Become Magic

Intuitive Consult | Life Stylist

The Power of Letting Go - Free Yourself Up for the Things that Really Matter

Why do I have such a hard time cleaning my house? I go through drawers and closets filled to the brim with beautiful, wonderful things; things I keep, but rarely use. There are family things, childhood things, luxury things, collectible things, pretty things….a whole lot of THINGS. For a long time, I rationalized that these things were valuable and, thus, necessary for me to keep. Pshaw….I was a hoarder. Want to know why? Because my sock drawer was no different. I couldn’t let go……of anything, apparently.

I’m ashamed to admit that I had socks from when I was 18 years old! They were waiting there, unused for decades, in the hopes that one day I would need them. In reality, the chance of me putting on that 1980’s pair of tube socks decorated with little skulls was slim to none….and we all know that. At any rate, it’s a sad life for a sock. Some other poor socks were so old that the elastic has deteriorated…they met a sad, lonely end. There are people with no socks out there who would look GREAT in a pair of 80’s tube socks and I’m sitting here holding on to them in the slim chance that I will ‘need’ them one day. Well, that’s enough. It was time to clean. It was time to stop being a sad, old 'sock miser’. It was time to start letting go of a number of things I was keeping unfed, isolated and imprisoned in my house. Letting go to help others that may want and need those socks was important, but this exercise was more to help myself. Hoarding isn’t healthy. Period. Holding on, stockpiling, collecting, saving….for what?! I was immediately reminded of my grandparents…my beautiful grandparents. They spent their whole lives working, saving money, buying special things that they wrapped in tissue and took out once every 3 years to show me. Things saved, cherished, hidden….and, in all honesty, unloved. With the exception of the five minutes every 3 years when they showed these items to me and told me all about how special they were, they never got to really enjoy those things!

Well, for me, letting go had to start small….with the sock drawer. And it moved onto my tshirt collection…who the heck needs 87 tshirts?! It continued into my drawers. And ended in my cupboards and closets. Bags and bags and bags of things. Things that someone else can love now.

It was tough. There were so many things I didn’t want to part with. Whenever I had those moments, I would liken the object to a living thing: a plant, a dog, a person. I would ask myself if this 'living thing’ had received enough nurturing and attention for it to remain in my life…or if it would have withered and died under my care. I got my answer quickly and proceeded to keep it or allow it to go to a better home. More often, it was the latter.

I came out of this deep house cleaning feeling so much lighter and freer. After all, having all that stuff didn’t make my life feel any safer, happier or more meaningful. The quote that inspired me during this was from Bruce Lee: “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” We talk about simplifying our lives all the time. How many of us really walk our talk? If you’ve read my other articles, you know I am a big proponent of “baby steps." Well, this was no different. The house-cleaning was step one. I felt so great after that, than I wanted to proceed and implement this in other areas of my life.

On to step two: time management! Rather than stacking appointments and commitments one on top of the other, I began to spread them out. The world was not going to end if I gave myself an hour between appointments, rather than the usual 20 minutes. So, I gave myself 'cushions’ of time to soften my day. And everything flowed better. I wasn’t having to rush because I had time to get from one appointment to the next. If I had an unexpected delay, I had a time cushion and it was fine….no longer was my day ruined by a brief hiccup in the schedule. If there were no delays, I had time to relax between….read a book, sit on a park bench, stop for a latte, or chat with a neighbor. With my scheduled appointments, it was easy to schedule the time cushions in. It was a bit more challenging to schedule leisure time with friends….I had a hard time not feeling pressured to squeeze in time to spend with my friends. So, whenever I was feeling undecided about what to do in this case, I asked myself how this invitation made me feel. If thinking about this event made me feel anxious or irritable or stressed….I graciously declined. After all, who wants to be with an anxious, irritable, stressed-out person? I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by being there with a bad attitude! I began making time with my friends that worked for BOTH of us and the time with them became happy, pleasant and enjoyable for all! I was no longer playing a martyr at the end of the day….collapsing in an exhausted heap on my sofa while sharing all the ways I sacrificed myself to make others happy. Yes, this second step took a bit of time and diligence. But I was now showing respect for the things I valued in my life by giving them the time and attention they deserved. I want to go through life enjoying the process….not running feverishly like a hamster on a wheel. In the end, it was about reconnecting to what is essential to my quality of life…..peace and 'flow.’ Peace and flow are crucial to my ability to live happily. Changing the way I manage each day had made a gigantic impact on bringing peace and flow to the forefront of my life again. I don’t want to dilute my life with 'inessentials’ anymore.

Does it sound like something you may want to try? My suggestion is to start small. Clean a room in your house and let go of 'inessentials’. When you see how much lighter you feel, you may feel compelled to go bigger and bigger….and bigger!

Flowwwwwww - Live your Life in Real-Time

As featured in San Francisco’s M Magazine (OCT 2013 - page 114)

I admit it. I have spent much of my life living in any time but NOW. Worry about the future, fretting over the past….WHY?! Worry and fretting didn’t help much, if at all. It’s much like spinning the wheels of a car in a muddy ditch; It just digs you in deeper. Well, living like that just wasn’t working for me anymore and I didn’t like what it was doing to me physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

About two years ago, I went on a little adventure that, ultimately, changed the way I live my life today. It was my second big leap of faith toward my simple goal of learning how to be happy again. But sometimes, making ourselves happy is far easier said than done. I had left my career after 20 years not more than a year and a half prior (my first huge leap of faith) and I had barely enough money left, but I got a one-way ticket to California. A solo journey…how glamorous, brave, and cool! Uh-oh. All of the most transforming (but ‘uncomfortable’) experiences I’ve had have started with a bright idea of mine that I perceived was going to be “glamorous, brave or cool”. In truth, my 'adventure’ was just a trip to visit a different place and stay with friends and family…with no money and no plan. But it truly FELT courageous to me at the time; traveling on a one-way ticket with no money and no plan was something I had considered frivolous (and potentially dangerous) in my little world before. But California was calling to me and I felt that I was going to find something there….some guidance on my next step, the meaning of life….SOMETHING.

When I look back, I laugh at myself. I considered myself so brave and free-flowing, but I initially had most of the trip planned out; where I would stay, with whom, and how long. Well, as so often happens when we think we have everything planned out to a tee, the Universe laughed in my face. A week before my trip, every single arrangement I made fell through. My father was renovating their house and there was no room for me. My friend, Kristie, was going to be on a family trip. I couldn’t get in touch with other friends. Everything fell through. I was shattered! Was this a message from the Universe protecting me from danger and telling me to cancel my trip?! I poured out my tale of woe and misfortune to my friend Ivana, who shrugged her shoulders and told me “So what? You have nowhere to stay. At the very worst, you have nowhere to go and sleep on a bench at the airport. Then, you borrow money from me and fly home.” Hmmm, she was right. After all, I had never done THAT before! Adjusting my perspective and deeming this trip a “rite of passage”, I replied “Yes!” to the Universe’s challenge. This little girl was going to go on an adventure and come back a woman. I put on my fake brave face, puffed my chest out, and packed my bags.

When I made the final decision to commit to the trip despite the setbacks, I felt strangely 'lighter’ immediately. The dark clouds of negativity started to dissipate from my head and thoughts of excitement returned. Magically, when my attitude from changed from Debbie-Downer to Sunny-Shani, the rain clouds parted and a rainbow of hope appeared in my situation. The very next morning, I got an email from my friend Kristie saying that they delayed the trip and that I could stay with her for a couple days. It was a start! I hopped on that plane with, seriously, $56 in my wallet and a bag of Halloween candy to eat if I ran out of money.

Fast forward to the end. I had a couch (or bed) during my entire 'tour’ through California. I went from place to place, not sure where I’d be from week to week….but something always opened up. Due to my limited resources and as fate so designed it, I had no way to plan or confirm where I would be at each stop until a day or two before I was to leave each place I was currently at. Unwillingly, I was thrust into having to adapt and go with the flow of life every step of the way during this trip. But as my trip continued, I got better and better at 'flowing’ with the unknowns….even started to enjoy blowing like a leaf in the breeze of life…..I began to awake each morning with happy anticipation! I ENDED UP STAYING IN CALIFORNIA FOR ALMOST TWO MONTHS. Not bad for a girl that started with $56 and a bag of Halloween candy, huh? Along the way, I reconnected with friends and family that I hadn’t seen in decades….I really LIVED with them in their lives….and they welcomed me whole-heartedly. Hearing of my leap of faith and the story of my last year and a half inspired them. Watching and living with them inspired me. What an experience! It was one of the most simple, beautiful, and fun trips I have ever taken in my life. Really. My eyes were perpetually filled will tears of gratitude. I would have missed out on all of this, if I had given up on this trip when it didn’t go as I had originally planned!

Consider allowing yourself to FLOW with life a little more…in little ways (and big!). How much time and energy do you waste spinning your wheels in the attempt to control every aspect in your life?How much of your happiness in life do you sacrifice today by worrying about tomorrow? There’s a quote by Thoreau: “The price of anything is the amount of life you pay for it”. Heck, most of the best things that have ever happened to you probably happened unexpectedly….like magic…when you were just floating along in the most natural way. The most amazing things happen when we are flowing with life, rather than fighting it.

Silence is the Guru

As featured in San Francisco’s M MAGAZINE Momentum Column (AUG 2013)

In our busy lives, we are constantly surrounded by ‘noise'….kids screaming, tv’s blaring, incoming emails, music on the radio, the pings of text messages and the pops of neon signs on streets. All around us is chatter, chatter, chatter! In the chaotic race of life, it’s so easy to get lost in our responsibilities and caught up in a whirlwind of to-do lists. Being adaptive creatures, we allow it to become the norm. Without realizing it, we find ourselves swept up in a storm of sorts; hamsters on a wheel. Our world hangs in the balance and we have become afraid to hop off the wheel, for fear that our lives will begin to fall apart. We are overwhelmed and exhausted….running ourselves ragged to keep our fragile worlds in tact. Somewhere along the way, we lost our center and find ourselves just trying to keep our head above water.

There’s a place that I go to when it starts to be too much; a metaphoric exercise, as I like to refer to it as. I drive up a winding road to the top of a mountain less than 4 miles from the hustle and bustle of my home. It overlooks the entire city….I see my home, my work, my life. At the top of this mountain, is a sprawling park outlined by forest tree and it feels like California again. It could be in Any Park, USA. The park is rarely busy and eerily deserted. I walk out to the grass and sit. I look at the city below, at my condo, at the coffee shop I frequent for my much-needed morning cup of joe, at the traffic filled streets of cars rushing to go to work or run errands. I hear the beeping of irritated drivers and the sirens of firetrucks answering calls. Oddly, it all feels so far away. I feel like I’m watching a movie. Like a bird soaring above an ant hill, there are so many tiny ants hard at work. I am absolutely immersed in quiet and it fills me. I liken this exercise to a Buddhist term: detachment or “non-attachment”. Basically, it is a state in which I release my attachments and desires in order to attain a heightened, more enlightened perspective. Physically taking myself out the 'rat race’ and going to a place of quiet….looking from a detached or 'bird’s eye’ view at my world…..seems to put everything back into perspective. I hop into my car and return to my world with a new sense of 'quiet’ and calm. I didn’t need to read anything, talk about anything, do any laborious activity….I just needed to quiet my world and regain perspective from a detached place. It’s such a powerful reset for me.

I’ve started to do this regularly….not only when things are starting to overwhelm me, but in order to maintain my center. The more regularly I did this, the easier I found it to quiet my world when I wasn’t able to get to the park. As I became more familiar with the practice of “detaching”, I found that I had the capacity to do this anytime and anywhere. Sometimes, it just involves shutting off the tv, turning the ringer off on my phone, and walking outside to look up at the sky. Other times, it involved closing my eyes at my desk and visualizing a bird’s eye view of my current surroundings. It takes practice….basically, just doing it regularly. At first, we need to go through the physical process of exiting our surroundings to detach. But, the more we do it, the more easily we can access that detached state. By doing this, we reconnect with our inner peace and, thus, gain a more enlightened perspective on our true situations. From this place of inner peace, we make better decision and choices….less reactive and more action-based (there’s a difference!). The silence I speak of getting to a state of being and it requires to do absolutely nothing…literally. Silence is the guru. When was the last time YOU took time to become truly silent?
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