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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
Nov132012

What's the smallest clutter clearing step? A video!

I have some exciting news to share with you...  After eleven months of doing pilates, I finally felt my core! 

That's a lie, I always feel my core, but last night I engaged it on command.  Huzzah!  I wanted to make sure you heard the news asap.  ;)

OK, you know what's really exciting? 

A video, that's what!

While I was stuck in NYC I got an email from Martha, a lovely gal who wants to take the smallest step toward sorting through her clothes clutter.

Her letter inspired me to make a little video because it's been awhile and I miss chatting with you face to face. 

When it comes to clutter clearing and so many other things, it has to be a big grand event, or it doesn't matter. 

I mean, when was the last time you celebrated cleaning your bathroom or doing the dishes?

There are many small steps standing between you and change. 

Thinking that you have to do it all, right now, perfectly so often stops you from doing anything at all. 

You know what?  Today could be the day you take one tiny step. 

It doesn't have to be perfect or huge and you don't have to paint your toes to take it.

Now it's your turn! 

What's the smallest step you can take today? 

Let me know what it is in the comments below or better yet, TAKE IT and then check in below.  Remember it can be teeny tiny. 

Take care,

Cecilia

ox

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on the list!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week on clearing clutter and living life.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Monday
Nov052012

Kickin' That Clutter Old School Style - An Interview

I apologize for my absence last week.  I was in NYC last weekend and like many others had my trip extended for a few more days by Sandy.

I was laughing a little as I very consciously didn't over pack, which meant that I didn't have seven extra pairs of underwear, my meditation cushion or my computer with me.

I was very lucky to be staying with a friend in Brooklyn (got one of the last trains out of the city before they shut down the subway) and we had power and good food in the fridge. 

I was even luckier that my friend had a car with a full tank of gas and could get me to the airport on time to catch my rescheduled flight as all the taxis were running out of gas.

So much gratitude...  Heart ache for those who lost so much...

I have something a little different for you this week.

I like to put my iPod and iTunes on shuffle when I'm walking around or when I'm writing.  Just now heard an old demo by my talented friend Ken and now The Acorn is soothing me with perfect harmonies. 

Twice this week I was surprised to hear my own nervous enthusiastic voice coming through the ear buds.  It's an interview that my friend Shannon Robinson did with me for her old radio show back in 2006. 

In fact it was the very interview that inspired me to crack open that box from my basement.

Here it is for your enjoyment. 

I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.  What's been going on with you and your clutter these days?  Any insights or aha moments? 

Of course if you enjoyed the interview, I'd love for you to share it with a friend. 

Take care,

Cecilia ox

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on the list!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week on clearing clutter and living life.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Monday
Oct222012

My Relationship Corner is Where?!

 

Tuesday
Oct162012

How I cleared clutter to find love - The box in my basement

It's a bit of a gloomy day here in Toronto, but I'm nice and cozy after spending some time this weekend doing stuff around the house to make it feel more like home.  Just in time for the chilly months, and to celebrate I've got my favorite mug in hand and my one and only favorite dog at my feet.  

Today I thought I would expand on something I touched on in my interview with Robbie Wychwood on the Magic of Stuff.  Natalie commented on the post and asked if I might one day write a bit more about a certain box that I found in my basement. 

Today is that day.  Curl up with a cup of tea and a blanket and I'll tell you all about it.

First, let me set the scene.  It was March 2006 and for the most part my life was really great.  I was happy, I did lots of fun stuff like belly dancing and cuddle parties.  I had lots of great friends, including three amazing roomies. 

We shared delicious meals, Monday afternoon losercize sessions (that's when you dance around your living room like an idiot, you look stupid, but you're having fun and working up a sweat), belly bumps and cathartic sessions where we pretended to be Tasmanian devils (they make an unearthly sound which is super fun to imitate when you're feeling a little frustrated). 

As awesome as my life was, there was one thing missing.  I really really really wanted to be in a relationship.  I had been mostly single for four years (and many years before that), and I was ready for that to change, but nothing I did seemed to make any difference. 

I did all the things you're supposed to do when you're single and want to attract a partner.  I cleaned the relationship corner of my bedroom religiously and made room in the dresser and closet for my ideal man's clothes.  I sat down with markers and sparkles and wrote a long list of everything I was looking for in a partner and how I wanted to feel in relationship.  I got clothes that fit me and wrote carefully composed Internet dating profiles.  I was getting out there and having fun.

What happened? 

Nothing...

That is, nothing happened until I remembered the box in my basement. 

I had done a little radio interview with my friend Shannon and was listening to it in my kitchen about a month later when I heard myself say that you can't hide your clutter.  Whether you're aware of it or not, your clutter is affecting you. 

In that moment my mind flashed to a box in my basement.  It had been there since I moved in a few years earlier.  I'd shoved it into a corner without opening it and there it stayed.  Occasionally being shuffled around to make room for my roommates' stuff, but never examined, never opened. 

I had no idea what was in the box and most of the time I had no idea it was even there. 

It took a month before I remembered the box long enough to go downstairs and take a look.  It was a big box and it took a bit of muscle to get it up to the living room for a closer inspection. 

When I first opened it up, it took me awhile to figure out what I was looking at.  On top was an assortment of framed photographs and postcards mounted on a red backing.  They looked familiar but when did I last see them? 

Ah yes, that's right, they had decorated the walls of the apartment I'd shared with my last partner four years earlier.  A total sweetie but somebody I should have only spent two months with, not two years.

Under the decorations I found three large journals.  I went through a phase where I was doing morning pages every day and in these journals I found the hopeful beginning, the meh middle and the bitter end of my last relationship. 

The decorations and the journals were enough to give me an inkling of what was going on in that box, but there was more. 

Much, much more...

Under the journals was a lovely black box my oldest friend's mom had given me years before.  It was a box to keep photographs in and it was used for its intended purpose.  It was full of old photographs, but these weren't just any photographs, oh no.

In that seemingly small black box lived a picture of every single person I had ever gone out with, dated or had an unrequited crush on. 

Every.  Single.  One. 

To put this in perspective, I had a picture of the boy I had a crush on from grade four until grade eight in there. 

I also had a picture of another fellow who I went out with once the summer after I turned 17.  There were my Metallica boyfriends (yes, there were two of them, teenage metal heads are sweethearts) and the guy I went out with because he was friends with the guy I really liked who was dating my best friend.  There were the friends with benefits, the broken hearts and the ones who liked me more than I liked them.

But wait, there's more!

Under the box of photographs was another box.  The mysterious thing about this box is that I thought I had dealt with it years earlier.  Apparently dealing with it just meant putting it in a bigger box to forget about and deal with later. 

Yes, in that box within a box was a collection of all the letters of my youth.  There was the poor French boy I met while on student exchange in Germany, "I am cry".  The poetic documentation of the drawn out, on again off again, I love you, I hate you, I love you, let's be friends guy.  The artists, the musicians, the skater boys and friends I wished would be more. 

There were many laughs, and many more tears that night for loves long lost.

By the end of the night I had thrown out the journals and a most of the photographs and letters.  I kept a few of them, the "nice" ones, for a few more years, but I made sure to store them in a little book and put them in a place where they wouldn't be forgotten.

If I had tried (and I really didn't try) I couldn't have come up with a more complete history of the love life of Cecilia Moorcroft than the one I found in that box. 

Going through the box was like going on an archaeological dig through my past relationships, but instead of finding an old tooth or fossil, I found myself.  In sifting through all those people from my past, I could feel and let go of the hurt and come out ready to start looking, really looking, for love.

And you know what?  It worked!

Three months after lugging that box up the basement stairs, I met my love who I've been with ever since, going on six years now.  There were a few more steps that happened in those three months, but it all started with that box. 

Oh, there's one thing I didn't tell you about the box.  Just guess where it was in the basement? 

Yup, it was tucked right into the relationship corner.  Is that perfect or what? 

So what does this mean for you?  I'm glad you asked. 

Sometimes when we hold onto the past there is no room for the future to come into being.  I had to face and let go of the ghosts of relationships past in order to make space for the reality of love in the present, and you can do the same wherever it is that you're feeling stuck

Step One - Identify the Wall
Where have you hit a wall in your life?  It might be around finding love, finding meaningful work, getting that creative project off the ground or your relationship to money.  You've put a lot of work into it already but nothing seems to be moving.

Step Two - Find the Box
Is there a "box" hiding somewhere that corresponds to that part of your life?  If you're looking for a new career, it could be those materials from that teaching job you didn't love and wouldn't want to go back to anyway.  If you want to feel better about your body, it could be that box of clothes that don't fit.  You get the idea.

Step Three - Get Digging to find Yourself
Put on your khaki coveralls, have your trowel in hand, and get started on that archaeological dig.  As you dig, be open to seeing patterns and symbols from the past.  If an emotion comes up as you work let yourself feel it, it's an important part of really letting go.  And when you're done, get back out there!

Do you have a similar box in your basement?  Are you going to get digging?  Or maybe you've already found your "box".  You know I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below, and if you have a friend who still has the roses from her high school boyfriend, please pass this along, she needs to read this.

Take care,
Cecilia
ox
Photo of Cecilia
Clutter Coach & Life Coach
spaceforlife.ca

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on the list!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week on clearing clutter and living life.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Wednesday
Oct102012

How to Get Unstuck - Update your dreams to get moving

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving (a little late)!  I just got back from a lovely weekend visiting family and friends and my feet were happy to find some colourful leaves to cruch underfoot.  Crunchy leaves and crunchy ice just make me happy.  I love you Canada... 

Have you ever found yourself with a dream, a long time dream, but without the motivation to pursue it?  If the answer is yes, I've got a treat for you. 

Jill Priest, funny gal and dog trainer extraordinaire, recently asked a question on facebook about how to get unstuck.  Jill and I have worked together in the past (we once filled 12 garbage bags full of clothes in one afternoon) and I was curious to hear the whole story, so I asked her if she would be willing to share her story with me (and you).

Luckily for us, she agreed.  Read on for Jill's letter and my response.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Cecilia,

So, I've been feeling "stuck" for some time. What I love to do, and what I'm good at doing, is teaching people how to train their dogs.  I've been doing this dog training thing for ten years and it truly brings me joy.

I've always done this as a part-time pursuit. It used to fill four nights a week and both days every weekend, but I scaled back recently.  All the while, I've held a full-time, well-paying corporate-type job.

A few years ago, during a period of "feeling stuck," I "got really serious" with myself and what I wanted to do -- open a school for professional dog trainers. I identified three key things I had to do to make that happen: 1) pay off my personal debt, 2) sell my house so I was no longer crushed by such a large mortgage, and 3) buy (not lease) and pay off a vehicle.

The results of that little exercise were ENORMOUS. As in, within the space of two months, I had found a buyer for my home (without having to list with an agent), used the proceeds to pay off all my debt, and bought a much less expensive place with a more manageable mortgage. Not only that, but my life was heading in such a great direction and I was so happy about it, within a month after all that I met a the man who would become my husband and make me a happy step-mom to two amazing teenagers.

(I seem to remember posting about this on FB at the time. You called me "an amazingly powerful manifester," if I'm not mistaken.)

Fast forward a couple of years. Man and I are now married, we have bought a home of our own outside the city (much better for dog-related life), and have killed more than half the personal debt we carry (I was debt free, but he was not, so it's a common goal we're working against now).

Having someone to share common goals with is remarkably empowering, but at the same time, it can dilute your intentions a little. For example, I had hoped to be working full-time in dogs by now -- that was the plan, and we were on track for making it happen.

A few months ago, rather than take the leap into working with dogs full time, I talked myself into taking another full-time, corporate-type job, that requires me to commute a total of 5 hours a day.  The commute is actually okay, but the job is not. I'm not happy, I feel stupid much of the time, and in my heart, I know it's not where I should be or what I should be doing.

Part of the problem is golden handcuffs. The salary that I can count on every two weeks is a HUGE source of security to me, especially now that I'm married. Before, if I crashed and burned, well hey, it was just me, right? But if I crash and burn now, I have a partner that I'll be letting down. Not to mention all the pressure he'll feel if he becomes responsible for us financially (like a lot of couples, we've created a life that is based on two salaries).

I've been waiting/praying/looking for a sign or an event to signal to me that it's time to make the change -- winning the lottery or something equally securing. But I'm starting to think that I'm going to have to DO something before a change will come my way. And more importantly, that when I finally do something, whatever it is, it will bring the change that I need, even if it's not the one I have pictured in my head right now.

As always, I value your input and insight, and welcome whatever wisdom you have to impart.

Thanks,
Jill

P.S. It's not lost on me that my house is VERY cluttered and I'm certain that if I did a major clearing, it would also help me get unstuck. We were even thinking of renting a dumpster bin to go through a major "clean it out and haul it away" weekend!

(and here is my response)

Hi Jill,

Thank you for this.  It's really lovely to read about your journey.  A few things stand out to me when I read your email. 

The first one is, that I find myself wondering what your intentions are now? 

You write about how a HUGE shift happened when you got "really serious" and wrote down what you wanted and what was in the way.  It's just incredible to hear what happened when you really clarified your intentions.  You met your goals and not only that, but you made some space to meet a wonderful man who is now your husband. 

I guess the feeling that I get is that perhaps your intentions are a little stale.  You had a clear vision for your life and that life has changed significantly. 

This doesn't mean that you don't still want the same thing (to open a school for professional dog trainers), but the way you want it has probably changed.  When you first set out on that goal, your life was one way (you were single, you lived in the city, you had lots of big dogs) and now it's another (you're married, you have step-kids, you live in the country, you have lots of big dogs). 

There's one thing I know about you Jill, and that is that when you put your mind to something SHIT HAPPENS!

Yes, there's a part of you who wants to play it safe, keep the boring job and know that every two weeks you'll get a deposit in your bank account.  I just have to say, of course you want to play it safe.  It's totally sane and natural to want to pay your mortgage, buy food and support your hubby in his goals of reducing debt. 

I guess what I feel when I read your email Jill is that you're trying to figure it all out before you take a step.  As you know, the perfectionist is a huge fan of all or nothing thinking.  The perfectionist wants to know EXACTLY how you're going to get from A to B before she'll even put on her shoes to walk out the door.  She also thinks that you need to choose between the "golden handcuff" security of a full time job and the fly by the seat of your pants insecurity of working for yourself.  The truth is that you'll probably fall somewhere in between. 

You don't move, because you don't know what the journey is going to look like.

Who says that you have to give up your financial security to follow your dreams?

This is what you're going to do. 

STEP ONE: Bring your dream up to date!

You're going to write your destination.  You're going to write down what you want and how it's going to feel when you get there as Jill Priest, October 10th, 2012.

You don't have to figure out how you're going to get there, just paint a picture of your new life, with your school, your sweetie, your step-kids, your house in the country and your dogs.  Reconnect with the part of you who loves dogs and who loves teaching.  Get in touch with the joy and excitement that you feel when you consider living a life that is truly meaningful and fulfilling.

If the picture is a little fuzzy, than focus on the feeling.  How do you want to feel when you wake up in the morning?  What does a great day feel like?  What kind of work gets you excited about life?

STEP TWO: Clear out that clutter!

You lady, I will remind you again, can make shit happen, so ask for what you want and then make some space for it to come in.  This is not about choosing one life over another, it's simply about asking for what you want and opening to the possibility.

When you're sorting through your clutter ask yourself if the item supports you in the new vision you have for your life.  If it doesn't then out it goes.  It's so hard to see a path toward the future if you're bogged down with things from the past.

STEP THREE: Let your dream breathe!

Let it go to let it come.  Once you've decided what you want and you've made some space for it, give it a little breathing room. 

I get the sense that one of the reasons you feel stuck around creating your school for dog trainers is that you're stuck on it looking one way. 

Either you think it's going to be the way that you've done it in the past (working four nights a week and every weekend, uh, no thanks) or maybe you think you have to do it somebody else's way.

Let your dream grow organically.  It feels like this school could be something totally different than what you imagine it to be.  Get clear on the ingredients (how you want to feel, what you want to give etc...), make some space and then allow it to grow up on it's own. 

You may find that there are some things that will make it easier to grow (working a different job, using your five hour commute to brainstorm, moving to a part time job, video training, offering a weekend intensive rather than weekly classes etc...) but it's important to allow both the business and yourself to be pulled in the direction that feels exciting and enlivening rather than the direction you planned many years ago. 

Good luck Jill!!!  I can't wait to hear how it goes.  Once you put your mind, heart and soul into something it can't help but become something fabulous.  I've seen you do it too many times, it has to be true.

Oh, and you know that "sign" you've been looking for?  I think it just might be here.  As Bob Dylan once said, the times, they are a-changin.

ox

Cecilia

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading Jill's letter and my response.  Now it's your turn.

Do you have a longtime dream that you can't seem to get moving on?  If the answer is yes than follow the steps above.  To review:

Step One - Bring your dream up to date!

Step Two - Clear that clutter!

Step Three - Give your dream some breathing room! 

I'd love to hear your experience with this so let me know how it goes in the comments below.

Take care,

Cecilia ox

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on the list!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week on clearing clutter and living life.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

p.p.s. I love questions, so if you have any questions on clutter or life, just drop me a line and I may feature your question and my answer in an upcoming post.