Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pema Chodron – Renunciation as saying “yes!” to life


Metta Refuge

Trungpa Rinpoche once said, “Renunciation is realizing that nostalgia for samsara is full of shit.” Renunciation is realizing that our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited petty world is insane. One you begin to get the feeling of how big the world is and how vast our potential for realizing life is, then you really begin to understand renunciation.” Pema Chodron – The Wisdom of No Escape.

Pema Chodron on “Renunciation” from The Wisdom of No Escape

“When we sit in meditation, we feel our breath as it goes out, and we have some sense of willingness just to be open to the present moment. Then our mind wanders off into all kinds of stories and fabrications and manufactured realities, and we say to ourselves, ‘It’s thinking.’ We say that with a lot of gentleness and a lot of precision. Every time we are willing to…

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Created by: Jason Oberholtzer.

Read the Forbes article



I gave a workshop in Organizing with Kids for parents yesterday. I emphasized that, depending on a child’s innate learning style, organizing may look different for each child, and may look different from their parents way of organizing. As long as we can find what we’re looking for when we need it, in a reasonable amount of time, it doesn’t matter so much if we use a filing cabinet, or a “pile on the desk “system.

As long as we’re honoring our commitments and living the life we dream of, it doesn’t matter if we use a the iPhone 5, a paper planner, or the back of a receipt to track our appointments.

The question is, are we getting the results we want from our organizing system? Do we have a system that works for us? If not, we need to trust our creativity + commitment to working it out + support, if needed, will get us there.

Many people hope a professional organizer, magazine or You Tube video will hand them a perfect system that will cure clutter and time management issues. If you are working with a new system, keep connecting to it’s purpose, and know that we must continue to work a system in order for it to work. Try it for a while (90 days is a good indicator of when a new habit sets in, or old one gets let go)  before giving up. Give yourself evaluation periods to ask, what’s working? What’s not…..and never doubt your own imagination and creativity in finding solutions that work for you….


source: Courage to Change, page 41

Creativity is a powerful way to celebrate who we are. It is spiritual energy that nourishes our vitality. It is a way to replace negative thinking with positive action.

Every one of us is brimming with imagination, but it often takes practice to find it and put it to use. Yet anything we do in a new way can be creative–building a bookcase, trying a new seasoning on a vegetable, taking a new approach to handling finances, finger painting, problem-solving, tapping out a rhythm on a tabletop. Creative energy is within us and all around us, whether we are writing a masterpiece or folding the laundry.

Every original act asserts our commitment to living… When we create, we plant ourselves firmly in the moment and teach ourselves that what we do matters.

Today’s reminder
Today I will make use of the precious gift of imagination. Thus I will turn away from negativity, self-doubt, and fear, and celebrate life instead.

No Judgement



Clutter is an outward manifestation of our inner lives. NO judgment. Observation and awareness is the first and most important stage of change. If we can observe with openness, love and curiosity, rather than judgment, attack and anger….we can begin to loosen our attachment to what we see, and allow a vision and path to change to emerge.



“The voice inside your head is not who you are; you are the observer observing the thoughts.”
~Michael Singer ~

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
~Author Unknown~


Zenista 101

“You have responsibility for how you respond to whatever the experience is.”

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Right Here



If we spend too much time looking in the rear-view mirror, we may miss the beauty right in front of us.

Organizing for the Creative Innovator



If you’ve got the brain of a creative artist or innovator, chances are you may find yourself feeling “under the desk”, like our none-the-less successful friend, Tina Fey.

Innovators are “pilers” not “filers“, tend to be great at starting projects, (many), through not always great at completing them. Spontaneous, inventive, and motivated to create what doesn’t yet exist, innovators & creatives can be passionately absorbed on a project of interest, losing all sense of time in the focus of creation.




Traditional organizational methods don’t work so well – Our linear brains take a backseat to the wilder, creative, non-linear brains (yes, we all have both aspects, but one can be dominant).



We suffer from out-of-sight, out-of mind syndrome, so desk drawers, clothes bureaus, and filing cabinets can be useless. Getting us to schedule methodically can be a challenge, too.



Don’t fight against how you’re brain works intuitively. Recognize you may need a lot of flat surfaces to spread out your materials. I love this picture of Jann Wenner, former editor of Rolling Stone magazine. His open filing systems allows him to stack projects, out in the open, while still containing them and keeping different projects distinct.

He has a big enough work space to spread his projects out on – but it’s easy to retrieve and put back just what he needs.

Know that hanging clothes, or stacking them visibly in cubes may work better than drawers.

Catch the wave of inspiration to declutter and organize. If you listen to yourself, and trust your gut, you’ll know when it’s time to purge and re-order. Chances are you’ll invent your own way to keep your belongs so you can access them.

Make up a game to have fun with organizing. I have two married friends who are performers. Loathe to declutter, the need arose when planning to sell their house. They decided to cast themselves as characters who were very neat and efficient. They set about their tasks “in character” taking on the “roles” of organized folk – it worked!

Another idea is to put on some favorite music, and see how much you can get done in the length of a song. Or watch an inspirational TV show – make the commercial breaks your organizing time. That way you’re not giving yourself a torturous amount of time, and you can use the program to inspire and motivate you to get through.

You may need some signs, stickies and clocks around, to set reminders, timers and warnings for important appointments. Be sure to set reminders for prep and commute time as well.

karl lagerfeld 3

Delegation or body doubling are other great tools. Karl Lagerfeld, above, collects massive amounts of materials from which to work. He also has a staff, to make sure his space stays organized. Perhaps you’re not in a position to hire a household staff, but if it’s in your means to hire an intern or high school neighbor to do a little maintenance for you (under your supervision – they may likely put something away you’ll never find again), then it could save you a lot of angst doing organizing maintenance that you find torturous.

Body doubling, is a term coined by Judith Kolberg, a highly innovative organizing pioneer. Often, when we have someone with us as a grounding presence, we can get through the decision-making process of what to keep/discard, and what to put where so we can best utilize it, much more easily. Be sure the person is truly non-judgmental, and not too opinionated. Remember, a system of organization only needs to make sense to you.

On a last note, I invite you to look through the photos of the creative innovators above. Hopefully you will be inspired by what they all have in common — success!!  Know that “messy” or “disorganized” is not a sign of failure, and that for some of us “organized enough” is a good enough goal!