Posts Tagged ‘making room for change’

Shopping is a Killer Hobby

I need to get out of the house so I go to the mall. The only thing to do at the mall is spend money. It’s the same thing everywhere. But what would happen if we saved this money – didn’t get the Jamba Juice, and the dress that was on sale? The word ‘sale’ is trouble. I’ve always been troubled by it. If it’s on ‘sale’ then it must be a good deal. Half the time it’s still marked up way too high, but with the bright red sale sign staring at me, I am sold.

This is relevant because buying stuff is what creates clutter. We don’t think about what we have, what is good in our life. We think about what we need and what will make life better. We enjoy taking things out of their wrappers, but then have the disappointment of what to do next. Sometimes we even go and buy more. It’s our culture.

This is where we have to think a lot. Think about what we have. Think about what in life really makes us happy. When we buy a lot of stuff we are happy leaving the store but we can also be followed by guilt. And what happens when we need gas in the car or want to take a friend out to lunch? These are important, but require extra money. When we consider all of our money extra, we spend it, and then we don’t have money for the important things. That’s what brings us into debt. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned. This could not be truer. The best way to have money is to not spend it. However, if you are anything like me you are good at justifying every purchase.

This is a painful subject. It comes down to what happens when you find a great deal on something… but it’s something you already have. What do you do? The average person would buy it just because it’s a great deal. Maybe they can give it to a friend or re-sell it. But the chances are we end up keeping it. It becomes clutter.

It’s one thing to learn how to let go. However if we can learn to not gather stuff we are set for life. Buying stuff is built into many peoples systems. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s something to think about. When you go to the store, fill your cart with whatever you want. But when it’s time to go to the check stand, challenge yourself to see how much of it can go back on the shelf.

Color and the New Year

I’m drawing a blank when it comes to this new year. I feel like I should write something inspirational. I guess get ready for spring cleaning! It’s really dark outside in Olympia, Washington. The best advice I have is to eat good food, take care of yourself, and enjoy the color that we do have. Put colors in your home that make you happy and uplift you.

Omega Institute of Holistic Studies

One day my mom got a catalog in the mail from Omega Institute. This was the only issue she ever received and we have no idea how she ended up on the mailing list. She showed it to me after she flipped though it and noticed that my favorite folk singer Arlo Guthrie was running a writing workshop. My heart skipped. She also showed me the page where it said they hire people to work at the institute. Working there meant you got a discount on one workshop.

A few months later I was hired and packed, had saved money for a plane ticket to New York, and was on my way to go work thirty-hours a week and live in a tent in the woods. Omega is a heavenly retreat center with everything you could imagine – fake sand next to a lake you can swim in, a spa, library, multiple gardens to walk in, meditation areas, vegetarian food, endless holistic workshops, yoga to the max, and much-much more.

Living in a tent was an experience. I was a hike away from a bathroom. I had a co-ed shower with no curtain. Working in the kitchen and housekeeping were hard work. I had to mop vast floors and serve food to hundreds of people at once. However, it was all I could eat, and when I wasn’t sweating in the kitchen I was walking around in paradise. Amazing spiritual speakers from all places come to Omega and help to make it a magical place. I could have never afforded to attend Omega, but my motivation to get there was strong enough that I found another way in. I ended up encountering two famous people. I had a strange conversation with the director of the movie Amélie, and ‘I spied with my little eye’ the character Janice from the television show Friends. I also got to meet Alex Grey who is an amazing artist and does a lot of artwork for the band Tool.

Hard work pays off. I got to meet Arlo Gurthrie, confess my undying love to him and even get a hug. The workshop was dry because Robert Bly was there and I’m not a huge fan. They were talking about how to put poetry into music. I wanted to say… “well, Bob Dylan and Hip-hop have already been there, done that”, but being one of the only females in the workshop, it was hard to get a word in.  But I had followed my heart and dream and managed to get to New York. The whole time I sat five feet away from Arlo. My mission was accomplished.

I wanted to share with you a few photos from my trip to New York because it was a beautiful place that meant a lot. After three hot summer months in a tent I was a different person. Just thinking about the trip makes me insanely nostalgic. The point of this blog is a cheesy one about following your dreams. Sometimes you have to take a chance. This chance brought clarity to my life. It can be hard to take chances when you are tied down to emotion, physical stuff, a career. Still, there are smaller ways to make changes. It’s good to keep your eye out for the possibility of who knows what.

California Christmas Inferno – What is a holiday?

My ex-boyfriend’s parents were multi-millionaires. The reason I mention this is because it was my ‘class issue’ holiday.  They disliked my dating their son Zach. I usually get along with just about everyone. This whole holiday shocked me to the core. There was no welcome mat. They were socially forced to involve me in their festivities (Christmas dinner, gift opening, and even family photos).

I was in an episode of the twilight zone. Zach and I went to pick up the homemade holiday dinner. This meal was not made at home. It was made by a family business that makes Christmas dinners every year for people who can afford it. Seeing as I was in new territory I peeked over the counter at the check. It was five hundred dollars. I can’t describe the feeling I had at that moment. Seeing as Zach’s mom doesn’t cook this was their tradition. It was perfect. The food was a complete meal, but lacked heart.

The gift opening was embarrassing because my gifts for Zach (even the handmade one) were upstaged and looked at awkwardly by his parents. It is difficult to shop for someone who has everything. I was blessed with the gift of a romantic engraved ipod.

Everything was perfect, expensive, immaculate and filled with disappointment. The underlining factor was that the parents were disappointed that I existed, sad that their kids were not following in their footsteps. Zach took the role of the whiney kid. I’ve never seen an adult go so quickly from normal adult to childhood regression. They didn’t drink, so everyone was over-eating to compensate for the lack of conversation. I felt uncomfortable through the whole visit.

There is nothing wrong with having money. And every family has their own personal dysfunction. There is a positive spin to this. Maybe I’m trying to talk more about ‘what not to do’. I want to talk about finding the heart of the holiday. You can follow a rulebook or take things as they come.

I ask the question ‘what is a holiday?’ I’m not even sure. It could be family, food, consumerism, the showing of love, festive feelings, trying to reenact our childhood, trying to give our children something to remember. In my last story-blog Christmas, it was about the food, drinking and fighting. That was the normal they were happy with. For Zach’s family it was about covering up what each person was really thinking, and expressing things in passive aggressive ways. For me, I think a holiday is about cookies and lights, and maybe a little reenacting of my childhood. I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m sure it’s different for each person.

Please comment and let me know what a holiday is or means to you.

– Thank you


When we walk into our home after a long day of work we should never have to feel depressed or overwhelmed. I’m not going to go over the reasons we sometimes feel this way. I want to say something about light, and the ultimate outcome of bringing light into our homes. Look at this picture and please comment about how it makes you feel or what you see in it.

This picture is cluttered but at the same time looks clean and is full of light. When I look at it I think ‘I want to walk down that street’. It’s nice to feel that way at home. The feeling of walking in the door and feeling comfortable or comforted.

The reason I like this picture is because of the energy and light I see in it. I also feel movement when I look at it. Making a home beautiful is one thing, making it functional, with beautiful movement would be ultimate.

What is the movement like in your home?

How is the light in your home?

Is your home clean enough that you can feel uplifted when you walk in the door?

If these areas need improvement this is a good place to start. For me living in Washington it’s a battle to have the right kind of light that makes a home feel warm and functional. However there is hope and many different things one can do to improve their light and warmth.

When I clutter clear I also house clean on a deep level. The two things together make for the most efficient path to long-term success.

Please let me know what you think!