It’s been a year: She did it!!!

IMG_2465Cannot believe it, but it’s true. One year ago today, I colored my hair for the last time. In the months that followed I have had ups and downs, but have managed to keep my cool and go on. Must say once again: I love my new look!!! My hair shines, has a life of its own and I feel liberated.

Have you seen those Daily Horoscopes that come as junk into your email? I receive one everyday. Do not open them, just read the introductory sentence and delete them. Never believe in horoscopes, but find them intriguing. So many people follow these messages and do nothing without consulting them. In my case, more than once I have found these title sentences match my mood, my challenges on that day or simply I can relate to them. Who would have known!!! Today my message said: NEW FREEDOMS. How appropriate.

In the past year, I have encountered very positive reactions, but have also seen smirks, half smiles and some head shakes. What to do. Life is not meant to be lived by other people standards. Keeping positive about this has taught me more about myself than I could have learned any other way.

I want to thank my friends that encouraged me, the ones that told me I look great and they wish they were brave enough do the same and the ones that have praised my courage. I also want to thank the ones that predicted doom and gloom and old age, the ones that tried to make me see the error of my ways and the ones that told me this would never come to anything…..I would just give up and color my hair again. Most importantly, I want to thank everyone for following my journey. Thank you so much for being there with good advise or warnings. Thank you for your praise or your subtle mockery. I feel wonderful and I feel better than I have in years!!!!

One more time, here is my journey in pictures:IMG_0858

Just when I decided to go grey, as you can see I look a bit surprised!!!  Was not exactly sure if I was doing the right thing or what color would be uncovered after so many years of coloring. Glad I didn’t pay attention to those thoughts.

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Then I had grey roots, not a good look, but I was still determined. After all, my hair was still long and I could pull it back in a ponytail!!! This was the worst time. I really needed some help.

 

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Camille came to the rescue and I was treated to highlights. They looked fantastic and gave me a few weeks of peace of mind.

 

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Of course, soon enough I had to make another decision. I found out that what I needed was lowlights!!! Another trip to the salon and the first haircut. Not unhappy about the results and I gained another few weeks of relative peace.

 

Not a dull moment…….I needed another haircut because I was running out of patience with my multicolor hair. Was very pleased with the results and the time that I was given. Unfortunately,  we uncovered a problem….too much blond on one side, too much grey on the other. It seemed like I was destined to forgo my idea of doing this without cutting my hair too short.IMG_1800

 

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 “In for a penny, in for a pound” as the Brits say. Another haircut took care of the multicolor look.

Finally, I have a full head of grey hair…….short grey hair…… but the color is gone!!! Yeah!!!!! I am so glad I tossed that bottle, so glad I listened to myself. As challenges go, this was not as difficult as I thought. It was not as easy either. One thing is certain: I have found ME and I love her. Now to let my hair grow, enjoy the new me and share the results.IMG_2459

 

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Tossing Out Control!!!

DSC00706Yes, the time has come and not too soon. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be controlling.……if you know me, you know. Having some saying in what is going on around me is important to me. Well, at least it was until recently. Don’t get me wrong, I have not achieved this tossing yet, but I am listening. I still have to bite my tongue sometimes when I think I know best and should enlighten my family, friends, even strangers. A very annoying practice indeed……

In our quest to control, we lose sight of the fact of people’s reaction to our interference. All we see is that we know the answer, we know best, we can help if only people listen. A control freak just doesn’t see beyond his/her nose. Consequently, we seem out of touch. Still, we are so caught up in our own world, we fail to understand what is going on. Being in control is too much of a high!!!

For me, coming to the decision to toss out control, was gradual. I kept feeling that my comments and suggestions were not longer accepted of sought or even listened to!!! Comments from family and friends, nicely phrased and generally gently delivered, were becoming more common. There was no mistaking the obvious: I was overstepping into their lives. More importantly, I could be undermining their self-confidence. What a discovery……and why did it take so long?

IMG_1088Now, when it came to just everyone else, I was doing the same. If I heard a comment, if I read an opinion…….I was ready to put out my take on the situation. It was something I did without thinking and I was not always gentle about it. Of course, it is human to have opinions, it is alright to have different opinions or solutions to a given problem, but we must never assume ours is better or right or more important.

This takes me to another subject: being right. I remember arguments that were so unnecessary, so unimportant. The need to be right, to correct what we see as mistakes could be very powerful…….and irrelevant. Even if our solution or opinion could save the world, there would still be others out there who would disagree. So tossing out control, should go hand in hand with tossing out being right!!

In the end, what has fueled the need to toss out control and listen to a new way has been the fact that when we try to control everything, we enjoy nothing. We get caught up in our own world, we don’t listen to others, we can become isolated from our family and friends even if we see them everyday. Besides, there is much to enjoy and much to share.

This will be a challenge, no doubts about it. Something I have done for years and felt I was right in doing so needs to change. The time has come to accept others know what they are doing, their opinions might be right or wrong, but it’s not of my business. Everyone has to live their lives as they see fit and no amount of interfering will change that fact.

As with everything I am tossing in my life, I need to balance it with listening to a new idea, a new way and a new perspective. This time I am listening to others, paying attention to what they say and mean. This give and take has served me well so far as I continue to learn and to grow. In the end, it all will be for the best!!!

 

P.S. I used to buy orchid plants in bloom. So I needed new ones all the time, now I care for them and they keep blooming. Thought I share…….there is a lesson here too!!

What I learned in Baltimore!!!! (Part two)

P1150992I am afraid of flying, something I don’t see changing in the near future, but that is another post, another challenge. It gets so bad, just buying my ticket gets me into a panic mode. Short trips are the worst, all the anxiety without time in between to relax for the next leg of the trip. So our weekend trip to Baltimore presented its challenges. Fortunately, I have decided to Toss and Listen. In other words, a time for learning and I did.

These are simple and obvious lessons that I never spent time considering before. What was I thinking?

I don’t have to take part in any planning to enjoy the trip!! Camille and Frankie planned the whole thing with Frank’s help. After years of involvement in planning vacations, this was the best lesson. Yes, they can plan and execute without me having to decide or arrange anything. Tickets were bought, hotel reservations made, where were we going for dinner or what attractions to visit: all planned to the last detail. Splendid! All I had to do was pack my suitcase. There was something to learn from that as well.

You can take everything you need for a weekend trip in just a carry-on bag. You might think this was a given…..but then you don’t know me well. I dislike dragging a bag, pass all the TSA inspectors at the airport and then take it on board, lift the thing up to the overhead compartment, take it down when you arrive. I have refused to do this for ages. On a short trip, I’ve learned finally, this is better. Who would have known? Now, there is a trick in the packing for a short trip.

Pack only what you need. Yes, another news flash. Mix and match clothing, shoes that are comfortable and stylish, preferably two pairs only. I always pack so much, for every trip. The reality is: do not carry three sweaters if two are enough! Nowadays, all toiletries come in travel sizes: take advantage!!! If not, use the ones offered by the hotel. Travel size make-up and perfume are also available! Time to accept the inevitable.

These three seem so obvious, you might be laughing at this point. For me, these were lessons I had refused to learned for years. Leaving the planning to others was the easiest to learn. I can get used to that AND probably will. The carry-on bag and the selective packing were a bit harder, but I can do that as well. After all, if I have to carry the suitcase, I might as well pack light!!

Once we got past the planning and packing, there was the flight and the hotel. Relax with a drink as soon as you get on the plane and if the flight is bumpy……you’d not feel a thing! The hotel is another thing:  I like nice, fluffy pillows and enough covers to keep me warm. The bed should not be hard and I am picky about the room, the size, the temperature, what to do?. So you will not be surprised by what’s next.

I am too old to give up my comforts!!! This is not a lesson in itself, just a realization, but it is SO important. For years, I have been a bit accepting, telling myself: it’s a short trip, I only go to the room to sleep, we can compromise.  Well, I finally accepted that there are things in life you don’t compromise on. Let’s change rooms if we don’t like the first one we get. Ask for fresh towels everyday, sorry about the environment! Once you have the room you need, make good use of it.

Go back to the hotel during the day and take a nap. I am sure some of you think this is a given. It usually is on long trips, but never on short trips. After all, we are there for a short time, let us walk and visit and do as much as possible…we’ll rest later. Not anymore: if I walk all day and visit every museum and attraction, I’d be in NO condition to go out and enjoy my dinner….and I’ll be cranky!  Logically, get back, kick off your shoes and take a power nap before going out again. It works beautifully, especially if the weather is not to your liking. Age has it benefits, don’t forget it. You don’t have to look old or feel old, you just have to take advantage of the age thing.

Slow down and sit down if needed!!! Where is it written that you have to keep up? Traveling is a pleasure, not a marathon. Walk ahead and sit on that comfortable bench, they will come to you in time. Put your feet up while admiring a painting or sculpture. Sit down and have a cup of tea or a drink while others wander around. These are nothing new, but before, I felt a bit guilty doing them: not anymore. Accept your limitations and you’ll enjoy yourself more, trust me! I have nothing to prove to anyone and it feels great.

In keeping with my early proposal of taking each moment and make it the best it can be, I will apply these lessons when I travel from now on. Who knows, traveling might be easier and less stressful for me and whoever travels with me. That is the best lesson I learned in Baltimore!!!

2014 and How to keep your Resolutions!!!

It’s a New Year and as in every year, we make resolutions. We tell ourselves that we have been given the chance to start over and make things work out this time around. Unfortunately, it is a small minority sticking to their resolutions. I often wondered why…such good intentions and nothing to show for them at the end of the year. There must be a reason, I said, and what I found was: we take the big picture, trying to carry out too much and failing in doing so. Try one thing at a time, one day at a time.

There is also that we are not taking the real meaning of the word into consideration. I might be absolutely wrong on this one, won’t be the first time. Still, a small voice tells me I might be unto something this year. What are resolutions, after all? Here is the definition:

res·o·lu·tion
ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/
noun
plural noun: resolutions
1.
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
2.
the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
“the peaceful resolution of all disputes”

It is fairly clear, isn’t it? Resolutions are good intentions, aims we mean to meet….but wait….there is another meaning. Resolutions are actions of solving problems!!! Now things get clear. We need to take action to achieve, we need to act to solve. With this in mind, let the New Year begin.

Writing things down always helps me. Making lists is still very much a part of my life, let’s write what we want from this New Year. I don’t know about you, but I believe we must know what we want before we can have it. If you don’t know, you will wander aimlessly, wasting time and energy.

Please do not write things like: I want to lose weight, I want a new job, I want to travel. Being vague will get you nowhere. Be specific: I need to get in shape, so I am signing up for yoga or Pilates this week. Same thing applies when you want to travel: I will visit my friend in Holland in the Spring. Then start making this possible: investigate ticket prices, dates you can go. Or if you want a new job: how much you want to earn, are you ready to get into something you really love? Make inquiries about the possibility of changing jobs. Be positive and do your research!

We also tend to ignore our inner selves. We don’t pay attention anymore to what makes us happy. That is a big mistake. Our younger selves used to take risks and try new things. Nowadays, we are more serious and cautious, more careful….and not happy!! Listen and make yourself do small things at the beginning: change your hair color or get a new haircut, buy that dress that makes you feel sexy, treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure. A visit to the salon will do wonders for your self-esteem, I should know. The new me is going grey and my hair has movement and shine. Have a drink with a girlfriend on a week night…small steps. Follow your intuition.

In this time and age, we tend to be so negative. Always focusing in what is wrong with our lives, with our jobs, with our family…..maybe it is the fact that what is wrong is what sells. Everyone focuses on the negative. Toss all that: how about finding out what are you doing right that is making you healthier? or what is happening in your life that is making you happy? Seems nobody is interested, well, you should be. Sit and write these positive things. I am starting a diary about the positive changes I will be making this year and how my life becomes better!!! I will be sure I keep up my Gratitude Journal. Remember the craze about this in the 1990s? It was a brilliant idea, we should start the trend again!!!

Finally, remain in the present. There is nothing we can do about the past, except learn from it!! Some of us just don’t want to look too far into the future, it can be uncertain. That is true, but we can do things now to shape it to our advantage. Take time to get to know what you want, it’s never too late. Trust yourself and follow your passion. Enjoy every day and every moment. This year is a blank book, fill it with the best stories you have written yet and keep making memories…..

Stress-Free Thanksgiving

imagesThis is the time to give thanks. We should do this everyday, but the idea of millions gathering with family and friends to give thanks for the blessings they have received, it’s amazing!! It gives us a warm feeling, so we celebrate. Of course, as with everything else we do as a celebration, Thanksgiving comes with much planning and hard work. Most people love precisely that and thrive on the stress and anxiety of it all. Good for you, I say.

However, this is not the case with many of us. After years of celebrating at home and stressing for days, we want something different. For the ones that find this holiday overwhelming, let’s find a better way. Yes, why not take charge of the celebration and do it your way. You still want to share with your family, right? There is a way and you can do it.

Toss aside the stress, hassle and hard work of the holiday. Listen instead to this idea for a family gathering with all the warmth of sharing with the people you love. Plan a pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner. It is not a novel idea, but it’s ideal. You’ll see. The planning would be all you do. Make a list of everyone attending. Make another list of the things that would be needed: main courses, appetizers, desserts, drinks, plates and cutlery, napkins and such. Send these lists to everyone. Flatter the ones that love to cook into bringing their favorite dishes. The ones that do not cook can bring the rest! Remember to ask for volunteers for setting up and cleaning up. Make it fun, getting people involved and excited. You’ll enjoy the day and this could be the last year you cook and stress and end up exhausted!!

This is possible, believe me!!! Since my husband and I are empty nesters, we do not celebrate at home. I did this for years because this is my favorite holiday. Nowadays, the thought of cooking for more than four people sends me into a panic attack!! Thankfully, now that we live in Miami, we have been offer a solution. We join his very large family. I prepare a dish, we bring some wine and help with anything once we get there. We spend some time with them and partake of the goodies in moderation. We then go to my sister Ana. She is a wonderful cook and loves to entertain and her husband is a great host. The gathering is much smaller, we savor the excellent food and drinks, conversation is relaxed. We come home sated and happy. Perfect!!!

Civility…..is it dead?

14_14This I have learned and continue to learn:  Civility has been tossed out the window and very few people seem to mind. Am I being old-fashioned? Am I showing my age? Well, so be it. It is driving me to distraction. Why can’t people be civil? It is an undeniable truth: good manners can get you results.

There is no age in good manners and there is nothing wrong with behaving with civility. Cannot be blamed only on the fact that technology has taken over. Yes, communicating via mobile phones, emails, social networks, has become a way of life. That is all fantastic, it’s the future, it’s the world moving forward. Still, I feel this has made us forget human contact. Face to face exchanges have become so rare, eye contact almost non-existent. Let’s not mention the need to exchange ideas with spoken words.

Exchanging ideas, there is another casualty. Answering curtly is the rule of the day. Could it be that this is the way we behave when we live in big places? There is no time to get to know each other, no desire to exchange pleasantries, not need to be nice. That is sad and frustrating. Too much to do, too little time!

Big cities don’t lend themselves to warm relationships. All work and no play is a way of life. We commute from home to work. Once there, we deal with deadlines, demanding boss, competition. Commute back home. When we get there, we need to solve every crisis that has presented itself during the time we were away at work. We need to complete tasks started before we can start new ones. Then we sit to watch the 24 hours cable news, comedies, dramas, sport events and other so called entertainment. Sitting around the dinner table is a thing of the past, and if it happens…there is little to talk about. We are cranky, upset, tired and have no patience for anyone. No wonder we explode in uncivil behavior.

When we are outside the home, we behave in the same manner. We are impatient and rude and want to get our way quickly before we move on to another thing. Is it me or shopping has become a chore most of us dread? Rude sales people, rude customers and all done at high speed! Nothing is done at a leisurely pace, there is no time. We must remember that civilization comes from civility. How is civilization going to survive is civility is the first casualty of modernization?

This is unfortunate because you can get so many things done, so much accomplished when you’re civil! Let’s listen and get back to simple things, paying attention to what is said to us before we react. We have to remember how to answer, how to ask for things and how to say please and thank you. How to smile at people!  Try it, it will surprise you!!!

No is a Complete Sentence: Be Assertive

This is a very hard one: a challenge women face everyday, no matter where they live and who they are. Every woman I know seems to be always saying yes when she means no. Women have been programmed to meet everyone else’s needs leaving their own unattended. It is nothing we are doing wrong, or something we do to ourselves. It is just the way it has been and is for so many of us. It’s time to toss that concept, don’t you think?

At this stage of my life, I feel I owe myself more time, more dedication, more care. Don’t you feel the same way? There is nothing wrong with that, no matter how badly we feel about it. Consequently, we need to start becoming assertive.

Now, that is a tricky word. This is how Collins English Dictionary defines it:

assertive [əˈsɜːtɪv]adj

1. confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views

2. given to making assertions or bold demands; dogmatic or aggressive

You can imagine……more than a few of us would have a problem with this. We do not want to appear too bold or aggressive, or too set in our ways. Absolutely out of the question! Even worse, we do not want to rock the boat and put our family, friends or co-workers on the defensive. An absolute conundrum, isn’t it? Until we carefully listen and weight the alternative: giving in, agreeing to things we don’t want to do, adding more stress to our lives and who knows what else. Oh, no!!!

So let’s start with a simple fact: No is a complete sentence. It might be the shortest sentence in any language, but a sentence it is, trust me! As someone said: it doesn’t require justification or explanation. Of course, some will tell me that we also need to be polite. If you feel this way, add something like: No, I have commitments or No, I am very busy at the moment. Use your judgement.

Throughout our lives, we have been so conditioned to try to please everyone, to keep the peace, to be agreeable and understanding that we have forgotten to set boundaries. Yes, you read right.  We may have to consider assertiveness a challenge, but boundaries are essential to our well-being!

Setting boundaries can be stressful and can take time.  Like anything else in life, we need to approach this with full knowledge that we can loose friends, upset family members, make our co-workers suspicious. You are going to be changing the way the game has been played and most people are not good at change. It comes with the territory, so don’t fret.

First things, first: what bothers you most? what stresses you more often?  Be truthful, it’s the only way. Family is usually the biggest culprit. You are always available, always there for them and this is exhausting! Start with simple things: it’s your yoga lesson night, dinner will be whatever they prepare. It’s a movie you really do not want to see, stand firm in saying you rather stay home and read. Most families will be understanding, but there will be the ones that would not accept the new you easily. Just keep at it!

Our friends are up there too. Toxic friendships, a term that is now everywhere, can drag you down and make your life stressful. These friendships are not good for us, but it is very hard to break a pattern. We all know them: the friend that needs constant advise, the one that needs a shoulder to cry on. Ask yourselves, are they there for you in the same circumstances? No?, then you have to start setting those boundaries. Real friendship will survive them, if not…..good riddance!

Finally, our co-workers….in these times when financial uncertainty is a reality we will be tempted to shy away from saying NO. That would a mistake, unless you think your job is at risk. If not, use the same idea. Start small: No, I can’t do this for you today, I have a lot on my plate or No, I will not be able to stay after hours today, I have an appointment. The ones that will get the message are the ones worth having a work relationship with, you’ll see.

This exercise will lead us to a very important place: a place where we respect and like ourselves. So, by all means be assertive, learn to say NO!!!

Reinvent, Move On and Dare

Have you noticed? There seems to be a recurring theme for a lot of people these days. Everyone has a different reason, but the result is the same: when in doubt: reinvent! This happens to be a great idea, if we take the time to think about it without fear. It is a big challenge for me, but I have to admit that it has some allure.

Research conducted in the USA has discovered that we are limited by our imagination. We have an idea of what happened at anytime in our lives and we rarely try to see if it really happened that way. What to do? It’s human nature, it seems. We are set in our ways and hate taking risks. Most of our decisions were taken because they were safe, whatever that means. We craved acceptance, so being different and taking risks, were not really the thing to do. Did you really chose your career or your lifestyle based on your passion? Did you really see the purpose of your life when you started? Some of us did, of course, but they were the minority, trust me. Most of us just chose what was acceptable and practical because we didn’t know ourselves well when we decided. I know I didn’t!!!

Then we hit our middle years. We suddenly realize we have another life ahead of us, we think of the choices we have made and pause. Maybe they were not exactly what we should have done, maybe we played it safe, maybe there is a new opportunity to do it right: reinvent. Perfect, go for it, we say……then, not so fast, we think. What do I really want at this time and is this reinventing worth it?

Doubts creep into our minds: I can’t do that, I’m too old to try this, what would people think, how will my family react, it’s too risky…have I covered every excuse? Maybe you have some others just as important sounding or as logical, you think. Well, we are all wrong! To reinvent ourselves, all we need is the desire to do so. All we need to do is listen! We know ourselves well by now, we have confidence and passion, we know our purpose, we can do this. We are not going to change who we are, reinventing is not changing, we are going to live as we truly are. Not as the world sees us, as our friends and family see us, but as we really are inside. Toss your old self and go for it, I say.

Once you have decided that reinventing is the way to go…..move on with the idea. There is no point on coming to a conclusion and then…just letting the ball drop. Absolutely not the thing to do. You need to step up and make your plan come to fruition. To do that, you need to dare, not easy I do know. Most of us were not brought up by parents that actually preached this. Think back….were you ever told that you needed to take risks? needed to just go ahead and act upon your ideas? I, for one, do not remember hearing this.

Yes, my mother was very positive and always said that we could do anything, we should dream and make those dreams come true, but there was not real encouragement on acting on them! A contradiction, indeed. My maternal grandmother used to say that if one doesn’t jump in the river, how does one know if one can swim!!!! A statement way ahead of her times, but was not a daring soul herself. So much for reinventing; not quite sure my mother listened to these wise words either, even though she was forced into decisions that changed her life.

Now, here is another crossroad and most of us are really trying to do what we feel is right for ourselves….well, some of us at least are trying to. Hand twisting, coming up with excuses, going back and forth over how we should do this. Nothing coming out of this heart wrenching exercise…so frustrating! Dare, that is the only way. It is not a matter of trust vs control, it’s not a matter of trusting others: it is daring to trust yourself. Julia Cameron, teacher, filmmaker, poet, artist, journalist, playwright and composer has said: Leap and the net will appear. Can’t think of a more appropriate quote.

Outer Order, Inner Peace: De-clutter

Last night, my daughter Camille and I had a girls night-out. We went to my favorite vintage store in Coconut Grove, Sale Rack, they were celebrating their fourth anniversary. It was a complete success: we drank, ate, conversed with new friends and shopped!! When we were leaving, Allison, the owner, told us: “Ladies, remember to empty your closets!!!”. Of, course, she meant that we should look through our closets, decide what we’ll keep and what we’ll toss. She will be more than happy to buy what we don’t want……yeah!

I have been de-cluttering for ages. In my opinion, this exercise is life affirming, addictive and necessary. It helps you feel in control more than anything. As in everything in life, there are different kinds of de-clutter. The easiest, in a way, is  getting rid of physical objects. I follow the three adjectives formula: useful, beautiful and loved. Each category is carefully considered before making a decision. I can get tangled in sentimental wanderings and end up with more than I want or can keep. So a bit of ruthlessness is called for.

First things that need a good look-over are those you have accumulated throughout the years. I don’t know about you, but for years I collected things. Adding small boxes, small houses, silver miniatures, until I needed a special display to stored them. There were things, as you can see, without any practical use, except that I loved them. Now, how much did that matter? was it necessary to just accumulate and store? They are now in boxes, somewhere in storage. Need to go over them and toss. One thing is for sure: nowadays I use this simple rule of thumb: if you buy one, toss one. You’ll think twice when buying something you do not need. It’s worked so far.

When I moved, and I have done my share of that, I try to get rid of whatever I feel  would not be needed in my new place. Unfortunately, here I come against sentimentality. Should I keep my children’s favorite toys, books, baby clothes? I have been ruthless, but I still have a few of boxes. With a bit of force, I have told my children that once they have a big house of their own…they have to take all this! We’ll see…..I don’t think they take me seriously!!!

Now, clutter is not only the physical things we cherish. Clutter is also emotional: toxic friendships, loose ends, unfinished projects. We cannot and should not forget these. They clutter our lives and rob us of precious time we could use to work on our passions. Here I come against guilt. We want to, but we don’t want the tangled mess we can get into. You know exactly what I am talking about, don’t you? Guilt makes us keep this emotional clutter……Need to let go of that guilty. Really…

Since Camille returned from London, I have been on a de-cluttering mood. Every week or so, I go through my closet, kitchen cabinets, boxes. I give away to charity what I don’t want, I throw out stuff that is not longer usable. I now will take to Allison everything that is in good condition and see what she has to offer. If she doesn’t buy something, she will ask you to donate it to a shelter for abused women. Can’t think of a better place for my pretty things to go!!!

One final thought: clutter blocks the flow of energy into our homes and into our lives. Cleaner and uncluttered surroundings boost our mood. Cleaner and uncluttered  emotional state boost our happiness. So, toss and make space for magic to happen in your life!!!

P.S. Trust me, if you live in Miami or are visiting….you are going to love this place!!

http://www.shopthesalerack.com

Sale Rack

Spending Time with Myself

Let’s talk about one of the great truths in life: we are the best company. Of course, we are! Unfortunately, women tend to forget this and proceed to be always surrounded by friends, family, co-workers. There is time in our lives for each and everyone of them, but not all the time! Spending time with ourselves will make us more receptive to everyone around us. Believe me!

We feel guilty because we are relaxing or feel uncomfortable because we changed plans. We stress because we don’t finish everything in our to-do list! Women think of everyone else before themselves or say yes when they mean no. More upsetting: we feel uncomfortable with what we have accomplished. It is time to toss that, don’t you think? It is not going to be easy, but the time has come. I think this is a good start: we need to spend time with ourselves.

This brings us to the need for a quiet place, where we can let our imagination run free and where we have control.  A place to call our own – room, bed, chair, balcony, garden – anything, really will do. Read, paint, write, listen to music…what we do is our choice, our pleasure. This need is universal and is essential for our well being. It’s taken me a while to realize this, but I am fully aware now.

The realization came slowly, but was welcome. Living in a condo affords less privacy than living in a home. So, from the beginning, it was important to define spaces. Can’t say it was a plan or that it was clear what I was doing. One thing for sure, it felt great! As time has passed, I have realized what a great idea this is. Spending time with myself ( observe that I don’t say by myself ) is now a very important part of my life and it’s about time!!

There is a difference between the two. When we take time for ourselves to pursue what we like, our passions, to do things we enjoy, to relax or to do nothing at all: we are spending time with ourselves. When we are alone and do things we need to do, like housework, we are spending time by ourselves. The first kind makes us feel happier, healthier, better. That is what we need to de-stress, to unwind. I’ve learned that taking time to spend with myself allows me to renew and to heal and gives me energy and peace.

DSC00564Since I am home most of the day on my own, I have several quiet places. I can read in bed, sit on a comfortable chair watching television, have a glass of wine or tend my potted plants on the balcony. Alright, the glass of wine is mostly in the late afternoon when the park on my small island is full of children playing and the sunset has tinted the buildings a reddish hue. In the last couple of years, my quiet place has, more than once, saved my sanity. Listen and try it, you’ll see what I mean!!!