Thursday, October 9, 2008

My thanks to Marcus Buckingham

My boss loves Marcus Buckingham and his strengths focused research. I can't complain about it because my boss prompted me to listen to his audio CD "Now Discover your Strengths" (Donald O. Clifton co-wrote it with him) and paid for me to take the Strength's Finder profile. I struggled with the assessment until I learned how he designed it and how it was supposed to be measuring or capturing data.

My reaction to my results were a little mixed. I was shocked to learn that numero uno on my list was "strategic"! I had never considered myself a strategic thinker. After reading the description and pondering it a bit more, I had to agree. I just had never thought of myself using that terminology.

Something that was NOT a surprise was "communication" being a strength. I intrinsically knew this. Maybe because I finally saw it in black and white, I acted on the inner nudge to sign up to take my writing class. It's one of my strengths, so I realized it was time to develop it more.

So thanks Marcus! I absolutely love my writing class, and I'm meeting great people at the same time too! Knowing my strengths is wonderful. It helps me know how to articulate some of my "soft skills" that are truly valueable. I never knew quite how to phrase them. And I AM energized by working on developing my skills, rather than focusing on my weaknesses. Three cheers for Marcus, and many fortunate blessings to you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Writing writing--anywhere?

I haven't been blogging but I have been writing. I signed up for a writing class-because whether I write or not, I do identify myself as a writer. Since I signed up for the class, I have been writing more. And noticing more, too.

Here's a question for you. It was posed by one of my writing teachers in college, and I think it is an excellent and important question to ask, especially in a writing class.

When you begin to write, do you prefer to compose on paper or on the computer?

Whoa! This question really struck my interest. This was several years ago but I remember it vividly. I was one of a few people that preferred to write on paper (including the teacher). I'm not sure if this was age-related, because I was a few years older than many in the class. I think it is an interesting question because writing can (and does) take many different forms and mediums. So when I say I've been writing more, it does not equate to more blog postings (though in the future it might).

I prefer to write on paper. That tactile experience is often quite an emotional release and experience for me. Maybe not an emotional release, but the writing allows me to tap into my emotions better, and often sort out what I'm feeling. Typing on a computer is a lot less emotion-full. It does not provide me with the same level of satisfaction. This may not be someone else's experience. Power to you to discern. I know what I like, and I'm doing it!

So celebrate writing-whatever your preferred medium may be!

Commute commentary

So maybe I'm trying to be more aware of the small things in life around me. On the commute home a few days ago I noticed something that made me laugh out loud.

There were 3 crows (or large black birds) on one of the tall light posts. As I watched them, the first one puffed up it's chest and shrugged it's shoulders up and down. Then the next on in line did it, then the third.

I started snickering because in my mind these 3 crows became teenage boys, each one puffing out his chest, squaring his shoulders trying to look big, impressive, and "cool". And of course they were playing follow the leader. One guy did it, so I need to, too. I still laugh thinking about it. Maybe it will bring a smile to you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random Kindness

Last week while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the way home from work I was slowly approaching an overpass. Because I was stopped, I looked up and noticed that two people were walking across the bridge, and one of them was waving to us pseudo-stranded beings below.

I had to smile! I tried waving back, but was too far away for them to see me. Oh well. It made my day and I was smiling the entire rest of the way home. I forgot that I was stationary in traffic and remembered that I am a human being, connected to those around me. I still smile thinking about this experience. What a simple act of kindness to remind us that every moment we can change our attitude to something positive.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"screw you!" to "how to nurture myself?"

Letting go of a deeply patriarchal belief system and adjusting to marriage all at once was quite a delicate battle for me. Nope, delicate isn't the word. Only now has the "battle" aspect of it subsided and morphed into a kinder, more gentle reality.

As my spouse would often go do things that Spousie wanted to do, I often felt left behind and I didn't feel very strongly that I could go and do the things that I wanted to do. At times I would, but I felt I had to sport a sort of "screw you!" attitude towards my spouse in order to exert some particle of independence. It was a very defensive mode; I needed to be callous and uncaring to what my spouse might think. It didn't like having to cop that attitude. It just didn't feel natural or "work" for me, but that was all I could muster. And I didn't do it very often.

Recently I've realized my spouse knows what things Spousie likes to do (which don't always involve me) and Spousie does them. Spousie did consult me about it, and initially I wasn't too keen on it. But I've begun to perceive my situation with new eyes--I now a few evenings free for myself each week. The real revelation is that I have morphed from a "screw you" attitude towards my spouse, and begun to think "How do I want to nurture myself with this time that I now have?"

One Friday night I went to Barnes & Noble where I picked up some books that looked interesting and started reading. (I did a little people watching, too.) I came home rejuvenated! Spousie noticed and was happy for me. Sometimes I spend the night going to bed early after a long week. One of these days I'll get around to making some cards or pull out my pastels and do some artwork! Woo-hoo!

As I've reflected on this newly found time for self-nuturing, I realized the growth and evolution from my original self-defense mentality ("screw you") to one of self-empowerment and self-respect. It feels much more natural and "works" for me. My growing self-respect has also seemed to correlate with my spouse respecting me more too. I need to model how I want to be treated--with respect. The evolution has shifted from fearing external factors (thus the self-defensive stance), to taking internal responsibility. I am able to meet my own needs.

More on this later. There's more to discuss regarding this shift of perception. It's been a year of growth!

Happy Anniversary!!!

It dawned on me during my Sunday morning walk that it has been about 1 year since I officially left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Time to celebrate some accomplishments:
1. I'm still alive!
2. I feel much more psychologically stable and am constantly happier (I let go of the 'not good enough' constant self talk)
3. I'm not bitter anymore either. I grew up as a Mormon. Sure it colored my experiences, but that was my life. It's history--no more, no less, no need to whine or cry about it anymore.
4. I'm beginning to create the life I want. And it is good!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

To save a baby bird

A few weeks ago returning from a morning walk, my spouse and I noticed a baby robin hanging in one of the trees! It was hanging by some type of thread or wire which had caught on some branch near it's nest. The poor little thing was hanging by one leg upside down. I felt so bad for the little bird!

I wanted to do something. It was a windy day, and the poor thing was getting blown around. We looked around our apartment complex to try to find a ladder. All we found was a short one. I waited until the office opened and called them, still no luck. I tried some friends--they had some ladders, but no way to get them to our place. I really felt bad for the little bird and was almost getting panicky as the day wore on. We ended up dragging a picnic table over and stacking the small ladder we found on top of that. Some guys in the parking lot saw us and helped us out too.

We were able to cut the bird down, and had to detangle some type of thread off the bird's leg, which had already been wrapped around and was choking the leg. One of the guys that helped us said it was some type of thread from old carpet that had been taken out of the building and was thrown in the dumpster. :( We released the baby bird and set some water down near where we left it.

The cool thing is--the whole time momma and poppa bird were flying around, nearby, and bringing food to their stranded little upside-down hanging baby. They brought berries and other things. It was neat to see the dedication of these parents. They were also freaking out and chirping away at us as we tried to cut down their baby. After we released baby robin, one of the parents helped move baby to some deeper grass til it recouperated and the next day it was gone.

Baby robin might be a gimp for the rest of his/her life, or baby robin may have died a few days later from infection, a broken foot, or any other number of things. But I just couldn't let it die hanging in a tree! I had to do my little part.

O the drama of life!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Library Clutter

This is an experience I had some months ago, but it's still something to watch out for. I was at the Library looking for books to help me (or motivate me) in my job hunt. I found one or two books I thought I would read, but piled another 4 or 5 books onto my pile thinking "It won't hurt to have them. I might read them."

Ah, I should have listened to myself! If I had misgivings before I even left the library that I wasn't likely to read them, I would have been wise to spare myself the extra weight to carry around. And I didn't read them. I read one which was tiny and a fast read, but basically they sat there reminding me that I hadn't listened to myself.

Listen to yourself--trust yourself! Only get what you are going to read. It's dead weight that is easy to prevent.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I haven't written for a while. That doesn't mean I haven't been learning and growing. I started an internship a month or two ago--that is what triggered the "Milestone". On the first day of my internship I met several other interns, talked and joked with them, and laughed a lot with my "boss". Nothing special. Or so it seems.

That night as I told my spouse about my first day at the internship, recounted the silly jokes I laughed at, and the people I met, I realized--I felt normal!

This may sound odd, but let me try to explain. As a Mormon, everytime I met someone new I went through a sort of filtering process in my mind "How do I relate to this person? Ok, they aren't LDS so I need to deal with them or approach them in this sort of way." (or try to have this kind of attitude toward them.) It was really subtle--and I guess I always noticed I did it but thought it was normal until I didn't have to act like someone I wasn't. I didn't have to control myself, second-guess myself, limit myself, or do, be, or behave in any other way other than by actually being myself! It was a realization of my own growth--a milestone. It was a fun experience and of course I built a natural rapport with the other interns.

Normal--what a milestone!

Monday, May 5, 2008

If you think it, they will come

I just had to write that as a title. It's more for my own laugh. Last week I was at my computer with my patio doors (except for the screen) open to let the nice weather in and to be able to hear the birds (yay!)

Well, I mentioned before that a robin hopped around on my patio in the middle of a snow storm. This day a robin was having fun dancing around on my patio again, as well as some other type of bird that I haven't been able to identify yet. I had various birds waltzing around on the patio, and one flew right to the top of the patio door and began to sing. After a while it left that perch for a little bit. I wondered to myself "These birds seem pretty brash. I wonder if I left the screen door open, would they just fly right into my apartment?" Well, only a few moments later that little bird flew at the screen door and perched it's little feet on the screen door! If I had the screen door open, it would have flown right in!

I'm glad they feel comfortable here. I think that same bird is outside right now chirping and flitting around. Maybe he/she is annoyed because I have all my plants outside on the patio right now to get some sun. Maybe these extra plants are cramping this little bird's style. I also wonder if this little bird will be so brash when I am sitting out on that patio! It's fun to have birds so close. Growing up in the country my parents had a bird book and we would look up the different types of birds we saw. I wish I had that book now!

De-cluttering is not always calming

I guess I encourage people to de-clutter. I say this because a friend recently emailed to tell me she had done some de-cluttering. YAY for her! (I recalled my bridal shower where friends reminded me of fun experiences we had shared. I would guess that over half of my friends mentioned something about me helping them de-clutter or because of a conversation they had de-cluttered or gone through their closet.) I love talking with people about this topic. This friend that emailed said that her efforts weren't the calm, feng shiu type of de-cluttering. I emailed back to encourage her to de-clutter when you've got the "bug" or urge to do it, and that in my experience de-cluttering isn't necessarily a calming action. De-cluttering tends to bring up a lot of issues. I can choose to let the item (and it's associated negative energies and/or memories) go, or I choose not to. Some things are harder to make a decision about when it comes to decision time.

Do I use it? No. Do I keep it? Yes. Should I keep it? WRONG question to ask! Should is not a nice word. It implies expectations. It often also shifts the responsibility of keeping the item to an external "other" that we are trying to please. Should I keep it? Should implies that you are trying to seek or are seeking the approval of some outside being (or someone or something other than yourself) to determine if YOU are going to be responsible for keeping that object.

So, there's a lot going on when you are de-cluttering. Issues are brought to the forefront of your mind again (both good and bad), you are faced with making a decision about the item(s) or post-poning the decision again, and then there is always disposal. De-cluttering is not what I would call calming, but I often am energized by de-cluttering. And I LOVE the feeling of a room when a lot of "guck" has been cleared out of it!

So, de -cluttering does not necessarily equal a calm experience, but I find that the end result is a more calm environment and feeling better! Happy de-cluttering!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Evil HR Lady had a very funny post ( the one with the you tube video of "Charlie bit me" watch it again That short little clip reminds me of something that rubs me the wrong way about this society that we live in.

Everyone is an actor. The little boy saw that a camera was pointed at him--and he performed. He bit his (I assume) brother. And even worse--he smiled! He knew the camera was on him so he performed and smiled knowing that the world would laugh with him.

I feel like I don't know what it means to be me. I have been living a 'role' (that of good Mormon girl, or Good Mormon Daughter) my whole life. How I saw everything was based on the role. How I related to people. How I treated myself (not very kindly, mind you) was all based on 'performing' that role well.

Well, almost a year ago I quit that contract. I have gone through a major personal upheaval trying to figure out "who am I?!" because I never acted or made decisions based on my own desires. I still get caught up in 'role' thinking. It takes time to let go of that. And you don't necessarily let it go on it's own. You do need to replace certain thinking or ways of thinking with something else.

Letting go, of people

I visited some professors of mine this last week and enjoyed staying in touch with them, and listening to their positive encouragement for my personal growth and professional development. It was very nice. But I also noticed, something always seems to strike a nerve--not in a bad way. But something tugs at my heart where I almost always tear up about something.

As I thought about this more, I realized that perhaps this tug at the heart is more deeply about loss. One of my professors passed away. I attended the funeral, the memorial service, and the lunch. But I still miss this person. I recieved approval and encouragment to live my dreams from this person. This person was also very influential in my choice to return to graduate school. I still miss this person.

I have never really had anyone close to me die. Yes, I've had grandparents pass away, but they lived far away and I didn't have a very close relationship to them. Here I find myself, stuck--still dealing with grief and loss every time I set foot back on campus, remembering this wonderful person.

It seems to compound the loss I feel about losing so many other people in my life as I stepped away from my religion. I have bumped into a few of these people on occasion, but it's not the same. I'm different and they are different. We don't share the same basic assumptions about life, so 'how do I act around you now?' seems to be the feeling I get from them as well as feel myself.

I don't have any advice about letting go of people of this sort. I have plenty about letting go of people that are clutter or negative influences in your life. But loss through death, or voluntarily leaving a community mind-set of people--I still struggle a bit on how to make peace with this.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

the healing garden

I started my 'flower garden' (i.e. the seeds) indoors not even two weeks ago. I have already transplanted the Comos because they grew too tall for the starter storage container so quickly. I now have two sweet pea plant that are banging their heads on the roof top of the starter kit. Wow! It is fun to see them grow.

I was just finishing reading "Tending the Earth, Mending the Spirit: The Healing Gifts of Gardening" by Connie Goldman and Richard Mahler as I began my flower garden. If you love gardening, I highly recommend this book. If you don't like gardening, but have suffered a loss or are going through a difficult time, I highly recommend this book. It doesn't focus on the how-to's of gardening, but rather the emotional healing, the spiritual connection people feel towards the earth and others as they create and tend to their gardens. Connie Goldman shares comments from gardeners from all over the country about how they feel while they garden, why they garden, the healing and help to endure/survive difficult times that has come through gardening in peoples lives.

I really liked it. And I do believe that many people are suffering in various ways (high stress, anger, disconnection and isolation) by a lack of connection with the earth and growing things. One day I became extremely upset over something a (distant) family member said. I was livid. I knew I needed to get out of the house and run to a store with a plant nursery. Let me tell you it helped. Granted, I did a lot of self talking, but just being around plants truly helps me to calm down. There is a large indoor garden in my city that I love to visit on occasion. It helps me to feel grounded.

As I feel like I have cut off friends from the past, and even a large portion of my family (by way of leaving the church) I realized-I need new friends--I need a garden! Check out this book from your library (that's where I found this) and see what you think. Let me know your thoughts. I would love to send a copy to Molly over at Green Hope Farms (see my link to her blog on the right of the screen). Molly is often writing about the connection people have with plants and flowers, and the incredible healing power of plants, flowers, and flower essences.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A new take on being unemployed--part 1

The Career Encourager is on vacation this week. Lucky her. I recall a sibling lamenting the problem with being unemployed is that you can't enjoy your leisure time because that is all you have. Now, my unemployed life is not all leisure time, but it reminds me of my spouse making the comment: "Enjoy it [being unemployed] while you can. Think of this as retirement, because once you start working, you'll be working for the rest of your life."

Good point. Others have also advised me to enjoy my "free time" now before it's gone. This has been fun to fantasize about. As I have cultivated the mindset of 'enjoying my retirement' right now, I've been thinking about the things that I've always wanted to do. It has allowed me a little space to determine what do I really want to do with my life?

Some things aren’t feasible (like vacationing and traveling around the world). But others are in my grasp, and now begun--like starting my flower garden. With this kind of mind-set, perhaps I can refocus my job search and find employment that allows me to make the contributions I want to make to the world and satisfies my life goals. This a great time to contemplate what life pursuits I really want to undertake.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A new take on being unemployed--part 2

As I've been trying to determine how I want to enjoy my 'retirement' (i.e. being unemployed) right now, I realized that I have been resisting becoming clear on this. I cling to my excuses of the past-as a Mormon I never was allowed to think of what I wanted, my life was all about others. I now realize that this is just an excuse. This excuse perpetuates a 'victim' mentality AND provides the additional excuse or 'out' from responsibility. If I can't clearly state what I want to do, then it is ok for me to remain in this icky state of floundering and not take action (i.e. go nowhere). By stating what I want--I have to accept responsibility for doing something about it and moving forward. Or accept responsibility for not taking action and moving forward.

Hmmm. I recognize that I am resisting it. And now I know why. These lame excuses don't serve me any more. I am trying to let go of the 'victim' mentality. Yes, it's scary to take responsibility for my life, but I know I can handle it. Previously I believed that God could make something good out of any situation. But what if I now believe that I can make something good out of any of my life's situations? Think what exciting things I can accomplish! I could create my dream job or employment opportunity. Yes, on the flip side I could totally mess my life up (but what's the statistical probability of that? Not very high. And besides-in theory I've already done that!) I'm the type to look on the bright side of life. I find opportunity everywhere.

And what I love about decluttering is the space it opens up for CREATIVITY. So, now that I recognize why I'm resisting, I can declutter it out of my mind, create space, and create the life I always wanted. An early retirement and a job I love!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I made cookies

Some time in the past week or so my spouse asked me to make cookies. I obliged. I used a favorite recipe but couldn't find the brown sugar. I was certain we had some but couldn't find it. So I looked online to figure out a substitute. After "tweaking" the recipe I found that when I mixed it all up it didn't stick together like cookie dough normally does. I recalled that one of the resources I consulted online mentioned to use something like 3 less tablespoons of liquid when using (whichever substitute that source mentioned). Well. My dough wasn't sticking and I didn't use any liquid in my recipe so I decided to add some. I added about 1 tablespoon of milk and mixed it up. It was working, so I added just a little bit more. Then I dumped in the swirled chips and went to work plopping them on the sheet and threw them in the oven. I was pretty pleased with myself for figuring out how to make it work despite all the minor set backs. I went to share my ingenuity with my spouse whose reaction was not at all what I expected. I was told you never add milk to cookies (mentally I thought--unless it's after they are cooked and when one is consuming them). So I ended up a bit discouraged. When I pulled the first sheet out of the oven they were pale. I think I baked them for a bit longer (more tweaking!) and they never really did get very brown.

But you know what? I realized a little bit later--I had made cookies! They might not have been the best batch (or the worst either!) but they were cookies. I had used what I had available and made cookies out of it--yay for me! If my spouse didn't want to eat that batch of cookies, I would. Because despite the odds, I did make cookies. That's what we all do in life--we take what we have available to us, and do what we can with it. We don't need to listen to other people's concerns or judgements (or expectations, for that matter) about what our lives should look like. We can all make cookies the best we can with the ingredients we are given. And everyone likes slightly different qualities in a cookie. (By the way, my spouse did eat the cookies, and realized I had done well given the circumstances.)

I found the brown sugar slightly before throwing the cookies in the oven--but it was too late then. No regrets, no looking back. I just made those cookies. And you know what? I'm smarter and wiser for the experience!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

job hunter blues

Well, I heard back from places where I have interviewed, and the responses were "we're proceeding with another candidate". It is always a blow to the self-esteem (especially if you aren't currently working). I may have mentioned I love reading some HR blogs and remembered some wise cousel I've read on the Career Encourager's website, including this posting

I realized that I would not have been a good fit for the position, nor feel fulfilled in the work. I knew I would have gotten bored once I had mastered the necessary skills. I also remember's the Career Encourager's advice from this post

so I emailed a brief, profressional thank you (it's nice to know for certain where you stand) and wished them good luck with their new candidate. Because I'm not bitter. It's just a bit dissapointing, even if I didn't want the position. Thank goodness I have my flowers to nurture me through this!

Simple Pleasures

ok, so I went AWOL for a little while. In that time various things have happened (or haven't happened). The most important is that I started my flower seeds earlier this week. A mere 1 to 2 days later there are tiny sprouts shooting up from the dirt! I can't resist looking at them every time I walk by them. It is amazing and very heartening to see. Also, amidst a fairly heavy snow-fall, I saw a robin hopping on my deck, out of the wind and snow, taking a little breather. I actually suspect that the previous owners of this place had some bird-feeders and this robin was looking for some grub. I woke up April 2nd before my alarm clock rang, and heard birds singing. Ahhhh. These are the simple pleasures of life--for me at least!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Letting go of fear

Well, the job hunt continues. There is a position that sounds really cool, I think would be exciting, challenging, etc, but I've been dragging my feet on applying to it. So I spent a few minutes journaling about it to see why I might be afraid to apply. While journaling I remembered a great post by the Evil HR Lady
It's quite a fascinating read. To abbreviate a long story (it really is worth the long read though!) a woman said she was scared to apply for jobs because she now has a 'criminal background'. Evil's advice was to point out: what is the worst case scenario if she applies to the postion? She doesn't get hired. Well, what's the worst that can happen if she doesn't apply for the position? The exact same thing--she doesn't get hired. Good point!

I realized I was living out my worst case scenario and thus shooting myself in the foot. I also happened upon Christine Kane's post about "What's Easy, What's Not" ( I loved it. I realized "It's easy to print off a job description. It's not easy to apply for that position" (at least for me it isn't always easy).

But I realized I'm still worrying about perfection (an ever Christian obsession, I believe). Perfecting a cover letter or resume before I can apply. That perfection is leading to my living out my worst case scenario. So, I'm opting for imperfection and submitting an application. What's the worst thing that can happen? What I'm living right now! I've got nothing to lose and lots to gain! I'm letting go of perfection and fear. If I'm going to be afraid, I'd rather it be fear based on me trying something new and risking success! So, I'm off to finish tweaking that cover letter, apply, and then go out and have some fun to celebrate overcoming that fear! yay!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A guilt-free Easter

A friend invited me to attend a worship session today. She knows I left my religion and has been supportive. But I haven't told her--I don't consider myself a Christian anymore. I read the book
Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes by John Shelby Spong and his arguement is that the Gospels are a Hermenutic writing taking bits and pieces from the Old Testament and wrapping those stories and 'prophecies' around Jesus 'Christ'. I was learning about qualitative research methods and hermenutics in Graduate School shortly before I read this book. I found Spong's arguments very compelling, and it lifted a great burden from my mind too.

Jesus did NOT die and atone for my sins. Whew! What a relief. I don't have to feel guilty because I exist. It's pretty sick when your mere existence is the cause of another person's death/murder. You can never clear your conscious of that kind of guilt. I found Spong's book to be helpful in my process of letting go. I realized that everything else built on the gospels (i.e. churches, the Book of Mormon, etc) was basically bogus because the gospels AREN'T literal history. Understanding that, I was able to let go of a lot of things. There is still work to be done, but that dismantled layers of dogmatic beliefs. Happy letting go!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mirror, mirror on the wall

My goal for the next (at least) week is to actually look at myself (in the eyes) while brushing my teeth. Sound silly? Let me explain.

While a missionary overseas I remember a particular missionary companion who either helped me to realize what I'm about to share, or she shared some comment that drove this point home to me.

If I don't feel very good about myself, for whatever reason, I don't like to look at myself in the mirror. Sure, I can fix my hair, make up, etc, but I don't look at me. I avoid looking myself in the eyes. Any mirror anywhere, I don't make eye contact with myself. It's as if I can't stand the person I am, so I avoid having to look at or confront the reality of being unhappy with myself.

But there are moments in my life history where I have felt the complete opposite. I remember times where I sat on the sink ledge and brushed my teeth looking myself in the eyes and being completely happy with myself. The more I looked at me, the more I accepted myself as is.

So, I've noticed that I've been grabbing my toothbrush and started running to another room to try to take care of "one more thing". I've been stopping myself to take the time to confront myself and find the part of me that I have been disconnecting from and look myself in the eyes. I am starting to feel better about myself.

Don't believe me? Take the challenge: Give yourself one to two weeks of uninterrupted "me time" in front of the mirror as you brush your teeth. Look yourself in the eyes. Notice the natural beauty in you. It doesn't matter if you are old, young, wrinkley, etc. There is beauty in you. Take the time to look for it. Then accept it. Then feel it from the inside. YOU are awesome! Love yourself!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My purpose for this blog

You'd think it would be about time I stated my purpose for this blog. It entails a little about me and my life experiences up to this point.

I was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka LDS, aka Mormon, aka (probably a lot of other things). I believed in it. I lived the best I could according to what I believed to be 'true'. I even served as a full time missionary over seas for the church. Was married in the temple, and then resigned my membership with said church about 9 months ago.

Church teachings (of any church) and philosophy completely colors and covers the canvas of a person's life experience. It provides a lens of how to perceive everything. That can be a good and comforting thing. It can also cause claustrophobia, encourage you to stay small, play it safe, and not really live the life of your dreams. In other words, it can be pretty damaging as well.

This blog is an opportunity for me to process my life journey and this transition that has taken place. I'd like to share how a person can go from being a TBM (true believing mormon) to someone who doesn't believe in a theistic god-being. It really is quite the transformation. I know that there are several people out there choosing to leave their religion. It is scary. It is frightening. You truly are stepping out into the unknown--this takes REAL faith! I invite you to join with me on my journey. As you may have noticed from other posts, de-cluttering is my thing. I will blog about decluttering physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual baggage. There truly is FAR too much mental, emotional, and especially spiritual baggage in this world. Join with me as I strive to continually--let it go!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My beginings of letting go--physical clutter

I may have bad/sad news for you: Letting go of clutter is not something that is ever completed, done, checked off, in a never-have-to-worry-about-this-again state. It is a process, possibly a practice or a habit one can develop.

When I got "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston, I devoured it. But I had time to do that (or rather, I made the time to do it. Yes, it was more compelling than homework. C'mon! This applied to real-life!) I have tossed/gotten rid of/donated probably over 1000 lbs of stuff by now. (I haven't kept track of all the weight) but I do know that I dumped between 500-600 pounds of stuff within the first 3-4 months of having that book. Please note that I didn't toss everything out all at once. It really is an unfolding process. Here's a few examples of how it happened for me.
Let me set the stage first. I had moved into my own apartment (hallelujah!) more than a year prior. Most of my stuff was still in boxes lining the walls of my rooms in the same exact place they were set down when I moved in.

One night I was kneeling in my bedroom, about to say a prayer before hopping into bed. I looked at all the papers and junk lined up against the wall, and my eyes settled on a piece of paper--it was an old 'love note' from a former/ex-boyfriend. (One who had married by this point in time!) I picked it up and thought "Why am I holding on to this? Am I scared that no one else will love me ever again?" And I realized that that was exactly why I was holding on to it--to remind myself that someone loved me once, and to validate that I was loveable. After realizing this, I TOSSED IT! I knew (deep down) that I was loveable, and that somewhere out there I would find someone to love and who loved me. It was a relief to toss that paper and the emotional baggage associated with it.
The next day I read something in "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui" that basically confirmed my actions. We hold onto things out of fear, needing validation, reminding ourselves of something. It was nice to have that confirmation after I had already come to the conclusion myself.

I can recall moments when it dawned on me that certain large items (furniture pieces) in my apartment needed to go. But it was a slow unfolding process. Kingston mentioned that if you can't get rid of something right away, to at least try to move it to a higher place (to increase it's energy level). I started by placing all the papers and boxes in my bedroom into one pile (on top of a box). Then I eventually moved it out to the living room. I wanted my bedroom to be my Sanctuary. It became that. I noticed it when I started doing my homework in my bedroom on the floor--just because it felt so good in there.

That realization motivated me to begin to work on the boxes and piles in the living room. It took a while. But I will always love that apartment because I turned it into a Sanctuary and a haven. It was such a peaceful comforting place for me. Now I need to work on that process for this new apartment.

My beginings of letting go--forgiveness

Slightly before entering graduate school I heard my mom talk about Flylady. (check out her website at ) I heard a lot about it. The zones, babysteps, the shiny sink, and more. It was interesting. I think I checked it out online. But when I went home to visit--as I hugged my mom I saw over her shoulder --WOW! an empty kitchen counter! (I had never seen that before.) When I spotted that, "Flylady!" popped into my mind. Then I had to run around the house checking out the 'transformation'. It was truly astounding. And mom felt so good about it.
Maybe that is when I checked it out online. I debated about waiting to start decluttering until I started school, but I began doing a few things. I did note however a book that just called to me on her book favorite's page. "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston. I finally ordered it about a month or so into the semester. I knew I wanted it, needed it. I felt confident it was not an impulse buy because I kept thinking about it for weeks.

I dumped a boyfriend right before starting school. He was engaged to someone else within a month. As I struggled to adjust to grad school, feel like I was enough, tried to complete assignments that felt overwhelming, etc., hearing that he was engaged was just too much! I dumped him, and had zero interest in him, but it still hurt. One day I woke up and remembered a lesson from a human relationships/communications class I had taken previously. The main jist--forgiveness releases me from negative energy. I realized I needed to forgive this guy, and ask forgiveness for my bad feelings towards him. (In hindsight this seems like a very Mormon take on "forgiveness," more later). I actually saw him that day, and had the guts to do this. Of course he said he forgave me too. As I walked away the world was brighter and my shoulders were lighter. I went home happy, and what had arrived in the mail that very day? My copy of "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui". It felt like a confirmation from the universe that letting go of him, and any feelings/strings/attachments etc was the right thing to do, it was safe, and I was on my way forward. (upward and onward!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

learning something new

I just figured out how to add a list of my favorite blogs on here. I saw that my friend Molly over at Green Hope Farm has a new post. I'll have to go check it out. Let me put in a free plug for her and her workers--I have used Green Hope Farm flower essences and I LOVE them! I love how she makes them, in harmony with the angels and the elementals. I even love that she doesn't use alcohol as the base for her tincture's and the story behind it. I am so on her side and am trying to do some gardening on my patio hand in hand with the angels too. Not that I have any experience with this, but I'm spreading my wings and learning LOTs of new things!

These flower essences have also helped a lot in letting go of emotional clutter and so much clutter on a very subtle and different level. I support her in her mission of healing and sharing a very non-invasive, and NON-TOXIC way to help so many others heal. Blessings to you Molly!

two things

Ok I admit it. I am basically addicted to Christine Kane's blog. I've begun reading her archived material from her earliest work forward in order. (of course I follow other leads and jump around, too.) One of her posts mentioned that you should never have more than 2 items on your "to do" list.
I remembered that today. I got my taxes done (finally!) and did the laundry. Count them, one, two. Done! yay! I've also done a bunch of other things, but I tried to stay focused on the big "one-two" and made sure they were done. Simple, not necessarily easy (I have been getting side-tracked a lot lately!), but definitely accomplishable. And it's a great feeling!
One of these days I'll have to write the purpose of this blog. Some day that will be one item of the new one-two punch!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Just say No

Well, I turned down another job (it would have been an actual offer). But I rate my experience, education and time at more than $13/hour. I also know that a call center environment would not be good for me. So, by saying no, I said YES to myself again. No, I will not work for less than I think I am worth, and I will not subject myself to insanity. I will say yes to career satisfaction, sanity, and the ability to repay my student loans. In the meantime, I was able to learn more about myself, behavioral interviews, and a great company .

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Letting go of career options clears clutter, and causes anxiety

Well, I am job hunting right now. I have just said no to two different positions. It has been a little scary, and for one position I feel a few pangs of regret. But I know that I don't want to work the hours needed for success in that field. So while it's scary to say "no" to a position, I am being honest with myself and trying to open myself up to what I do want to do. Unfortunately, I still feel a little bit stuck in the phase of being able to only define what I don't want to do rather than be able to state clearly what I do want to do.

I realized that some of the anxiety from saying to no what I don't want to do is still tied into past ways of thinking--that every decision has life-and-death consequences. It doesn't.

I have discovered Christine Kane's website and I absolutely love it! Once I know how to link to it I will. I recently read one of her posts
It was so helpful and expertly articulated what I am learning--choices and decisions aren't life and death and full of immediate results. We learn and grow and keep moving and learning and growing. I just need to remind myself--as I let go of what I don't want, I make more room for the beautiful wonderful things I do want. Even the beautiful and wonderful things that I don't even know that I want right now. It is okay and safe for me to say no and not accept a position that I wouldn't be happy in. I am learning to be true to myself, and that is the greatest gift I can offer the world.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I let go of 5 to 10 pounds more!

Ok, so I recently moved. I went through a lot of mission, church, etc stuff and tried to toss it before I had to move it as well. WELL, I am still sorting through and trying to put things away and I came across another 5-10 lbs of Mormon memorabilia that I easily tossed. A small stack of old Ensign's--mostly the conference edititons. Also a few posters of the Relief Society motto, a picture of Jesus, one of Joseph Smith's first vision, and one of the San Diego temple. That gave me slight pause, but I ultimately tossed it. (If I'm not going to hang it anywhere, why keep it?)

I left the church at least six months ago. I spent 30+ years growing up in it. It will take time to let go of all of it, or as much of it as I want to. Some things I am not yet ready to let go of, some things I may never let go of (I'm talking physical objects/possesions here). When I am ready, I will let them go.

I have let go a LOT of mental and emotional clutter associated with being a member of that church. There is still a lot (LOT) more to let go of. But now I truly do believe in mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. And I mean forgiveness that doesn't involve all the "steps" and shame and humilitation and self-degradation that I felt I had to go through to make up for some cosmic blunder/sin/mess.

That has been one of the most liberating things--not beliving in "sin" anymore. I can make a mistake and it isn't called sin. Crimeny, I don't even really have to call it a mistake. It's just an experience I learn from. That's all. My mind is much more at peace and I feel much more accepting of what is rather than base my life on expectations and what ought to be. Expectations just lead to dissapointment and bad feelings. I let it go.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Happy March Day!

Happy March Day to you! For those of you who don't know of this historic holiday, I created it one year in high school after forgetting to use my Valentine's day cards. Ever resourceful, I came up with a way to still use the cards, with out all the romantic emphasis. I took my Valentine's Day cards and penned out any time the word "Valentine" appeared. The cards morphed from saying: Will you be my Valentine? into Will you be my (written above the scratched out "valentine") Happy March Day pal? And instead of Happy Valentine's Day, it became Happy Happy March Day (yes, two happys).

Well, my friends and family were amused and it caught on, for a few years at least. The following years my friends returned the favor and we had a blast exchanging these warped Valentines-now-turned-Happy March Day cards with one another!
Ahh, memories. I think I'll call up some of those friends and family to wish them a Happy March Day!

and welcome to my blog.