Shoreline Times Columns

Writing and illustrating a local news column, now in its’ fourth year, focuses on life, transformation, vision, dance, home, clutter, creativity, family, friends, and relationships. The material springboards from my book, Create the Space you Deserve, the Creating Your Vision Workshops, and everyday life. Stories get told from around the campfire, while pulling weeds, or from the porch with the girls. For the whole story, click on a column below. Or go on-line, to read the most recent stories from the New Haven Register’s ShoreLineTimes. The Times reaches 66,000 households along the Connecticut coast.

All critters great and small - in the house

The moles are back, a new batch of rabbits have been born, the chipmunks are here and the baby mice have arrived. And, they’re all in the house.

thumb_allcrittes1Thank you Carrot, the cat. Summer is here. I can tell by the small creatures that show up in the bedroom, under the sofa, in the closet, and basement. Mostly they are where I trip over them, after all, they are a gift from the cat and he’s determined that I find his offerings.

The problem is the newly re-opened cat door. When the cottage was remodeled years back the cat door was installed but Carrot refused to use it. He wanted to be greeted by a door person. Who doesn’t? So I accommodated all hours of the day and night in order to meet his demands for in and out, in and out. It took a man friend to put a stop to this after way too many 5 a.m. get up and answer the door requests. He said he was concerned for my sleep. Right. Nonetheless, he reactivated the door, trained Carrot with great persistence and consistent refusals to open the door. It worked.


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The big sweep: Time for spring cleaning, working from the bottom up

Graphic-Motif“Spring doesn’t begin on the surface…it begins below the ground.” Just like spring cleaning – we have to work from the bottom up.

Given we can't quite yet get to the garden, there's a window of opportunity to turn the dirt - the clutter in our homes and personal environments - into more fertile ground for new growth.

I call it The BIG Sweep season, the next Be Bold for 2012! Why bother we may ask, or, how and where do we begin the clearing of the clutter? We’ve been here before; we start, we stop, we linger, we pause, we collapse, we quit, shut the door, struggle to close the drawer, push the boxes to the back of the garage, look the other way, and pretend it doesn’t exist! Perhaps it is time to get dramatic and do the obvious and most difficult and just “Do The Work,” the title of Steven Pressfield’s book that I love.

What is at cause for our clutter? We’re all in the overwhelm of too much stuff, paper (what happened to paperless) and media madness. How did this come to be? I believe it is because there is an endless onslaught of choices and we have set no boundaries, or limits on what we allow in, while believing ourselves to be victims of it all. Overwhelm seems to be easier to accept than saying no, no more.

Clearing the clutter treats the surface problem but doesn't get to the bottom of the issues; root cause of how we got here. By not setting boundaries is the short answer. The long answer could be by accepting either people’s stuff to store, by becoming the keeper of the family treasures, or by being pressured by the children’s desire for keeping their rooms the same for forever, or simply not tending to staying clear, we’ve allow ourselves to get trapped by the stuff.

flower_potsThe clearing of the clutter is actually the easier piece of this conundrum. When we think we “should” be clearing the clutter, this “should” gets us in other muddy waters. Do you want to, or do you not want to clear the clutter? If you’re doing this for you, you’ll have a far better chance for success than if you’re doing it for somebody else - husbands, family member, or others who are minding your business.

We have to decide and declare for ourselves why we are clearing these spaces, these things, or our worn out habits and ways of being. What will be our prize? That prize can be anything from relief, to a new unencumbered workspace, the lift of the guilt and burden, or a gentle knowing that all is well in your home.

At home and at ease….there is no greater gift. What comes from this ease is our creativity. Within this void starts the bubbling up of new ideas; ideas that have been waiting for a clean and clear slate, fertile ground for planting the new. In our company studio at the end of every project, we like to clean, clear, file, arrange, step back and notice what needs attention. We take time to attend to what we can do to make our space and files more efficient so we can welcome the new project that awaits us, or welcome the one that’s been waiting for us to be ready. Hear that – what has been waiting for you to be ready? This is your prize. I often say, that the next new you is hidden, buried in your clutter, and in the process of clearing you will get clues, entertain new ideas and what you find may astound you. Very often it is a version of, I’ve always wanted to… I used to dream about doing… Your heart’s desire may very well reveal itself in this process of clearing the way.

And still we want to know how to tackle the stuff. The tips for clearing, there are many, and we welcome these ideas. So here’s an idea: I will be facilitating a "Clearing the Clutter, Quiets the Mind" Workshop for the benefit of The Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT and their huge 58th Annual Tag Sale. The best part of the workshop taking place on Saturday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is actually three things; first, the $35 fee is a tax-deductible donation, second, you will meet each other and the great gals who are the hard working and generous members of this organization, maybe even consider becoming a member, third, the last and best is, there is a place to donate your stuff. You can drop it off on Wednesday, April 4, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall. Having a cause and a place to donate your things is often the stumbling block in this clearing process, so that problem has been removed.

Mech-birdGet started now, come to the workshop, get energized, and stop thinking about being bold, Be Bold now! We will laugh, consider some new ideas, and share our stories about this passionate subject. In the end, my vision is that you will want to go home, or start right now, and declare why it's important to be doing this clearing; and in time to discover what has been hidden and waiting patiently underground to bloom anew. And then a word of caution; be gentle with yourself while staying on task, no judging. Remember this is a process not a sprint, be sure to acknowledge yourself for steps taken and pat yourself on the back for deciding to get clear for you. “Spring doesn’t begin on the surface…it begins below the ground.” And it takes time and patience to show itself.

Oh by gosh by golly keep it simple this holiday season

2011dec3Christmas, like Thanksgiving, is just another holiday to stress over – much more so because of the looming deadline of Christmas morning with the expectation of perfectly-chosen, perfectly-wrapped presents all under a tree. And, don’t forget the tree! My “tree” this year is a generous bundle of pine boughs strung with white lights in a beautiful Sosse Baker basket that sits by the fireplace.

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Don't be a shrinking bold

pic1It’s been a week of rebirth for me: Spending time at home for reflection and meditation, looking within to acknowledge all that I am grateful for, casting new projects on the waters of the future. And, reading Steve Jobs’ biography and other inspiring books.

I limited my intake of the news (it isn’t new), and spoke to very few people. At midnight after a truly beautiful Christmas and a quiet dance in Mystic, I went underground. Some version of this is my annual ritual during this week of the New Year.

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Bold strokes: Finding your inner butterfly

quietly bold from the inside outThe muse was knocking with a massive headache and so I got up. I had no choice so it seemed. It is 4:40 a.m. and my head is screaming. Some say this week has been punishing with the barometric pressure offering up severe headaches. True or not, I’m now awake.

Having declared Being Bold! for 2012 has caused much thinking and action taking. I’m excited, impressed and touched by the responses from those who read my monthly offering here. I’d like to share a few.

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