Clutter and Chaos: Is Your Stuff Holding You Back?

For the last few weeks our blog posts have revolved around the theme of spring cleaning and clutter.  Spring is traditionally a time for clearing out the old and freshening up our physical surroundings, but what about our lives?  The unfinished, unused, unresolved, tolerated and disorganized in our lives can really weigh us down in every way, stealing our zest and enthusiasm for life and living, not to mention blocking us from our passions and dreams.

This isn’t a new topic for us, as we’ve shared about clutter and how excess physical, mental and emotional “stuff” can hold us back in life.  In keeping with the theme and the time of year we share a few of our most read clutter and chaos posts from the past.


The Soul Sisters

Stop the Clutter!: What clutter do you have in your life and what kind of impact would just 10 minutes make?  Read More>> 

Spring Cleaning Your Life Continues with the Junk Drawer: Our lives sometimes become a “junk drawer”. We allow others to stuff us full with their schedules, their needs, and their plans. It’s time to clear the junk.  Read More>>

What Does Your Purse Say About You?: The disorder that can pile up and make your life feel unorganized and overwhelming can be hiding in the most common places.  Let’s start with my purse.  Read More>> 

Spring Cleaning Tip: A Lesson from a Diaper Bag: How a diaper bag inspired me to look at things in my house a little differently.  What are you holding on to, and for what reasons?  Read More>>

Soul Searching Questions: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Our regular readers are familiar with our Soul Searching Questions and the personal contemplation our questions can stir.  For this post we’ve designed a series of questions meant to encourage reflection of the items that surround you in your life.

With our busy lifestyles and a trend toward commercialism, we buy, buy, buy and keep, keep, keep.  Soon we find ourselves surrounded by stuff and weighed down by our piles, disorganization and mess.

If you are finding clutter to take a stronger hold on your life than you would like, work through these questions with a certain pile, collection or category of stuff in mind.  See where your answers lead…

  • Does it lift my energy to think about it or look at it?
  • Do I love it?
  • Do I need it?
  • Does it reflect who I am now in my life?
  • What positive and or negative thoughts, memories or emotions do I associate with it?
  • Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now?
  • If I moved tomorrow, would I take it with me?
  • If it is time to let it go, am I going to throw, sell, lend or give it away and when?

The Soul Sisters

Spring Cleaning and Clearing Life’s Clutter

In last week’s Soul Sisters Blog post we shared about how you can lose 10 pound fast by tackling the clutter in your life.  Timing couldn’t have been better; I don’t know about you but we’re in the midst of our spring cleaning!

So why are your Soul Sisters harping on you about your piles?  Clutter wreaks havoc on personal empowerment!  It makes life more chaotic, making us feel overwhelmed and restricted.  These feelings can lead into depression, guilt and loss of esteem and confidence.  Yes, clutter IS NOT a power-booster.

But one of the hardest things about clutter, which ironically also often leads us to fall into a cycle of chaos, is the question of where to begin.  In the above video, Ellen offers some tips: “Ellen Degeneres’ Spring Cleaning Tips For People Who Aren’t As Good At Spring Cleaning As I Am”.  While it’s always best to start any difficult chore with a laugh, we think our tips might be a little more practical.  You decide…

Where to Begin:

  • Understand what clutter is.  Remember, if you do not love it or use it, it’s clutter.
  • Approach de-cluttering your environment with the right intention; as you clear the old, you make room for the new to come into your life.
  • Start small, with just one drawer, one closet, or one room.  See how it makes you feel, and how you begin to open up emotionally, as a result.
  • Give yourself a set amount of time and a deadline.  You would be surprised by how much you can accomplish in just an hour of focused de-cluttering time.
  • Sort things into categories (Keep, toss, donate, sell, etc.).
  • Bless each item as it’s put into its appropriate category.
  • Follow through with putting away, tossing, donating or selling each item within a week’s time to avoid it turning into another kind of clutter!
  • If you find yourself struggling with parting with your things, don’t be afraid to seek out the help of an expert.

Releasing your clutter allows you to let go of old life patterns that no longer serve you, and create new and open pathways for fresh opportunities and prosperity to come into your life.  Without the clutter, these new experiences can support who you are now and the woman you are becoming. Clearing the clutter allows you to loosen the hold material things have on you, opens your energy and sparks a sense of freedom!

The Soul Sisters

How to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

How would you like to lose 10 pounds fast?  I know, silly question; who wouldn’t?

The fact is we can lose 10 pounds (and more) by clearing the clutter from our lives.  Clutter is anything unfinished, unused, unresolved, tolerated and disorganized.  In today’s material world it can add up fast and create an emotional and energy block that affects our lives in a variety of ways.  Clutter can impact our ability to create a life of prosperity and well-being, and affect our health, relationships, creativity, spirituality and more.

Why is it that we hold on to all our “stuff” so tightly?  The most common reason is deep seated in “fear”, mainly fear of the future.  You may even be thinking, as you read this article, that you couldn’t possibly get rid of this or that because you might need it someday (even though you haven’t used it in years).  This is precisely the fear of which we are speaking.  Holding on to material things that we haven’t used for a long time, because we may need them someday, is a negative affirmation; a lack of faith and trust that you will be provided for in the future.  This belief is actually creating that which you are most afraid; a future of lack and scarcity.

The first step to de-cluttering your environment, is to get to the core reasons why letting go is so difficult.  Contemplate the following beliefs about clutter and ask yourself what your “stuff” represents to you:

  • Security: My stuff keeps me secure and makes me feel safe.
  • Habit or Inherited Pattern: This is how it’s always been.  This is how my parents (grandparents) did it.
  • Evidence: My things are reminders of how I used to be, what I once was, how great things were then, etc.
  • Unfulfilled Dreams: I need these things for my future dream, of which I haven’t yet accomplished but might still do, someday.
  • Sentiment: These items represent memories and better times.
  • Represents Self-esteem: My things make me somebody and show I’m important.
  • Responsibility: People (family) are counting on me to watch over this stuff and won’t like it if I get rid of it.
  • Worth: My stuff might be worth something someday.
  • Environment: Throwing it away is bad for the environment.

Do any of these resonate with you?  We all have reasons for holding on to our stuff, and a few sentimental pieces tucked in a drawer to show the grandkids is harmless.  However, when the clutter gets out of hand and turns into messes, piles, disorganization, and the associated feelings and emotions that come along with it, it’s time to get clearing.  After all, do you own your stuff, or does it own you?

The Soul Sisters

Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

Yesterday marked the first day of April and a rather strange holiday called April Fool’s Day; do you know it?  In the U.S., it’s a day to play practical jokes and pranks on others.  I guess there’s really no harm in a little innocent deception, as long as it’s limited to just one day.  It’s the other 364 days of the year that have us concerned.

Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know what we’re talking about…You can’t fool us!  There’s a lot of trickery going on all right, and unfortunately we’re our own greatest jokester and the pranks are far less innocent because we’re playing with our lives.  The deceit can take on many forms including blaming, avoiding and tolerating, and it seems to be motivated by a single emotion, and that emotion is fear.

Before you write off this post as just another April Fool’s joke, consider the following.  Are you fooling yourself with any of these?

It’s not my fault: That may be true, but it’s not anyone else’s fault either.  Aside from an act of God, we’re responsible for our personal circumstances.

Change is hard: Change is a choice.  How easy or how hard it is depends on our perspective.

I can’t: How often have you uttered this untruth?  Let’s get real here; it’s not that you can’t, it’s that you won’t.

It’s not really that important: Oh really?  Well, if it’s not that important, why does your heart leap with joy when you think about it?  Why have you been dreaming about it since childhood?  Why does a life without it make your heart break?

It’s just how it is: It may be the current situation, but you have the power to take action and transform your reality into something better.

That’s selfish: It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about our energy, our time, or our money, if we’re depleted and running on fumes, we’re of little help to anyone.  Want to be the best you for your spouse, your kids, and your workplace?  It’s in everyone’s best interest to tend to your own needs first.

It’s time you start to see through the tricks you’re playing on yourself, step through the fear, and reserve those foolish antics for April Fool’s Day.

The Soul Sisters

Warning! Dangerous Power Zapping Words

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon happening lately, and I’m wondering if we’ve got another epidemic, similar to the “I’m so busy” epidemic, on our hands?  This one goes by the name of, “Oh, you just wait”.

Over the last few weeks this has been happening more and more.  I’ll be chatting with a woman, catching up on what’s going on in our lives.  Unfortunately, the conversation begins to go as so many others do, and she’ll start talking about her troubles.  She laments about her achy hip, her crazy schedule of running her kids here and there, her husband that golfs too much, or her failing memory.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first one there for a friend in need, but when the same old story keep repeating itself, that’s when I know the real source of the problem.  And it’s bad enough to have to listen to the same victim story over and over again, but just recently I’ve noticed a new twist; the conversation concludes in a way that I find completely unacceptable.

As their story comes to an end, they wrap it up with the words, “Oh, you just wait,” as if to imply that all their problems will soon be mine as I get older, as I am married longer, as my kids become teenagers.

The first time it happened I barely noticed those words, the next time I felt a subtle twinge in my gut, by the fourth or fifth time I knew we had a dangerous trend gaining popularity…some real personal-power zapping words!  I think this is ruffling my feathers for two reasons.  First, these women are giving away their power to make a change, believing that their current situation is just their luck and in no way a representation of past choices.  And second, they are attempting to taking away the power of another (i.e. mine); trying to persuade another to believe that they can’t have a different outcome for their life.

They say, “Misery loves company,” and maybe that’s what’s at the core of this issue.  I would like your opinion…Have you been noticing the “Oh, you just wait…” epidemic spreading among the women you know?  How do you feel about what those words imply for your life?  Do you choose to ignore the phrase, or do you choose to respond, and how do you do so in an empowering way?  Please leave your comments and at the very least, consider yourself warned of these seemingly harmless, yet dangerous words, lurking among us.

The Soul Sisters

Spring Cleaning Tip: A Lesson from a Diaper Bag

Now that the weather is getting nicer and spring is on the way, I couldn’t help thinking back to last year at this time.  We had hit a pretty big milestone in our home; we threw away our diaper bag!  My 2 year old had yet to fully master the “big potty”, and apparently liked the freedom that came with being able to “go” and play at the same time.  However, he had taken to carrying around a little backpack, and in a light bulb moment, we decided that he could carry his own diapers and wipes from that point forward.  It was shortly thereafter, while cleaning his closet, that we said, “It’s time.”

While to some this may not sound like a major event, anyone who’s lugged around the bottomless pit of necessities that accompany a baby will appreciate just how exciting this moment was.  This bag had been a member of our family for the first 3 years of my son’s life.  Wherever we went it had to also go.  It was our bag of “everything we will or might need to take care of our children (both of them) and any other child that might need something due to their parent being in-a-pinch”.  I was ecstatic to get rid of the thing and my husband even commented on the smile that couldn’t have been wiped from my face.  Tossing this bag was like lifting 5 pounds off my shoulder (literally).

Then the next morning, as I was taking something else out to the trash, I saw it there; all alone and cold in our trash can.  OK, so I got a little sad.  I mean this bag had been an important part of our family and had always been there to help us in our times of need.  The memories of the bag being at every major milestone for my son came flooding back; the hospital when he was born, at baptism, vacations, birthdays, holidays, and more.

So, no, I didn’t take the diaper bag out of the garbage (eww).  But, I did have to take a moment to remind myself that all those memories aren’t gone with the trash.  They are held in my mind and in my heart, not in any bag.  What I had thought was merely a milestone for my young son was a lesson of growth for me, too.  The incident inspired me to look at other things in my house a little differently – what else was I holding on to, and for what reasons?

The experience inspired a new mental checklist for when I’m cleaning now…Do I use it?  Do I love it?  Does it make me happy?  Perfect…Just in time for spring cleaning!

The Soul Sisters

The Question Empowered Women Ask: What Time is It?

Are you ready for Daylight Savings Time on Sunday?  Will you wake up that morning with the same question on your mind as me (which, by the way, also happens to be the number-one ranking Google search for the day)?  That question is…

“What time is it?”

In our part of the world Day Light Savings Time means the first order of the day is to go from room to room and turn our clocks ahead by one hour.  While it means we’ve somehow lost an hour overnight, and we’ll be waking up in darkness tomorrow morning, we’ll benefit by receiving an extra hour of daylight each night (until we turn our clocks back by an hour this fall).

I’ve never really embraced the whole concept.  While you wouldn’t think an hour would make much difference, to my body it does.  Bedtime, and more importantly, mealtimes, don’t feel quite right for a few weeks.  Some actually refuse to make the change and continue to live life on “real time”, but to me it would be confusing to constantly have to convert “my time” and “your time” with every appointment and interaction (throw a different time zone in the mix and we would really be in trouble!).  No, this would never work for me.  I like to know what time it is.

So instead I use this time in the spring and fall to look deeper into that question.  I’ve decided it’s a question that every empowered woman should ask on a regular basis.  It’s actually quite powerful to be still, to get centered, to be open, and then to ask, “What time is it?”  I’ve often been surprised by the answer I hear within my body…within my heart…within my soul.

And so I would encourage you to ask yourself the same question this week.  Perhaps you’ll realize it’s time to…

  • Forgive and forget. Stand up for yourself.
  • Do what’s right.
  • Ask for help.
  • Follow your intuition.
  • Choose a different path.
  • Say those words.
  • Make a change for the better.
  • Live out your passion.
  • Place that call.
  • Face your fear.
  • Give yourself a break.
  • Take a risk.
  • Go for it.

The Soul Sisters

P.S. For another prospective on time (and timing), read “Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is”.  The hour of the day doesn’t really mean much; when it comes to time, isn’t “timing” more important?

How to Help When the Worst Happens

Life if full of blessings, yet one thing is inevitable; tragedies and challenges can strike at any time.  Financial challenges, the loss of a job, a distressing health diagnosis, or the death of a loved one, can be devastating for even the strongest and faithful of individuals.

And when this happens to a coworker, family member or friend, the first question that often comes to mind is, “How can I help?”  The human spirit is amazing in this way; in the worst of times, something inside us stirs, and through this compassion we feel compelled to offer support, caring and love.   It’s a beautiful thing.  However, to actually make a difference in the life of another, it’s important to move beyond simply asking the “how can I help” question, and shift to taking action.  How do we do this when we truly don’t know what to do or what do say?

Through our own experiences and mistakes, and the advice gathered from women who’ve been there, here are some tips for helping others when the worst happens.

Stay updated: If you truly care and wish to help, stay updated with the situation in any way you can.  Watch for updates on Facebook, and follow any websites that may have been set up to communicate the latest developments.

One amazing non-profit organization who is supporting families in this manner is CaringBridgeCaringBridge provides free, private websites, which can be used as a tool for families to keep everyone updated on a loved one who is experiencing a health challenge.  As you can imagine, this method of communication can conserve time and emotional energy when families need it most, saving them from having to make multiple phone calls to relay the same information and answer the same questions over, and over, again.   Take action: Imagine what you might need if your household was turned upside-down, and offer support at this basic level.  Provide a frozen meal, help out with the yard work, offer housekeeping services, run errands, or babysit.  Transportation to treatments can give main caregivers a much needed break.  It’s natural to ask, “How can I help?”  Yet, with so many questions that people must face during tragic times, one more question is not what they need.  You know what needs to be done; just do it.  If you’re staying updated, you’ll be surprised at the many opportunities for assistance that will arise, especially if you’re watching for them.

Give of your gifts: We’ve all be given unique talents and strengths.  It’s precisely in these difficult times that our talents can become true gifts.  Regardless of what it is you do best, there’s surely a way to offer support in a way that makes the most of your strengths.  It needn’t be anything big or complicated; the key is to offer support in a specific way.  For example you might say, “I know right now __________ must be a challenge and I’m good at that.  If you would like, I could help by handling _________?”

Offer specific prayer: “I’m praying for you,” is a common statement made during difficult times, and if you make the offer, give it real power by making it specific.  “I’m praying for your procedure on Thursday,” for example, makes your offer much more credible and shows that you’ve been making every effort to follow the latest developments as they unfold.  As small as this may seem, it’s an authentic demonstration of your love and caring.

Watch your words: Take great care in how you choose your words at this time.  “It’s God’s plan,” or “Everything happens for a reason,” do not offer comfort and can be devastatingly painful to hear.  Many who have been there confirm that actions speak louder than words in times like these.  And, listening can often provide more comfort than anything you could ever say.  When words are needed; “I’m sorry,” and “I love you,” while simple, often provide the most comfort and strength.

If you have any dos and don’ts, based on difficult times you’ve experienced, please share them in the comment area below as a way to help us all be the strongest supporters possible to those we love.  And, please print, bookmark, or pin this post for future reference.  You never know when tragedy will befall someone you care about and with this guide you can lead an effort of real and helpful support.

The Soul Sisters

Selfish or Self-Care?

It’s February, the month of love.  Of course our thoughts turn to our most precious of relationships: our spouse, our children, our parents.  But often we forget the most important relationship of all; the relationship with ourselves.

Just as our relationships with others take great care to remain strong, so do we need to show our own selves that same kind of care and compassion.  While you might expect me to suggest taking a long soak in the tub, which I must say is never a bad idea; the problem goes much deeper than that.

As women we are the nurturers, often putting the needs of others above our own.  We tend to make family and work matters our highest priority, thinking that makes us a better mother, wife, sister, employee, and friend.  The problem is that the longer we go without addressing our own needs, the more depleted we become.  Our dreams fade, our goals wither and our passions slowly dry up.  As you can imagine, this has a negative impact on us emotionally.  Often overlooked however, is the effect this behavior has on us physically, as research reveals more about the connection between belief, emotion, and disease.

What we as women need to understand is that there is a difference between “self-ish” and “self-care”.  We have this one life to live and a purpose to fulfill.  By not pursuing our passions and dreams we are doing the world, those we love, and most of all ourselves, a great disservice.  That is “selfish”.
By treating ourselves with respect, listening to the cues of our body, placing importance on our own dreams, and carrying out our divine assignment for our life, we are empowering ourselves at the deepest of levels.  That is “self-care”.

Below are seven tips (an entire week’s worth) for incorporating a little more self-care into your life this month.  Try one a day for seven days straight, and experience the difference a little self-love can make:

#1 – Know your limits.  One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to say “no”.  Stretching yourself too thin and dividing your attention among multiple different tasks is not only doing a disservice to you, but negatively affects everyone close to you.  If everything is important, then nothing is important.

#2 – Live your passions.  Our passions are what make us feel alive.  If we’re not devoting time and attention to those things that ignite and inspire us, our lives become dull and dreary.  Spending some time each day, even 10 minutes, on our passions or working towards an important personal goal makes us fulfilled.

#3 – Spend time alone.  How much time do you allow to just let your mind wander?  Probably not enough.  Spending time alone gives us the opportunity to let our imagination take new heights.  From what we want to do tomorrow, to what we want to do in 20 years, most of these realizations will occur when we allow ourselves time to get lost in thought.

#4 – Maintain healthy relationships.  Limit the time you spend with people who exhaust you (I think you know who we mean).  Increase the quantity and quality of the time you spend with the people who make you feel great; the ones who inspire and replenish you.  Build a supportive and positive network of confidants by starting your own Soulspring group or joining one today!

#5 – Live your values.  If we’re not careful it doesn’t take long before or own values are pushed to the side and suddenly, without realizing it, we begin to live our lives in alignment with the values of others.  This causes stress and we innately know something is amiss.  Make sure your own values are clear, practice them in your daily life, and consider them in your every decision.

#6 – Write in a journal.  Expressing yourself in written form can open up much clarity for us.  Take the time to write daily.  If you find it difficult to get started, use Soul Searching Questions (many can be found within this blog and we incorporate them into each issue of our Soulspiration monthly newsletter), to get you started!  Before you know it, the words with easily begin to flow.

#7 – Eat right.  What we put into our mouths is the foundation of our physical and spiritual selves.  Take care of yourself like the jewel you are; eat more fruits and vegetables and less fat, sugar, processed foods, and caffeine.

While you’re showering affection on those you love this month, don’t forget to give yourself a healthy dose of love.  You’re definitely worth it and it is only then that you will have the energy, enthusiasm, and power you need to be and give all you can for yourself and others.

The Soul Sisters