Tag Archives: Organization

Intent of the Day: Organizing Our Thoughts

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The mind is a wondrous thing and sometimes it’s too busy to do any good. Whether in inspiration mode or survival mode, a key to getting anywhere is being able to keep track of your thoughts, organize your ideas and do something with it all. Rather than staying in the tornado or letting our mind run away from us, we intend to organize our thoughts!

You too? Here are 3 things to help you do the same: Continue reading

5 Ways to Step Up Your Spring Cleaning

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While warmer temperatures and sunnier days have many of us breaking out the short sleeved t-shirts, it also makes us notice all the clutter and dust that has collected in our homes over the winter months. Giving your living space a good spring cleaning lets you hit the refresh button, helping you feel less mentally cluttered and ready to take on the year. It can be hard knowing where to get started, but by picking a task and just getting going you can make the most of your spring cleaning efforts. Start with these five easy ways to get started helping your surroundings to feel cleaner and more conducive to productive living. Continue reading

Why Wait: Create Your Intentional Collage to Reach Your Goals

By Linda Lauren

Collage 2011

I define a dream as a wish that is powered by a positive intention until it becomes a reality.  We make our own reality each day and that is through our thoughts and convictions.

People who know me know that I take it upon myself to gather my friends together to create personal collages of what we intend to achieve in our lives in the coming year.  These collages help us to define our present so that we can create our future. They keep us focused on our goals and they dare us to fulfill our dreams. The reality is that each year, with each collage is a step closer to making your life positively unfold.

This collage does not have to be about obtaining material things, but can help foster a message of hope, love, and help you out of depression through healing. I once made a personal collage for a surgical procedure and hung it in my hospital room. Each time I looked at it I was spurred on to heal and that was my collage’s intention: healing.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the angst of the world and not realize how deeply global events can affect us in the negative. The signs are: depression, anger, jealousy, impatience, and the growing threat of intolerance. Everything from social media to social connections is threatened simply because it is easier to ride the wave of a bad vibe then it is to work at a positive one.  I remind myself of how important it is for me to be positive if I want to live a long and happy life, and that my every single thought has a profound affect on my entire life.  So, I reprogram my personal intentions through my collage, adding to it as the year progresses.

Though you can also do this on a computer, I have found that it’s more fun in a group to do it the following way.  You will need a few essentials and suggestions to get you started:

Get a piece of cardboard or poster board, scissors, glue and a lot of different and/favorite magazines, newspapers, and photos. Make sure you have a photo of yourself, and the year.  The size of the collage is up to you. If you are doing this as a project with family, friends or business partners, you might want a larger board so everyone can participate.

Cut out the images and words that best represent what you wish to manifest. Arrange them on the board, glue down when you’re satisfied with your work, and take a photo of the final results. Put the original collage in a room at home where you will always see it and use the photo as a screen saver or wallpaper on your computer, tablet and/or phone.

I have seen these collages become a source of motivation, comfort and peace. A collage with intention empowers us and helps us to go with the flow by directing the current so that we arrive at our destination!  The New Year is around the corner and there’s no better time to start!

What You Can Do To Support The Philippines

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.41.09 PMThis weekend one of the most powerful storms in recorded history hit the eastern side of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan touched land with winds estimated at points to be between 195-200 miles per hour. For perspective – Super Storm Sandy that devastated the northeastern United States last Halloween had winds that maxed out at 115mph. Hurricane Katrina reached winds of 174mph.

Thousands are displaced from their homes in the Philippines as aid workers are rushing in to deliver food, water and supplies to survivors. The final death toll is currently estimated to reach 2,500 people.  According to a recent CNN report more than 200 million people are in need of aid – over 300,000 of them pregnant or new mothers. Cities that were once bustling metropolitan areas last week are in heaps of rubble – The Philippines are in trouble.

In times like these there are always an outpour of charities rushing to help those in need, but unfortunately there are also those who use devastating disasters like this as an opportunity to take advantage of people’s generosity. If you are willing and able, we have assembled a list of verified non-profit organizations that could use your donations to help stabilize and rebuild the Philippines after this horrible storm.

 

Red Cross

Emergency responders and volunteers throughout the Philippines are providing meals and relief items. Already, thousands of hot meals have been provided to survivors. Red Cross volunteers and staff were already on the ground delivering preliminary emergency warnings and safety tips before the typhoon hit. The Philippine Red Cross has also already mobilized its 100 local outposts to help with relief efforts. Give by donating online or mailing a check to your local American Red Cross chapter. Learn more and donate here.

AmeriCares

The relief organization is sending medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. AmeriCares is also giving funds to local organizations to purchase supplies. Learn more and donate here.

UNICEF

UNICEF’s chief concern is a disaster’s impact on children’s health and well-being, and they are working to ensure the safety of children and families affected by the typhoon. Learn more and donate here.

Oxfam

Oxfam has experienced staff on the ground, ready to provide immediate help to people in need. Learn more and donate here.

(Credit to Care2 for links)

If you are looking for non-financial ways to help support then consider adding your name to these petitions to encourage government leaders to take a better look at global warming and instituting practices to slow down the destruction of our planet.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in the Philippines currently suffering through this disaster and to all those who have lost loved ones in this storm.

(Photos from CNN coverage)

6 House Cleaning Tips to Reduce Stress

springcleaningFor most people stress and mess are unremitting realities in daily life. In fact, the various stressors and disarrays share a common denominator – clutter – both the physical and mental kind.  Why not then kill two birds with one stone? As long as you have to clean your place, why not use it as a targeted method for coping with stress?

Cleaning carries emotional benefits: Catharsis, clarity, control and change. These good feelings lead directly to self-improvement and empowerment. For example, when you clean out your space, you can distinguish between what inspires you and what no longer serves you.  Getting rid of what you no longer need, makes room for positivism and invites good things into your home, including friends, as you are no longer embarrassed by the mess.

Here are 6 cleaning tasks and their emotional/intellectual/spiritual rewards:

* Washing the dishes helps you to wash away the grief. Circular motions correspond to the circle of life.
* Vacuuming gets rid of the dust and the cobwebs, the regrets which cling and keep you stuck, as you inhale stale air and allergens. Vacuuming helps you to move forward and breathe a purer air, a more authentic version of yourself.
* Cleaning the windows lets in the light when you feel sad, unable to step outside. Afterwards, you can sit or stand by the window, relax and watch others. Moreover, when you open a window, you get ready to step outside and join the good energy – first you rehearse it in your mind and then you do it.
* Cleaning the bathroom helps you to get the crap out of your life or neutralize what pisses you off.  You need to move toxins out of your body and your mind.
* Mopping the floor keeps you in the moment, an opportunity not to think about your worries; otherwise, if you are not fully present to what you are doing, you can slip and slide and fall back into an old issue.
* Overall, housecleaning is great exercise to be envied by gym goers. And exercise efficiently alleviates anxiety and moves stress hormones out of the body.

The next time you clean your space, create a specific intention, a stress-reducing mental component corresponding to the physical act. For example, when you are clearing out spoiled fruit in your refrigerator to make room for fresh, new fruit consider if there might be some spoiled, toxic relationship you need to throw away? Or when you are dusting, polishing your furniture to a brilliant shine, consider what might be holding you back from shining?

Can the Simple Act of Making a List Boost Your Happiness?

seishonagonWhen I was in college, I took a class on the culture of Heian Japan,  and the one and only thing I remember about that subject is The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. This strange, brilliant book has haunted me for years.

Sei Shonagon was a court lady in tenth-century Japan, and in her “pillow book,” she wrote down her impressions about things she liked, disliked, observed, and did.

I love lists of all kinds, and certainly Sei Shonagon did, as well. Her lists are beautifully evocative. One of my favorites is called Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster:

  •  Sparrows feeding their young
  •  To pass a place where babies are playing.
  •  To sleep in a room where some fine incense has been burnt.
  •  To notice that one’s elegant Chinese mirror has become a little cloudy.
  •  To see a gentleman stop his carriage before one’s gate and instruct his attendants to announce his arrival.
  •  To wash one’s hair, make one’s toilet, and put on scented robes; even if not a soul sees one, these preparations still produce an inner pleasure.
  •  It is night and one is expecting a visitor. Suddenly one is startled by the sound of rain-drops, which the wind blows against the shutters.

Other marvelous lists include Things That Arouse a Fond Memory of the Past, Things That Cannot Be Compared, Rare Things, Pleasing Things, Things That Give a Clean Feeling, Things That One Is in a Hurry to See or to Hear, People Who Look Pleased with Themselves, and, another of my very favorites, from the title alone, People Who Have Changed As Much As If They Had Been Reborn.

Making lists of this sort is a terrific exercise to stimulate the imagination, heighten powers of observation, and stoke appreciation of the everyday details of life. Just reading these lists makes me happier.

How about you? Have you ever made a list of observations, in this way?

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Now for a moment of sheer self-promotion: For reasons of my own, which are too tiresome to relate, I’m making a big push for Happier at Home. If you’ve been thinking about buying it, please buy now! If you’d like a little more info before you decide, you can…

Read a sample chapter on “time”

Listen to a sample chapter

Watch the one-minute trailer–see if you can guess what item has proved controversial

Request the book club discussion guide

Get the behind-the-scenes extra

Final note: I love all my books equally, but my sister the sage says that Happier at Home is my best book.

Stock up now! Okay, end of commercial. Thanks for indulging me.

photo by: koalazymonkey

Letting Go of Over-Planning (VLOG)

We’ve all been told it’s best to get present and live in the “now”, but often I find myself living in the 500-years-from-now. If life is a journey and not a destination, how do we get into the moment and out of our obsession with that golden nugget in the future we think will solve all of our problems? Here are a few of my thoughts on the plight of the over-planner (me.)

Many thanks, as always, to Stefani Twyford of Legacy Multimedia for filming my vlogs and for her continued support as I trudge the road of “putting myself out there.” For more, check out my website, The Light Files, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

More from Laura Max Nelson:

Change is Good, and It Happens Faster Than We Think

How to Find Balance by Losing It

How to Deal When You’re Outside of Your Comfort Zone

How to Be Your Own Manager, Friend, and #1 Fan

That GirlDo you sometimes feel as if you’re two people? For a long time, I struggled to identify the metaphor to describe the tension between my two selves—between now-Gretchen and future-Gretchen, between the want-self and should-self. Is it Jeckyll and Hyde? The angel and devil on my shoulders? The elephant and the rider? The ego, the id, and the super-ego?

Then in a flash, I saw how to think about the two Gretchens, and how to think of myself in the third person, as a way better to understand myself and direct my actions. There’s me, Gretchen (now-Gretchen, want-Gretchen), and there’s my manager.

I think I was inspired by my sister’s Hollywood workplace lingo.

Who is my “manager?” Well, I’m like a fabulous celebrity. I have a manager. I’m lucky because I have the best manager imaginable. My manager understands my unique situation, interests, quirks, and values, and she’s always thinking about my long-term well-being.

I’m the boss, and I don’t have to take my manager’s advice—but on the other hand, I pay my manager to help me. I’d be an idiot not to pay attention.

These days, when I struggle with something, I ask myself, “What does my manager say?” Often it’s very obvious to my manager what course I should follow, even if I can’t decide (weird right?). It can be a relief to be told what to do; I agree with Andy Warhol, who remarked, “When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you’re working.”

My manager is the executive who works for me—very appropriate, because my manager is part of my executive function. There’s no need to rebel against my manager because I am the boss of my manager. (Not to mention, I am the manager.) Out of freedom, I can accept her instruction.

My manager reminds me to follow my good habits: “Gretchen, you feel overwhelmed and angry. Get a good night’s sleep and answer that email in the morning.” “Gretchen, you say you have no energy, but you’ll feel better if you go for a walk.”

My manager stays compassionate. She doesn’t say things like, “You’ll never be able to finish,” or “You’re lazy.”  She’s comforting and encouraging, and says things like, “It happens,” “We’ve all done it,” and “Enjoy the fun of failure.”

My manager stands up for me when other people are too demanding. She insists that my idiosyncratic needs must be met; just as Van Halen famously insisted on bowls of M&Ms backstage, with all the brown ones removed, my manager says, “Gretchen really feels the cold, so she can’t be outside too long.” “Gretchen is writing her new book now, so she can’t give a lengthy response to that email.”

She makes claims on my behalf: “Let’s figure out how to get you what you need,” “Let’s throw money at the problem.” On the other hand, she doesn’t accept excuses like, “This doesn’t count” or “Everyone else is doing it.” She tells me uncomfortable truths. I can’t sneak anything past my manager, because she sees everything I do.

As an Upholder, however, I’ve learned to be a bit wary of my manager. I love my manager, but I know how she thinks. She’s very impressed by credentials, legitimacy, and pay-off. She’s sometimes so focused on my long-term advantages that she forgets that I need to have a little fun, right now. My manager is helpful, but in the end, I’m the one who must “Be Gretchen.”

How about you? Do you think it would be helpful to think about your “manager?”

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Of everything I’ve ever written, this one-minute video, The Years Are Short, resonates most with people.

Life is What Happens When I’m Making Plans

life“If we actually believe half the shit we talk and write about, why are we worried? It’s all going to be what it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?” This was what I said to my best friend Cate the other day as we yammered on to each other about the woes in our life – you know, money woes, men woes, kids woes, work woes– whatever woes. Of course we attempted to add in our very aware and very spiritual observations, just to make sure that even though we were whining and worrying, we were being enlightened about it.

Such as me stating my desire to be in love – followed by self eviscerating examination as to why I need to be in love, judging myself for wanting to be in love; all of which is true. I do have issues with love (I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a very generalized statement- which is probably very true- most of us have issues with love) but I also want to be in love, because love is fun. I have a much better understanding of myself and what love means to me and my desire for love is pretty freakin’ normal.

Is it possible for me to hold both concepts: Desiring love because it’s normal to want to share your life with someone and desiring love because I have issues I’d like to work through regarding love? They actually work together, if I stopped trying to blow one of them up in the name of enlightenment and just have some fun with love, explore love, try on love. Do I have to wait until I have all my love stuff worked out before I can be in love? And if I do, how exactly can I do that? Seriously not looking for another class or seminar or book, I swear I’ve read them all, and I learn by doing!

I spent some time with another friend whose life is in a big transition. She has an entire list of things that need to happen before she can do the things she really wants to do. There is no room for either or, nor both simultaneously- it’s this way first and then she can have that. She’s not capable of seeing that it’s possible to have a mixed up convoluted version of both. Life is convoluted! There is life in-between the pages of your plan!

It’s true that sometimes you have to follow a recipe. Having a plan is a good thing; I like plans, but I spent an awful lot of my life planning and organizing and waiting for things to happen that were in my plan so I could do the next thing only to have wasted that time and missed out because I was so locked into my plan, which eventually blew up because I was, okay I admit it, attached to my plan.

It sort of goes back to that old myth “Wait until you’re ready to have kids.” Is anyone ever really ready to have kids? You might think you are and then you have one and you’re like “Shit I was not ready for this!”

Last year I had a plan and almost nothing in my plan actually happened, at least not exactly. But here’s the interesting thing: all the things my plan represented happened, but not in the way in which I had actually planned them. Huh, go figure.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 5.51.28 PMWhich brings me back to my original question – if I were to live my life, with the understanding and acceptance that my life is going exactly as it should because I am following my true souls desire and trusting in that, and then of course planning (you have to plan a little) but being very clear about what my desire really is and then being open to what might come that isn’t in my master plan- but is my ultimate, true plan, then everything is going to be okay.

In my own life I have come to see the beauty in the chaos of plans unraveled. People often desire balance. We are often told to find it as if it’s something to look for. We like it when things happen the way we think they should. It makes us feel like we have balance and everything is under control. And sometimes that works- but really let’s get real, how often does it really happen that way?

Life is full of duality for which I don’t think you can find balance per se – balance means to equally distribute, and I don’t feel like my humanness equally distributes. It flows from one to the other and it holds each as possible and not possible and all possible. When I hold to tightly to one way another invariably gets jealous and puts a monkey wrench on my plan, thus causing me to feel completely out of control and unbalanced, and things start to fall apart. Once I finally allowed myself to live and breath and accepted that life is utterly unbalanced, I have no control, and only strive to know and to learn my true souls desire, have I found a steady wire to walk on.

6 Tips To Start Balancing Your Life Like a Boss

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 1.23.25 PMAs an entrepreneur with two young daughters and who holds family time as sacred time, runs a small tech-firm by day and, by night, works passionately building a second venture with a mission to empower others, I am constantly being asked, “How the heck do you balance it all?”

The truth is …. I don’t! And, before you click off this article thinking ‘well, thanks for nothing, lady’, just hear me out here! Nobody does. The word “balance” itself implies that some sort of destination has finally been met where the weight of one’s life has been distributed evenly in every regard: career, family, health, personal growth, relationships, self-care, etc. And, in this line of thinking, since you’ve already arrived, there is no need for improvement in any of these areas. But, it just doesn’t work that way! Even if all things are perfectly balanced for a moment (hooray!) – don’t blink because it just takes one of life’s infamous little curve balls to be thrown our way to completely knock everything out of whack.

So, instead, I personally work towards balancing my life. That little “ing” at the end of the word is oh so important. It implies that an action is taking place. And, balancing your life takes a lot of action. Daily action, even. It’s about developing a strong sense of awareness and checking in with yourself and your beloved ones on a regular basis to identify any areas that can use improvement. Are you getting enough quality times with the kids? Is your spouse feeling loved or neglected? Is your career or business running as smoothly as you would like? How are you feeling physically? Emotionally? Stressed? Are you feeling fulfilled at a soul level?

Keeping all of the balls in the air is no easy feat … especially if you are diving fully into the person you want to be. And, frankly, some days will be better than others. As humans we can only try our best. But, it is important to work consistently towards that sense of balance so that you can help others, take care of yourself, and make your impact in the world as stress-free and full of joy and love as possible.

When any one area of your life is significantly off-balance, it throws you off in every other aspect, taking you out of your “A” game and making you feel a little less awesome than you actually are.

Here are a few guidelines that will help you to maintain the harmony, peace, and balance in your life that we all yearn for!

  • Be your beautiful authentic self. You have to let go of any preconceived notions of what your life is “supposed” to look like. Definitely steer clear of comparing yourself to others. We all have different paths, circumstances, and dreams. What works for others might not work for you. Instead, focus on what you stand for. What is the impact YOU want to make in the world? Learn to be totally comfortable in your own authenticity. If there’s an area of your life that you are not completely satisfied with, then put in the work to change it! But, only do it because it aligns with your soul’s calling, not because it will make somebody else happy. You will never feel peace living the life somebody else has envisioned for you.
  • Accept with Gratitude. Life isn’t perfect. It gets messy sometimes – for all of us. So, we all need to learn how to dance in the storm. Your house is not always going to be spotless, you won’t be able to attend every single social event, you’re inevitably going to let your spouse or your kids down every once in awhile, and you may need to pass up on some seemingly awesome business opportunities. Being okay with that, accepting the imperfections, and seeing the beauty of your life with intense gratitude no matter what will give you that sense of balance even in chaotic times.
  • Prioritize. At this moment, what is most important to you? What or who lights you up? Are you spending a good amount of your time with the people that you love deeply and working on the projects you feel most passionate about? If not, where might you be a little off balance and need to pay more attention? Is there something sucking up a lot of your time that just doesn’t serve you or drive you closer to your vision? It may be time to cut back in some areas. (Yes, I’m talking to you Facebook and TV!)  And, most importantly, are you carving out some time for yourself too? Remember: If you crash and burn from not taking care of yourself, you won’t be any good to anybody else either.
  • Plan. Schedule everything! And, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to opportunities. Spontaneity sounds lovely, but reality is that if you have big dreams include balancing all aspects of your life, you must plan accordingly! I use technology to my advantage here with digital calendars that sync up to my apple products. Everything from date night to kids schedules to business meetings and workouts to when I am going to write (which is also planned in a separate editorial calendar) all get put on the schedule. I then have reminders pop up to keep me on task.  Take some of the pressure off yourself by extensively planning your days. Take time to step back and look at your big picture. Then take a step back in and plan out all the details. Whatever works for you, just use it consistently.
  • Check your Slices. A fun activity is to do is a goal wheel where you draw a circle and divide it up into even sections, like a pie cut into slices. Each section represents an area of your life. Perhaps your “slices” would be named: family, career, fun, personal growth, spiritual, relationships, self-care, money, etc, or whatever resonates with you. How much energy are you putting into each area and how satisfied do you feel? It’s normal to have a slice or two that are totally dominating while others are just a few puny crumbs. Identify this and work to even things out.
  • Reevaluate from a Birdseye View. Make sure you pop your head out of the weeds and grab yourself an aerial view of your life on a regular basis so you can get a good honest look at where you’re at. Where are things going well and where do you need to revamp or recharge? If it’s not easy to get your head out of the muck to really evaluate things, than hire yourself a personal coach to help you hone in.  A coach is one of the best investments you can ever make! But, if you just can’t afford it right now, at least get yourself a network of peers, friends, or family members who can help guide your way on. Multiple brains are better than one and sometimes it takes an outsider to really call us out on our sh*t.

Don’t worry about achieving perfect balance because that will never happen –  life just isn’t designed that way. However, making a conscious mindful effort to regularly check-in and evaluate things will help you tremendously in the delicate act of balancing.

How do you find balance in your life? Please feel free to share and discuss in the comments below!

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