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!


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.

Jumble of emotions!

I have not been well lately.  And that’s bumming me out.  I have a newfound energy (you’ll see why below) and then just when I think I’m on the upswing, I slide back again and have to languish in bed.  It’s hard to continue to be sick with a mystery illness and not really know what to do about it – and somehow this kind of thing always happens in our house on a holiday weekend.  Hoping to get in to my regular clinic ASAP on Monday.  Fingers crossed.

More than anything, though, I’m excited – I am going to start working with a coach.  Well, I already have.  She is delightful, and I expect to make some changes in my life on account of working with her.  I’m scared shitless, as I unabashedly told her.  But after reading back over this journal, and seeing all the themes of being stuck, being hopeless, being depressed, being idle, overthinking, perfectionism, etc., I am hoping to focus and take some real actions.

First action is to attend a workshop on the Art of Hosting next week.  I do not know if this is the initial focus I will take in freelancing/self-employment/service/etc., but I will know more soon.  I am so glad I was brave enough to sign up for this workshop.  I wasn’t sure I should.  It had a $500 sticker, and I am going part time next school year and had JUST expressed some misgivings about money to my husband.  But I felt compelled to sign up, and decided to go for it.  I think it helped that I was “applying,” not registering.  That gave me a bit of a buffer to say, “oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, no harm in applying.”  Once I was offered a spot, I simply inquired if the organizer knew of any grants or scholarships to help offset the cost.  She did not.  About a week later I got a message from her saying that they’d had so many participants pay the full cost of the workshop that the budget had enough room to offer a few participants to enroll for just the cost of the food and photocopies – $75!  Kismet!  If I’d never thrown my name in the ring, that wouldn’t have happened – so very glad I did.

So my coach already assisted me in finding an intention to take with me into the workshop – to make connections both to people and to material.  I found several images online, and need to text her one.  Then I’ll put the image on my computer for the time of the workshop.  The one below is one that keeps popping into my mind from my searching.  I resisted it because it doesn’t represent humans, though that’s what’s in my mind – while I want to seek the connections with the other participants as well as with the material, the main focus will be on the people.  However, this graphic more closely represents human networks/interactions more than many of the stock photos Google turns up (ahem, youthful white business people holding light bulbs?)  At least this graphic has a variety of sizes, thicknesses, intensities . . . some connections functioning in the foreground and some in the background.  And complex!  Beautiful.


Rich connections come from all kinds of experiences, interests, knowledge, backgrounds

This one’s just pretty.  🙂  Nah, I was drawn to many nature-based photos as well.  This one is just so unique, but it didn’t pop to mind as the first image like the top one did.




Daring Greatly

change of direction

So, I think it’s time for a change of direction with this blog.  I started it back in the summer of 2013, wanted a theme, etc., but the themed blog thing has really never worked well for me.  It feels like way too much pressure, and then when I want to write about something that’s not on the theme, I don’t do it, because it doesn’t fit.  Then I start to feel bad that I’m not “keeping up” with the blog (like there are blog police or something).  I don’t want to burden forum friends with my copious musings, so I don’t put them there.  I don’t keep a journal.  It’s just all stuck up in my head, and is all too segmented.  But my thoughts don’t fit into neat little boxes – I suppose no one’s do.

I think it helps to let go of the idea that any and every blog I start must make money.  I can just have a blog.  That’s ok.  Honestly.  It doesn’t have to be a gateway to a business.  I’d like to have my own business, and I’d like to blog about it.  But the blog doesn’t have to BE the business.  That’s one thing I’ve learned – the publishing schedule required to build an readership, well, it’s not really for me.  Or maybe when I open up and allow myself to truly post whatever I need to get out there, it will be for me.  And then there won’t be a discernable theme so people know if they are a kindred or not.  Uffda.  So anyway, blog baggage, setting you aside.

So that’s it.  THIS is going to be my blog, and ok, I’ll keep up Twin Cities Gluten Free as well, since it’s pretty well developed already, though it has a paltry readership.  But my green/frugal blog?  Bye bye.  The blog about personal explorations?  Bye bye.  Come into the fold of wonder, greenness/frugality/personal growth.  You are going to live here now.  And it might even become a bit of mommy blog, too.  That’s the most terrifying part.  Mommy blogs are polarizing!!  Even if someone’s just talking about their own personal experience as a mom!

So that’s the segue into the title of the post.  I have been reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, where she explores vulnerability and how we must be able to feel and display it, no matter how much it sucks.  Her two TED talks hooked me, and the book has me thinking about vulnerability every time I pick it up (usually before bed, hmmm, perhaps not the best choice . . . ).  Which brings me to my fave, fave, fave blogs . . . Organized Chaos and Bill, Miss and Brood and Puttylike (where I was inspired by a recent post to make this change here).  I have many others that I like pretty dang well, but these three are the READ-EVERY-SINGLE-POST blogs in my feed reader.  And you know why?  Because all of the authors are vulnerable.  They put it out there – not to whine, not to impress, just to be themselves and to be frank about where they are at with life at the moment.  But it’s not just that.  It’s about recognizing where they are at, but then what the next step is or what the lesson is from having been in that place, even if it’s still becoming clear.  I would like to be able to be like that, both in the blogosphere and in real life.  So Brené has me working on it.  🙂

But it scares the shit out of me, so we’ll see how it goes . . . 🙂

Baby steps . . . baby steps . . . at least this blog is reclaimed now, and the intention set.  Feels good.