Bustin’ Loose

Paris Soap
“Clutter is anything that’s preventing you from living out loud…the solution to your clutter is in the source of your clutter.” –Kerri Richardson, Intuitive Life and Business Strategist

I have been thinking about clutter—paper, digital and now, emotional and physical clutter.  I woke with a song in my head–“Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. We’ve been cleaning things out at home and just the other night, my son reached into my sock drawer and pulled out this soap that I bought in Paris in 2005. Yes, I bought this soap eight years ago and haven’t used it.  Why? I think it’s because my grandmother used to put Maja soap in her “special drawers” to make her things smell good. I don’t know if it was socioeconomic, but the idea was, you never actually used that soap to wash yourself. It was too nice and expensive. I think I transferred that to my Paris soap. And while we are in confession mode, on the same day, my husband asked me if we could get rid of my Kitchen Aid mixer attachments, which I have had for 20 years and used once. I have used the mixer religiously since I bought it in 1993. Do you know that I somehow had an emotional attachment to those mixer accessories? Well, when I caught Kerri Richardson’s online radio appearance about her upcoming Clutter Clearing Video Course which starts this Thursday, October 3rd, I learned a ton. (Her course lasts 30 days and anyone can do it from anywhere, no matter your schedule).

First, she openly talked about her own “clutterbusting” on her journey to lose 61 pounds thus far. She blogs about how her extra layers were like soft and squishy armor and served as protection from feelings of vulnerability. In response to a caller who struggles with letting go of medical articles piled all over her house, Kerri referenced a client who did something similar, and when she dug a little deeper, she found that client kept the articles because it made her feel validated and smart. The flip side is that perhaps as a child, she wasn’t valued for her intelligence.

I know that some folks don’t like to delete emails if they have a boss that’s abusive and might turn around any day and try to question their work. Or perhaps you’ve experienced verbal, emotional or physical abuse and surround yourself with stuff as protection. Then there’s the person who keeps every ratty t-shirt for the last 30 years as totems to the spontaneous life that’s given way to stability and predictability.  Think about how much more time, mental and physical energy you might have if you let go.

I’m ready to let go of my mixer accessories. Upon reflection, besides the obvious fact that I don’t use them, I remember working hard to be able to afford a “good mixer” because I love to cook. And at one point in my life, I wanted to be a chef and restaurant owner. Letting go of those items doesn’t take away what I earned or my love of cooking.  It creates space in my house, in my head, in my heart. And it makes me want to sing, “I feel like bustin’ loose, give me the bridge y’all, give me the bridge y’all.” You know the rest, and if you don’t, click here to listen.  And also, think about Kerri Richardson’s Clutter Clearing Video course.  She’s a straight-talkin’ strategist who will get you where you need to be.

Botticelli Belly

Imagefor all the C-Section Mamas

I love my Botticelli Belly

one year ago

brought my treasure forth

nearly nine pounds

cut the strings that make me young

and gave me that jiggle

nowadays after he’s drunk with dairy love

he plays my tambor

blows raspberries

waits for my giggle guffaw

‘til the belly gives a bonus shake and wiggle

I wrote this after my son was born in an effort to appreciate my body at that exact moment. A friend told me recently that she was reading one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, who was writing about body image.  She decided to call her thighs “the aunties” and give them names.  She looked at them like the eccentric aunts whom you love, but maybe they are a little embarrassing sometimes.  I know that when I looked at my belly’s stretch marks during the time of this poem, I thought, these are race tracks, yes, race tracks of love. If you are interested in rethinking your body image, become a facebook fan of the Body Image Movement founded by Australian Taryn Brumfitt or check out her website. She had been doing amazing things in the world to radiate love.

In my previous post, I talked about Self-Care September.  We are almost there.  I invite you to pick something to do for yourself on a regular basis and practice it. For example, it took me months to watch this 10 minute video about 10 mindful minutes of daily meditation—trust me it’s like no other, the guy juggles and will make you feel like you can do it.  Since I started that daily 10 minute meditation nearly a year ago, my physical manifestations of stress have disappeared. Stress still occurs, yet my reaction is different.  And here’s the clincher: all you have to do is breathe.  You are already doing that.

Or maybe you are going to use September to make a year’s worth of doctor’s appointments for yourself.  Or maybe you want to go back to school, but can’t afford tuition right now. Why not finally master math, science or learn about the arts and humanities for free?  You can enroll in Khan Academy where this non-profit online learning resource led by MIT and Harvard graduate Sal Khan walks you through any number of concepts in 17-20 minutes.

Or take some time to dream about that vacation you want to take and actually make a savings plan, vision board, a declaration to go.

I believe in you.  You believe in you. Take September to start anew.

Self-Care September is Coming

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Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington*, I invite you to forgive yourself. For it is only in forgiving yourself and then in loving yourself deeply, that you can radiate love and bring peace with every step you take, every single day.

Self-care September is coming. This is a month where we will practice the art of extreme self-care.  If you are scratching your head, that makes sense because I am declaring this for the first time. September is back-to-school season in the U.S. It’s a time when we can sharpen new pencils, our erasers are clean and notebooks are shiny and new.

If you have a chance to take care of 1-3 things about yourself, what would they be? Here are some ideas:

  1. Staying balanced, or as most folks like to say, managing stress
  2. Eating healthy foods
  3. Feeling good about your body
  4. Exercising, playing, dancing
  5. Learning that skill you have always wanted to learn
  6. Making time for the friends you rarely see
  7. Getting medical attention for all parts of you—body, heart, mind…and teeth!
  8. Remembering and nurturing your passions
  9. Cultivating your spiritual side
  10.  Managing your finances

If you are upset with yourself for putting on weight, overspending, letting yourself fall into the same pit of stress again and again, this is your chance to be kind and gentle with yourself—just the way you would be with a dear friend or a child.

One book that has helped me in the past is The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. You can buy it here or view the first chapter here.  Don’t be turned off by the cover if self-help isn’t your thing.  What the book does well is create 12 opportunities for you to take care of yourself so that you can tackle one area each month—sometimes that can mean learning to say no or sometimes that can mean giving up control.

So, I’m inviting you to pick 1-3 areas to address during the month of September.  The list above is only for ideas.  Think about it and if you feel like declaring it to the world, add a comment on this post.  Or try writing it down in a journal. Or if you want to let me know privately so that you have some level of accountability, feel free to email me at rebeccainspiresnow@gmail.com –that way someone else knows about the exciting possibility of cultivating your power through forgiveness and self-love. I hope that you feel lighter already just thinking about letting go!

*If you would like to learn more about the U.S. civil rights movement on this momentous anniversary, visit one of my favorite organizations at: http://www.teachingforchange.org — there is even a mythbusters quiz.

Honeycomb It: Getting to Your Core

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After seeing the majestic artistic vision of Mt. Rushmore, I keep coming back to the image of “honeycombed” rock. This was a process of drilling holes in the outside of the rock to weaken a layer and then knock it off to get to the smoother more carvable granite. It made me think about the process of discovery as an artist and as a human being.

What lies underneath? What amazing sculpture is lurking inside of you? You can take this on the physical level and look at your body. I can tell you that I was not one of those Hollywood stars who shed their baby fat after giving birth. I finally joined Weight Watchers when my son was five years old and am happy to say that I am 25 lbs. lighter as a result. That has definitely given me more energy.

But what about the soul stuff? What about that light burning brightly inside of you? As I write this, a colleague who is a self-proclaimed cynic told me, “We don’t take off the layers.  We just cement and plaster layer after layer.” Is that true for you? Do you have a vision of how you are supposed to be? At different points in my professional career, I felt stifled. Like I had to show up in a certain way, in a role layered with cement, plaster, drywall. I wasn’t eating well or exercising. I felt like I always had to watch my back. What a way to live.  Fear can make us protect ourselves.

What if you poked a few honeycomb holes in that fear? Or in that vision of what or who you are supposed to be according to your boss, your partner, your family? What if some light got in? What if you took a chance, weakened that layer of rock and did an awesome karate kick…and a chunk fell off? What marvelous creation might you uncover?

Go ahead, drill a little hole, then another one and another.  The world needs the YOU under all that rock.

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