Size matters

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Size matters

Recently while working with a client, I was reminded of one of the most common mistakes I see: The giant sized storage container. 

I understand why someone might think this is a good choice. It can hold a lot and it’s easier than buying a bunch of smaller containers. It appears to solve problems. The truth is, it creates many problems that we don’t think of until it’s too late.

I was helping my client by transforming the closets and storage areas in her Master and Guest bedrooms. Her previous renovation left her with extremely heavy wood sliding doors that were very difficult to open as they had never been on track properly. We ended up choosing The Container Store’s TCS Closets which are customizable and quite lovely. 

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Once we made it through the challenging demolition and installed the beautiful new closets, we worked on making order of her previously stored items as the space had changed. We found several jumbo sized bins that held her holiday items. My client had lovely upholstered and padded bins that held all of her precious and delicate ornaments. They were quite organized and luckily those bins fit perfectly back in the top of the new closets. The rest of the Christmas paraphernalia: wrapping paper, bows, cards, tissue paper and decorations, were randomly placed in 3 gigantic bins. 

Much like when we move, I recommend adhering to bins and boxes no larger than what a case of liquor comes in. This is not only a back saver; when storing anything up above your head, or that requires us to get on a step stool or ladder to access, it needs to be a more manageable size to protect us from getting injured.

 
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When we have the big bins, we fill them up, and while the items I listed don’t sound heavy, in a container that large, it’s awkward, unbalanced and very difficult to navigate. I chose The Container Store’s Deep Sweater Box which allowed us to separate all of the items into categories and will be much easier for my client to access when needed from her new beautiful closets.

 
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There are so many different sized storage containers because there are so many different things we can store. It’s great to keep in mind that the smaller an object you are storing is, the smaller the container needs to be. For example, when storing sewing supplies, it’s good to have a bin for fabric, a bin for thread and smaller containers for needles and thimbles. Those smaller bins can then live inside the fabric or thread bins. When the possibility exists for stuff to roll around or create a mess, dividing and conquering is the only way to go.

One may wonder what to use those big bins for. Ideally, we want to store lightweight large items, like extra comforters or pillow. Maybe rolls of bubble wrap or packing supplies.

Where do you have big bins that could use a bit of love? Please share in the comments!
 

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What is Comfort?

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What is Comfort?

We are so fortunate to actually be able to choose to be comfortable or not. Many in this world have no choice in the matter and are living very difficult lives. It’s wonderful to have comfortable furniture and a comfortable bed, but is the endgame really about having a comfortable life?

When I traveled to Portugal, I knew there would be discomfort to deal with: the overnight flight in economy, the language barrier, keeping up with the physical activities to name a few. Sophie Everard, founder of Mad to Live Retreats, mentioned quite early on in the trip that surfing was not glam, nor easy. It’s scrappy. The surfboards are heavy and need to be carted down the beach so we didn’t have to worry about crashing into other people. The water was 62º and the wetsuits needed were damp and stinky. Once we had a few drills, into the water we went, hoping to not get slammed by a wave, your board or someone else’s board.

So why do it? 

When we step outside of our comfort zone, we are usually faced with something we haven’t done before and that can be scary, or maybe, exciting. The great quote from Robert Heller says it all, “Fear is excitement without breath”. These two emotions are the flip side of each other. If we can remember this when we face our fears, and look for the excitement, progress happens.

Many people decide to deal with their clutter or disorganization when they finally can’t take the discomfort anymore. The funny thing is that they don’t realize how comfortable they were in the clutter until we start dismantling it. All of the fears come flying out. While they were living in disorder, it was familiar to them which registers in the body as comfort. When we start to spread it out and make a bigger mess of it, they are tested.

This is why having a vision they are excited by is so important in the process. It offers a beacon of hope, a path to follow, a way to see what’s been holding them back from living a life that is truly comfortable, not just the one they are used to living. It’s not a perfect ride, there are a lot of obstacles to hurdle, literally and figuratively.

 
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On the very last day of our retreat, I finally got out of my head long enough to stand up a few times on the board and it was thrilling! Had I gotten up the first day, maybe not as much? Sometimes when we try over and over again without giving up is when we truly feel victorious. It’s easy to try and fail. Persistence is what pumps us up so we can reach our goals.

When was the last time you were rewarded for stepping out of your comfort zone? Please share in the comments!

 

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Reevaluate your year

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Reevaluate your year

On the eve of the July 4, I offer you a new perspective. Yes, this is the holiday that we celebrate our independence from the British, but that doesn’t really resonate with me. For many years I have looked at the Fourth of July as a reset button for the year. I review all that I expected to do or implement for the year and give myself a second chance at reaching my goals. 

Many people set unrealistic expectations that are forgotten by mid-February. With the summer in full swing, I find it’s a great time to look back over the last 6 months and celebrate what I did take on successfully and also, at what didn’t happen. 

For example, I had an unusually busy spring with larger projects that allowed me to hit my financial goals easily. I’ve traveled to Sedona, had a personal retreat in the country and most recently returned from a delightful trip to Portugal. On the flip side, I expected to complete my upcoming book early this year. My workload became such that it wasn’t possible to work effectively with my clients and still make time for the editing process. I’ve always been hard on myself about not doing enough and I’m loosening that grip a bit without completely going into sloth mode. 

When I connect with WHY I had success in certain areas, I can then see how that information can be used to motivate the me where I didn’t. My choosing that travel be an important factor of my life allowed travel opportunities to show up. I didn’t seek any of them out. My choosing to have an abundance of clients brought them to me. In terms of my book, I learned a lot from my clients that reminded me of the important information I had left out. I can see the positive benefits of not rushing this process without beating myself up.

 
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I hope you are enjoying this brief vacation connecting with family and friends. If you can take some time to yourself, celebrate your victories of the past 6 months. Really appreciate all that you have accomplished. Then look at what you had hoped for this year, find your why and share with us! It’s not too late to achieve all that you want this year.
 

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Dear Lagos

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Dear Lagos

Twenty-six years ago, almost to the day, I arrived in Lagos after traveling without a place to sleep for 3 nights. I know this only because I read my one and only journal I’ve ever had, recording each days’ adventures for the 2 months I backpacked through Europe. Lagos was the true respite of my trip.

Prior to going to Portugal last month, I looked through my contact sheets and slides from that trip and was surprised to have only found 3 slides and one roll of film. Not much information for me to recall my time there. When I returned home, I read my journal it became very clear why I didn’t have it in me to take more photos.

I literally ran into a guy I had just graduated college with and his 2 friends in Bordeaux. I was running out of money - a big topic in the journal - and I was tired of making decisions, so I joined them as they were on their way to Pamplona to see the Running of the Bulls and from there we would head to Portugal. The three nights leading up to our arrival in Lagos were kinda crazy.

One night we couldn’t find accommodations so we tried to sleep in a park but it started to rain. We went to the train station and as we waited through the night for our train, the police officers would kick or hit you if you were sleeping. Obviously my eyes were wide open. The next night we ended up on a beach in San Sebastian. My not so chivalrous friends had tents, I only had a sleep sack, a sheet sewn on 2 sides to keep you from having to touch the hostel beds. Not only was I terrified to be sleeping out in the open, the sand was so cold, I couldn’t sleep at all. We were taking an overnight 8-hour train to Lagos the following evening. It started off fine, until we got kicked out of our seats because we didn’t have a reservation. I spent the entire trip standing or squatting in the aisles, I honestly don’t know how I did it.

 
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Without reading my journal, I knew Lagos was my favorite place of my entire European journey but I wasn’t sure why. When I arrived for the surfing retreat, it all came back to me. The lack of advertising, small crowds, white buildings with colorful and interesting doors felt so peaceful to me.  The streets, some closed off to cars, are made of white, black and red cobblestones that have beautiful patterns. If you’ve ever been to Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the same designs can be found there. The history and richness of a long past are obvious and celebrated.

 
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I am overwhelmed on a daily basis by all of the advertising, signage and logos that are plastered everywhere in most modern cities. In comparison to other cities, Lagos would be the Clear Space version of city life. Lagos feels peaceful, you can actually see the ancient buildings and gorgeous landscape. The pace, relaxed and inviting.

Our environment impacts us, inside our homes and out. The clear space in my home has been necessary in order to decompress from all of the stimulation that has been outside my door for the past 24 years in NYC.

Please share with me, where do you find your respite from everyday life?

 

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The fear thing

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The fear thing

In January, while Jae Ruax, founder of The Fiena Group, and I were catching up, she told me that the UK founding members would be heading to Portugal for a surfing adventure in June. The second she said it, I knew I had to go.  Sophie Everart, total surfer babe and Mad to Live founder, who believes strongly in empowering women to play all out in life, created an amazing adventure for our crew.

It wasn’t until April that I learned the dates and location of this retreat. Lagos, a lovely beachside town in the Algarve which I remember fondly from my post-college backpacking trip from 26 years ago (time sure does fly!). I was really excited to go back to Europe after all of these years, spending a week with like-minded women who were up for magic, soul and adventure.

A few days before the trip I started to look at Sophie’s previous retreats. Suddenly, I wondered if I was in good enough shape to keep up with all of the activities. Sure, they were optional, but how was I going to miss out on any of it? And the other women on the trip, as I checked them out on social media, suddenly I realized that I was the oldest one on the trip. Another fear rearing it’s ugly head.

It’s normal for our fears to pop up when we are doing something outside of our daily routine, but I was surprised. I mean, I consider myself adventurous. I don’t perceive myself as old. I certainly haven’t been in top shape for awhile, but suddenly I was making myself wrong for it. As I’ve mentioned in many posts in the past, in my current business, I have spent most of my time feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I recognize clearly that this is how progress is made but it doesn’t mean it’s comfortable or easy.

When I am working with my clients, I am there to support them through these moments of self-doubt, fear and judgement. Most of my clients think they are alone in these feelings when in fact, anyone who is struggling with their space has to deal with them at some point.

Of course, now being on the other side of this trip, the fears were unfounded and kind of silly, but I wouldn’t have learned that if I let the fear stop me. Of course, new fears popped up along my week in Portugal, that were more serious and by working through them, I have had new revelations about myself. I have many stories to share about this trip, and I will in the coming weeks. I thought I could wrap it up in one post, but there are too many significant moments and I don’t want to water any of it down.

Please share in the comments below, what fears have held you back in your life?

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Use What You Have

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Use What You Have

I’m still in Lagos having an incredible week with these lovely and inspiring ladies. I’ll report back next week about the trip in its entirety. In the meantime, I’ll tell you about one of my attempts to loosen the grip of my ziplock bag addiction.

I love glassware, especially the super thin and fragile kind. In the past, my heart has broken every time a glass was dropped. I come from a family who still has wine glasses from over 30 years ago, so I recognize that I was taught to believe glasses lasted forever. My husband comes from the idea that glasses break, so there’s no attachment for him.

My mother-in-law Jocelynn and I have had a tradition of making strawberry jelly for years. Since Ross loves it on top of his ice cream, we ended up having a bunch of mason jars around the house. One day I decided, even though they don’t have the thin lip that I prefer, that these were going to be our new drinking glasses. These glasses have broken as well, but I don’t feel quite as sad when they do.

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Several years ago, I came across these great BPA free lids which I love because they don’t rust out like the normal metal tops do. I love that I can write on the lids to store things as well. Now my glassware doubles as food storage. This doesn’t completely solve all of my ziplock needs, but it greatly reduces the amount that I would normally use.

Mason jars have had a renaissance for those who are looking to live without plastic for many years and now there are quite a few additions to the variety of lids and accessories available. There are lids with silicone straws for kids, lids to create soap dispensers, and silicone sleeves to protect your glass if you take your iced coffee to go.

Let me know in the comments below, is there anything in your home that you can create another use for?

 

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Something is better than nothing

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Something is better than nothing

Today I am writing from Portugal, my first day of the 9 days I will be here with a group of women from the UK who are all part of the Fiena Members Club. I recently was asked by Jae Ruax, founder of The Fiena Group, to be one of the founding members of the New York Chapter. Jae created the private members club for contemporary female pioneers to inspire Magic, Adventure and Soul globally. How could I resist being a part of this opportunity? And this trip I’m on? I wasn’t even invited. Jae mentioned it to me and immediately I said, “I’m coming!”

I arrived the day before the retreat began so I needed to find one night’s accommodation near the airport on Faro Island. As I do with many of my trips, I chose an Airbnb near the beach. The first thing I noticed was how clean this beach is. There were plenty of recycling and trash receptacles. I saw women who work at a local restaurant sweeping the sand off of the boardwalk that the wind had blown there. It was with pride that they were doing this work, not the drudergy of having to do a job.

The hardest part about writing the Consciously Creating Clear Space book is that I haven’t figured out all of the solutions for us to live in a world without plastic. I understand it’s not my job to solve the plastic problem, but my mind naturally wants an answer. I have become completely overwhelmed by the idea of all of the plastic out there. It feels insurmountable.

Like when I am on the plane and I notice all of the headphones they are handing out in little plastic bags. Sure, they seem to collect them again, but when I start calculating all of the people on the flight and then start thinking about how many flights there are every day or every year, it’s a huge amount of waste. Of course there are are all of the plastic cups for drinking and the plastic wrapped snacks. 

What I’ve realized is that even though I can’t stop using all plastic, I’ve create an awareness around it so when someone hands me a shopping bag, I can politely say no thank you. I was in Target the day I was leaving to get a few last minute items for my trip and I opted to scan my items myself instead of waiting for a cashier. As we all can be at times, I was on autopilot as I was doing the self checkout. I’m so grateful that the register display asked me how many bags I brought. I had already started to fill a plastic bag and then removed them and put my items straight in my backpack. The convenience of the bags being right in front of me had me operating without thinking. I’ve already quit my drinking straw habit and now I’m focused on a replacement for my guilty pleasure, those handy ziplock bags.

Once we have awareness around the problem, we can start noticing our unhealthy habits and create new ones. This doesn’t mean that you beat yourself up for using a plastic bag, but don’t be so quick to throw them out. Definitely give it a second use and if your supermarket takes bags for recycling, make a new habit of bringing your collection of bags back to the store once a month.

There is a lot of great news out there where single use plastic items are being banned in other countries, which gives me hope that the US will follow suit sooner rather than later. I feel that ultimately this will become a problem of the past, but in the meantime, you don’t have to wait  for laws to be changed. By simply paying attention to the present moment and seeing your options: to decline plasticware with your take out food, bringing bags when you shop, or like me, just living without needing a straw everyday.

Please tell me, what is one category of plastic you can give up to help the environment?
 

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What Are We Doing?

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What Are We Doing?

On our last day in Nicaragua, we traveled from Monty’s to the El Limonel Dump in Chinandega to cook lunch and feed the families who were displaced here after a volcanic eruption devastated their village. It was about 95º and we were there to cook soup for the 200 families that called El Limonel home. 

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I had been hearing about the dump since I arrived in Nicaragua and I was trying to understand why a community was living there. One story was that they were sent temporarily during the evacuation and then forgotten about. I also heard that the community chose to stay. Either way, we were in a severely impoverished area and the sight of the old school bus we arrived on sent the kids chasing us through the streets. 

It’s always amazes me to see the pure joy that comes from those who have so little. In 2006, my mom and I traveled to Thailand and visited an orphanage. These kids were so much fun and full of happiness. I often wonder if the abundance we have created for ourselves and the accumulation of things is somehow connected to the millions who are suffering with depression.

I was relieved to see that we were preparing a soup from fresh vegetables and chicken, which we chopped up with rusty, dull and dented knives in a makeshift outdoor kitchen. The soup was cooking in three enormous cauldrons over a wood fire. While the soup was simmering, a group of us went to see the dump. Walking over to the dump, I saw some houses that had been made from cement blocks while others were more like what one might see in the impoverished areas of India. Makeshift dwellings that a swift wind could dismantle. Again, we were surrounded by children who wanted to hold our hands, get piggyback rides, all laughter and smiles.

 
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The sight of the dump stunned me. The first thing I thought was “What are we doing?” This dump, in a small area of a small country, was enormous. This country doesn’t even have close the resources and money that we have in America. It made me wonder how vast and full our dumps are in America that we never see. The garbage men just take it all “away”.

While trying to hide my tears behind my sunglasses, one of my friends was holding a girl who was about 4 years old. She lifted up my glasses, totally exposing me and I feared that she would think I was sad for her. I couldn’t be more wrong. All she wanted to do was make me smile again, and she succeeded.

We are a disposable society basing our choices primarily on convenience. I’m not excluding myself from this, I’m not pointing fingers. I am truly confused by how to proceed in my life that is so full already, and how to now make my choices that are both good for me AND for the planet. 

In my forthcoming posts and the Consciously Creating Clear Space book, I will share alternatives, ideas and strategies to strike a balance and always look for the win-win. For years I’ve been talking about donating things we no longer use to those who are in need, but there is a tremendous amount of waste I come across with my clients that has nowhere to go but the dump. It’s time for a shift and with that shift, new opportunities and solutions have to evolve.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what small shifts you can make to keep things out of the landfill.

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Cycles of Nature

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Cycles of Nature

A few weeks ago I went to the country to work on my book for a long weekend. I stayed at a lovely Airbnb where all I could hear were the birds and the river. I grew up in an area not far from this place and it was good to get back to my roots. 

As a child, I would spend a lot of time in the woods and revisiting that experience was like teleporting back to being a kid. The forest looked and smelled the same, moss and fungi covered stumps of trees, brambles and thorns to navigate, critters scurrying here and there. 

What was surprising to see were all of the enormous downed trees, pulled out by their roots. I can only imagine that this destruction was from Hurricane Irene or Sandy six or seven years ago. It got me thinking about how the earth is constantly changing, destruction and renewal. The past year there have been so many devastating natural disasters: floods, fires, mudslides and most recently the volcano eruption and earthquakes in Hawaii.

I’ve never thought much about volcanoes, as the only portrayal I’ve ever seen was a movie altered version of it. Seeing a video on Facebook of the slow ooze of the magma crossing a road and engulfing a car is enough to give me nightmares. 
 
Back in Nicaragua, one of our crazy adventures was to climb up an active volcano, Cerra Negro (Black Hill), and ride a board down it from the top. The ride down was fun, even if I ended up with a mouthful of ash. The highlight for me was the view during the climb up. It was a rare perspective to see the flow of lava from the past eruptions. Life was destroyed up until the point where the lava stopped flowing.

 
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Mother Nature clearly understands the need for renewal. I think we can learn a lot from her. It doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic, but letting go of the old stagnant energy in our lives is necessary for new growth. Many of my clients often talk about feeling stuck. The stagnant energy of clutter is like cement, holding us in place. We need to break it down so we can free ourselves and move on to the next stage of our lives. Holding onto our past doesn’t prevent us from growing older. It actually makes time pass us by.

In next week's post, I’ll be sharing another profound experience from Nicaragua when we visited a community that was displaced due to a volcanic eruption.

In the meantime, tell me, what area of your home is due for renewal?

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Baby Sea Turtles!

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Baby Sea Turtles!

It’s hard to believe how much has happened in my life since I started writing Consciously Creating Clear Space six months ago. Those who have been cheering me on in the Facebook group know that the title occurred to me several months ago and it still feels right. I’m currently in the editing phase which is a completely new process for me. The momentum has slowed a bit and I am doing my best to be patient with myself and get the message truly clear, motivational and relevant.

The most significant realization while writing is that I didn’t expect for the book to have a life of it’s own. My adventures unexpectedly gave me lessons that had to be included and expanded the scope of the message I am putting out into the world.

Last December, I traveled to Nicaragua with Chantelle Adams as part of her Courage Ignited retreat with 11 other women. These women are all up to great things in this world and Chantelle created a beautiful combination of business, fun and adventure.

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The absolute highlight of my trip was releasing baby sea turtles almost every evening at sunset, almost 1000 were released the week we were there. Donald Montgomery, founder of Monty’s Beach Lodge, created a hatchery on his property in hopes of keeping these beautiful creatures safe from extinction.

To be able to witness these creatures as they emerge from their shells was fascinating, they are ready to go from that first moment, instinctually tracking themselves towards the ocean. Their strength was surprising and I fell in love with each and every one of them.

We all seem to know about the plastic that washes up on the beaches and the “island of trash” floating out in the Pacific and more recently, in the Caribbean. I keep coming back to the thought that this is just the trash that is floating, the stuff that is visible. There is so much more garbage that we don't even talk about that is below the surface and all over the ocean floor.

We learned from Monty’s that only one in a thousand sea turtles will make it to adulthood. Sure, there are a lot of predators out there who will prey on them, but I became acutely aware that the disposable plastic straw that is offered to me for my iced coffee or green juice, that I don’t think much about, is a big factor in marine life. While I wouldn’t dream of littering or throwing plastic into the ocean, as a society we need to learn that by simply using these items, even when we dispose of them “correctly”, we are a part of the problem. 

The goal of Consciously Creating Clear Space is to help people learn how to live surrounded by only the things that light them up, how to create systems of order that work the way their brain does and live in a home environment that truly feels customized to them. In addition, I implore my readers to think globally with each purchase they are making or items they are unconsciously using. If we could all think a few steps ahead before we buy something, these very small shifts that we will hardly notice in our lives, have the power to save the planet.

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My commitment is to give up buying beverages to go while I’m out and about. I carry my reusable water bottle with me and I’ll be sure to have paper straws in my bag *just in case* I need a green juice on the run.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more about my Nicaraguan adventures and lessons, and more updates about the book. In the meantime, please tell me in the comments below: 

What is one small shift you can make in your life today?
 

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Clear Space - the book!

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Clear Space - the book!

Thanks for your patience as I’ve been diligently working on my book over the last 6 weeks. 

I will be on hiatus with the newsletters until the book is finished. Please watch the video for more information and join me in the Creating the Clear Space Book - Cheer Me On facebook group by clicking here. I'd love your support! ❤️

 
 

The newsletter will resume in the new year - hope you will join us in the group - have a great week!

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Horse Medicine

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Horse Medicine

Clear Space has been dark the past few weeks as I have been filling myself up with a family vacation and Soul Camp, both in the Adirondacks last month and Chantelle Adams Movement Maker’s Mastermind in Kamloops, BC last week. Spending time in these beautiful lakeside places, restores me to my core. I’ve been in the city half of my life now and I miss being in nature.

Chantelle’s retreat was for women business owners who she had worked with in the past and had a wonderful agenda for us. The goal being to create a profitable and sustainable timeline to grow our businesses all while holding each other accountable for our intentions over the next 5 months.

We had beautiful accommodations at her lake house. She brought in Dolores, an amazing chef, to cook our meals for us. Those of you who know how picky I am about food might be surprised to hear that I felt so taken care of with my 3 square meals each day. There were painting exercises, paddle board and kayak time on the lake and we were even graced by the presence of a bald eagle, it was *magic*

One of the activities planned was to have an intuitive session on a horse farm. I didn’t know what that meant, and I am still struggling to understand what really happened on that farm, but I had a major breakdown and breakthrough that I am still thinking about.

A little background for you: I love all creatures, but because of an early childhood experience, I am always quite wary of large hooved animals. I have ridden horses only a few times, and enjoyed it enough, but I’m always anxious to get up on the horse so I don’t have to stand next to it. When my mom and I traveled to Thailand ten years ago, while she was so happy talking to the elephant and connecting, I wanted to just get on the elephant so I could relax.

I grew up in a fairly rural area in the Hudson Valley, next door to a veterinarian who had many horses, Irish Wolfhounds and too many cats to keep track of. Down the road was an Angus Cattle farm and one day, when I was about 3-4 years old, a stampede of cattle came through my backyard. My family had about ¾ of an acre of land and I was at the farthest corner of my property by myself. The stampede was coming down my backyard, blocking the path for me to get to my parents who were on the back porch. They were yelling at me to stay where I was but the sound of the cattle was terrifying and I wanted the comfort of my parents. As I was prone to do, I didn’t listen and I started to run towards my house. Out of nowhere, my dog Bonnie, a border collie-sheepdog mix, herded the cattle away from me and surely saved my life. To this day, I remember the divots in my lawn being about 4” deep and I can’t imagine how my parents would have coped if we didn’t have that wonderful dog. If Oprah or Ellen had their platforms back then, Bonnie would have been a national hero.

Back to the horse session: In my mind, we were going to ride these horses, but instead, we were going into their pasture to observe and interpret how their actions mirrored our group and ourselves. The impatient New Yorker in me was getting frustrated watching these animals from a distance, I wanted to get the show on the road and see what was going to happen. I was reminded soon after to be careful of what you wish for because you just might get it.

Hillary Schneider, who owns the farm, suggested that we sit in the pasture and journal about our experience of what we had been witnessing. All I had to write were other people’s observations and I was noticing with frustration that somehow I seem to be more literal about things than I ever thought I was. While Hillary was talking in metaphors about the horses’ actions, I was struggling to make any meaning of it. I looked up from my blank journal and saw that the horses were slowly gravitating towards us and then more quickly. Before setting foot in the pasture, Hillary had briefed us on safety. I thought it was most dangerous to stand behind a horse, she explained that since they are prey animals (to bears and cougars in that area of the world) it’s much more dangerous to stand in front of them. If they get spooked, they will bolt straight ahead. Because of their eye placement, they can’t see directly in front of them. So, of course, this is all I could think about, other than watching for horse poop. Before I knew it, I was flanked by 2 horses with a third coming right at me, and how interesting that they all were black, just like the Angus cattle.

Since I’ve started my business, I have gotten used to looking fear in the face everyday and taking the step anyway. Chantelle recently had a Day Of Courage and I struggled with trying to identify a fear to conquer. I thought I was fearless. Haha, that’s funny to me now.

I was absolutely shocked to feel the compression in my chest and my inability to move as the horses descended upon me. I actually froze, had a complete flashback to the stampede and I was waiting to be rescued or told what to do. I can’t remember if the horses moved or I moved or someone dragged me out of it. When the herd left us, HIllary asked how that was for me, and I started to cry and told them my experience. Much to my surprise, Hillary asked, “so, in your life or work, when you are overwhelmed, what do you do?” Well, Hillary... as a matter of fact, I freeze.

This was an amazing revelation as I now have a new awareness around being overwhelmed and can clearly see how it plays out in my life. And like the many ways I teach about clearing space, awareness is the number one way to create a transformation. Earlier this year I learned a valuable lesson about learning to ask for help and I’m sure the lessons will continue to show up around this habit. I need to learn to communicate my needs effectively and create clear boundaries.

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Right when I thought this brilliant experience was over, a horse named Chief came to me (pictured to the left with me - photo credit: Chantelle Adams). He nuzzled my hands and wanted some love. Hillary said he didn’t like to be touched, so when I pulled my hands away, she said, “No, it’s okay, he’s asking for it”. He was so gentle and loving and exactly what I needed in that moment. I learned shortly thereafter that Chief rarely mingles with the humans, the other times Chantelle had been to this farm he kept to himself or was facing the woods. I got all choked up with Chief as I felt so connected to him, the first time I’ve ever felt connected to an animal of this size. It felt absolutely healing and magical.

Now, I realize that was all very me, me, me and it would be a shame to not share with you what we learned as a group during this session:

As we were approaching the herd, one horse would look up to check us out. We would stop to respect the fact that we were coming onto their turf. This happened 3- 4 times along the way. Turns out the rest of the group was feeling as impatient as I was and someone observed that once we stopped waiting for them and focused on journaling, the horses arrived. This highlighted to us that when we focus inwardly rather than looking for approval or our next gig, the clients show up.

Jack, who we learned was lower in the pecking order, broke away from the pack and closer to us. We observed him getting pushed around by a couple of horses and Jack kicked at them. Hillary explained that horses don’t hold grudges, they let go of the moment and get back to grazing. We discussed that it’s time to step out and be the leader and not focus on what’s going on in the background.

Another great analogy for those who struggle with everyday annoyances that end up taking over your mind for the rest of the day (week...year…)

Be like the horse, shake it off and get on with it.

You can learn more about:

Chantelle Adams here: www.chantelleadams.com

Hillary and Horse Medicine here: http://www.epona-rise-retreats.com/ and www.horsemedicineleadershipacademy.com

 

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Storage strategy

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Storage strategy

 

Happy Thursday, 

Tomorrow I'm organizing a storage space for a client. This video explains my plan. Next week I'll let you know how it went.

Have a fantastic weekend! 

 

P.S. Soul Camp is less than 2 weeks away and I would love to see you there! Give yourself the gift of self-care and fun! Here's a link to save $100. Monthly payment plans available :)

 

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Disconnect to Reconnect

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Disconnect to Reconnect

 

Happy Thursday!

This week I'm sharing a special offer for Soul Camp. If you have been curious about Soul Camp or really feel the need to disconnect and recharge, check out my video for more information.

Here's the link I mention for the discounted price: https://soul.camp/smith-banfield

Hope to see you there and have a wonderful weekend!

 
 

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Breakdown to Breakthrough

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Breakdown to Breakthrough

 

Happy Thursday!, 

This week I'm feeling much like my clients do when we work together: overwhelmed, scared and hopeful.

Watch this week's video to hear all about it.

The times they are a changin'!

Have a fabulous weekend!

 
 

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Moving Tips!

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Moving Tips!

 

Happy Thursday,

Check out this week's video about the top 2 most valuable items needed when planning a move.

Have an amazing weekend!

 
 

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