Sunday, June 13, 2010
The other day I mentioned that I "found" Debbie Ford. I haven't read any of her books but some of the articles she's written really resonate with me. She wrote a book called The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse: A Breakthrough Program for Connecting with Your Soul's Deepest Purpose* (affiliate link). It's not a new book but on her Facebook page yesterday she mentioned that she is going to do the Cleanse over the next 21 days and blog about it. So, because I'm a sucker for self-help programs, I thought I would do it too. Also, my consciousness could use a good cleaning. I don't have the book but it just so happens that she has some exercises from the book on Oprah.com starting with Day 1. I've been kind of bored with the stream of consciousness writing that's been helping me meet the 2500 word challenge and I'm hoping that this will give me more interesting stuff to write about.
Day One is The Gift of Desire. For today, the exercise involved writing down two things - an outer goal and an inner goal. To figure out the outer goal, I needed to choose the area of my life that most needs my attention right now. For the inner goal I needed to choose one feeling that I desire to feel the most this year. Then I write a bunch of stuff about what my life would look like, how it would be different and how it would impact other people if I achieved my outer goal. And I write about how I would act if I was feeling my desired feeling and how that would impact my life and the people in it. They say you're more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.
I didn't have to think very hard about the outer goal. The area that most needs my attention right now is paperwork organization. Ack! Iguanas! (Iguanas - as defined by the wonderful Havi at Fluent Self - are annoying things that we avoid because we really don't want to do them for whatever reason). Paperwork is a big, fat iguana for me. I've tried to come up with a metaphor for paperwork to help me get around my stuckness and general inability to organize the paper in my life but it hasn't really worked. I'm not even sure where to begin to explain why my paperwork is in such disarray. I could so easily blame my ADD but that's not the entire problem. It's just a convenient excuse. I could also blame my fear that if I were to get my paperwork organized, it would represent such a massive change that it might actually cause a tear in the space/time continuum. Which I'm pretty sure would be bad. I imagine that I could write a really long, boring and whiny book about why I don't like to do paperwork. But I'll spare you. Let's just say I have issues when it comes to paperwork.
When I get a handle on the paper in my life, I won't randomly panic about money because I will know where I am financially. In the old days when I made lots of money, I didn't really worry about it because, well, I made lots of money. And because my ex-husband did enough worrying about money for the both of us. Now I make not a lot of money. I'm about to spend a chunk of the money I don't really have to pay for massage school. And I don't work as much at my part-time job as I could (or should) because I dislike it so much and would much rather do pretty much anything else (except personal paperwork). But it does pay the bills for now so . . . anyway. When I get my paperwork in order, I won't fear that things are falling through the cracks. I won't have to pay late fees or penalties or overdraft charges. (I haven't gotten to that point but it will happen if I don't start fixing this).
When I get a handle on the paper in my life, I will feel like a responsible adult instead of the irresponsible teenager I feel like right now. I swear, I hear my mother's voice in my head telling me to clean up my room. And I react to that imaginary voice the way I reacted to the real voice when I was 14. "Oh, yeah? Make me." I'm real mature like that. I guess I have to remind myself that if I become a responsible adult, it doesn't mean I can't have fun and do goofy stuff and embarrass my kids. Those things aren't mutually exclusive. Organized people have fun all the time. In fact, they probably have more fun because they don't have the voices in their head telling them they should be cleaning their room instead of being out having fun.
When I get a handle on the paper in my life, I will be a better role model for my kids. First of all, I will be taking better care of myself. Second of all, I'll be setting a good example. Kids learn by watching us. They don't listen to what we say, especially when what we say is inconsistent with our actions (do you blame them?) So if I talk to my daughter right now about how important it is for her to keep her school work organized, she would have every right to tell me to stick it. I gotta walk the walk if I want my kids to listen to me.
When I get a handle on the paper in my life, it will make room for more creativity and growth in my business and my personal development. I think I'll feel more confident if I'm more "together" on this issue. I have an accountant, I have a financial planner even. But neither of them can help me until I do the work of getting crap organized. I owe them both information and documents but I've been procrastinating. Because I don't really know where the stuff is and I don't have it organized enough for anyone else to look at anything. It's embarrassing. I'll have better follow-through because I won't be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of finding stuff like my retirement account statements. I'll be able to send my accountant reports at tax time that will make his job easier and might mean that I actually file my returns on time. And because my accounts will be organized, I won't stress out for months on end about getting my tax stuff done. My part of getting the taxes done will already be complete! That's the beauty of being organized. That's what I want. That's what I need.
For my inner goal I decided that what I want to feel more is peace. When I feel peaceful, I am less reactive and more thoughtful. I am grounded and strong. Day to day events don't knock me off my feet. I can bend but I won't break. This will benefit the people around me because I'll be less sensitive. Less likely to bite someones head off. (I don't do that all the time but it happens. On occasion. Sometimes. Ok, more often than it should.) I guess approaching life from a place of peace is kind of a touchstone for me. I will be a more effective healer because I'll be exuding peace. This world needs more peace and so do I.
Of course the Consciousness Cleanse requires more than just thinking about these goals. I'm supposed to choose one action I can do today to move me one step closer to my goal of getting my paperwork organized. That step is to gather all my piles of paper and get it all into two piles - urgent and not-so-urgent. And because some traditional paperwork isn't really on paper anymore (i.e. some of my receipts for my business are electronic), I'll also pull together in an electronic file or write down on a list all the information that I need to organize as well. Pulling everything together doesn't seem so scary. That's one thing I can do today without too much pain.
For my inner goal I need to come up with an action or a thought I can think to support me in feeling more peaceful. One thing that helps me feel peaceful is reciting the Reiki principles. I try to briefly meditate on them once or twice a day but lately I've been skipping it which isn't good for me. Here are the Reiki principles as I recite them (there are several different iterations - this is my personal adaptation): "Just for today I will not worry; I will not be angry; I will be mindful and diligent in my work; I will be grateful for all that I have, all that I am and all that I can be and I will be kind and compassionate to every living creature - including myself." So my action for today is to recite the Reiki principles.
I hope this isn't just another thing I flake out on after a few days. I think it's a good exercise for me to do. There is a lot of junk still hanging around in my consciousness that needs to go. I'm starting school in about a month so getting this going now will help clear the decks and make room for all the information about anatomy, physiology and massage technique that I'll be learning. And will hopefully help me deal more effectively with the stress of balancing school, working part-time for "the man", running my own business and - most importantly - being a mom.