Tag Archives: values

Don’t Let Your Values Live at the Bottom of Your Piles

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Wisdom has it, a major key to mastering our lives is to live by our values. 

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Disorganization can place a heavy price-tag on our personal integrity. Dreams go unfulfilled when our stuff takes more energy than our visions. Values go by the wayside when unmanagabiity with time and stuff creates distraction, procrastination and avoidance.
 
In my favorite organizing book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, Marilyn Paul, Ph.D.,
shares her journey of coming out of denial around her personal disorganization that rendered her best intentions to shape and shift the world moot, becuase she couldn’t get out the front door with the car keys or the documents she needed. When Marilyn took on her disorganization like the worthy project it was, everything shifted. It took time, curiosity, patience, trial and error, discovery and commitment, but through it she gained dignity, integrity, and power. 
 
Organizing One Value At a Time
Our values lie at the shiny center of who we are. They can become distorted, obscured or ignored, but they remain integral. They can be the spark of inspiration for change. They can also give us the motivation we need when our spirits flag from our efforts to change the habitual patterns with stuff and time that may have gotten us stuck.

 Here’s a small practical, personal example:
I learned a few facts a while ago that put me in action. I learned that 28 billion single-serving bottles of water are purchased each year in the United States. It takes 17 million barrels of oil (enough to fuel a million cars for a year) to produce these bottles. Only 20% get recycled and some wind up as ocean debris – those big plastic islands you may have seen pictures of. As a lover of this Earth, and a supporter of peace, this tugs at my core.

So…..I made a commitment last year to stop purchasing plastic bottles.

Sound like an easy commitment, right?

Well, between forgetting my pretty metal eco-water bottle at home, rushing out without time to refill it, and leaving a series of them on subways and under movie theater seats, I resorted to more plastic purchases than I would have liked.

Finally, with continued determination and refinement, I’ve got a backpack that’s replaced my handbag. It’s got a side holder that perfectly houses my Camel bottle — so the bottle never has a chance to escape under a seat, or park bench. I’ve got two bottles I fill daily, so they’re in rotation – there’s always a backup in the fridge to grab when I’m in a rush, and I always make sure there’s one in my backpack, even at home – so there’s no chance I leave without it. It takes me a few minutes of conscious effort a day to make sure the bottles are filled and nestled into my pack and fridge.  

 
It took almost a year to get this system down. Am I deluding myself that MY re-fillable water bottle is saving the planet? Nope. Do I feel better, keeping my personal commitment to not purchasing more plastic bottles? Absolutely! And by allowing my values to lead my efforts to get organized – I practiced problem-solving skills to find a system that works for me. I can apply these problem-solving skills to other areas of my life that need organizing. And the system I’ve developed has a ripple effect. While I’m filling my water bottles, I’ll often take another 3 minutes to wash up whatever dishes are in the sink, or discard the expired leftovers in the fridge, keeping my space clear, and further enhancing the shiny feeling I’ve cultivated.

The pay-off of esteem I get for living my eco-value gives me mojo I can apply to other areas of my life. I can change my world – and the bigger world – one value at a time. 

I’m a firm believer we can all find the organization we need to live empowered in the world, getting the results we desire for ourselves. If you can trust a process of curiosity, trial and error, and sustained commitment – you will find your own personal organization and you will create the systems you need to thrive.
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changepeale“I have always believed that change is possible and I know without doubt that the desire to change has to be intrinsically motivated. Yielding to the pressure from outside sources may produce some evidence of change for a limited period of time, but the brain has to follow the heart on this for change to be lasting. And “by the heart” here I mean that inner desire, passion, and conviction to make things different; there has to be a compelling reason to do the work of change.” Lynne Johnson, CPO-CD, COC.

Thoughts on Change

Road-map

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bucket list

Greetings!

Last week, I reached my goal with this blog. I wanted to see what connections I could draw between the work I do as a professional organizer, and the work I pursue through recovery and transformational work.  The result I declared was to create 90 posts in 90 days, and to have at least 300 views in that time. I accomplished 90 posts a week ago Friday on day 86, with over 600 views, and gained, unexpectedly, 20+ followers.

Having little experience blogging, the 90 days was an adventure. Committed to posting, even when I wasn’t sure what to post, the posts took interesting twists and turns. They turned out to be a bit of “everything but the kitchen sink“, and probably revealed more about my messy mind than I usually like the world to see, but I also gained the satisfaction many bloggers must experience in having a public, traceable record of the inner workings, impulses and musings. To see people choose to “follow” these machinations is fascinating and ego-tweaking.

So, to recap, my goal was to engage in a creative process contained by a structure that defined it’s scope and gave it discipline. I was free to explore and create whatever I wanted within the framework I gave myself, and it was the framework and my commitment to it, that gave me the accountability to get it done.

dreammFor the past two years, I’ve been working with a tool I received during a 90-day transformational leadership program I took. Ninety days is commonly considered the amount of time it takes to break a habit or learn a new one, so this course uses the 90-day framework to help participants do just that.

At the beginning of the program, I wrote a document in which I created an overall vision for my world, and a vision statement for  each of the realms of Friends & Family, Career & Education, Community, Finance, and Health & Well-being. I then created about three declarations of results I’d be creating in each of those realms within the 90 days. Note the emphasis here is on the results I’d be creating – not what I want to see, what I hope to see, what I’ll be in process of achieving, but what will actually BE created in the world because I said so, regardless of circumstances or self-doubts.

The program was intended to stretch me beyond what I’ve already accomplished, and beyond what I may have already been on track for, and to show me what I’m capable of when I have a clear vision fueled by urgency, committed action, and operating from ways of being that will bring about the results I’ve declared. Pretty neat stuff.

I’ve chosen to continue using this tool and write a new document about every three months. I’ve done it in collaborations with partners or small groups of others who have gone through the program. We give each other accountability and support to complete all we’ve declare each cycle.

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Some highlights of declarations I’ve completed have been: creating a 70th surprise birthday party for a good friend, collecting 2,224 pairs of shoes to donate to Haiti for Soles 4 Souls, getting my Dad’s sculpture website up and running, planning a secret weekend of home repair for my parents while they were away, going to Haiti and becoming a sponsor and raising money for a school there, becoming a volunteer for NY Cares, serving over 500 meals for Hurricane Sandy victims, doubling my income, declaring and receiving additional clients for my business, learning to belly dance, educating myself & others about the US election process, singing in public, getting my driver’s license and becoming vegetarian.

I’ve found 90 days to be a great amount of time to declare results and achieve them. It’s an amazing integrity booster to complete what I’ve declared to complete, and if there’s something I’ve declared that I find out is not as valuable to me or others as I expected it to be, I can choose differently for my next cycle.

Someone said “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re sure to get there.”
I think creating your own road-map is crucial to authoring the life you want rather than have circumstances dictate what you’ll get in life.

Here are the aspects of the goal-setting that make any road-map vital:

  • Have a clear vision that inspires you to create beyond your circumstances.
  • Make the results you declare specific, tangible, and measurable.
  • Make the results be about more than what you’ll get out of them. In other words, ask, “With this declaration, how am I contributing to the world?“, “How am I”, as Gandhi said, “being the change I wish to see in the world?”
  • Be accountable. It’s much easier to let go when the going gets tough when we’re doing it alone. Accountability partners can keep you on track.
  • Refer to your map often. Be clear about where you stand in the time-frame you’ve declared.
  • Know it’s more about who you’re being than what you’re doing that has your vision turn out. Choosing to be powerful, loving, joyful, open, connected, courageous, passionate, authentic and outrageous, when needed, are the keys to success.

 I was Here

Dare to declare your vision and have it turn out! xxoodream big

P.S. – I declare to continue this blog, posting weekly for the next 90 days.

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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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Musings on Possessions – 2

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Sometimes, a few sparse items of great sentiment can out-value a house full of items purchased on a whim.

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“My most cherished possessions are my grandma’s letters and my vintage Martha Washington cookbook.”
-Sandra Lee

“We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.
Anna C. Brackett

Imagination

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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….

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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.

Right Here

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moon

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