What Are You Tolerating?

Since it’s January, I wonder how different my life could be in January 2019, if I made one small change each month that stays with me for the entire year. I imagine a life of more joy and less stress.

I participated in an upgrade-your-life course with a wise coach many years ago and our first charge was to identify something that we tolerate and fix it, change it, make it better. She explained that this is a way to upgrade our lives immediately. I instantly knew that I had tolerated my dishwasher for years. Small particles of food always stuck to the cups and plates after the cycle was complete. Instead of doing something about it, I rinsed and scrubbed everything in hot water before putting them back into the cabinets. That week’s homework was to do something about it. Through my research, I removed and cleaned the filter, and I ordered a new one just in case. I committed to never unnecessarily scrubbing a dish after running it through the dishwasher again. I felt completely different after this experience--light and free. I realized that when my outer world is working, it helps my inner world as well. I became less stressed and agitated. Removing all the stuck-on food participles took time and energy, so instead I was then able to put that energy into other areas of my life--creative pursuits. A year later I published a vegetable cookbook. I love the idea of shifting energy reserves for the better. Where are we, right now, spending needless time and effort that can be used for relaxation, contemplation, creativity?

To start off 2018, I thought of what I tolerate daily. I decided to tackle the kitchen--both table and counters. Choosing only ONE usually-cluttered area of my home keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. When both of these areas are clear, I feel calm. I want to give myself that feeling of serenity every day in 2018, so I committed to putting a simple system in place that will ensure that these areas are spacious and clean! In shifting this energy, I am sure that I will have more time to focus my attention on my priorities. Surprisingly, I also felt old blockages shift. As I released, I made room for the new.

The key to tackling the clutter is making sure that everything has a place and if it doesn’t it needs to go. My grandmother would hand me something and jokingly tell me to “file it under G”--the garbage. Equipped with a trash bag by my side, I quickly swept the area identifying what I could throw away or recycle. I recycled two spice jars and some catalogs. I also found places for tea, olive oil, and black pepper in the pantry. I consolidated the fruit into one basket that my son made at school. Finally, I committed to immediately opening every piece of mail as it arrives and keeping only what is absolutely needed. The important mail will be organized in a basket in another room, leaving the counters and table paper free.

Be kind with yourself throughout the process. Perhaps the counter will become messy again, and instead of getting stressed or angry, I hope I will treat myself like I would a good friend with a sense of humor and the grace to clear the mess again. The best part about life is that we are able to begin again each day, each hour, and in each breath. Knowing this gives me the courage to continue onward! That one space turned into the motivation to declutter bookshelves. Who knows where else it may lead?!

Here’s to more calm and creativity! Julie

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