Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel towards pursuing it.
Steven Pressfield (The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)

I just finished reading Steven Pressfield’s The War Of Art that my husband had acquired for our Kindle. (The great thing about having a creative spouse is that I don’t have to get all the here’s-how-to-be-better -literature myself. 😉 ) The book deals with our inner Resistance and gives pointers about how to overcome it.

I didn’t read the book the first time I laid eyes on it because of the whole war analogy in the title. Fortunately, there’s not as much in terms of crushing and beating and violent self-mastery as I was expecting. It’s more along the lines of recognition and necessary precautions. In that sense, it reminds me of Havi’s concept of Monsters, although Havi does have a lot softer approach.

At this moment, the most useful part of the book for me was the insight into recognizing Resistance. Because lemme tell ya, it’s sneaky.

Thesis Resistance

The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight.
(The War Of Art) 

Come on, you’re practically finished with your analysis. You deserve a break. How about, say, a week? Two weeks? Because you need to let your thoughts percolate before you start writing.

And besides, the categories you are using are pretty inane anyway. See, there are mostly appearances of this one single category. Why would this be interesting to anyone? You’re wasting your time trudging through the analysis, when you could be doing something much more productive and interesting.

You know, there’s really no guarantee that the analysis you’ve done so far is any good. You’re, what, labeling sentences with different categories? How can you be sure that you are using the right criteria for the labels? You really should go back and redo the whole thing, just to be sure. See, another label that you had to change when doing a whole different iteration? How much more proof do you need that you are really not doing this properly?

And even if you do get the labels even ballpark correctly, you still need to find the theory to back it up. Have you been able to do that? No, didn’t think so. It’ll take you hours upon hours of library time, and when will you ever find that, what with the babysitting duties and everything.

You will never. Ever. Ever. Get this done properly. Ever. So why even bother?

Shiva Nata teaching resistance

The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.
(The War Of Art)  

Sure, go ahead, teach Shiva Nata. See if I care. That is, if you can find a single person who wants to learn it. You know how hard it is, and you have trouble keeping up a practice yourself. What are the chances that there are enough people in Finland to warrant one single class of Shiva Nata, let alone a several?

And even if you could find enough people who want to learn it, and enough people who want to sustain the practice, why do you imagine anyone wanting to pay you money for it? There’s a perfectly good DVD they can buy and learn on their own. It’s cheaper, it’s more comprehensive, and it’s done by someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

Where do you come off telling people you know Shiva Nata? It’s not like you’re any good at it, since there’s no such thing as being good at Shiva Nata. You keep picking it up and forgetting all about it – how on earth could you encourage anyone else to sustain the practice?

Because if people do not pick it up after you teach it to them, you have failed. As a teacher, and consequently as a human being. It’s your responsibility to make everyone in this world realize what is in their best interest, and then lead them, step by step, holding their hand, into that magical land of Everything Is Perfect So Nothing Needs To Change.

Whereas if you fail, people have to take responsibility for their own life, their own learning, and their own happiness. And you have to live without that sense of control, and the sense of approval that comes from grateful students.

Resistance to being a Teacher

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.
(The War Of Art)  

Teaching in an of itself? No problem. Have been doing it for years. That is, if we’re talking about the act of planning a lesson from predetermined content, getting up in front of a group, and delivering that lesson.

Becoming an English teacher? No problem. Give me a grammar book and a copy of the National Core Curriculum and I’m golden. When I know where the pupils are in terms of their skills, I can craft a lesson that more or less hits the Vygotskian Zone of Proximal Development where sociocultural learning happens.

Becoming a drama teacher? Yikes.

First of all, I’d have to relinquish control of much of the content of the lesson. I’d have to get better at creating the scaffolds that enable the learning. I’d have to take a risk and plunge into the unknown every single working day, every single lesson. It’s either that or I’m playing it safe and denying the pupils their right to learning.

Becoming a Shiva Nata teacher? Geesh.

I’d have to craft a progression of things to teach, and maintain a more challenging personal practice instead of the dabbling I do now. I’d have to get over the preconception that only yoga teachers can teach Shiva Nata. I’d have to admit to myself and the world that yes, I am actually highly intelligent and that is one of the reasons Shiva Nata appeals to me – and one of the reasons that it might not appeal to everyone I meet.

In general, I’d have to accept that to be a Teacher (instead of just teaching something), I will be teaching something that is not already in a book or a manual. I’ll be looking to myself, my own skills and world view, to help my students view the world in a new way. I’ll have to trust that I am an open-minded individual who will not impose their own limitations to their pupils. I’ll have to work to become an even more open-minded individual.

And that, my friends, is almost too scary for words. No wonder I’m going through a wild Resistance rampage as I’m working on my thesis, since it largely revolves around my drama teacher identity.

I can see you now, Resistance. There you are. Holding my biggest fears on a leash, urging them on to tear me apart.

Letting go of Resistance

Funnily enough, two days before I read The War Of Art, I reread a part of The Sedona Method book that deals with letting go of resistance (with a small initial, since it was not personified there). Apparently it’s a theme that I need to be dealing with.

The process that most struck me was that of letting go of resistance to both X and not X. Since if you’re resisting X, you’re probably also resisting not X, or there would be no resistance, just movement to a certain direction.

Case in point: my bedtime.

I didn’t really manage to make any progress in terms of getting to bed earlier, until I found the chapter on letting go of resistance. Here’s what happened.

I was reading the book at 10.30 p.m., so I was acutely in the middle of some resistance.

My resistance to going to bed sounded something like this: “But the book is really really interesting, and besides, when are you ever going to find time to read it if you go to bed now? You know you want to keep reading, and you deserve this time for yourself! You work so hard during the day, with the baby and with your thesis, so come on, relax a bit!”

My resistance to not going to bed, however, sounded like this: “You’re really tired. You should put the book down and stop procrastinating on your bedtime. The longer you stretch the decision to go to bed, the worse you’ll feel tomorrow and the more you’ll beat yourself up. Besides, if you don’t sleep, you won’t have the energy to hang out with the baby tomorrow, and you’ll just feel like a bad mother.”

You can imagine the two aspects of resistance having this discussion until midnight – as has often been the case.

However, when I first welcomed and let go of the resistance to going to bed, and then welcomed and let go of the resistance to not going to bed, I could make the decision based on my actual feelings. And since after the letting go process I almost fell asleep on the couch, the decision was a no-brainer.

So maybe the next step, after clearing out the resistance on my thesis, is to dive into the whole Being A Teacher Conundrum and clear out my resistance to being one and to not being one. Again and again.

Thank you so much for coming over and reading again! I hope this is helpful, in case you are feeling a degree of Resistance towards something. 🙂 And as always, keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

Dawn: When men of reason go to bed.
Ambrose Bierce

At the moment, I have a bit of a headache from not sleeping enough and not drinking enough fluids. Going to bed without drinking a few pints of water would spell a disaster for tomorrow morning, so I’ll down a pot of green tea and put my bedtime problem through the experiential learning cycle.

Remember the steps? There are four:

  • Action that leads to Experience;
  • Reflection;
  • Analysis;
  • and New Action based on that analysis.

For the purposes of this investigation, I’ll be looking at the habitual action of not getting to bed early enough.

Background information

As you might have deduced, our daughter is nearing her first birthday. This also means I am nearing the one-year anniversary of my last eight-hour stretch of sleep. Or even four-hour stretch. Yeah, she has plenty of wonderful skills and traits but sleeping through the night has never been on that list.

We cosleep, and she still wakes up a few times each night. As she is currently learning to walk, she often wakes up in a crouching or seated position, wondering how the heck she ended up there, and it’s my task to ease her back to sleep. That takes a bit of cognitive effort, so I’m constantly waking up and drifting back to sleep again.

Suffice to say that I live for Saturday mornings – the one day during the week when hubby takes care of our daughter’s morning routine and breakfast, and I get to put on earplugs and drift off to sleep for a few uninterrupted hours.

With that level of  sleep deprivation, you’d think I’d be jumping at the slightest chance to sleep some more. And indeed, every single morning I decide to go to bed early that night. And then every single night I curse at myself for getting to bed at midnight.

This calls for some investigation!

Action / Experience

We used to have a “laptops and TV off at 10 pm” rule in our household. At one point, it worked like a charm. Then something happened – it might actually have been the baby’s arrival – that totally wrecked and destroyed that beautiful rule. Mentally, I still make a note when the clock hits 10 pm. I just don’t act on it.

One of the reasons I dropped message boards for Lent is the sheer amount of time I was spending on them, most of it at night. Now, though, as I don’t read the boards, I’m doing something else. Like reading IttyBiz archives (as well as the comment threads!), Facebook-chatting or Skype-ing (Skyping? I never know) with friends, or watching TV and doing crafts.

A few nights ago, I caught myself at eleven thirty on the couch, watching an interview episode of The Real Housewives of NY. Yes, seriously. I’ve never watched the show, and I didn’t really know why I was interested in the interview, but there you have it.

Reflection

How would you describe the situation in a sentence?

I stay up too late reading or watching TV even though I know I would be better off going to sleep.

What seems good about the situation?

I get me-time, a precious commodity when you’re responsible for the baby most of the day. I learn a lot, I get to observe interesting conversations taking place (or having taken place), I get to do something that feeds my intellect.

What seems bad about the situation?

I don’t sleep enough, which isn’t really helping with the brain-work I have to do during the day. I drink too much coffee, which might be a contributing factor in the whole staying-up-too-late cycle. I get frustrated every time I notice I’ve missed my bedtime, and sometimes I unfairly take it out on my husband.

I don’t have much of an evening routine, so stuff that needs to be done before bed gets put off until the last possible minute, and then I’m putting away the dishes when I really want to be sleeping already.

What feelings do you have about the situation?

I feel annoyed at myself for not being able to just stick to the bedtime.

I feel deprived at the thought of going to bed earlier, because that would limit my me-time significantly, as I spend the baby’s nap times working.

I feel frustrated by the whole situation.

I feel worried that if I don’t find a solution to the situation, my mental and physical health will suffer.

I feel guilty about indulging in reading and stuff when I should be sleeping.

I feel annoyed at the dishes that don’t make it to the dishwasher by themselves.

I feel disappointed that my routines have been shot after the baby’s birth.

I feel a need to push myself through this situation and not allow myself the space to let it simmer.

Analysis

Is there something you’ve experienced before in the situation?

I’ve done the whole staying-up-till-midnight thing a lot, especially if I find something interesting to dive into. I’ve had books that I can’t stop reading, and instead of the “few pages before bed” I devour half of the book and get to sleep at two thirty.

The element of pushing myself through a situation, whipping myself into shape, and then getting annoyed when it doesn’t work, is a very familiar one too.

And the guilt about doing something that is purely for me (i.e. reading blogs or message boards, watching fluff on TV) when I should be doing something that benefits the greater good (i.e. sleeping to be a better mom and wife tomorrow) hits me whenever I need a break. I often have to consciously remind myself to take a break, only in this situation I’m actually hurting myself more by indulging than by sticking to the plan.

Are there common denominators in the elements of the situation?

Most of the stuff I do instead of sleeping are, in some way or form, imitations of social interaction. The message boards, the Facebook chat, blogs, even lousy reality TV – all of them share the element of social context.

They are also something that I do as an end in themselves, not as a means to some other end. Okay, maybe reading IttyBiz is a long-term investment into my future business, but it’s not like I’m actually learning anything with this sleep-deprived Swiss cheese brain.

Furthermore, they’re all mental activities, instead of physical ones. I’m relaxing by zoning out inside my head, instead of doing yoga or stretches or something else.

What seems important in the situation?

There’s the element of me-time and social context that jump out.

This has something to do with my search for identity. Somehow I seem to need reassurance that I still am an intelligent person who is able to think, learn and communicate. I seem to need space for my own thoughts about me and the world to percolate through what others think.

The social context is also important. My day-to-day social activities are so different from what they used to be that there is a deficit, a need that is not met.

Relaxation is also important. Sleep could bring that relaxation, but sleep is unconscious me-time. I seem to be looking for a sense that I am not just a mom. If I sleep whenever the baby is sleeping, my only experience of myself would be the mom identity.

Is there an element of some theory in the situation?

The guilt about not sticking to the plan makes me think of a concept I read in the first chapter of Switch – The Elephant and The Rider.

The jist is that the Elephant is our unconscious self that the Rider i.e. the conscious mind must reign in and control. When the Rider uses the right tactics to steer the Elephant, change happens more effortlessly. However, the Rider has to use a lot of energy initially to get the Elephant onto the right path.

At this point, I feel like I’m in a vicious cycle. My Rider doesn’t have the mental energy to keep steering my Elephant onto the path of going to sleep earlier. That lack of mental energy is caused by my lack of sleep. This means that the whole “deciding what happens and then pushing so hard it happens” approach won’t be much use here.

Another theory that comes to mind is the Sidetracked personality type that I learned about from Flylady. Being easily sidetracked, reading blogs or message boards is like quicksand. There’s always another conversation, another post, another link, another interesting topic. Hours upon hours go by without so much as a whisper of “hey, d’ya think maybe it’s time to do something else?”

Can you think of a recommendation for New Action?

Identity. Social context. Relaxation.

The first two needs do have to be addressed, but I have a feeling that the third one could be the ticket to try next, since it’s what I’m looking for after we’ve put the baby to bed.

If reading stuff online is out of the question (see the part about easily sidetracked and quicksand), I might try an approach where I don’t open the laptop for any reason whatsoever after 10 pm.

Also, if it’s relaxation I’m looking for, I might try to incorporate stretching, yoga or other calming physical activity into the last few hours of the night. The transition from yoga to evening routine might be gentler than trying to tear myself from an interesting (pseudo)social situation.

New Action

  • Laptop and TV off at 10 pm, if not earlier.
  • Stretch or do yoga around 10pm, possibly while watching TV (before 10 pm, that is).

I’ll see how this works out and keep you posted. 🙂

Any thoughts or comments on bedtimes, the Experiential cycle, relaxation or sleep deprivation? 😉 You’re welcome to share in the comments. Any thoughts on addressing the issues of identity and social circle are also welcome, although I do reserve the right to not take action on any advice on the matter.

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll sip up the rest of my tea and get some stretches in before bed. If you want to hear how things progress, subscribe to the feed! Oh, and keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

If you’re too busy to give your neighbor a helping hand, then you’re just too darned busy.
Marie T. Freeman

To honor 10/10/10, I created my five-year-plan i.e. the Time Capsule. I started writing my Time Capsule by writing my name and the date five years from now in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. I’m totally a mind map kind of person, so the format was a no-brainer. I didn’t really want to focus on practicalities at all, so I started with a basic question – what do I want to fill my days with in five years? The answer consisted of four key verbs that became the nodes of my mind map and a series of four posts.

The first two nodes were the red one and the green one. What followed was the orange one – I Help.

One of the key parts of what I want to do in the future is help others. I know this on several levels. Still, this post has been hiding in the dark for several weeks. See, after creating my Time Capsule, I started to question whether I really really want to help people. Or rather, if helping people is what I want, instead of thinking it’s what others want me to want.

Tricky and complicated? Yes.

In a previous post, I mulled over the need to feel useful.  In other words, the belief says that if I’m not useful, I’m worth nothing. I’m trying my best to let go of that belief, but it’s not easy. After all, it’s been present in my life for at least a decade, if not two. Seeing how I’m only 27, it’s a large part of my life. 🙂 Whenever I end up doing something that is not ultimately useful, I feel like I’m wasting time, for me and those around me.

So is the whole “I help” thing really only a thinly veiled channel to feed that mistaken belief? Am I building myself a life of living on someone else’s terms and not my own? These were the questions I thought about for the past few weeks, as I was trying to write this post.

Because on the one hand, there’s inherent value in helping other people. I know that, and I’ve experienced it time and time again. And on the other hand, there’s the bitterness that comes from only ever doing what others want you to do and never pursuing your own dreams. I don’t want to end up being an eighty-year-old grandma who only ever talks about how she could have been this and could have been that, but she ended up taking the conventional route and helping others succeed instead.

I think the solution lies in the kind of help I want to provide others. I’ve done a fair share of altruistic helping, and of course that bears its own rewards when you see how happy the recipient is. I’ve also helped people out of a sense of duty or debt – or to receive praise, admiration and gratitude. But that is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

In my ideal world, I would get to do what I love and, almost incidentally, help people as a side product. I want to teach others and help them improve their skills in communication, among other things. I want to write about my experiences and provide inspiration and comfort for people who are struggling with the same questions. I want to sing, dance, laugh and play from the bottom of my creative heart, and then let others see what I’ve created and feel moved in one way or another.

In other words, I want to do what I Love – the fourth and final node of my Time Capsule.

More on that sooner rather than later, I hope.

Thank you again for tuning in, and plentiful insightings in your neck of the woods!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

I choose things by how they resonate in my heart.
Rita Coolidge

[I’m having a hard time figuring out how to start this post and not make it a “I haven’t been writing, but see there was this thing…” post. The thing is, though, that’s exactly the kind of post this will turn out, so I’ll just go ahead and start it.]

For a long time, I didn’t feel like blogging. There were a lot of things tangled up, keeping me from logging into my Dashboard and typing something, anything. In the spirit of experiential learning, I’ll try to reflect on that experience to be able to learn something from it and transform my immediate experience into something more theoretical, more general. You’re welcome to join me. 🙂

The Changes

Last August, two things happened. One, I started working full-time. Two, I found out I was expecting a baby. Both of those changes came with an abundance of learning moments and interesting communication incidents. In other words, I had lots of material to ponder.

These changes brought with them other changes, though. I fell off the Shiva Nata wagon due to changes in my daily rhythm as well as pure fatigue. Pregnancy totally kicked my behind when it came to mental and physical resources. I waited too long to cut back on activities that I’d scheduled when I was not pregnant and not working full time. No surprise, then, that I almost burned out during the winter. Blogging and Twitter were among the first casualties when I had to streamline my schedule.

All this could have been a fruitful source of blog posts, though, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was stuck.

*twang*

The job I was working for the past fall and winter, right up to my maternity leave, had plenty of great features. As far as timing goes, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The hours were great, the colleagues were great, I had responsibility and a pretty free reign to develop my area and improve my skills.

The only problem was I didn’t really resonate with what I was doing. I was relatively good at it, I did get a kick out of succeeding and meeting the goals I was aiming to meet, but it didn’t make my heart sing. And to someone who’s spent the past six years at the university, turning more and more towards really inspiring courses and modules, that was a huge deal.

The fact that I didn’t really resonate with my job meant that I didn’t really talk about it when I was not working. I might think about a case or go through my todo-list in my head, but it really wasn’t something I shared with others. And that really clogged up my mind, which exhausted me even more.

And then there was the fact that a lot of my other projects were causing a lot of stress, guilt and extra work. Being all clogged up from work stuff, I hardly shared my extra-curricular stresses and guilts with anyone, either, and that clogged me up even worse. I’d go through the day feeling all these emotions – stress from work, joy about the pregnancy, worries about my own health, guilt about other projects, longing for a connection with my friends – and not really doing anything with them except boiling them in a pot inside my head. Nothing was resonating, nothing was flowing in or out.

The only emotions I really could talk about were the feelings related to the pregnancy. At some point of the past year, my pregnancy and marriage seemed to be the only two things that were bringing me real joy. (In hindsight, I’m grateful that I managed to keep the resonance with my husband. Then again, that’s one of the reasons I married him. 🙂 )

Resonance and flow

Energetically, I feel that being pregnant is more about containing, nurturing, maintaining and protecting than about constant flow (if that makes any sense). My body was in a “hold, keep, stay still” mode for nine months, which is excellent – a “letting go, setting free” mode might have meant problems with the pregnancy. I don’t know if that had a lot to do with my mental blocks, or if my creative powers were just being spent on growing a new life inside.

I do believe, however, that the resonance factor affected my creativity immensely. I didn’t notice it at the time – I just felt really really tired, and thought it was because of my schedule changes and the pregnancy hormones. The fact that I wasn’t resonating with my life, though, meant that I was spending all this energy holding on, keeping up, and staying on the ball.

Imagine riding a public transit bus that’s packed full, and you have to stand. You’re holding on to a railing, and the bus bounces and jerks as the driver navigates through the traffic. If you hold on tight and stiffen up your entire body to remain upright, you’ll bump into your fellow passengers, dislocate a knee, or fall and hit your head. If, on the other hand, you relax and try to surf the bounces, you’ll be much better off.

This past year, I was the stiff girl. I didn’t resonate with the ride, and my response to the bumps and bounces was to stiffen up some more. All my energy went into staying upright and not falling down. No energy for creativity, for blogging, for sharing. Paradoxically, though, sharing could’ve helped me find the resonance. At least that’s what it is doing right now.

At the moment, I resonate more with my life than I have in a while. My days are filled with taking care of our daughter, reading, doing crafts, taking care of the home and writing my Master’s Thesis. As a result, I’m finding it easier to share my thoughts and feelings on my life, even if they are tiny, mundane ones. The fact that I’m striving towards resonance also means I can adjust to the little bumps and bounces life throws my way, whether positive or negative. Going with the flow, if you will. 🙂

Thank you for joining me on this insighting-catching journey. Have a wonderful day, and keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

There is no glory in getting it right. It’s all about taking on the challenge and stepping up to the yeah, I’m ready to shift stuff and it’s kind of going to suck for a while point.
– Havi Brooks

So on the topic of blocks standing between me and Shiva Nata for the past few months: there have been some. As in, the understatement of the year. 🙂 The process of becoming aware of those blocks is still pretty much under way, so I’ll try to nudge out some understanding – and maybe some attempt at letting me be exactly where I am with the blocks. So here goes.

The whole concept of doing it right

This block has two sides to it in my head.

During the past few months, there have been quite a lot of changes going on with my life. What with finishing my teacher training, moving to a new house, my parents moving to a new house, getting married and changing my name, as well as starting a new job…

Suffice to say there has been a lot of what-the-heck-is-happening -ness in my life. In those moments, I crave security and comfort. I don’t necessarily crave to be challenged even further. And I don’t need extra helpings of getting something wrong again and again.

Which is a bummer, since that’s pretty much Shiva Nata, right there. My brain knows doing the Dance would help me cope with the insecurity. It would help me to be present in the moment and to accept not being in control all the time. My gut, though, won’t have any of it.

So now, if I do Shiva Nata, I do the familiar levels to de-fuzz my brain or to reinvigorate my shoulders. I’m not even looking towards advancing along level 4, because I get an instant reaction of “auugh, I don’t wanna!!!” when I think of pushing myself in that direction.

And that’s the other side of the block.

I feel I’m totally not doing the concept of Shiva Nata justice by “just” doing what I know. There’s this big sign hanging on top of my head:

You’re doing Shiva Nata for the wrong reasons!!

(warning: the following paragraph will contain several instances of the sh-word.)

I mean, I should be after all those juicy, delicious epiphanies and hot buttered insights, shouldn’t I? I should have the drive to advance onwards, to get deliciously mixed up, to crave being in the zone? Shiva Nata should be my secret weapon in getting through the daily grind of always having to think, create, come up with solutions, right?

It’s just that now, in this stage of my existence, all that just gives me the aforementioned “auuugh” -reaction. That used to be the reality of my relationship with Shiva Nata. That reality has shifted, and I’ll have to create a new relationship with the Dance.

Replacing old patterns with new ones, sort of.

(I’m having difficulty figuring out what to write after coming up with that.

Like, I don’t even want to go into detail about how pattern reconfiguration is exactly the point of Shiva Nata, and  how that thought just popped in my mind after doing a few starting positions of level 3 and then starting to write this post.

In short, it was one of those “whoah/duh!” -moments that are so plentiful when doing the Dance.)

I can see something ahead

The quote at the beginning of this post is from Havi, again. It’s sort of exhausting, at first, but the post continues in the most reassuring way possible for my current state.

There is no glory in getting it right. It’s all about taking on the challenge and stepping up to the yeah, I’m ready to shift stuff and it’s kind of going to suck for a while point.

Not that you can’t rest into the dance sometimes. Because you can.

Because the practice will carry you. It’s strong enough to hold you in complete safety while you do this wacky, hard, frustrating transformational work.

But ultimately you’re going to have to invite yourself to find the next challenge.

Ultimately. As in, not right away. For now, I feel ready to be carried. And that’s where I am now.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading these thoughts. If it sparked any insightings at your end, I’d love for you to share them. And, as always, keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
Havelock Ellis

A huge part of moving house – especially moving into a smaller apartment – is decluttering. Well, at least for anyone who doesn’t follow the “take out an equal amount that you bring in” mantra religiously. Suffice to say we hadn’t. 🙂 Add to that the fact that we had a very sloppily planned move (with little to no effort put in pre-move decluttering), and you get the end result of too much stuff cramped in too little space.

When decluttering, we’ve tried to follow Flylady’s rule: if you don’t love it, don’t use it, and don’t have a place for it, you need to chuck it. Emphasis on tried, because it’s all too easy to get stuck with the golden oldies, “I might need this someday” or “I paid good money for this”.

Interestingly enough, while we’ve been moving, I’ve also been dipping my toe into The Sedona Method, a self-help system where the key focus is letting go of limiting beliefs, emotions and thoughts. I have yet to invest a cent in it, but I’ve gone a long way with the free resources available on the main site (mostly audio releases in the articles section) and elsewhere.

In a way, the whole Sedona thing is kin to decluttering the mind. You constantly get a stream of messages coming in to your consciousness about the world and yourself in the world. Pretty soon, all your mental cabinets are full of junk (“I’m useless and ugly”, “Everyone is out to get me”, “I can’t do sports”, “My friends are so much more awesome than me”) that you can’t fit anything else in.

You could try moving to a bigger place – but unless you learn how to declutter, pretty soon the new place will be as cramped as the old one was.

Your mind is trying to squeeze through between boxes and piles of age-old stuff that you “might need someday” (if you find yourself at the playground age four one day, the plastic tractor self defence tactics might come in handy) or you’ve “paid good money for” (in the form of energy spent trying to work through the problem or hide it from others and yourself).

I might need this one day

With physical stuff, you get the “but it’s perfectly good” resistance. For that, I love Flylady’s notion that the stuff is still at Goodwill, and you can go visit it there if you miss it. If you really need it back, you can buy it back at the Goodwill or at the store, or maybe borrow it from someone else.

For me, there’s an added layer of “if I throw this away and have to buy a new one, I’ve contributed to drowning the planet in garbage”. True, there are some items even the Goodwill won’t take. But then again, if the Goodwill won’t take it, is it still perfectly good? And if you’ve used it threadbare, could you just recycle the materials?

With mental clutter, though, it’s easier. There’s a back door. If you let go of a thought or belief, and notice you were actually better off with that belief, you can always start thinking that again. It’s like having an endless shelf at the Goodwill where you can go and reclaim any beliefs you once had, if you find yourself missing them.

Chances are, though, that with both physical and mental clutter you won’t even remember them once you’ve chucked them. All you’ll notice is the empty space.

I’ve invested so much in it

The dress is fabulous. I bought it for a friend’s wedding, and wore it once. Maybe twice. Haven’t worn it since, but I’m still holding on to it. I bought it at a boutique that I used to really admire as a teenager. “One day, I’ll be a woman who shops there.” The truth is, though, that I grew up to be someone who doesn’t shop there, or wear the styles that they offer.

I know I should maybe give up the dress. Donate it to someone.

But I remember how I searched for the perfect dress. How I pondered whether or not I’d have enough money to splurge in the dress. How I marched into the store, tried it on one more time, and pulled out my wallet.

As you can see, I’m still in the process. The story of the dress is stopping me from decluttering it. 🙂

For beliefs, thoughts and emotions, the process is no easier. While on the surface it might seem like a no-brainer – would I rather keep this feeling, or would I rather be free – the truth is that it’s scary to let go of some of it.

Someone I know has a chronic illness. They’ve had it for years, and whenever I meet them, the first thing they talk about is the illness, and how it’s making their life miserable. They’ve had several different suggestions on how changing their habits and lifestyle might help ease the situation. For some reason or another, though, they maintain their old ways and keep complaining.

Say they woke up one morning and the illness was gone. What then?

Who would they be? What would they talk about? What would their identity be constructed around?

They’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort into the identity of “being the person with X”. For all they know, there might be nothing else underneath – just the illness and their reactions to it.

No wonder it’s scary to consider letting go of that.

For beliefs and thoughts, however, there’s always the endless Goodwill shelf. If I let go of a belief and notice I’ve lost all that time and energy, I can always get the belief back. What I’ve noticed, though, is that more often than not it’s actually a replenishing experience – like the energy was bottled up inside the belief and is now at my disposal again.

With the dress, I guess I’d have the empty space (and the empty coat hanger) at my disposal if I let it go. Plus I wouldn’t have to give up the story. I’ve got the photos, and now I’ve got the emotions documented on my blog. I can always come back here to visit them if I really really need to. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by! Feel free to comment on anything that you found intriguing, in one way or another, and until we meet again – keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.
John Ed Pearce

Somehow, it seems, there is a transition underway. One of the things that reflects that transition is the recurring theme of moving house.

A few months ago, my parents sold my childhood home and moved to a new apartment. A few weeks after their move, I and my fiancé bought our very own apartment. Well, technically it still belongs to the bank, but we’re paying them back bit by bit. In the following two weeks, we should get the floors and walls done at the new place and then transport every single one of our earthly possessions from the old apartment to the new one.

And we haven’t even started packing.

When is home really home?

Last night, a group of relatives were visiting my parents in their new place, and I stopped by to say hi. One of the things they asked me, in jest, was how I felt about my parents giving up my home. I laughed and answered that it hadn’t been my home for years, and so I really didn’t mind.

But there is a slight change in tone between their old place and the new one. The old place was, as I mentioned, my childhood home. We moved there when I was four, and I first moved out at the age of nineteen. I returned a couple of years later to live there for a few months as I started university and was looking for a place of my own. When I moved out, I still lived in the same city, so I visited every few weeks, and I never gave up the keys.

This was the place where I started school, and where I celebrated my confirmation. This was where I stressed about my Finnish matriculation exam so much I spent the previous night vomiting, and where I returned at eight in the morning after a long graduation day-turned-night party. This was where my sister spent the last months of her life and where she passed away. Decades and decades of memories.

The new place, on the other hand, is clearly my parents’ home. I’m welcome, of course, but it’s different. When I go visit, I’m a guest. In a way, it’s refreshing, too – imagine the 22 years of emotional baggage that had proverbially piled up in the corners of the old place. There’s something very promising about a new home – even if it’s not my home anymore.

Settling down

If my parents didn’t move house for 22 years, I sure have done my best to balance the stakes. I know that in the grand scheme of things, moving house six times in the past seven years is not exactly a world record. It does make me ponder, though, whether I’ve really felt at home where I’ve been staying.

During the time I’ve been with my fiancé, we’ve had a total of four moves between us, three of them together from one shared apartment to another. The upcoming one will be our fourth one.

What has made each of those apartments a home? Since we both lead unnecessarily busy lives, our home does sometimes feel like a depot for quick pit stops. Our home feels most like a home when both of us have enough time to take care of the home – doing the dishes, folding the laundry, the regular stuff. I feel most at home when I’m folding laundry in a relatively tidy bedroom, or I’m doing the dishes after cleaning up the entire kitchen.

Our home feels like a home when we put in the effort of taking care of it so it can take care of us in return.

I guess that might be one of the secrets to settling down and having a great home that feels like a home. When you routinely maintain a tidy, pretty home, you feel appreciated – even though the appreciation really only reflects your own actions. If you ignore your home, it will reflect back on to you as well. Settling down means taking the whole “having a home” thing seriously, I guess.

How lovely of you to stop by again – keep catching your own insightings and feel free to share them in the comments!

Love,

Sari

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »