My 2016 Word: “Permission”


permission in art fontWell, I think my word for 2016 is chosen!  I can’t get “permission” out of my head.  This is how it happened last year.  I had a big ol’ list, and the one that kept cropping up for me was the one I chose.  And it was so successful to have a talisman that reminded me of the word, I am going to order one for this year from the same woman, but I think I’ll go with a necklace this time.  Or maybe not.  🙂

Interesting that I had a hard time with what feels like kind of a pedestrian word.  I felt I should have been able to distill it into a deep phrase or something, like “you can” or whatevs.  But it wasn’t happening.  I felt I needed someone ELSE’S permission to use the word permission.  But I know what it means.  It’s for ME, and it don’t gotta be cute or Pinterest-worthy.

My Konmari Vision

I am pretty proud of myself.  It is Xmas Eve, and even though there are still presents to be wrapped and stuff to be baked, I am sitting here writing about my Konmari Vision!  My toddler has been sick since Monday and very clingy.  I have had precious little time to myself over the last few days and haven’t felt tip-top myself.  So in order to make it through the rest of today, when we will go to my lovely in-laws who are stressed out about a family situation and are just generally in need of patience, I am taking time to type up what I have so far.

I am in this great FB group for Konmari.  It’s a small one, with a focus of how Konmari and chronic health challenges interplay.  My own health challenges have somewhat abated, which I am thankful for, and which also makes me feel like somewhat of an imposter in the group.  However, with any hormonal change I could be back in the same boat so I am staying in order to help take good care of myself.  I think it’s what any of the ladies in the group would want for themselves as well.


Haha, here I am resuming this post on December 26.  I have found something that takes a lot of frustration out of my life, and that is parking my computer in the craft room instead of in the dining room where it can sing its siren song at all hours.  But that’s an aside.  Back to the Konmari vision!

So the fabulous FB group I mentioned above has a weekly thread that’s taken me a while to understand.  It is a check in about how we can live our Konmari visions NOW, not when we are done KMing.  Given the health challenges of the members in the group (and life in general), the process doesn’t always move along as quickly as presented in the book.  Finally I decided to dig into my personal vision.

I did three things to get some idea of my vision, two from the book (page 36) and one from member Diana from the above-mentioned group.

  1. Wrote about what my house would look like ideally, and how I would feel. (per book)
  2. Pulled out the themes and then asked “why?” over and over. (per book)
  3. Also sat back in the recliner, closed my eyes and pictured my day in my ideal home.  It was hard without a guided meditation/visualization to listen to, but I did get some useful information. (from Diana)

From the free-write, what I felt came out the most was:

  • clear surfaces (mentioned several times)
  • the house to feel like “a supportive friend,” a place that is sometimes “quiet” (in the sense of not screaming obligations at me – clean me! put me away! you didn’t finish me yet!) so I can enjoy my husband and son, do other projects without guilt, and just simply relax
  • Putting away ongoing projects neatly and out of sight/stored attractively in order to easily come back to them later
  • Being able to invite friends and family over on a whim
  • Being able to walk through the house unobstructed
  • No piles
  • Fresh smell (this one surprised me)
  • Decor we both like

Then I pulled out what felt like the three strongest themes and asked myself “why” until I felt I got the root of the statement.

  • “I want the house to feel like a supportive friend.”  I won’t outline all my thinking, but it came down to wanting control of my time and my life – not simply spending it in the whirlwind of STUFF and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
  • “I want clear surfaces.”  I feel a lot calmer.  Ultimately, I feel empowered and free.  If I want to do any project, I can!  Because the cleaning is already done.  If I want to use that space or another, I don’t have to clean it first.
  • “I want to be able to invite friends or family over on short notice.”  In the end, so my attention can be fully on the people I’m with (versus going out to restaurants, wrestling wiggly child, spending money, feeling as if you can only stay for a certain amount of time, etc.).

Lastly, I sat and tried to picture my day in my Konmari utopia.  I didn’t get a lot of images other – was hard to focus, did do this part on Xmas Eve and my mind was elsewhere – but I did see:

  • An unhurried morning routine.  I got up, was able to make breakfast, strolled to work unruffled.
  • Then I got glimpses of what I would do if I didn’t have to be allllllllllways working on our house.  I got images of being outside – hiking, and also in a canoe with my husband.  We have not done either of these things in a few years – since our baby came, but also since we started our basement project.

So I learned a number of very useful things through this exploration about how I can live my Konmari vision NOW, just like the thread on FB asks us to think about.

  • I can work to keep the most frequently used surfaces clear:  at a minimum – the dining room table and buffet, kitchen counters, mail station, top of my dresser and top of baby’s dresser clear.  That would contribute tremendously to my sense of calm at home.  And to do it, I will have to KM some stuff.  A lot of what ends up on these surfaces are items that don’t have a home.  Do we really need them, then?
  • I can do some things to help it smell fresh.  I don’t like commercial/synthetic air fresheners, but I can mop, and put out natural scents (stovetop air fresheners like orange peels, vanilla, etc. – tons on Pinterest), and use tea tree oil in the diaper pail to help the place smell fresher.  I can enable DH to keep up with the vacuuming.  He loves it, and I do not, but with our toddler underfoot, he doesn’t get as much vacuuming done as he would like.  Further KMing will help in this area, because when there isn’t sh*t to vacuum around, we can vacuum more thoroughly.  Also, then the dog won’t lay on and stink up everything (couch blankets, clean laundry that doesn’t get folded fast enough, etc.).  I can try to bathe dog more often, but unlikely to happen, especially in winter.
  • I can put away projects that are partially finished.  I have plenty of folders and clear envelopes for paperworky projects.  I have some storage boxes in my scrapbooking stuff that could help.
  • I can put on a timer when I start to clean.  When I’ve put in a certain amount of time, that can be good enough for now.  I tend to start and get so overwhelmed that I can’t do it all.  I can NEVER do it all at once.  At first I also had that I WILL never be able to do it all at once, but I deleted it.  Maybe with Konmari I will.  But not yet – so I need to have some mental tricks to allow myself the grace, relaxation and enjoyment of life NOW as well as later.
  • Recommit to KM!  This exercise was useful to help me see how KMing is the portal to all this goodness.  While I can make some of it happen now, it will require effort and focus and mental expenditure.  Hopefully once KMing is complete it will just come naturally.  Keep an eye on the prize!

I am in love with Elizabeth Gilbert

Sooooo I keep listening to podcasts with Elizabeth Gilbert in them.  I love her rawness, her humanity, her wisdom, her wit, her realness.  The latest one I listened to was with Rob Bell on the Robcast.  Literally they are just shooting the shit in his dining room.

What spoke to me:

  • Just take care of “your poor, tired, human animal body:” to the woman who is not finding time to write with her infant that is up all night.
  • When something is bothering you, to run it off/run it out.  Take a run, spew all the shit, and as you do it over time, it will take you less and less and less time to dump it all.  But it has to be dumped, it has to be said, even if to no one, or it will fester and become more powerful.  The other analogy – like putting it in a bucket and putting on the lid.  If you put on the lid and let it rot, it will be a worse situation than the initial grossness of just dumping it all out and naming what you see.  This didn’t just speak to me, it SCREAMED to me.

What I love about my friend

I have a friend that I admire so much.  When formulating my yet-to-become-public statement of life purpose, I told my life coach that I know someone that embodies a draft purpose (close in intent, not the exact words I landed on).  She encouraged me to think about what was it about her that I admire so much.  So the other day when I had my deep and intense brain dump I wanted to write about this as well but was mentally exhausted.  So I saved it for today!

First of all, Friend is so genuine.  She is completely present.  Whenever I’m with her, which isn’t as often as I would like, I NEVER feel like she wants to be somewhere else.  She is always completely and joyfully simply right there with you.  Her capacity for listening is incredible.  She will make you feel like you’ve been heard whether you’re celebrating, kvetching or exploring unknowns.  Also, friend is the BEST, I mean THE BEST, hugger.  It goes back to being present.  You can just feel the esteem she holds for you in that hug.  She will also share her own trials, too.  She doesn’t hide the fact that she’s suffered from mental health issues or follows a strictly gluten and sugar free diet for many years because the repercussions for her health are ugly.  She has a lovely, imperfect life – it’s easy to identify with her.  I just love Friend and strive to be more like her – it’s helped to write out exactly in which ways.

Values Based Intentions

I took a course last winter called Life With Intention Online.  We explored our personal values and how to apply them to live a fulfilling life right now.  That concept has come crashing back to Earth with some of the more recent work I just posted about.  Such a journey!

So I realized that while I spent six weeks immersed in developing values-based intentions, I never did write down much of what I did.  So I managed to log back in and find my personal values-based intentions from February 2015.  It is amazing to see how six months later I continue to wrestle with exactly these intentions, and they all still feel like they fit.  And none talk about having a business.  🙂


  • Seek enough.
  • Focus on quality items that spark joy.

Personal habits:

  • Mindfully nourish my body.
  • Move at the pleasure of my soul.
  • Indulge curiosity and seek adventure.


  • Be real: Let the cracks show and say what I need others to know.
  • Show care and appreciation through thoughtful actions.
  • Listen.


  • Improve the greater good with creativity and connection.
  • Seek freedom to schedule and direct my own work.


So when people say, “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is: “What can I do with my time that is important?” – Mark Manson

Dandelion seeds in warm breeze

Photo: Mark Bitzenhofer on Flickr.

Warning:  post ahead may be nonsensical to you, dear reader (ha, there are all of one of you, maybe two? And you know I appreciate you!) but it’s completely sensical to me!  LOL, this blog is turning into a big ol’ Dear Diary session.  🙂

Two main happenings lately in my self-exploration, both as a result (one directly, one indirectly) of the coaching I’ve been doing for three sessions now.  I am starting to make more and more connections the deeper into the coaching we get.  As I wrote in my last post, we did some exploration around a metaphorical statement of my life’s purpose.  After a week and half or so of mulling, revisiting the visualizations we did, and doing a bit of wordsmithing (not too much, but soooo tempting to spin wheels here), I’ve hit on a phrase that I’m not ready to share with the world but is feeling like it is right – for now.  (The quote at the top of the post illustrates why it’s ok that the “right now” caveat is there.)  I’ve been rolling the statement around in my head and love it.  I need to do some hand-writing in my journal about it before I am ready to unveil (might be never!), but wanted to get some things out here first since I typically prefer typing because the thoughts can come out so much faster.  That’s the first part.

The second part is that my coach also sent me this article about life purpose, which led me down the rabbit hole to – it turns out – this far more important-for-me-right-now post.  (Trigger warning: rape/graphic sexual language.)  When I read the second one in particular, it was an aha:  the reason I haven’t started up a business is because I don’t really want to.  I don’t really want to do all the accounting.  I don’t really want to rely on myself for only-just-good-enough (aka shitty) benefits, mainly health insurance.  What attracts me to having my own business is the scheduling and creative freedom.  So how can I have that in my current life?  And with this realization, I think this year of working .5 in my outside employment is a great start.  And I’m proud that I’ll be doing that, and scared, but excited.

This aha felt peaceful, felt right.  Jess Lively talks about the intuition as a cool well, we can dip into it for refreshing water/wisdom, the information it gives us is not fearful or damaging.  That’s how this moment felt.  Suddenly I did not feel like a failure for not getting something off the ground.  This realization, along with the work on my life purpose statement, has me feeling so much better about life – like I now have “permission” (from myself) to work on the projects that really draw my attention, regardless of the money they might make us – like that it’s ok to continue to want to live frugally because that will give us the financial freedom not to be tied to full-time work that crushes the life purpose sometimes.  I find myself looking at other aspects of my life through the lens of the purpose statement: how can I listen better to others?  Be more present?  Abdicate some of my obsession with technology?  Tap the wisdom of others to improve problems that are real here and now?  And none of this will necessarily make me any money, but it will all make me happier.

So, some further interesting observations/thoughts.  When I started the life coaching, I declared pretty strongly that THE main thing I wanted to get out of the experience was to focus down onto ONE business idea.  Now that does not feel true!  Not at all!  And part of me is like, shit, I am paying a LOT of money for this coaching and I’m not gonna have something to “show” for it at the end?  Not going to have the start of a business?  Because, like, my inner peace, confidence, and happiness is worth nothing?  Huh.

On the Path

photo courtesy Jonas Ginter on Flickr

photo courtesy Jonas Ginter on Flickr

Paths – so many metaphors with paths.  I am on a path to the future (I suppose we all are), I am working on new neural pathways to establish more productive thoughts and habits (this keeps coming up lately in all kinds of places).

Today:  yoga, coaching call and biking.  Feels so good to have done all this.  It’s easy when it’s 75 and sunny, but I am nervous for when it is an 8 hour day of sunlight and below zero.  However, as my coach Christina said, I need to give myself kudos for what I HAVE done, which was bike and go to yoga – especially because my initial plan for yoga fell through and I had to look for a different class at the last second.  But I found one and enjoyed it – hard, but great.  It was even free since I’d never been to the studio before.  🙂

On the coaching call we did three visualizations to help arrive at a metaphor statement for my life’s purpose.  I know, huge.  That seems impossible to even do, but it gives me hope for perspective and direction.

So in the first visualization (which I looooove) I had to picture a billboard and on it was my message to the world.  Where was it located?  What did it look like?  What did it say?  Who was looking at it?  How were those individuals reacting?  That one felt a bit forced, a bit too much from the conscious mind.  (I had picked a terrible spot to have the coaching call.  There were so many trucks that it was really hard to focus.  Lesson learned).  My billboard was in a cornfield, with a Mexican-type floral motif and it said “Be Brave.”  And some young women were looking at it, but I didn’t really notice their reaction.  I think the “Be Brave” thing wasn’t really coming from my intuition since I have been thinking a lot about that phrase lately.

In the second, the thing to visualize was that I stepped out of bed and had a superpower.  What was it?  Then, take a walk with the new superpower.  Who did I meet along the way?  I could share my superpower with them.  What did it look like?  This middle visualization was the best one, the one from deepest in me, and the most “right” feeling.  I could float – not really fly, though kind of.  Maybe more like a slow-mo flying, and only a few feet off the ground.  I took a walk in the neighborhood on our regular dogwalking route, and encountered a friendly neighbor.  I took her hand and then together we could float higher, and with more control, and faster.  Like the power was enhanced once we banded together.  It was cool.

For the third, I was on a stage.  I pictured the stage and who was in the audience.  Then, I could say whatever I needed to say to them.  This one was really hard.  It was kind of negative.  I only pictured three people in the audience.  One I knew and two I did not know.  I had nothing to say, and it was really awkward.  I just wanted it to end.

I am not sure what these mean yet but wanted to document them.