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About Cecilia

I am a Life & Clutter Coach and IST Practitioner. I LOVE helping writers, creatives and entrepreneurs just like YOU, make their homes and lives into supportive containers for their creative AND personal lives.  

Cecilia's sharp, crystalline insight has kept me on track in my creative life, my business life, and my emotional life for the past six years: she's a triple threat!

 - Sarah Selecky, author of Giller Prize nominated This Cake is for the Party

Tuesday
Aug172010

Get to the Sparkle

Resistance is Futile

Oh resistance...  You are such a familiar friend.  I can feel you in the tips of my fingers as I try to write.  I feel you in my belly and chest holding on tight.  I feel you in my distraction and I hear you in the stories inside my head. 

Resistance is something that we all deal with, I know I do.  As a matter of fact, I'm experiencing it right now as I attempt to write this article.  I had a good laugh with my entrepreneur buddies this morning when they asked me what I was procrastinating and I said "Writing an article on resistance".  As always, my friends, I teach what I need to learn. 

In an email I sent to a friend the other day I wrote "I just have to wade through the resistance to get to the sparkly bits..."  Those sparkly bits are in all of us so your job is to figure out how to activate yours.  My sparkly bits shine the brightest when I'm dancing, laughing, creating,  facilitating groups and working with clients.

So, if the sparkly bits are so darn sparkly, why do we resist?  Are we afraid that others won't appreciate our sparkle?  Have we forgotten just how truly sparkly we are?  Do we not feel that we deserve to shine so bright?

For me, when I come up against that resistance, there's a palpable feeling of time travel back to my childhood, a time when resistance and boredom ruled.  When being the smallest and feeling left out was what it felt like to be me.  When I hit those pockets of resistance the feeling is so familiar it must be the truth.  The thing is, I'm not a little kid anymore and I know that I can choose to sit on the sidelines or I can choose to join in and it is just that, a choice!

This feeling of "truth" can crop up in other ways too.  I've seen it with my clutter clients when they've been rocking it in their lives, stretching and growing and changing until they notice that their desk is messy and suddenly the messy desk is the only thing they can see.  They become the story of the messy desk and all the other accomplishments and awesomeness fade away because all that matters is the messy desk. 

The way that I experience this is that it feels like a wall, but instead of the wall being somewhere out there, the wall is actually on the inside.  I'm not running into it, but rather I'm being snapped back to some younger smaller version of myself who truly believes that the messy desk is the capital T Truth about who I am.  Then the stories start "Who are you to think that you deserve to be in a happy relationship/work at a fulfilling job/lead a rich spiritual life/travel to India/start your own business etc...?"

I'm sure there are many reasons this happens, after all the wall is comfortable, it's familiar and on some level feels right.  Somewhere inside, the wall and the stories it tells feel like the truth.  The trick is to acknowledge the wall in a kind and compassionate way and decide to go back to stretching and growing anyway. 

It's like an elastic band, the further you stretch, the more it hurts when you get snapped back into the wall, but you know what?  One day you will stretch that elastic band so far that it will have no choice but to snap and then there you'll be in a happy relationship,/working at a fulfilling job/leading a rich spiritual life/on a plane to India/opening the doors to your very own business.

There's sometimes a story inside that says "I can't!" and the only way to write a new one is to say "I CAN!" shake the mud off your boots and get dancing.

Have fun finding your favorite way to sparkle and remember if you feel that muddy, icky, sticky place, or you find yourself up against that wall you're on the right track, you just have to keep on moving and as soon as you can say twinkle toes, there you'll be!

Monday
Mar012010

Live Life - The Fear Project Part 2

I Survived, Just Barely

First of all, I have to pat myself on the back.  I don't know about you, but as a perfectionist it is very challenging for me to acknowledge my successes without first pointing out all the mistakes I made along the way.  So, as hard as is it and as resistant as my arm is to help me out, this is me, patting myself on the back.

I have ticked a couple of fears off my list and they were a lot scarier than I ever expected.  On January 28th, after 6 years of facilitating groups at Sheena's Place and for other events, I held my very first solo/public workshop and 20 people showed up!  The workshop was great!  We laughed, we cried, we had confessions about clutter and I went home a happy camper.  I loved everyone who showed up and it felt good to stand up there, sharing the knowledge that I've been gathering over the years.

It was the days and weeks leading up to the workshop that were the challenge.  The words blood, sweat and tears keep on bubbling up to the surface and if I think back, all three played a part in my life this January.  Tears and sweat are familiar friends.  I am someone who cries and sweats easily and often, especially when I'm afraid of something.  I lie in bed, staring at the thin sliver of streetlamp that rests on my ceiling and whip myself into a frenzy that ends with me waking up my poor sweet partner so I can spill my latest fears and insecurities. 

It's the blood that surprised me.  On Monday January 25th, only days before the workshop, I found myself sitting in the waiting room at St. Joseph's Hospital, with a belly ache.  I'm very grateful that I'm not someone who has had to spend much time in hospitals.  In fact the last two times I visited an Emergency room were both for the fearful affliction of splinters, once when I was 8 and again when I was 20.  It's true, and the answer is yes, I grew up in a very old house.

So I sat for four hours in the place that no sick person should be.  I was cold and tired and of course, scared.  When I finally saw the doctor the answer was one I expected.  An ulcer.  I worried myself an ulcer.  I know that there were other factors at play, but I can't help but think that this was my body's reaction to stepping off the cliff into fearful territory.

By the time Thursday rolled around I was fine.  My belly and I had a little talk and it understands that a little fear is nothing to worry about.  It's hard to remember in the dark hours before facing my fears that fear is not the zombie following me up a stairway to nowhere.  Fear is the motivator, the elixer of life that propels me forward and through the hidden doorway behind which is the biggest funnest party I've ever seen.  And you know what, it's being thrown for me. 

And you know what else?  That party is waiting for you too, so walk up those stairs to nowhere, tip your hat to the zombie and walk on through.  The blood, sweat and tears are worth it.  I promise.

Saturday
Dec122009

Live Life - The Fear Project

I'm Scared, in a Good Way!


At this very moment I'm scared.  I can feel the fear snaking around my belly and slithering up to my heart.  My teeth are clenched and my jaw is tight.  I feel grumpy and stubborn and the last place that I want to be is here, writing these words.  I could walk away, I could plop myself in front of the television and watch myself disappear into the night or I could stay and feed the forked tongue more of what it wants.

You see, I made a deal with myself that I would do this.  I made a deal with a list of 5 things that frighten me.  I made a deal with the Universe that I would check them off one by one.  I have witnesses who will hold me accountable.  This is no joke, this is an act of Will.

What would happen if you took a list of 5 things you were afraid of and did them all in quick succession?  How would you feel?  What would be different?  What would be possible?

I'm going to find out what happens and as part of me sits terrified, the other part can't wait.  The fear project has begun and what's so amazing about the process is that as I move forward, and as I talk about it, folks around me are starting to build their lists and they are starting to tick things off one by one.

Still, I doubt my list, I doubt that the items I chose are worthy of such a project.  I'm not sure if they scare me enough, but the feeling in my body tells me otherwise.  The shaking no of my head and the look of sour lemons on my face tell the truth.  I don't want to do it, but I will.

Who knows who I'll be on the other side?  I know from past experience that when I do things that scare me, I suddenly I find myself in a world full of opportunities and possibility.  If I can do five big things that scares me, then I can tackle the little things that scare me and the next time a big sucker comes along, I can take care of that one too.

For the record here's my current list.  New items may be added as I move along:
  1. Organize a workshop that I facilitate.
  2. Raise my rates.
  3. Revise, finish and submit a short story I wrote in the summer.
  4. Write an article and/or secure a column with a magazine.
  5. Take Stand-Up 101 and perform in front of an audience.
#1 & #2 are mostly taken care of by sending out this newsletter.  I had a meeting with my writing teacher Sarah Selecky yesterday about #3 and I'm signing up for #5 on today.  That just leaves #4...  Eek!

I hope that you'll join me on my mission.  If you're having a hard time coming up with your list of fears, ask the people who know you the best what should be on there, they won't let you down.  The fear project has begun and I dare you to be a part of it.  Make that a Triple Dog Dare, those are pretty hard to refuse.

Good luck!  I will give you a full report in January.  In the meantime, have fun with fear and as always, let me know how it goes. 

This is me, diving in!

Friday
Jul032009

Video Blog #7 - Paint with Intention

Tuesday
May262009

Live Life - Play or Pause

My life on pause...


Recently, some unfortunate events caused my life to screech to a grinding halt. Plans were thrown out the window, appointments rescheduled and emotions were set loose to mess up all the neat corners of my mind and my home.

Emails went unanswered, ringing phones stayed cradled and the stairs and hallways were fighting to claim bragging rights to the biggest ball of dog hair. For a week or two, my regularly scheduled programming was put on pause and the scripts needed to be re-written.

The questions is, how to press play again? Life can't stop for ever. When I stop, I get stuck and the longer I'm stuck the harder it feels to get going again. I had started to procrastinate life.

I had to laugh, because I've been facilitating a group at Sheena's Place on Clutter and Perfectionism and one of the trademarks of perfectionism, that leads to procrastination, is "All or Nothing Thinking". You know that saying, you teach what you need to learn? This has always been very true for me.

All or nothing thinking can easily get us into big trouble. This is the line of thinking that says "If I could only take 3 weeks off work, no make that a month, I could clear all my clutter." All or nothing thinking says that we have to do it all, right now, perfectly OR not at all.

Relating this to life, I guess I felt like I had to figure it all out, write the perfect new script and jump into life all the way. Pretend like nothing had happened. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't find a pen, let alone write a new script, so I stayed stuck.

I realized that the only way I was going to get unstuck was by pressing play, but I would do it slowly, by doing little things, one at a time. Get out of bed. Take the dog for a walk, even if you don't want to. Wash one sink full of dishes. Dust one shelf. Make one phone call. Cook one meal.

I remembered the things that were familiar and healing. I went to one yoga class and one night of dancing. I also decided that I needed to introduce things that were new so my partner and I explored a new conservation area and walked on new paths.

This past week, I've been alternating between play and pause, but the more I press play, the easier it is and the shorter the pause. What's been important for me to remember is that something is everything. Taking one step, making one gesture, moving one inch is enough to get life moving again. It doesn't have to be the best step and I don't need to know what my ultimate destination is, but as long as I'm moving, it's perfect.