Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Defending Your Life

I adore Albert Brooks. Yesterday was his birthday and so I was thinking about one of my all-time favorite movies Defending Your Life and how it changed my own life. It's easy to watch the movie as an enjoyable and amusing comedy but really it contains one of the most profound life lessons: it's our fears that keep us small minded and stuck in life.

I think I've recommended this movie to everyone I know but incase you missed it: Daniel dies in a car accident in the prime of his life and he, as everyone does, makes a stop at Judgement City to spend four days defending his life to see if he will move on or be sent back to Earth. In the evaluation process you must revisit certain times in your life were you let fear overcome you and you are forced to explain why you let fear rule vs following your true wishes. If you're smart/evolved enough not to let fear run your life you progress to a higher level of existence and if you are still ruled by fear back to Earth you go.

I'm not an overly fearful person but I also don't live the biggest bravest life I can and I am constantly wishing to be more myself and really living into my greatness. The idea that fear fogs our joy really rings true to me and when we combine the fear upfront with the regret of fear stopping us it's actually a double whammy. Anytime I'm afraid to do something I try to remind myself that at the end of our lives it is only the things we are too afraid to do that will haunt us. Brave boldness is not something that comes naturally to most of us, even as an amazon of an extrovert I still play small and safe in much of my life. And the real ridiculousness of it is that most of us know this and are still letting fear stop us from being our most magnificent selves.

One of my favorite scenes is when Daniel is eating in a fancy restaurant enjoying a wonderful time with Meryl Streep's character Julia and instead of fully enjoying it he is overcome with fear that the waiter is embarrassing him by bringing him nine pies to take home. He's so uncomfortable and anxiety filled and this is while he is already dead!

My wish for my life and for all of you is that we live true to ourselves and let fear play its proper place in our lives- to warn us to run from lions... and not from challenges and our dreams. I highly suggest you watch the movie sometime soon and if you're a fan follow @AlbertBrooks on Twitter. I'd like to someday say I've tamed my fears to the point of playing at life like it's all one big comedy. Not there yet but having DYL as a reminder to try has been profound for me and makes me very happy Mr. Brooks was born and brilliant and brave enough to make this film :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Clearing Clutter, Opening Spaces

I've been on a perpetual decluttering project for the last 5 years or so but I've really dug in as of late. Leading a workshop where I talk about sorting out what's working from what's not is confronting. I'm answering questions from participants about how to declutter their lives and so I want to practice what I preach.

Last weekend I went thru my office and got rid of 50 books, a fax machine, numerous electronic devices, and tons of paperwork. It's not where I want it yet but was thrilled that I finally broke a barrier of getting rid of things I once considered valuable. Loving books like I do they were really hard to part with so I had to ask myself what is more important: clear space to create or old books?

My other weakness is keeping sentimental items that were gifts from people I care about, especially items that came from people that are gone. But I have learned the best way to honor people's love and generosity towards me is to capture the sentiment in a photo and release the stuff to someone else who would benefit having it. And once I found a place by me Shelter's Inc, that helps children and teens in need I was happy to give them stuff I wasn't using.

We can't be our most powerful when we're weighed down by things that don't work for us. And we definitely can't welcome wonderful things and people into our lives if they're too full and we have no openings for them. Whether in our home, head, or heart we need to constantly keep clearing spaces for joyful things and people to show up.

Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed with any area of my life I clear something out first and it gives me more room to breath and think more clearly. I usually hate making the time and pulling the trigger to get rid of something but feel amazing and free after.

Incase you're ready to join in... I learned Best Buy will recycle most electronics for FREE. Your local library will take most gently used books (mine actually doesn't use them they sell them to the public to raise funds). In last month's workshop someone was even wondering to do with her old fridge and luckily another Mapper shared that ComEd will not only come pick up old fridges for FREE they'll give you $35.

I can't tell you how awesome I feel having less clutter in my life and I will keep it up until I have only what I need and love surrounding me. Not totally there yet but I'm reciting: when in doubt throw it out. Now ironically or maybe not, I have also been eating less sugar and carbs in the last few months so I can't in any way show total correlation but as soon as I got serious about getting rid of stuff I have also dropped some lbs too!!!

What is weighing you down? Try 15minutes a week just gathering one type of item and getting rid of it. Life's too short to waste it dusting, moving, and caring for stuff we don't need or love.

Wishing you tons of open space and lots of love and wonderfulness left to enJOY!!