The Feminine Touch

 

To deny that making a home a beautiful and loving place is a valuable task is to deny the value of woman’s innate ability to nurture…and to place value only on money and perceived external power. Sometimes feminism makes the mistake of equating equality with masculinity…thinking anything typically feminine is lesser. What an impoverished view! How far from respecting the feminine, how far from liberating women! 

True freedom lies in the ability to choose for love…whether it is to work in society, or to build society from within the family. Woman has much to add in both these spheres. 

Whatever we do, wherever we are, we do as women, and proudly so. Feminine qualities of empathy, wholistic vision, ability to multitask, to communicate and bring out the best in people should be part of everything we do, whether teaching our children or designing a bridge. So wear the power suit if you like, but don’t throw away your feminine soul. You are richer for it, and so are those around you. 

Unblogging My Clutter

Whatever you can’t give away, you don’t possess. It possess you.
Ivern Ball


For years I’ve had the problem of having way more stuff than I could handle. I’ve spent endless hours shuffling around junk and not knowing what to do with it. I’m constantly sorting, recyling and giving boxes to the thrift store, yet I never do more than melt the tip of the iceberg. I get paralyzed by the tiniest decisions…like keeping or chucking this trinket or piece of paper, and end up shoving it back in the box and running away to cook dinner.

My friend Reiko remembers me doing the same thing in highschool. “It seemed like every Saturday you were stuck inside cleaning your room again” she told me the other day, when I told her of my renewed mission to declutter my house. I realize now that what I was really doing was “neatening.” In her book “Let Go of Clutter,” organizational expert Harriet Schechter defines this as follows:

Neatening: straightening, tidying, and/or hiding things away to create the illusion of orderliness.

In other words, pretending. Ugh. I hate pretending. Trying to create an illusion of something I’m not. Keeping up appearances. What I really need is real change….to be liberated from the suffocating hold of too much stuff. I need to declutter, and this time not a little bit at a time, but in a radical major way.

Decluttering: discarding, removing, or markedly reducing any accumulation of material objects.

If it’s so obvious and simple, why is it so hard? Schechter believes we are hard-wired for hoarding. It’s an old survival instinct…our inner squirrel packing away nuts for a snowy day. Your waste-not-want-not squirrel might say while you attempt to declutter:

But it could be useful one day…
But it’s not broken…
But it was expensive…
But it was a gift from Aunt So-and-So…
But I don’t want to be wasteful and make more garbage…

The problem is that we live in a time at least in many parts of the world, of abundance rather than scarcity. Hoarding in this context makes no sense. We end up with more that we know what to do with…and as a result spend hours and hours every year shuffling it around, looking for new storage solutions, sorting and resorting.

If I had $10-15 for every hour I’ve spent sorting mismatched kids socks alone, I could likely take a cruise. Schechter suggests you add up all the minutes each day you spend sorting, looking for lost things, and trying to put away stuff that has no place of it’s own. If you value your own time, you’ll realize that clutter is a luxury you can’t afford. An hour a day wasted adds up to about $3500 a year!

What is your clutter preventing you from accomplishing instead? Playing music, taking an art class, trying new recipes, taking a long walk at the beach, taking time to stay connected with friends, getting a promotion? How does a messy house affect your sense of self-worth?

While I know clutter is a waste of time, space and money, and a stressful source of tension, I find it hard to deal with alone. I feel overwhelmed:


I’m really blessed to have some awesome friends who are willing to get up to the elbows in junk and chant, “Chuck! Chuck! Chuck!” So with their help and you all cheering me on (and sharing your best declutter tips, please!) I hope to at last conquer my clutter by letting it go…unblogging my emotional blocks around “stuff” to create a clear and peaceful home…and heart as well.

On Writing

This post made me laugh so hard I had to share it, and I also completely agree that being at home with the kids is a perfect setting for being a writer. Love it. Hope Kate makes you smile as she does me..

Laptop on the Ironing Board

Pretty notepad with pen, tea and chocolate

Disclaimer: I suspect this is going to be an insufferably self-indulgent and introspective post.

Suffer.

I love writing. I get such a rush from words tumbling out and jostling for position on the screen or in my ratty notebook.  There is a delicious agony in searching for the right word or the perfect one-liner. I am filled with glee when I finish a piece and it’s done, it’s definitely done and I can totally publish it.  And knowing that I have readers as lovely as you is pure bliss.  I think I know now what I want to be when I grow up.

And here’s the funny part: I think that my job as a stay-at-home-mum fits perfectly with this plan.

I feel a little nervous saying this – in any other profession, it’s perfectly OK to say you love working and that your job is full of fun perks…

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