Today I want to continue the conversation from last week that stemmed from the questions around how you even think about expanding and adding more into your life when you already feel your current life is over full and there’s too much going on.
Why do I want to keep talking about this? Because my goal is to offer you the opportunity to move into your best life.
Now, maybe you aren’t quite ready for this today…that’s okay...but keep this one in your back pocket because this is the good stuff right here on how to prosper where you are planted, how to plant your seeds in fertile ground, my friend.
Last week we talked about saying “no” to new things that come along that are not in alignment with your path. But what about the things you already have going on that might be cluttering your mind and your life? If you are a people pleaser, like me, there may be things you have been doing in your life for so long that you don’t even think about them anymore because by now they are habits…. Actions and ways of being that if you really were to consider how much they are serving you, you might have second thoughts about them… and if you knew how to get out of doing them, you would… but maybe you have an underlying belief, like, “well, no one else is going to do it, so I have to,” or, “it’s easier to just do it than to try to explain it to someone else” or, maybe the habit has already worked its way to a feeling of resentment that you have to do all these things. That’s not the kind of feeling that’s good for us, that’s why you have to practice saying “no” to actions and habits not in alignment with your path.
Not long ago, my life was a lot different than it is today, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted much of the time. In fact, I had a difficult time getting creative about my future because I felt the load I was already carrying was so heavy. And I just couldn’t see a way out of it. I felt like I was trapped in an endless loop of taking on way too much, getting stressed out…lashing out… getting burned out…then something would inevitably happen to kick me on my ass – I would get sick or injured so I would be forced to take some time off…then as soon as I was better I would get up and start the whole cycle over again.
My Life felt hard… it did… and I thought that was just the way of life. I had no idea I was the one creating it that way. It was by design. My design! And I kept unintentionally signing up for it, every single day.
I can remember some breakdowns when I just feel DONE. Couldn’t move. Just wanted to numb out and watch mindless television and eat bon bons… and I would. I would just lay there and forget about it all until I felt emptied out enough to go to sleep and get up the next day to pick it all back up again. Does this sound vaguely familiar? Or do you know anyone like this? If so, send them this episode because I am going to share an exercise that could be a game changer.
Like I said in the “The Big No”, the first thing I did was to start saying no to everything coming in. I basically had to put a big “Closed for Business” sign on my shirt until I could get things figured out.
And just with starting to say “NO”. My life calmed down a lot. And it felt good to feel like everything was just running smooth. I felt like I had hit the calm waters after the rapids and I really wanted to remain there. No goals for the future. Nope. I remember saying to friends, things are good. I just want to stay here in the calm waters.
But life keeps moving forward, even if you don’t want to move. Life will eventually start to nudge you and then it will begin pushing you forward … so I recommend that you do what you need to do to move forward in the healthiest way possible.
And first things first, you gotta do some sorting through what you have going on and trim it down to the good stuff. DO some clearing out…some weeding… some decluttering so you can make room for the growth.
This is a decluttering exercise that is a combination of some coaching tools I learned from Martha Beck.
Now stay with me here because I know, for some, the “decluttering” idea can be a trigger. But it makes sense right? You cannot begin to make room for what you want in your life if you have too many things already taking up all the space.
And what we are working toward is expanding into your best destiny… Think about it this way: Say you have a small house filled to the brim with stuff. What happens if your solution to the space problem is to get a larger storage house? The extra space will inevitably fill with more stuff until it is crammed full again. Why? Because that is the natural progression of the habits currently in your life. The pattern has been established and the growth will follow the pattern. However, if instead of getting a larger house, you decide first to go through and simplify, replace the old habit with a new series of thoughts about your life ….AND THEN you decide to get a bigger house…well, that house will more likely come to be your retreat, rather than…dare I say “your burden”.
Just as a side note, your things are actually physical manifestations of your life. There is a wonderfully simple book on feng shui that I highly recommend for anyone who wants to dabble without getting to serious. It’s called “Move your Stuff Change your Life”. You would be amazed to see the affect you can have on your life with a bit of rearranging and decluttering.
There is a wonderful coaching tool where we find metaphors in your life that tell amazing stories about what is going on. Your personal stuff has amazing things to say. I once had a client going on and on about an old dress she was hanging on to that she used to love but was now falling apart and no longer made her feel pretty. I asked her why she couldn’t let it go. She said she was afraid to let it go until she had another dress to replace that one. She was afraid she might not find another one that fit her as well as that one used to… turns out, that dress was the story about her marriage. Pretty wild, right?
This exercise I am going to give you is not about decluttering your house... that is useful too, but that is not what we are getting into today. In this exercise you will take a look at what you have going on in your life to see what is serving you and what is not.
If you have too many things going on that are draining you, or just taking up your time but not adding, you will not have the mental capacity to create the life you want.
And your mind might say, ugh, this is going to be hard… and to that I say, how hard is it to be lugging around all of this extra work every day. Is that hard? Am I right?
So let’s get into this:
Go ahead and take out a piece of paper. I want you to actually do this exercise because just reading about it won’t get you anywhere. So stop reading this until you have your pen and paper.
Now, make a list of the things going on in your life right now that are keeping you busy. List the main activities that you devote your time to. (job, home life, parenting, volunteer work, etc.) Take a few minutes to write all of this out. Be specific. I’ll wait right here until you are done.
Got it? Great! Now start at the top of your list and consider each item one at a time. If you are a client of mine and you know how to do the Body Compass exercise already, go ahead and get a rating for each item. If you have no idea what that is, no worries, here is what you do:
First, put down your pen and close your eyes…take a few long deep breaths. Just allow yourself to arrive in your body. See if you can feel the sensations in your feet. If you feel nothing. Squeeze your toes and release them. Now feel into your legs, hips, belly chest, arms, hands, throat, head… take a few more deep breaths. Arrive.
Now, take a look at the first item on your list…and just consider it. Pay attention to how you feel about it when you focus on it. What is your body’s immediate response to this item?
If your body feels relaxed and light, and your chest is expanded and open and you are breathing easy and deep…then put a “plus” (+) sign next to the item. If your body feels contracted in any way; stiff, tight, numb, shallow or constricted breathing, unpleasant feeling then place a minus (– ) sign next to that item. Now if you feel nothing at all good or bad (I’m not talking about numb) just neutral, then place a 0 next to the item.
Take the time to move down your list one item at a time with intention and awareness about how your body feels about each item.
Try not to let your mind get in the way here. And DO NOT JUDGE your answers. Be honest! No one else is going to look at this list! The only right answer is the one that is true for you.
Now, you may have some items that bring up mixed feelings. For instance, you may have a plus and a minus around parenting. You will then want to break down parenting into different activities. For Instance, maybe you love spending play time with your kids, but you resent having to haul them to all their activities. That’s okay! Some people love taking their kids to their various activities and some do not. No judgement! Does that make sense? Break out the mixed feelings into more items and rate those.
Once have rated everything, just take a look at your whole list objectively.
Everything with a plus sign is currently adding to your life and taking you in the direction of your life’s best destiny.
Everything with minus sign is moving you away. (And it MAY not be the thing itself, but how you currently feel about the thing that is moving you away from your best destiny). How you FEEL about your life is huge in getting you on the path of living the life you want!
Everything with a zero is simply not adding or taking away. But it is taking up space.
Now, here is a wonderful technique for getting this list in alignment with your soul’s purpose. I would suggest doing this exercise very slow. Maybe take one item on the list to examine it and save the rest for another day.
This process is called the 3-Bs. Choose an item from your list with a negative rating. First, consider if it might be something you could give up altogether, remove it from your to do list, just give it up, Bag it (the first B).
If you can’t just bag it, could you hand it off to someone else? Either hire someone else to do it or trade them for something you would rather be doing? Could you Barter it?
If neither of those is an option, the last thing to consider is how you could you make the activity more pleasant, or Better. Maybe you could play your favorite music while you do the task, maybe there is a treat you could give yourself after it is done, maybe you could enlist some help to make the load lighter, maybe you could put on your favorite leopard skin pants and tube top for the task. Something simple that makes the whole thing more doable, fun even.
This may seem simple, but it’s huge in creating a life that you want. Just by adding a little fun to things you resent having to do, changes your mood which changes your experience. What you do is your life! Your relationship with how you spend your time is determining the kind of life you are creating and moving into. I will say this over and over again: you are constantly creating the life you are living in with every thought you have about it. How can you make your life more enjoyable every single day. Little adjustments that you make each day in the direction of love add up to you living your soul’s best destiny.
By the way, I have created a facebook group for women called The Life Coaching Spot. Please come on over and ask to join. It’s a forum for a deeper exploration of these topics as well as a space to meet amazing women who are interested in growing and expanding into their truth. We lift each other up with our stories, our experience, our love and our support.
Thank you for being here with me and doing this work for yourself, my friend. Every bit of effort you make toward your best life is making a difference for us all.
By the way, I have a monthly drawing for a free 45-minute coaching session with me. All you have to do is fill out this short survey here that offers me blogpost/podcast ideas that are relevant for you! All answers are confidential.