Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Next Step

This week was another labyrinth walk, which are always good for some insights.  This time, though, I didn’t seem to have any insights — until this simple reminder struck me:
Sometimes the next step is just the next step — nothing wow, hip & cool, major, meaningful, or insightful.  It’s just the next thing.  I feel stuck again.  I’ve been clearing a little bit, and my life/alter ego seems to have come roaring back to remind me who I am: I’m that person who gets stuck, who never really changes, just goes in circles.  But I’ve decided I don’t want that.  And so I see the step for what it is: a chance to stop, breathe, practice self care, and wait.  Wait for the time to move forward again.  But I don’t have to be idle.  I can do a basic energy meditation, write, read, sweep, and do some yoga stretches, because ultimately what I want is to stretch myself, move past my stuckness and out of my old limiting definition of myself.  And smile.  I definitely want to smile.  And seeing this next step for what it is, just a step, and looking past my limited view helps me do that.
Next week will be spent in Minot, North Dakota at the Host Fest, a Scandinavian Heritage Festival that is HUGE fun.  Check it out at  In the meantime, the goal is to survive this week.  For some reason, both Steve and I are very stressed about the trip.  My theory is that we want so MUCH out of this trip and have such high expectations that it makes our normal lives pale in comparison.  With any luck, I’ll take lots of pictures and actually figure out how to get them off of the phone and on to the blog.  When we return, I start a writing class with one of my favorite bloggers , Tammy Strobel at Rowdy Kittens
In the meantime…  Keep smiling!


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I have been slowly working away at weeding out some of my clutter.  For years now I have felt totally overwhelmed by all the crap and just wanted it to all go away.  I would decide to get rid of it, march fearlessly into the offending room, stand in the middle while trying to decide where to start, only to get that deer-in-the-headlights look, turn slowly in circles, and then give up in defeat.  Once I managed to get rid of 100 items, but the sad thing was I couldn’t tell much of a difference except my sock drawer looked great!

Decluttering advice is entertaining, too.  It’s usually written by someone who loves organizing.  Well now, that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?  These people do not speak my language.  I knew I needed a totally different approach than “keep your sink clean,” or make different piles.  (OK.  So piles I understand.  I have several of those!)  But when everything ends up in the “can’t decide” pile, I realize this isn’t working.

And then I found Stephanie Bennett Vogt.  I first read some of her articles on Huffington Post and really liked what she had to say.  It was a different, sort of inside out, approach.  Since then, I talked our library system into purchasing her book “Your Spacious Self,” found her blog, and signed up for her online class “Clear Your Home, Clear Your Life” through  I immersed myself in her approach for about 6 weeks, and noticed a subtle shift.  I tidied.  A little.  I’ve never tidied.  This worked as long as I was getting the daily updates from her, but slowly began falling apart without them.  So recently, I started re-reading her book in hopes of getting another boost.  I tried enlisting Steve into this process, but was met with some resistance.  His thoughts were “If we have room, why not keep it?”  Hmmm.  How to convince him… 

 And then a miracle occurred for both of us.  Last Sunday, Steve put our little, ancient RV on Craigslist.  With 100 listings per day, we weren’t very hopeful, but I decided to set an intention that it sell within one week, and on Thursday, we got a call that someone was coming to buy it.  All we needed was the title.  I heard Steve tell the man “No problem.  My wife knows right where it is.”  Meanwhile wife was frantically trying to signal to him “No she doesn’t!”  What ensued was 45 minutes of FRANTIC searching, a few “I thought YOU had it!”  “No, I KNOW you had it.”, combined with LOTS of “What is This doing here!”, “Why are you keeping this?”, and other bits of astonishment.  We found it (Yes, I had it.  Crap!) with a comfortable 5 minutes to spare before the couple showed up.  While that IS amazing, it is not the miracle.  The Miracle is that we both got a Real Good Look at just how much crap we hang on to for No Known Reason.  This made a lasting impression, and provided lots of motivation.  Needless to say, the decluttering effort has been ramped up a bit.

Wish us luck.  I figure if folks can live happily in Tiny Houses, our house should feel spacious and palatial and VERY soothing to the soul by the time we’re done.  I was going to take before and after pictures to show you, but since all I have are the before, it was a little too depressing.  Don’t wait up on the afters.  It could be a while!

Keep Smiling!

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