Category Archives: recovery

Take a Break, for Goodness Sake


“I learned … that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”   -Brenda Ueland

Many of us don’t know HOW to take breaks, and some of us, have a compulsion to avoid breaks all together. This is a sign that something is off — our relationship to using time to “do” is actually unhealthy. Here are some ways we can “fill” our time that are out of alignment with our well-being:

  • Shoulds– a compelling sense of obligation to someone or something outside ourselves, often motivated by fear rather than genuine need or desire.
  • Time sink holes – draining situations and commitments that don’t nourish or reward us.
  • Over commitment – not being able to say “No”,  or deriving self-worth and definition by how much one can do.
  • Distractions – time spent motivated by avoidance of what’s important.
  • Preoccupations, Obsessions or Active Resentment – planning retaliation, complaining, gossiping.
  • Non-Selectivity – wanting everything, now. Refusing to prioritize.
  • Pushing the Edge/One More-Thing-Itis: –  and getting a high off how much can be squeezed into a day and beating the clock: almost missing deadlines, important appointments, obligations to children, etc.

These behaviors can come from a poor sense of self-esteem and a need to prove oneself through accomplishment, or paradoxically, by sabotaging accomplishment.

Like may issues of esteem and worthiness, a spiritual approach can be an effective remedy.

 Here are a few ways to cultivate a healing relationship to time:


  • Set aside a half hour a day (use a timer) for spiritual reflection – meditation, a walk in nature, reading spiritual literature, journaling.
  • Put yourself first in your day – Start your day by asking: “What do I absolutely need today to enjoy a peaceful, joyous time? What’s my self-care bottom-line? To whom and how do I effectively communicate my needs to today? What support do I have to stay on track? – Then make sure you take action on your answers.
  • One-in/One-out rule for commitments – make it a standard, for every new commitment you take on, you must complete or let go of a current one of equal scope and time commitment first.
  • Practice a pause before saying “Yes”. – When asked to do something you’re not sure you want to do – Say, “I’d love to think about this. Let me do that tonight, an I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
  • Make a list of lovely ways you’d like to take a break – I.e., putting on headphones and dancing around the room, making a cup of tea, walking in a nearby park, etc. Then, wen you find yourself in unhealthy distraction territory, allow yourself to take a legitimate break doing something that’s truly restorative.
  • Get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise and water – self care is SO important for our brains to make good decisions and our ability to focus – suss out if any of these could be the root of your non productivity.
  • Work with a professional organizer to help set up structures for your time, get accountability and ongoing support.
  • For negative thoughts, obsessions, and resentments, or any other compulsive, destructive time-filling  – consider the support of a therapist or Clutters Anonymous, Underearners Anonymous or Workaholics Anonymous. Many people have found they get tremendous support in changing these patterns with the support of a group.


As an organizer, I love this, becuase it means we can trust we don’t have to either “buy something” or “schedule something” to fill the void. We can keep it simple and trust that we can be discretionary about choosing meaningful purchases and engaging in meaningful opportunities as they present themselves to us.

watchful savvy

nature Aristotle  If you find yourself losing something in your life, be reassured that the present void  that you´re currently feeling will soon get filled up again.

The law of the universe dictates that there are no empty spaces.

Feel secure in knowing that if anything disappears from your life there is always something in the wings ready to take it´s place.  Relax and enjoy the ride.  Realise that it´s not all down to you to force things to happen and that nature too has it´s active role.   The universe is an abundant force ready to supply you with whatever makes you happy.  Just open up your thoughts, allow yourself to receive, and let nature do it´s thing.

hugging eachother with open arms


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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.


Sometimes clutter can be an outward manifestation of ways we try to block and hide what we know for ourselves to be true, even if the truth reveals our dreams.

dream ball

The ARTIST’S WAY-A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron, page 193 & 194

“Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control. This is frightening, and we resist it. Our resistance to our creativity is a form of self-destruction. We throw up roadblocks [i.e. clutter] on our own path. Why do we do this? In order to maintain an illusion of control. Depression, like anger and anxiety, is resistance, and it creates dis-ease. This manifests itself as sluggishness, confusion, “I don’t know…”

The truth is, we know and we know that we know.

Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is. And the faith to trust our own admission. The admitting is often very difficult. A clearing affirmation can often open the channel. One excellent one is “I know the things I know.” Another is “I trust my own inner guide.” Either of these will eventually yield us a sense of our own direction–which we will often then promptly resist!

This resistance is really very understandable. We are not accustomed to thinking that God’s will for us and our own inner dreams can coincide. Instead, we have bought the message of our culture: this world is a vale of tears and we are meant to be dutiful and then die. The truth is that we are meant to be bountiful and live. The universe will always support affirmative action. Our truest dream for ourselves is always God’s will for us…

There is a path for each of us. When we are on our right path, we have a surefootedness. We know the next right path, we have surefootedness. We know the next right action–although not necessarily what is just around the bend. By trusting, we learn to trust.”




keyThis is an excerpt from Clutter Junkies No More, by Barb Rogers. Another book I’d recommend if you’re struggling with clutter.

Expectations are dangerous, not only for the person who has the expectations cast upon her, but for the person holding the expectations. When we expect others to do what we think they should, when, and how, we inevitably end up disappointed, frustrated, or angry. If the person wants to stay in our life, in whatever relationship, and they can’t live up to our expectations of them, it feeds into poor self-esteem, guilt, and shame.

If you want to put expectations on another person, try this: ‘I expect you to live your life to the best of your ability, to do whatever it is that will make you happy and content, and I wish you well in all things. I love you because of who you are, not because of what you do, or don’t do. I don’t have to agree with everything you do, or don’t do. I don’t have to agree with everything you do, but I would fight for your right to do it.”

Expectations are one way we block our heart. When our hearts are blocked, so are possibilities in our lives. Lovingkindness meditation is another practice where we can release expectations of others and facilitate forgiveness. Forgiveness is another way to create opening on our hearts, so we can live and love radiantly and powerfully.

todayTry this:

Sit comfortably. Notice any tension in your body and release it through breathe. With eyes closed, take a few breaths in and out. Continue to be present to physical sensations and release any tension.

Now start with yourself: Think or say aloud:

May I be full of loving kindness.

May I be free of danger of any kind.

May I be happy and well.

May I be at peace.

Continue to focus on gentle breathing. Repeat the lovingkindness statements for yourself, until you feel ready to move on. Now evoke an image of one you love. Repeat the statements replacing “I” with the person’s name. Allow different people to come to you, repeating the statements focusing on each person who comes to you – gently expand the circle from people you love outward to the world. You may evoke someone you are angry at, or don’t like. See what it’s like to include them in your lovingkindness. You may finish with:

May all living beings be full of loving kindness.

May they be free of danger of any kind.

May they be happy and well.

May they be at peace.

May YOU be full of lovingkindness. 🙂



The very first step of recovery is admitting powerlessness over something –often an addiction, compulsion, but also over people, places and things.

Powerlessness  doesn’t mean  I’m stupid, incompetant, a bad person, uncaring, deficient, or weak.  It just means I “lack power” over a certain aspect of my life.

It often means I’ve tried, many times, through countess ways to exercise my will power to control or stop something I continue to be defeated by. The battle has cost me energy, serenity, sanity, and peace –and sometimes jobs, relationships, housing and other precious things.

If you can identify with the feelings or outcomes described above, there is a solution. It’s possible to get support, tools and a new design for living happily.  Here are a few recovery programs that millions of people around the world utilize to find recovery from seemingly impossible situations:

Alcoholics Anonymous

Clutterers Anonymous

Debtors Anonymous

Underearners Anonymous


Overeaters Anonymous