter and creating sustainable systems in your home, no matter how messy it may currently be.

Those 4 steps are:

  1. Emotional: this step will help you clear all judgment and resistance that’s keeping you stuck.
  2. Physical: this will teach you how to use sensual de-cluttering techniques and create your own customized organizing plan.
  3. Mental: this will help you understand how to create Sustainable Systems that align with YOUR own Unique Retrieval Strategy.
  4. Spiritual: you’ll learn how to access and activate your desired future!

And in the 5th audio, I teach you how to pull all of this together as you set up your home to be your Success Partner.

The investment for this home study program, with its 90-page workbook and 10 hours of audio training, is $397.

But, because I know how POWERFUL the act of de-cluttering and organizing is and how it can TRANSFORM your entire life, from NOW until Summer Solstice, June 21st, I want to give EACH OF YOU a $300 GIFT.

When you register for the Mess to Success home-study program between now and June 21st, just type in SummerSolsticeGift in the coupon code box on the payment page, and pay only $97.

Click the logo below for details and to register. Remember, type in the coupon code SummerSolsticeGift to claim your $300 SAVINGS!

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Here’s What a Sustainable Relationship with Your Home Looks LIke

One of my favorite teachers, Gay Hendricks, says that we live our life in one of four zones:

  • The Zone of Incompetence: I believe this is the uncomfortable place we ALL start, every time we begin to master a new skill. The temptation is to get STUCK, depressed, and stay in this zone.
  • The Zone of Competence: for me, it’s such a relief to get to this zone. A feeling of mastery grows as we realize we can do it well—most of the time!
  • The Zone of Excellence: In this zone we can even teach others how to do it, and we feel even more positive about our life.
  • The Zone of Genius: Now we’ve developed personal power—and we enjoy offering our own unique methods and programs to support others!

As I pondered Gay Hendricks ideas, and remembered moving up the Zones in my life, I realized that the homes in which I’ve lived and worked in have literally partnered with me to move me forward.  How?  Because I’ve consciously partnered, in sustainable ways, with THEM!

Here’s how you can create the same kind of conscious, sustainable relationship with your home:

  1. To move up from the Zone of Incompetence, make changes in your home that allow you to feel more PEACEFUL
  2. To move up from the Zone of Competence, make changes in your home that allow you to feel more POSITIVE
  3. To move up from the Zone of Excellence, make changes in your home that allow you to feel more personally POWERFUL

ARE YOU IN THE ZONE OF INCOMPETENCE?  

TO MOVE UP —> allow your home to help you feel more PEACEFUL!

tableWhen we start mastering something new, the Zone of Incompetence is a pretty uncomfortable place to be!  And when we are frustrated and short-tempered, it can be harder to make progress and move up into the Zone of Competence.

So, when I find myself in the Zone of Incompetence, I know cultivating inner peace will give me the compassion to forgive my mistakes and keep going.

To cultivate PEACE, find something to organize.  Usually, when I’m in the Zone of Incompetence, it’s not hard to find a messy surface!   And when I’ve spent an hour de-cluttering, my mind is more spacious and open to creativity and new ideas.

If you keep going with your de-cluttering projects, you are going to end up with a high-functioning home and workspace—which will give you that sense of inner peace!

Because when we’ve created order in our homes and workspaces, we consistently experience the calm, centered, congruent feelings that accompanies inner peace.  When our home and workspace embodies peace, we do, too. And when we embody peace, we more gracefully move up to the Zone of Competence.

ARE YOU IN THE ZONE OF COMPETENCE?

TO MOVE UP —> allow your home to help you feel more POSITIVE!

home-officeAfter the clutter is gone, it is important to focus your attention on your big vision, your long term goals.  How?

Remove everything from your space that does not relate to or support that big vision.  Display reminders of your goals.  This is where Feng Shui can really help activate your intentions!

Cultivate a POSITIVE vision by creating an altar that activates your goals.  An altar is any item or grouping of items that alters—in a positive way—your mood and energy level.  It’s impossible not to be up-lifted when we are surrounded by images that anchor our intentions!

ZONE OF EXCELLENCE?

TO MOVE UP —> allow your home to help you feel more PERSONALLY POWERFUL!

excellenceHow can we allow our Genius to deliberately create a bigger vision for our lives, and for our work in the world?  Allow your home to help you embody your PERSONAL POWER!  Personal power is not power over others. It’s personal mastery of your time, space, money, attention, energy.

To cultivate PERSONAL POWER, put yourself in the “command position” and surround yourself with ONLY those colors, textures, furnishings, accessories and symbols that make you feel powerful.  In the command position, your back is against a solid wall and you can easily see who is coming in the door.

HAVE YOU MADE IT TO YOUR ZONE OF GENIUS?

TO STAY THERE: Celebrate — and Focus on Serving Others!

microphone_audience1When you get to this level, your focus will be on serving others in a bigger way. And, don’t be surprised if living in your Zone of Genius gets you started learning something new… and you find yourself back in the Zone of Incompetence.

Just look around for something to organize and the resulting inner peace will propel you up to the next zone!

This process really does work.  Back when my home was a mess, so was I.  I wasn’t able to manage my time or energy well.  I was depressed and unhappy.  But as I went through the process of getting rid of the clutter and creating sustainable systems, I changed.  I began to correspond to those changes, becoming first more peaceful, then more positive, then more empowered.

I would love to hear from those of you who are also experiencing the benefits of creating sustainable relationships with their homes!  Share you comments with us below.

In A Relationship: You + Your Home

You + Your Home

hands-2In our culture, we tend to use the word “relationship” to denote the experience of relating to another person or group. But we all have a relationship with our home. When we think of the home in which we live, we each have our own unique experience of relating to that space.

Our experience of our home is either healthy and uplifting, raising our mood and energy level. Or not.

Your + Your Home = Sustainable Relationship

We start creating a sustainable relationship with our home with curiosity and willingness… to learn how we are affected by our homes and they are affected by us.

To have a sustainable relationship with our home, we must partner effectively with it. We must appreciate and value it, become more sensitive and aware of it. Utilize and maximize its strengths, and eliminate or minimize its weaknesses.

When we work with our space, creating order and beauty, we are setting up a sustainable relationship that allows our space to work for us. A space that works for us is a powerful resource, a partner, that allows us to live our best lives, doing what we were born to do.

Stay tuned. Each week in June, I’ll be sharing strategies to create Sustainable Relationships with your home.

 

The Best Systems are Empowering and Sustainable

Over the 30 years I’ve been a Holistic Professional Organizer, I’ve learned that  effective organizing is all about your relationship with your rooms and the items in those rooms.

Creating Systems

The first thing I ask a new client during a consultation, is:  What purpose do you want each room to serve for you? 

Before we can create systems, we need to know the functions each room will serve.  Maybe your dining area is also your home office, and it needs to serve both functions well.  Maybe your guest room is also a meditation or exercise room.  Maybe your living room is also your reading area and your media room.  Maybe the laundry room needs to store your sewing machine and mending supplies, as well as your tools.

My Job

Once I know how each room needs to function, it’s my job to help each client  create empowering, sustainable systems for those rooms.

  • Empowering, because when your rooms are organized in a way that truly supports your goals, you are empowered to BE and DO your best!
  • Sustainable, because when your rooms are organized in alignment with your goals, preferences, and Unique Retrieval Strategy, it’s easy and fun to maintain the order.

What is a Unique Retrieval Strategy?

My Neuro Linguistic Programming training has taught me that we each process information differently, and working with so many clients over the years has taught me that we each retrieve memory differently. If I try to remember where I put something I “see” it in my mind’s eye.

But many of my clients have non-visual retrieval strategies and they need different cues to remember where they’ve put something.

If they just put the information in a file drawer or behind a cabinet door—without giving themselves additional cues—it’s like throwing the information into a black hole.  They’ll never remember it later.

glasses

Maybe you’ve experienced this frustration! But NO MORE… not after you understand how to work with what I call your Unique Retrieval Strategy!

The 2 Most Important Skills to Get and Stay Organized

There are lots of great books and programs on organizing out there. The thing is, many of them leave out the most important skill sets:

  1. knowing how to set up systems that align with how YOU retrieve information
  2. knowing how to set up sustainable systems so each room can function as a partner in your success

If you’ve ever decided to follow someone else’s system and you put your time, energy and money into it, you may have ended up more discouraged than when you started!  Because without these 2 key skills, most people just don’t get results.

When and Where to Buy Storage Containers for Your Systems

This is the third article in this Sustainable Systems series.  For the first article, You’ll Never Be Organized Unless You Can Create Systems, click here.  For the second article, How to Create Systems, click here.

Before You Buy Storage Containers

It’s imperative that you completely de-clutter the following items from your room before you create your systems:

  1. everything you no longer use
  2. everything you no longer need
  3. everything you no longer love
  4. everything that doesn’t serve your future success

Color wicker boxes on cabinet shelvesOnce all you no longer need is released from your space, you can take yourself through the 4-step process of creating systems for each room, described in detail in my last blog post here.

Where to Find Good Storage Containers

Once you know what your systems will be, it’s time to decide if you’ll need storage containers as part of that system.

Some clients like to spend money on lovely baskets and bins.  If that’s you, try:

How to Create Great, Inexpensive Storage Containers

Here are some of my favorite tips on how to create good storage, for less:

  • For spices: use turntables to organize them, alphabetically.
  • For vitamins: use a shoebox to corral your vitamin bottles inside the cupboard; just pull the box down once a week and fill old pill bottles or snack baggies (which can be reused) with your daily dose.
  • For makeup brushes and mascara: use a short, heavy plastic cup to store them (vertically) in the medicine cabinet.
  • For jewelry: use flatware trays to store jewelry in a drawer; if it’s deep enough, stack one on top of another and use the bottom one for rarely-used seasonal jewelry.
  • Use square or rectangular plastic laundry bins to store out of season clothing on the top shelf in your closet—unless it gets very dusty, in which case you’ll want to invest in plastic bins with lids.
  • To corral like items (such as grooming supplies, keys, pet items, toys), on counters, dressers, or floors: find fabric, rattan, or leather boxes or bins that look nice with your decor.
  • Shoeboxes (minus the lid) can be used in drawers to corral socks, undies, t-shirts.

Storage Systems Tip

When you use storage containers in your systems, you want to ensure that the container itself isn’t slowing down your system.  You want to minimize the number of steps it takes to retrieve an item and put it away after use.

So, here’s a tip for your storage containers: if it’s inside a cupboard, closet or drawer (and thus protected from dust), ask yourself if you can toss the lid (or just keep it underneath the box/bin).  Taking that lid off each time you reach for the item is going to add another step and slow down your system.

Stay tuned…. next week, I’m going to share tips on how to make your systems empowering and sustainable.

How to Create Systems

This is the second article in this Sustainable Systems series.  For the first article, You’ll Never Be Organized Unless You Can Create Systems, click here.

What can Systems Do for You?

office-deskAs a Holistic Professional Organizer, I help my clients learn what I had to learn myself 25 years ago: how to create systems for running a home efficiently.

The word system comes from the Latin systema, which means a set of interacting and independent components forming an integrated whole.  It derives from the more ancient word sunistemi, a verb denoting union.

When you create efficient, effective systems for your home, it’s like you are setting up your home to be what I call your “success partner,”  and your home is then able to serve the full measure of it’s creation.  I believe our homes can do more than shelter us and provide structure for our activities.

When you have systems in place, your home will support you to live your dreams, to become the most successful versions of yourself.

How to Create Your Systems

When you create systems for your home, you deliberately decide:

  1. the functions you want each room to fulfill (e.g., meal prep in the kitchen)
  2. each step of those functions (e.g., mixing, cooking, baking)
  3. the equipment you need to support each step (e.g., pots, pans, bowls)
  4. the most efficient way to arrange the items for best work flow

You’ll need to create a system for every household task.  When I had my systems in place, I found I didn’t need all those built-in storage units I’d been dreaming about!

Below are some highlights from some of the systems I created in the early 80’s that I’m still using today:

  • Meal Prep: We clean as we prepare the meal, so that by the time we eat, the counters are clear.
  • Dishes:  We use the left side of the sink for dirty dishes, the right side of our double sink serves as a place to drain and dry everything we wash by hand.  When we start the dishwasher, we flip the “Dirty” card magnetically clipped to the front of the dishwasher to the “Clean” side, and we all take turns emptying the clean dishes.
  • Laundry:  We installed shelves and hanging rods in the laundry room.  Dirty clothes go into the laundry basket in our closet.  Once a week, I gather up the empty hangers, put them on top of the dirty clothes and carry the basket to the laundry room.  After sorting, washing and drying the clothes, I pull them out of the dryer and hang or fold them immediately.  Delicate items hang dry.
  • Bathrooms: I keep old washcloths under each sink, along with spray cleaner.  Each evening and morning when I use my sink, I wipe it down with the washcloth.  Each bathroom gets a complete cleaning once a week.
  • Our Bedroom: We own the most luxurious bed linens we can afford, and I love to walk into our room when the bed is made, so I take a few minutes each morning to create that loveliness for myself!

About Storage Containers

You’ll notice that buying lots of storage containers is NOT part of creating your systems.  I’ve seen people spend hundreds of dollars on plastic bins they didn’t need once we’d de-cluttered and created their systems.  I’ve also seen people spend thousands of dollars on built-in shelving and garage systems to store items they really didn’t use or need.

To save your money, I recommend against buying storage containers until after you’ve:

  • completely released everything you don’t use, need, and love
  • gone through the 4-step Creating Systems decision process above

I’ll share more about when and where to buy storage containers in my next blog post.  If you’d like my expertise as you create your systems, I’m offering a special $200 May Savings on my Mess to Success HomeStudy course.

  1. Find out more: www.transformingspace.com/messtosuccess/
  2. Click to register and, in the Coupon Code box, type MaySavings to receive this $397 course for only $197… only until May 31!