Usually it’s in the context of physical decluttering — that spiritual review of everything you have that helps you get real about what you keep, and helps you see the opening to release what no longer serves you. Physical decluttering is so healing to do once a season. Like this: Pick up every single thing you own, one room at a time (don’t forget your car, your garage, if you have these), look at it, and ask your true heart:
And if the answer to all three questions is No, release that thing. Give it away, donate it or just throw it away. Create space. Here is one blogpost I’ve written on physical decluttering and here’s one more.
Okay, wait. This will (probably) make sense (if it doesn’t I’m sorry, and thanks for helping me work through this). Let’s look.
You’ll notice that I didn’t say “managing time.” When you make the shift from thinking you can manage time (you probably can manage time as effectively as you can manage, say, the ocean) to managing yourself, you take the first big and powerful step towards living in integrity.
“Our relationship to time is what it is because we lie to ourselves about what we are and what we can do and we hide from ourselves what we are meant to be and what we are meant to serve.”
— Jacob Needleman, Time and the Soul
It means living an accountable life. It means doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, and when the unexpected happens (and the unexpected does happen, often) letting those who are affected by the change in your timetable know what’s going on, as quickly as possible. Example: You’re on your way to meet a prospective client, and you get in your car, turn the key, and oops the car doesn’t start. Your first call is to road service, or your mechanic. Your second call? Yup, it’s to your prospect, telling her or him that you are dealing with car trouble and need to reschedule. This is accountability, yo. But wait, there’s more!
I’m a lifelong spiritual student and practitioner. In the last twelve years, since I’ve been working with women as a coach and supporting them in their branding, my commitment to spirituality has deepened in many ways.
Yet, for many of those years, I found myself keeping some of my more arcane sacred practices veiled from my business interactions and offerings. Looking back now, it makes sense… I came from years of corporate graphic design work, and there were few to zero models for authenticity and transparency among my colleagues and clients.
In the last year or so, as I work more and more with my own heart-centered business coach, and study with teachers who live and work with transparency, I have come to realize that it’s time for me to step out from behind the veils. I know that I can best serve my own clients by parting the veils and sharing myself 100% as I am.
“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
— Dalai Lama
Although I am not looking to enroll anyone in any of my spiritual paths or practices, I carried around a fear that some revelations might be too big, too woo-woo for people to take.
I was operating under a belief (that I no longer think is valid) that my business offering and my spiritual path should be separate. No overlap. With walls and moats between, please. This was because I simply didn’t know — hadn’t seen, hadn’t imagined — that there could be a way to bring my open-hearted most loving spirituality into my business in an integrated way.
I thought that my coaching and design clients would resist and misunderstand suggestions to deepen and broaden their connection to spirit. Ummm…. not true!
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
— Mother Teresa (1910–1997); Founder of the Missionaries of Charity
I have always talked about having a big toolbox full of practices. Now I’m upending my own toolbox and sharing with you the spiritual awesome that makes up what I deliver from my heart in my work.
I have experienced some profound changes, and I’m doing everything I can to hold on to them as I slowly return to health.
Overnight, I stopped multi-tasking (I could barely single-task) and I started experiencing mindfulness in an entirely new way. Since my energy was so massively compromised, I had to choose every action with intention. I no longer had the bandwidth to watch TV and play games on my iPad at the same time. I had to plan every trip to the kitchen. When I grabbed some food to eat, I sat down and ate it. No reading, no iPad, no TV.
Priorities had changed. This is a gift. When would I — when would anybody — even think to sit down and review every single habit?
Many of my habits have dropped away or completely changed. I no longer drink strong green tea round the clock. In fact I no longer seem to be dependent upon caffeine. I’m having a cup of green tea today, by choice, not habit. What? One more: I now drive around with my windows open, something I never ever did in the 20 years I’ve lived in California. I have no idea how or why this happened.
Remember, I had just come back from a month’s vacation, and I ended up in the hospital four days after I got home. It had been really difficult for me to take the break. This is the second time in my career that I had taken a long vacation. By the time I got home I was eager to get back to work. And then — oops! — to have to tell my clients that I’m out of commission, and to have it last so long!
I couldn’t have made it without the love and loving (and sometimes stern) admonishments my clients and colleagues kept heaping on me. What a gift to be able to surrender to what is.
I watched myself resist what was happening. How could this be happening to me? (Oy, I have such inflated ideas about myself, superhero solopreneur, single woman who lives alone and takes care of herself!)
In the five days between hospitalizations, as I got sicker and sicker, I finally began to shed the layers of denial and resistance. And when the moment arrived when I needed to get back into the hospital, I allowed a friend to come and take me.
No matter what I think —what I like to think — about my self-care, my strength, my health, I had to get humble, the sooner the better. Humility and acceptance allow me to surrender to the moment, as it is. That’s where the healing can really begin.
You know I meant to get back to work — back to you — after my road trip with so much to show you of California’s breathtaking views and vistas.
I planned to share inspiring interactions, road stories, humbling lessons learned, the love and joy of deep connections made. Really I did.
I planned to get back to my by-now very patient and generous clients, who were kind enough to bless my journey in the first place and who have been nothing but loving since I got sick. I thought I knew what was next, that it was time to start our active collaborations again.
I have just a few thoughts to share with you today, from my big grateful heart. I write so much about gratitude because I’ve learned what a huge game changer it is. For me, it is so good to express gratitude — so I can stay connected to my path even in [ahem] slightly trying situations and so I can be a useful participant in my own care team.
My plan of the moment is to resume my New and Full Moon posts once I’m home. Just too technical for here in the hospital. Even a short blog like this takes hours, because I’m writing in code, no WYSIWIG.
I invite you to comment! let me know how this lands, share your story. This is a great opportunity for our conversation to be deep and healing. Thank you!