life

Clutter wasn’t holding me back.

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734899_578938438786532_824380995_nMy previous attempt to fix my problem of too much stuff, was nothing more than me trying to resolve the symptoms and not the cause.

The cause is all the clutter in my mind, body and soul.   MsRat appears to be full of crap.  I will provide my tools and my methods for my new life.  I have been needed this my whole life and only recently have I decided that it’s time now!

It’s a new day, the best day.  Cheers.

“atta girl”

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Self sabotage.   Ever hear of it?   It’s when we know better, and yet we continue to follow ideas, thoughts and actions that will not get us where we want to be.

Why do we do this? I have no clue, but I am willing to try to figure it out.  So here are my guesses:

1. We are comfortable in habit.

2. We are afraid of failure.

3. We are lazy

4. We have no will power.

5. We have low expectations.

6. We are afraid of change.

7. We doubt our abilities.

Those are the top seven reasons that just popped in my head.  You may have come up with different reasons.  (I would love to hear from you in the comments)

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Now, I want to take those same reasons and listen to them as if a child was telling me why they could never ride a two-wheeler.

My reaction to the child’s reasons was simple and automatic. I effortlessly and instantly offered encouragement.  I quickly reassured the child that there was no harm in trying.  I let him/her know the worst that could happen isn’t that bad, and that she could always try again.

So why is it as adults we (I) fail to encourage ourselves?  I don’t have the answers, nothing is popping into my head.

As a matter of fact, I must take this little post and apply it to myself.   It’s time to encourage myself.   Wish me well.  Cheers to all of you out there who are trying to break out of your existing patterns.

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Tip: Treat yourself like you care about yourself.

Inspiration: “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

One-day one-thing: I am going to paint or draw  something today.

?Question? box your stuff.

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Once a pack-rat always a pack-rat?  Could this be my fate? I am disgusted with all the crap in my new fixer-upper.

Even after all this time of moaning and reasoning, learning, and purging, there is still too much crap!  I give advice like it’s nobody’s business, yet here I am facing a mess.  And when I see it I feel like, “Damn what happened?”

What’s my excuse?  Tell me because I would  like to know.

My guess is that I am fearful.  All the self help books out there claim fear is the strongest of emotions that guide our decisions….so I must be afraid.

Afraid of what?

I am afraid of being without, even though being without is my goal.  So I have a major problem here.

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I was raised in the material world, with the material girl.  I used to claim to my step sons that Madonna was my sister….they were kids (little kids), they didn’t now any better.  I also told them I was from outer-space  and that was even way cooler than being anyone’s sister.  Point being materialism runs deep in my veins.  I am ashamed to say, one of my nick names was “Shoppin’-Shirley.”

I held no limits and knew few worries.  Whatever, whenever as long as it was fun, and even better if I could buy something. My life was spinning without direction or boundaries.  Anything was possible.  Everything was an adventure.  Things were fun.  Buying was fun.  For me the late 80’s and all of the 90’s were out of control.  And I liked it!

Sorry if I am repeating myself

So fast forward to reality, ugh, do we have to?  Yes we do.  Now I am still on this quest. I call it my “journey to living better with less” but I am in a funk.  I have not reached my goals.  I am slowly pulling myself out of this funk, but that doesn’t make the extra stuff magically disappear.

Now for the: What am I going to do about it question?

I am going to start over.  I am going to the Start Here section of my blog and follow my own advice.  I may skip around the numbers some, depending what I feel like doing.  I am adding a new twist, I am going to hold myself accountable.  Astonishing right?  Accountability. Wow.

I have been lax in taking photos.  So regarding photos, I am going to try something new. I am going to take Reward photos, pictures of stuff packed-up and ready to go.  No matter where it is going.  The rule is there are only four places anything can go:

1. Donation

2. Sale

3.Trash/Recycling

4. ?Question? box. 

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The ?Question? box is new to me.  It’s my last thin thread of my holding-on tendencies   Items placed in the ?Question? pile can live there a week, and only a week.  Seven days.  After that week is up their fate is sealed.

This is my plan. If you are in the same boat maybe you too can kick-start your journey to living better with less. Wish me luck.  Cheers.

Helpful link: The January Cure.  This is a day by day plan for improvement in one month. Plus Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.

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Tip: The more you put in the ?Question? box the better.

Inspiration: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

One-day one-thing: Make a ?Question box? or area.

Thirteen days of 2013

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This time of year is particularly hard for me.  Not to go into any depressing details, because I know everyone shares having events, both good and bad, that change the course of a life.

I, for some reason, can not get past what is no longer.  I am constantly reminded of the past.  Perhaps better times draw me in at first, yet inevitably terrifying times and less-than-good choices creep in my mind.  I used to be able to say I live with no regrets.  I am not so certain I can say that any longer.

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The new year is supposed to be the time for fresh beginnings and new starts, only I am not feeling it this year.  Depressing right?  I know I am not alone, and I know it is temporary, but nonetheless is real.  I feel as if the good and the lightness of life is sitting dormant like the woods.

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Right now my count is 13.  Thirteen days I have wasted away without making one single ounce of progress.  I quit on myself.  I slowed myself down to a crawl into a perpetual holding patterned of procrastination.

Even this post took some real effort on my part to actually write. (and I don’t care if  its good or bad. ) I had to write how I was feeling or I would just breakdown into nothing for another day.  (trying to avoid day #14)

In my front yard, behind the tangled bare branches of two maple trees, I can see a yellow house across the street.  I have nothing against this house.  However, in the summer I can’t see it.  It  is completely blocked by lush green foliage   It’s a depressing shade of yellow. Sun-bleached-sad from a constant west exposure, even that yellow house has had better days.

I have to stop!  I have to stop these thoughts that are feeding an existing “sadness path” in my brain.  This path was put there years ago and it’s a well traveled path.  I know I need to stop myself before I send those negative signals.  I have to replace them with new more positive signals.  I need to create new paths in my brain and start walking them.

I know what I have to do.  My problem: I find it difficult to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and my life is good, well good enough.  It’s just some time a person feels low and these past 13 day that has been me.

Cheers!

Tip: Play music.  Listen to it whenever you feel yourself slipping into a bad place. Skip every single song until you find one that feeds your soul.

Inspiration: “The past does not equal the future.”-Tony Robbins

One-day one thing: Take a baby step.  Recognize that with every single step no matter of size, you create a path.

Assholes clutter a good life

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Do you know how many assholes clutter this world?

Here’s the thing, we are supposed to take the high ground and let it go.  Let it be, etc, but you know what?  The assholes aren’t getting the message this way.

I am sure you have read about the “everyone gets a ribbon” syndrome that is plaguing American youth. Well this same idea, of not telling someone they suck, applies to assholes, jerks and rude people.

We ignore them. We take the high ground.  As a result they see no negative repercussions for their rude inconsiderate behavior. They think what they are doing is acceptable, a-okay, so they continue.  Most of these people have no person close enough to them who will say , “Hey knock it off, you’re being an asshole.”…..They live in this bubble of self- absorption, only thinking about their own needs as a primary focus of each and every waking moment.

So here is the question:  Do you call them out, or let them continue?  You know if they continue they will pass it on to their off-spring, thus we are promoting the trait.  Or do you protect your own well-being and peace of mind? In other words, let them live in their pathetic asshole lives and cut them out of your circles, and move on. ( thus living in a bubble of your own creation)

Yep, everyone knows an asshole, has seen an asshole, and encounters them frequently.  From what I see there appears to be a growing number of these characters around.  Are we somewhat to blame for allowing  them to exist?  Has our choice not to get “involved”with their low-life behavior embolden them?  Are we now “Asshole-Enablers?”  (AE groups starting at a church near you)

I see both sides of this coin.  I know I want a peaceful and kind life, but can I have that when I am not doing my part to squelch the jerk?  When I look the other way, am I being selfish by helping only myself and not society as a whole?

It’s like that show on T.V. calledWhat would you do?  Notoriously they have actors acting very badly, and they wait to see if anyone (any civilian in the area), will speak up.  Audiences are joyful, even tearful,  when someone stands up to the asshole and conversely the audience is totally disgusted when the people look the other way.

I believe it takes a village to raise a community, but those days appear to be gone for the most part.

I am positive I don’t have the answer here.  I am working on this one because I think we as a people have to start playing an active role in what we see and what we deem as acceptable in our communities and in our lives.  Sadly I am not yet ready to play in the mud, but some days I get real close.

Please let me know your thoughts on this one, I am very interested in all points of view.

learn from the sunflower

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This beautiful sunflower shows all the hope and promise of life.  I am here, I am happy, I am spectacular.  Bring it on. I am ready.

What a glorious sight.  Nature at its finest, from a simple little seed this masterpiece sprouted .

That was yesterday. Yesterday is gone.

Today life has already sent a blow to the sunflower.  I am guessing a squirrel had a hand in this.  It wasn’t anything personal, it just happened.

As time goes on, more and more will happen to this sunflower,  most of which will be none of its own doing.  That  is just the way it goes.

So the sunflower’s couple days brought me to my message or point.  Enjoy life even though it’s ever changing, even if at times it seems unfair.

How many time have you heard the phrase,” enjoy the moment” ?  Sounds so cliche but it’s not.  Have you managed to put this phrase to practice?

It’s not easy, but it is doable.  I try everyday.  Everyday every moment is a challenge, or should I say an “opportunity” to remember to live, to enjoy, to breath, to love and to be grateful and kind.  You can just pick one of those thoughts and you’re well on your way.

It takes a conscientious effort and a consistent effort to live in the moment.  Practice make perfect.  Take right now for instance, be happy you are reading.  Just enjoy the photos if nothing more.  Acknowledge your moment and smile.  Then repeat every moment the rest of your life.

One person I know uses the phrase “don’t time travel”  meaning don’t worry, fret or ponder the future or the past, only right now truly exists….live now – find joy now, be kind now, be grateful now, choose a positive thought over a negative thought.

I may be writing this for myself as a concrete lesson I can visualize…..but it doesn’t matter.

I hope you enjoy many moments.

Cheers.

Update:

I let myself down

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I have to fess up today I did something that I have tried to stop doing…..getting into conversations that make me says things just to be nice, rather then just disagreeing and standing my ground or walking away.

I would categorize this as social clutter, when you are in a social setting, and there is no easy or graceful way out.  But that is twisted thinking, because there is always a way out.  You (meaning me) just has to either speak up, change the subject or walk away.  I felt dirty most the day because I slipped.

I mean seriously, I slipped bad…..I didn’t say much, yet I said too much of the wrong things.  Good thing it was a casual conversation, and nothing will come out of it except my re-learning the lesson to be true to myself, and take every step to create the world in which I want to spend my time.

I have said the following to myself lately and I like it a lot……”My world is what I make it at every moment.”  This is a challenge, but it’s empowering  to tune out the social clutter.  Just eliminate it from your thoughts.  It doesn’t go away.  No,  it’s out there poisoning other minds and upsetting various people, but you do not have to give it a home in you head.  Do not invite it in.

Remember you are what you think, not what you eat, that’s your body.  But you, your soul, is what you think and what you believe.  We have control over this…..even though it is difficult for sure, we still choose.

Feed your brain only good content…..Right now I am listening to classical music in the car, for a change.  I don’t even know who’s music I am taking  in but it’s very relaxing, and has emotion, and it is ever so beautiful.  I imagine all the individuals who worked at learning their instruments, practiced their art for hours, years, and then came together making it possible for me to hear their work while I drive in my dog van.  That is freakin’ awesome.

I feel lucky in traffic, because my car sounds wonderful like a loud sound track you might hear while at a movie.  My car becomes a safe-pod protected from the bitterness and negativity that is prevalent in the air of our current society.  At least that is how I interpret it.  Plus I even think my dogs like it.

So there you have it, we all slip up once in awhile.  Recognize and move on.

Peace, it takes practice.

Tip: Decide how you want to live and live it.

Inspiration: “ The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” ~Oprah Winfrey

One-day one-thing: Listen, decide, and filter.

Just like starting over

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Remember when you were young, and the future felt like some distant place that would never really happen.  You felt light, and easy, optimistic and somewhat care free and in love?

Well we have reached the future and even with all our burdens, and all my processing of issues, I feel like everything is new and possible again.

So I am dedicating the following to the love of my life, my handsome husband.

Our life together is so precious together
We have grown, we have grown
Although our love is still special
Let’s take a chance and fly away somewhere alone

It’s been too long since we took the time
No-one’s to blame, I know time flies so quickly
But when I see you darling
It’s like we both are falling in love again
It’ll be just like starting over, starting over

With our new fixer-upper home, we have a lot of work in front of us, but I see this and everything else, as a brand new start.  It is a wonderful adventure that we will take together every step of the way.  Who ever thought we would be here now?  It’s feakin’ awesome.

I love you Ray. xo

late 1986 - of coarse see the hair!

Take a listen to this…..”No one ca get in the way of what I am feeling…”

Waiting

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Waiting is hard.

Have you ever found yourself waiting and getting irate, grumpy or even snippy. It’s all a waste of your time life. You end up hurting those around you and also making everyone miserable including yourself.

Right now we are still waiting on our final contract to buy this house Project1923. We have signed everything but they made one error on the original, and boom everything stopped. One box was checked incorrectly. I could finish that correction in a nano second, but we are dealing with people who have thousands of these deals hitting their desks everyday. We dealing indirectly with Freddie Mac, they own the majority of the foreclosures. The banks just unload those properties to the government. We were warned. Everybody told us that it’s nearly impossible to deal with them.

Before we notice that incorrectly checked box, we were working at rapid speed. They “required” a 24 hour turn around from us, and we gave it to them. Unfortunately, they made a mistake. And now we wait. They have to correct it, and send it to us. Whenever they get to it.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

This is were I am working really hard at patience. I try not to think about it. I just tell myself everything will be okay. And actually to my own surprise I am not at all concerned or worried. I think time and life events have beat me into submission. I can recall so many instances waiting. Usually waiting for something so important that I could not sleep or eat. And now, I don’t give it much thought.

Why? you ask. Because I can not do a damn thing to change it. I couldn’t change any of my previous “waits” either.

This is one of the many keys to life. I would classify this as a big huge key to life. I am not an alcoholic but AA sure has it covered with that “Serenity Prayer” they quote.

So let it go if you can not control it. As you practice this habit of letting go over time you will come to the realization there is very little in life you actually control. That is, except your very own peace of mind. Think about it. Then live it.

I guarantee you will love it.

Cheers!

Tip: Practice being the person who doesn’t make sour faces while waiting in line, smile instead.

Inspiration:” Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.”- Barry Neil Kaufman

One day – one thing: Patrice breathing at stop lights; count to 2 as you inhale- to 4 as you exhale, and increase as you are able.