This week, Divine Goddess Book Club was just me and J. And I didn’t care. I loved it. And we didn’t even talk about the book. Mostly she told a story and I just listened.
I’m getting better at just listening.
Not the kind of listening where you’re hearing what they’re saying but you’re already thinking about what you’re going to say.
Not the kind of listening where you are smiling and nodding but are secretly checking your phone or checking things off on your mental to do list.
Not the kind of listening where you’re constantly interjecting with a contradiction or an example “one-upmanship”.
I’m getting better at the kind of listening where I don’t notice my phone going off.
The kind of listening where I am hearing the story; seeing how the story-telling is making the other person feel. I notice the things she doesn’t say. I see the gears turning as she considers the next thing she is going to say.
The kind of listening where it’s no longer about me. Where it’s about the connection, this moment, right here where someone is sharing a part of their world.
The kind of listening where I no longer judge what she says. Where I just see her for who she is at this moment in time. And we each are better for it.
That’s the kind of listening I want more of. Not me speaking. I do enough of that here in my writing and with people all around me. I want more of that real connection. I want that person in front of me, no matter how scared or hurt she is to be able to turn to me and be able to open up. To be able to share even just a little bit of her story and be assured that she will not be judged. So that she can begin to heal. That she is safe here.
This is my Core Desired Feeling: Connection. And this is why I love Divine Goddess Book Club, in whatever way it manifests itself: 1 or 10 people or even some day 100 or 1000’s.
It’s so much more than talking about a book. In fact, many times we find ourselves not even really talking about it; it’s just a conversation starter. It has become a curling up around a fire, quiet corner of light in an ocean of darkness where I can just listen. That is why I love it.
After my run yesterday, during my cool down walk, I decided to record my thoughts. It’s out of breath, raw and vulnerable.
Thank you all for being here, being part of this community. Who do you compare yourself to? Why? Do you struggle to remember how far you’ve come? I’d love to “hear” your answers in the comments below or on our FB page: www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations
“My biggest issue right now is comparing myself to others. Why can’t I be as fast as my husband or my girlfriends. Go as far as they are. I mean, it’s silly. We all have our own goals, our own demons to run from but I keep comparing myself to them and I forget how awesome things are. I mean, I never thought I’d ever be a runner in the first place for crying out loud and here I am running 12 kilometers today in the hot sun. I may be out of breath but I frickin’ did it.
It’s pretty amazing really, if you look back at those things. My husband thinks I’m the love of his life. My kids think I’m mom of the year, most days. Some days they hate me, but so does everybody’s kids. My mom is still, mom and dad are still my biggest fans. They don’t understand a lot of the things I do, but, whatever I do, they support it.
So, I need to let go of this comparison thing. You know, judging myself. It’s bad enough I judge others, but I judge myself the most harshly. I need to back off on that. You know, how can I be successful if I keep forgetting how far I’ve come. I need to be grateful for all that I’ve done, where I’ve been, who I’m friends with, who I love. That’s the most important thing.
Anyway, those are my random after-run thoughts. Bye”
You walk into your home with your work bag, a grocery bag, and a pile of your kids’ coats and bags teetering precariously between your arms. You stumble up the stairs as the dog runs excitedly between your feet. You trip over the shoes that your family has kicked off in the door way. You glance to the left to see that their sweaters and jackets have been thrown on the back of the couch…again. When will they ever listen? You tell them every single day that they need to hang up their coats and put their shoes out of the way on the shoe rack. You stop to hang them up because it’s easier than having the same old arguments. You just walked through the door and you don’t want to battle.
You ask them to put their backpacks away and empty them but this falls on deaf ears. You can feel your blood start to boil as you try to get supper ready and on the table before you have to head out the door for them again. You wonder, who is going to set the table without groaning? Why is this so difficult? As you put something in the already full garbage you notice that the dog is out of food AND water. Now you are stopping what you were doing to do this as well. Where was I? You think to yourself, “Now who was the last one to set the table?” And it goes on and on.
Well this was a typical day at our house. I was at my wits end. I wanted this to stop; to get easier for all of us. I decided that I needed to make myself clear. I decided that intentions needed to be set; something definitive that would make sense to the kids for their ages. I wanted something that they could reference that was user friendly for kids.
Here is what I made for my daughter who is in grade four. The top list is compiled of daily chores that she gets allowance for (if she completes all without constant cuing and instruction). The bottom list is what is expected of her when she first arrives home from school.
And seeing as my little guy in grade one hasn’t quite learned to read yet, he gets a picture chart!
Both charts are posted in their bedrooms in clear view so that they can easily refer to them. I no longer have to ask them if they have completed task, a,b,c,d and so on. I just have to ask them if they have completed everything on their list. Although it is not perfect, things are sooo much easier and less stressful for everyone! I would say that this was successful and I am even considering one more chart for my little guy to remember every task that he has to complete while getting ready for school in the mornings!
Do you have ideas on how to get your kids to pitch in? Do you use a chart method or something else? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!
This is something I hear regularly in the store and out and about. “I don’t want to exercise” is one of the first things people say when they want to “lose weight”. My heart breaks when I hear that. It means that once again, the message has been lost/confused/twisted about this whole “weight issue”. It is almost always a woman and I can pretty much always feel the sadness and self-loathing emanate from her body. I can feel it because that was me just a few short years ago.
One of my goals in this business is to help women realize how beautiful, how powerful, how FREAKING AMAZING they truly are. I don’t want any woman to feel like exercise is a torture that one must do to “keep the weight off” or to please some man with how her body looks. I want to help them understand that moving our bodies is something completely natural and freeing and FEELS GOOD!!!
I wish I could make the whole thought of “lose weight” disappear. Make the diet industry completely vanish overnight! Have the thousands of dollars spent on things like appetite suppression and HCG and special diet “foods” go towards ridding people of their debts or towards charities they care about or being able to do what you love. Oh, the glorious day that would be!! It may not be possible to do it overnight, but I believe it’s possible to make it happen one person at a time. And that’s what I intend to do.
Right here, right now I’m want to tell you to STOP thinking of exercise as something you have to endure to lose weight. That is not a good enough reason. STOP thinking that you have to lose weight. YOU DON’T!! STOP thinking about WEIGHT period!! If you keep focusing on the negative, that’s what you’ll always get. Continuously. I guarantee it. I have been there. Many, many times – just like you. You’ll continue on the roller coaster ride of the up and down NUMBER on a freaking scale. Lose the scale. Right now! Stash it somewhere where you can’t find it.
Please, please look in the mirror and see your beauty. You REALLY are beautiful. Look in those eyes. Think about all they’ve seen. Those lips – the songs they have sung and the other lips they’ve kissed. Your breasts – how they nurtured your children. Your belly that carried them and helped them grow. Even if you don’t have children – worship your body; for it has been with you from the beginning. It has been strong enough to bring you through that time, back then – you know, THAT time. Speak gentle words to that woman in the mirror. She has been through some really tough stuff and here she still is. She deserves your love. She deserves your attention. In fact – that woman in the mirror craves attention. Give it to her. You are the only one who truly can.
Find the movement your body loves. The movement that makes your body feel good.
It should not be something you hate. If you hate the gym, don’t go! Dance in your living room instead.
What did you play when you were a kid? Get out there and do it again!
Start simple. Start small.
Do it not for the “exercise”, do it for the love of that gorgeous body.
Experiment. Try something new.
Find a cause. Find a friend. Find your playlist that makes you feel alive and excited to move.
Get out there. Just move. Have fun! That’s all you need to do.
Let your body tell you what it wants to do.
And then keep doing it.
Stop thinking that this is something you do UNTIL you “lose the weight”. This is not something you do temporarily. This is a different way of LIVING. This is life: moving and being IN IT instead of letting it pass you by as you sit there in front of the TV. I guarantee you that as you move the way YOU want to move your body will thank you. It will help you. It will crave nourishing foods and turn away from the rest. It will feel better. It will stop aching and hurting. It will rejoice! It will change.
As I cleaned house today (I don’t normally clean house on Saturdays, I usually do a little bit here and there throughout the week), I thought about how I used to feel about housework.
I hated it. Despised it. I could never do it right. It was never good enough. So…I’d leave it…for days…for weeks. And then the guilt would take over. I’d scream at everyone because they’d never pitch in. I’d resent and rant and rave as I’d furiously “catch up” for hours. Then I’d scream some more when someone would spill something or make a mess. I was miserable. Everyone tiptoed around me. And then the cycle would begin again.
My mother is awesome. She taught us how to work hard and how do be responsible. We were taught to pitch in and do our share of the workload. We all knew how to take care of a home, thanks to her. And I tried. I did. But there were so many other things I’d rather do. I was filled with hatred for cleaning because it took me away from what I really loved to do. I was only doing it because it was expected and because I felt guilty. The worst part – I felt that if it wasn’t perfect, then there was no point to doing it at all. So it got worse and worse. I hated myself for “being a crappy homemaker”. I told myself that all the time.
I was doing it in case someone came over – for show. If I had a messy house they wouldn’t like me. I would find myself thinking that if my mom saw my house when it was messy, I would feel like I’d let her down. I wanted it to look like everyone else’s. But I just couldn’t spend the time to make it that way. We had so much stuff that it would take me so much time just to put stuff away before I even began to clean. By then it would get so dirty that it was extra hard to clean it.
The clutter took over, so much stuff without a place. I would start doing something and then find myself fluttering around doing a million different things and never finishing anything. I’d spend all day “doing”, but never actually accomplishing.
I hated myself. I hated housework. I even hated being a mom because I felt like I was such a failure at it. I had to do something. I bought books on taking care of my home that I’d start to read and never finish because I was just so overwhelmed. It consumed me. I’d listen to advice, I’d feel guilty. Over and over, the sense of helplessness would continue. I’d be happy to go to work just because it meant I could get away from it.
Slowly, as the years passed, I have learned to accept myself for who I am. The biggest thing – that I’m not perfect and most of all; no one else is either. I stopped comparing myself to everyone else. I became my own “standard”. My best friend was instrumental in this. She is amazing; a strong, beautiful woman who is so organized and together. Yet she has her own things that she has to deal with too. We all do. We have helped each other understand this. We have helped each other to let go of Perfectionism, to let go of a lot of things and just BE.
She helped me by coming over here and not judging me – EVER. She comes here because she likes spending time with me. It doesn’t matter what my house looks like. She has helped me learn to focus and find what works for me. I stopped yelling at my family about the house and started setting the example. I started clearing the clutter because it meant more time doing the things I love and being with my family & friends instead of wasting so much time moving, cleaning, and getting rid of it.
Now, I actually enjoy cleaning – I am doing it when I want to do it (not because someone’s coming over or because I feel guilty.) I am doing it because I enjoy the result and I feel like I’m lovingly taking care of my family. I ask for help when I need it – with courtesy and respect, and, amazingly, I usually get the help I need; sometimes even without asking.
Sure, there are days where I slip back into those old feelings, especially when I feel overwhelmed and tired. Days when I just want to hide from everything and everyone. But, those days are fewer and it takes a lot less time to climb back out of my cave.
Krystal and I have learned so much over the years about clearing the clutter and enjoying life. We get excited about helping other people get away from trying to be perfect and just being themselves. We don’t want people to hire us because they need “fixing”. We don’t want people to feel ashamed or controlled by their clutter.
There’s nothing wrong with you. We want to help you learn to live, really live. We want to teach you that you don’t need to be like everyone else. We’ll help you discover what works for you and your family so that you don’t have to stand there screaming at everyone each time you decide to “fix” the mess. We want to help you learn to look at your stuff in a new way. That taking care of your homes doesn’t have to be this horrible chore you hate. Your home is your sanctuary from this crazy world. We truly want to help you make it that way.