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Clutter, Clutter Everywhere and No Place To Put It

decluttering, clutter, depression, minimalism, minimalistI think my head is going to explode. I went to a friend’s house to help out last week and there was clutter, clutter everywhere and no place to put it!

It’s the Christmas season and we’re all shopping like crazy to get the perfect gift on everyone’s list. So, where do you put all the new stuff when your closets are already overflowing?

Why Am I Writing About Clutter?

Yes, I know I’m a certified aromatherapist and what does clutter have to do with aromatherapy? Well, I’m also a holistic life coach and that means I’ve been trained to ask questions and look at situations with fresh eyes. And that’s important information for you to have when reading this post – and thank you for reading!

I visited my friend to help her move “stuff” (read that to mean clutter) around to make room for her Christmas tree. Sheesh!

Listen – how you live is none of my business – ever. But when you stand there and complain that you’re overwhelmed, depressed, frustrated and mad as hell while we’re rearranging a shittonne of junk, then don’t expect me to keep my mouth shut.

To make room for the tree, we had to move some of the clutter into her bedroom which already looked like a warehouse. Bedrooms are for sleeping and sex – NOT for TV watching, eating or as storage units! Period! 

I’ve been in minor minimalist mode for the last few years. I say minor because I have no intention of getting rid of everything I own.

But here’s what’s been on my mind lately: What happens if I get run over by a truck today? Then what? Who’s going to take care of all the stuff and clutter that I have everywhere? Just how much stuff sitting around collecting dust do I really need? minimalist, minimalism, de-cluttering

The bigger and better question is this: WHY are you hanging on to all this stuff – clutter? What does it represent to you? How does it make you feel to hang onto all this stuff? Better yet, how does it make you feel when you get rid of all that stuff?

I told you that the life coach thing would be important to this blog post. :0)

My Minimalist Approach

Here’s my idea of minimalism:

  • Have just what I need – maybe a bit more
  • If I haven’t touched it in 2 years, it’s time to get rid of it
  • If I haven’t worn it in 2 years, let it go
  • How much dusting do I really want to do (I hate dusting)
  • Analyzing why I need more stuff

Physical clutter equates to mental clutter pure and simple. Yet all the commercials we watch brainwash us into thinking we NEED more stuff! Have you noticed how many storage companies there are around your town? Why do think that is?

Listen, I love pretty things and lots of clothes as much as the next guy. I do. BUT – what am I going to do with all this stuff when I get old? All that money spent on needless stuff could have helped my retirement account get a little bigger and make me feel more secure.

Not to mention that we get busy busy busy and don’t take the time to put things away if there’s any room left!

The First Step in De-Cluttering

STOP. JUST STOP. Stop buying stuff you don’t absolutely need for your survival!

At this time of the year, it’s imperative to think outside of the Christmas box. Instead of buying more needless stuff for someone, why not have dinner together? Why not get you and your sister/friend/mom a mani/pedi and spend time together? Or get a series of yoga classes to take together?

How many more toys do your kids and grandkids really need? If they’re into soccer, why not get them a soccer lesson? Or tickets to a big league soccer game and go with them? It’s not things that make memories, it’s people we’ve spent time with.

And in all of this, you’re shopping local at small independent businesses where your dollars make a difference!

My second step was to clean out the junk drawer in my kitchen. Then it was a stack of boxes with stuff I hadn’t touched in five years – five years! If you haven’t touched it in that length of time, why do you need to keep it?

What’s your first step toward de-cluttering?

Where To Take Your Clutter

There’s a number of excellent places to donate your items, but one in particular touched my heart. Annie’s Hope Center For Growing And Healing. Annie’s Hope is a certified 501(c)3 non-profit and the Reverend Abby Catoe is the force behind it. Helping women who have endured domestic violence, this labor of love helps them heal and get back on their feet.

Of course, there’s always Goodwill, Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army. You do help change lives when you give to all of these organizations.

Please think about de-cluttering this year when you do your Christmas shopping. Seriously give some thought to spending time with those who matter to you instead of buying stuff! Besides – I have some awesome products for you to give the gift of health this year for Christmas – let’s talk today!

Blessings,

Melissa

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If Everybody Wins, Who Really Wins?

If Everybody Wins Who Really Wins?, Law Of Attraction, Sense of Entitlement, Good Kid, Criticism

If everybody wins, who really wins? I had an eye-opening conversation with a friend recently about this very subject. We were talking about some of the people she works with that don’t do their job because “they don’t want to” and there’s no motivation to do any different.

She went on to say that these particular people are the first generation that got a blue ribbon just for showing up on Field Day. They received everything equally so that nobody’s fragile self esteem was damaged.

Needing to process that statement, I looked at her for a moment and then it hit me.

Everyone of them got a blue ribbon on Field Day at school so that everyone would win something and nobody walked away hurt and disappointed. Everyone is a winner – everybody is a king.

GAH!

This trend began some years ago because some “authority” told us that children need constant positive feedback to grow into self-confident adults. If someone wins, then someone loses and somebody might feel bad about themselves so let’s just make everybody the same and then everybody feels awesome! My friend’s co-workers are the first generation of “Believe. Achieve. Succeed.”. And it’s been taken one step too far.

I understand the premise behind it, but not the reasoning. Nobody wants to feel the sting of disappointment – especially when you really put forth your best effort.

But if you never learn the agony of defeat in life, then how do you learn to gracefully handle the thrill of victory? If everything is awesome, how can anything be awesome?

I remember the first time my son came home from school sobbing with disappointment because he didn’t win. Everyone in his kindergarten class submitted artwork for a contest at his school. He didn’t win anything at all – not even an honorable mention. The artwork was awesome (of course it was!) so I did what any parent would do, I called his teacher.

I explained the situation and asked who was judging the contest. The teacher told me that an art teacher from the high school was judging the contest – a person who didn’t know any of the children and was objective. Okay – thank you – got it – just wanted to check and make sure.

Then the hard part came – gotta tell my 5 year old that sometimes life just stinks. It’s not because he didn’t do his best, not because he was disliked.

He didn’t win anything because someone else was better at art than he was.

If everybody is a winner at everything, then how do you learn what your gifts and abilities are? How do you discover a passion for something when you get a gold star just for showing up and breathing?

If everybody gets a blue ribbon, does that mean everybody is going to be a doctor? Or lawyer? Or succeed at college life?

See what I’m getting at?

Healthy Self Confidence Instead of Over-Inflated Ego

Michael Sigman, in writing for the Huffington Post, says this everyone-wins-a-trophy mentality simply breeds a false sense of self-confidence:

“Grade inflation promotes ego inflation, the opposite of healthy self-confidence. “We want to encourage effort, especially among young kids,” says Jean M. Twenge, author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. “But the ‘everybody gets a trophy’ mentality basically says that you’re going to get rewarded just for showing up. That won’t build true self-esteem; instead, it builds this empty sense of ‘I’m just fantastic, not because I did anything but just because I’m here.’”

By fighting to earn my blue ribbon (or A, or whatever the prize is) I learned good sportsmanship, motivation, self-confidence along with knowing what I was good at and where I was lousy.

I can tell you right now, absolutely NO ONE was concerned about building up my fragile self-esteem. It was all about doing better than you did the day before, studying hard so you didn’t get grounded for bad grades and finding (and fitting in with) friends you enjoyed playing with.

A Learned Sense of Entitlement

Mark Merrill writes about this learned sense of entitlement in a blunt way:

“It seemed to start in the early 90’s. Maybe it was in little league sports, maybe somewhere else. Someone came up with the idea that there would be no losers. Maybe they didn’t want to “damage the children’s self-esteem.” Thus, everyone wins. Everyone gets a trophy. Sure, maybe at a very young age it’s no big deal, but kids are smart cookies. As they get a bit older, they see what’s happening and it de-motivates them. The less talented kids have no reason to do better and the more talented kids have little motivation to excel. On the other hand, it’s also dangerous for our children to think that if you can’t win, you shouldn’t play. That’s a lie too. There is often incredible benefit in being on the basketball team even if you’re not the starter or to sing in the choir even if you’re not the star.”

Even if you’re lousy at something, shouldn’t you experience it just to be a well-rounded human? If you win at everything, does that make you a good kid? If you don’t win, then what?

I love this explanation about raising mentally tough and healthy kids by blogger Anna McAffee:

“We set them up for failure by not giving them realistic expectations. We do not prepare them for healthy criticism, nor do we allow them to determine their gifts and abilities. By telling them that they can do whatever they want, they never have the chance to figure out what they are good at and what they are not good at. Working to develop well-rounded and confident children is not a bad thing. The problem arises when we tell our children that they are going to be the very best at everything they set out to do.”

While I think it’s good to let children know they can attempt anything at all, we also need to temper this with teaching them to look for and hone their gifts and abilities instead of just expecting to be patted on the back for simply showing up.

How This Turned Into The Law Of Attraction

While this mentality of “you can have, be and do anything you set your mind to” is great in theory for motivation, it stinks in reality. I think this whole entitlement mentality paved the way for the huge “law of attraction” explosion. 

The Law Of Attraction basically says whatever you want, all you have to do is dream it, think positive thoughts and it’s yours. Whether that’s a million bucks, a fabulous job, the prettiest spouse in town – whatever. You want it, you got it because with the law of attraction, nobody loses and everybody wins!

Really?

So what happens when the dream doesn’t happen? How do you handle bitter disappointment when you’ve never known loss or defeat because, you know, everyone’s a winner? There’s this false sense of reality because the law of attractions says I’ll succeed at everything I try!

When it doesn’t happen, then what? If you’ve always gotten the blue ribbon for just showing up, then you really don’t know what failure and disappointment is.

What happens the first time your boss criticizes you because you could’ve done a better job on that project or you need to start showing up on time? If you don’t know any different, how do you handle that criticism?

There’s a real shock! My friend said people quit their job at her company because they just didn’t feel like doing the job they’re being paid for! When they were criticized for not stepping up, it made them so mad, they quit.

I swear my eyes are rolling right out of the back of my head. Jeez…

Healthy Self Esteem and Self Worth

We all need to receive positive feedback – especially as a child. I get that. And yes, if you work hard enough, you’ll probably get what you want or some semblance thereof. Maybe. But if you’re tying your self esteem and self worth to winning and losing, you’re screwed from the start.

Healthy self esteem and self worth comes from the inside. You’ve got to know in you’re own heart that no matter what people think or say, YOU are a worthy person. Not because you got a blue ribbon for showing up on field day, but because you’re a human being worthy of taking up space on the planet.

Some things, you just have to learn on your own – including disappointment and criticism. Or with the help of an awesome and compassionate holistic life coach. :0) Fill out this short contact form and let’s talk about this today!

Blessings,

Melissa

 

 

 

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Keep The Faith

Keep The Faith, Perseverance, Inspiration, Motivation,

To have faith doesn’t mean you get any less frustrated when you don’t do your best, but you know that it’s not life and death. Take what you’re given, and when you continue to work hard, you will see results. That will give you the confidence you need to keep going. Tom Lehman

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep the faith. Every once in a while, the world just keeps coming at you with no end in sight. I hope I’m not the only one who feels like throwing in the towel upon occasion. 

It’s impossible to count just how many times I have felt that way. Do you ever feel that way? Feel like enough is enough? Feel like you’ve pushed so hard to make something happen and it fell flat – yet another time?

You’ve had a really tough day; seems like everything has gone to hell in a hand basket and it ain’t over yet. Not nearly enough aspirin – or red wine –  to fix that headache.

That’s exactly when you need to keep the faith. 

There’s a way to get back on track when life seems so overwhelming, it seems like it’s always something and you’re asking yourself: will it ever end already?

Somehow, somewhere, some way – there’s a gift in here. (Sigh…)

The Gift of Perseverance

I went through a really bad time some years ago where Murphy’s Law was in full effect. If it could go wrong, it did. Everything I said, everything I did, every single decision I made – all backfired in some form or fashion.

The fallout was devastating – I’ve said that before. I completely lost my faith and anything else that went along with it. You want to know the truth? I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered from that chapter of my life. Or do I mean healed?

I dunno.

All I can say is some of the things I’ve been through are what make me a very gifted and empathetic aromatherapist and life coach. These very events have shaped my character, my integrity and my heart.

But, I managed through the gift of perseverance. And guts. And grit. Real life ain’t for sissies, you know.

So, how can I help you get back on track? 

The Benefits of Deep Breathing (and Yoga)

Through taking a yoga class with an amazing instructor, I’ve learned even more about deep breathing. Take a deep breath – I know – overused and doesn’t seem to do any good, but it really does help your body especially during stressful times.

Focusing on your breath gives your brain a much needed break and gives you a moment to think about nothing. Breathing this deeply helps bring fresh energy to your cells and is very calming. 

Yoga is one of those practices that I didn’t understand until recently. You have to think about each pose while you’re doing them. Yoga isn’t hard and can be modified for all body types and levels of agility. When you practice yoga, you’re practicing deep breathing techniques.

Yoga (and deep breathing) are highly beneficial during times of stress – especially when you’re struggling with life events (and keeping your faith). I can tell you from experience, it works!

Mediating for Five Seconds

One of the things I’ve tried to do – and I’m not good at – is sitting still long enough to meditate for a few minutes. Sheesh! That monkey mind of mine goes off the deep end the moment I sit down. I’ve learned that full-blown meditation is not for me, but I can manage for a few seconds at a time.

It goes back to focusing on your breath. If you don’t care to meditate, but really need a break, just sit down and think about your breath for five seconds. That’s it – five seconds! All you have to do is pay attention to what it feels like when you take a deep breath and then let it out. How do your lungs feel when you breath deeply? What happens to your belly when you breath deeply?

By the way, while you’re thinking about your breath, make sure they are big, deep belly breaths. Meditating like this puts fresh oxygen in your system.

Okay, so maybe it’s not meditating, but it works for me.

Using Aromatherapy

I wish I would’ve known about aromatherapy a few years ago. I believe with all my heart that it makes such a huge difference in your life, especially during times of stress.

Using aromatherapy can be the catalyst that gives you the motivation, inspiration and strength you need to keep the faith.

Here’s my favorite blend that quickly helps when you need to find peace and tranquility, to find inner stillness and harmony and to move blocked or stagnant energy.

Tranquility Blend

  • 10 mL Glass Roller Ball
  • 10 mL Jojoba Wax
  • 10 drops Frankincense
  • 7 drops Myrrh
  • 7 drops Oppopanax

Combine all ingredients into roller ball, cap tightly and shake well. Use 4 times daily by applying to chest and inner wrists.

We all need a helping hand when life goes sideways. I want to help you keep your faith, get through the trying times and come out on the other side a much stronger and wiser human being.

Remember, faith is believing in something when there is no real proof of your belief. Faith comes from your heart and your guts (also known as your intuition). 

Ok, I feel better. What about you? How can I help you today? Please fill out the contact form and let’s talk today!

Blessings,

Melissa

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Angel In Disguise

Angel In Disguise, angels unaware, kindness, beacon of kindness, apathy, indifference

People are what you make them. A scornful look turns into a complete fool a man of average intelligence. A contemptuous indifference turns into an enemy a woman who, well treated, might have been an angel. Andre Maurois

When’s the last time you thought about an angel in disguise? I am a fan of motivational quotes. They always seem to trip a trigger in my brain. Lately, I’ve worked to keep my eyes open to all the “serendipities” of life and when thinking about this week’s entry, the above quote jumped out on my screen.

And it got me to thinking…

People walk around hoping to present to the world how they see themselves, but often we see them through the lens of our life experiences and judgments. I believe we make those harsh judgments of others based on our own personal notion of “normal.”

Normal? Relative to what? What is normal anyway?

Maybe what I see as “normal” is ridiculously boring and absolutely out of the question for you. Maybe I’m the really weird one in the world and everyone else is sane. Maybe your coworker or best friend is fighting a demon or struggling with a problem and it comes across to you as a snarky comment or contemptuous indifference.

It’s the contemptuous indifference that just absolutely makes me crazy. All of this to say: Kindness.

Kindness

We all have problems and we want them solved. We go looking for answers and – OMG – what if YOU are the answer to someone’s problem that day? What if just by showing up and being kind, you made them feel less alone and more “normal?”

Because of kindness, what if you give somebody a big smile in spite of the bitchy comment they just threw out? You become the angel in disguise because instead of biting back, you empathized with someone who might look and act completely different than you. You cleaned up someone else’s screw-up without telling the whole world and they know there really is good in the world.

Kindness really does matter. Kindness is very important. And many times, your kindness opens the door to marvelous serendipities.

Years ago, I lived in this tiny rent house in a cul de sac just off a very busy highway. One summer day, I was home alone as my son was playing at his friend’s house. Since I didn’t have air conditioning, the windows and doors were wide open.

I can’t remember what I was doing – just putzing around the house on a Saturday afternoon. An older man – who had seen much better days – knocked on my screen door and asked for a glass of water. I brought a glass of water to the door and he sucked it down and asked for another. I brought another glass of water and he quickly drank that, too. He asked for a third and so I went to the kitchen and poured the water, but when I got back to the front door, he was gone.

He disappeared into thin air.

I have no idea what happened to him. He was old and dirty and I didn’t have a clue who he was or where he came from. No one in the other neighborhood houses even saw him.

Was he an angel in disguise waiting to see what I would do? I don’t know. When I told my mother about the experience, she freaked out and started screaming that I could have been killed and what was I thinking and how could I have been so stupid?

All I did was give a glass of water to a thirsty man. I didn’t feel stupid and I didn’t feel threatened at the time that this event took place. Someone was thirsty so I solved a problem (albeit for the short term) and helped another human being.

I simply treated him with kindness instead of cold indifference or even worse — apathy. I don’t know if I really have a guardian angel but, in that instance, some force was watching over me very closely. Call it what you want – guardian angels or serendipity – it all comes down to the same thing – angels in disguise.

My Own Angel In Disguise

One time I dropped a box of business cards all over a downtown street corner. I was late, frustrated and near tears picking up a thousand business cards when a kind soul said “May I help you?” In my frustration I simply said a terse “no thank you” and kept picking up the cards. She said “are you sure?” and I uttered no thanks – then I looked up.

Here was a young woman with studs coming out of her nose, lips, eyebrows, tongue – you name it! She wore odd clothes and had really different hair – I will never forget her.

I wished now I would have said “yes, thank you so much for your help.” But I didn’t – I simply gave her a terse “no thank you.”

I still feel ashamed when I think back on that incident – what if she were struggling that day and by extending a hand of kindness to a stranger, she was trying to reach out as all “normal” human beings do?

Instead of letting her help me, my angel in disguise was promptly rebuffed. I was so uncomfortable allowing (and receiving) help that I couldn’t even say yes, thank you.

Jeez – what an impression I left that day. At best, I was rude and at worst, I was insensitive to another human being who was simply being kind. Boy, do my wings ever need adjusting…

You never know what serendipity will bring when you least expect it so I’m keeping my eyes open for an angel in disguise. What about you? I would love to hear about your angel in disguise. Were you the angel? Or were you on the receiving end of an angel in disguise? Please leave a comment below and tell me your story – I’d love to know about your lovely coincidences.

As always, I would certainly appreciate a like on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. It helps the Google fairies find Scented Balance and makes you an angel in disguise! ;o)

Melissa

 

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Change Your Future By Changing Your Past

Change Your Future by Changing Your Past, perspective meaning, put things into perspective, paradigm shift, shifting your paradigm,

In growing as a human being, I do a LOT of reading. For years, I was a punching bag for the self-help industry and it got old real fast. I was trying to change my future by changing my past without addressing the real issue(s). 

Do you ever wish there was an reset button for your life? Whoops – didn’t want to do that – Undo! Ooh – wish that didn’t happen – Do-over! AACK – bad decision – Escape!

I so wish for a do-over button for some of the goofy things I did, poor decisions I made, and a number of experiences that happened to me during my childhood. (The good news? I did most of my stupid stuff w-a-a-a-y before Facebook!)

Everyone has something they wish they could do over or experience in a different way.

The lessons you learned growing up have a huge impact on the way you live your life now and going forward; sometimes our past holds us back from a peaceful present and abundant future.

Don’t you wish you could go back and change some of the events of your past? I do and I believe I have found a small way to change my past! 

No, I’m not the master of time travel. However, I’m learning to change my perspective on my past to make my future brighter. That change in perspective is what allows me to transform the past – at least my view of the past.

One of my favorite radio personalities had a horrendous childhood with parents that couldn’t have screwed up their children any more if they tried. Sheri Lynch is warm, funny, self-deprecating and has a hilarious perspective about the insanity of her childhood family life.

What strikes me most about her is that she relates stories regarding the lunancy and terror of her childhood with grace and humor. I appreciate the way Sheri has put things into perspective.

Some of the things that happened to her would totally screw up a lesser person, but she used the heartache and pain as motivation to get a college education, become an award-winning radio personality, write a couple of bestselling books and be the best parent she can be.

How did she do that????

Put Things Into Perspective

She changed her perspective. (Ok, I don’t know her personally, so this is just my opinion.) When you look back at some of your painful childhood events, what do you recall? What comes up when you think about some of these events?

Some of my childhood experiences would qualify me for the platinum level at the local looney bin, but all in all, I believe I escaped the insane asylum in fairly decent shape. (I’m not sure everyone in my world would agree with that statement. LOL) 

Some years ago, I decided to write a little book called Find Your Paradigm: The Art of Living With Grace and Ease. The process of putting my thoughts on paper really brought a lot of childhood memories flooding back and not all of them are good.

I can clearly see how my paradigms were formed, what makes me tick and why I have certain beliefs and fears. While I share many life experiences in Find Your Paradigm, there are some that I just couldn’t share. I’m not ready to expose the entire underbelly of my childhood to the world just yet.

Over time, I realized I was carrying baggage from the past and it was getting heavier and more emotionally draining by the day.

Just like you, I am a busy person. We all have jobs, families, homes, friends, hobbies and chores. After awhile, I realized I no longer had the time or energy to carry around the bags of disappointment, blame, anger, mistrust and frustration.

Had I stayed the course, all of this baggage ensured a dark and miserable future – not something I want.

Because I worked hard to change my perspective (somewhat) on past events, I believe my future is bright and filled with abundance. A paradigm shift, if you will.

Shifting Your Paradigm

Past events leave a deep impression on you; color your expectations about the future and leave you feeling either happy and excited or fearful and angry.

As recent as several years ago, I looked back on certain life events with anger and humiliation.

Somewhere along the line, I became aware of the physical damage these emotions initiated. My emotional baggage caused blood pressure concerns, weight issues, aches and pains that I couldn’t explain, and, worst of all, a really hopeless attitude about life in general.

Through forgiveness and some deep self-acceptance and self-love, now if I think about the events that generated all those emotions, I’m better able to see how and why the events unfolded as they did (although let’s be real here – I don’t pretend to understand someone else’s twisted reasoning).

While it wasn’t any fun enduring the horrors at the time, I’ve worked hard to use that pain to help others who struggle with emotional baggage. As a life coach, I have a unique perspective on a number of issues because of my childhood.

I learned some horrifying facts about my childhood from various family members about five years ago, and again, my perspective somewhat changed. Whew! I don’t think my perspective softened, but I now know that we make poor decisions for several reasons:

  • when we don’t know any better
  • when we feel there is no other choice
  • based on what we want and not necessarily what is best for all involved
  • because maybe you’re a mean person!

Who’s to judge what options are available to choose from when someone has to make a decision? When you feel like a victim, your decision-making skills are distorted and tend to go from bad to worse. Although, with that said, the choice to be kind or cruel to another human being (particularly a child) shouldn’t be that difficult.

A change in perspective requires forgiveness and some level of tolerance of others’ poor choices. Looking back, I was disillusioned and betrayed by various adults in my life; many of their warped paradigms followed me into adulthood.

Change Your Future By Changing Your Past

So here is the million dollar question: do you choose to become a product of your environment (meaning that if your mother was an ax murderer then you’re destined to be one, too) or do you choose to move beyond whatever warped family values you have and change your perspective?

Changing your perspective on the past allows your life to unfold with greater grace and ease!

I choose to rise above my circumstances, live with grace and ease, and create a life that is fulfilling for me. I can’t alter the way events unfolded all those years ago, but I can adjust how I perceive those experiences.

In essence, it does change my past in some way and I know I have transformed my future for the better.

I’d love to read your thoughts about your paradigm shift and how you changed your perspective on some harsh events. Please take a moment to leave a comment below. 

And if you’re ready to make a paradigm shift – let’s talk. Simply fill out this short contact form and let’s get started today.

Blessings,

Melissa

P.S. I’m very grateful when you share not only your comments, but this post with your friends!