Category Archives: Empowerment

Empower yourself! Fix broken things!

Broken things carry a very heavy weight energetically. For example, you may not be aware of

Fixing my arthritic thumb joint was empowering!

how heavy that leaky faucet is in your subconscious until you repair it and feel the relief of having it fixed.

I was reminded of how empowering it can be to fix broken things when I had surgery to address osteoarthritis in my right hand. For years I had been experiencing increasing aching pain at the base of both my thumbs. As the arthritis and pain progressed my mobility in my hands became more and more limited. I had to stop knitting. I had to stop using the track pad on my computer. I had to ask my husband to open jars for me. My hands became weaker and weaker. As those things happened I began to feel broken, powerless to do anything about it, frustrated, and old. The brokenness in my body negatively affected my sense of self, my belief in myself and my abilities. I was on a negative slide. Brokenness brings with it negative energies in many forms.

I was excited to learn that surgery could give me back full use of my hands. I’m now two weeks into recovery. Though my hand still has some dull pain and feels fragile, I have noticed that my sense of what is possible for me in the future is growing. Just addressing that one broken part of me has begun shifting from an “I can’t” energy to an “I can” energy. Why is that? Because I fixed a part of my body that was broken. I know my hand will no longer be deteriorating into debilitating pain. It is healing and will be strong again. If it will be strong, so will I.

I wasn’t consciously aware of the extent of the psychological weight caused by the progression of arthritis in my hand until I took action to address the problem and eliminate it. When I was feeling broken and powerless, my thinking and view of myself was contracting. When I took action to repair what was broken, my thinking and my view of myself began to expand. It manifested in feelings of optimism and joy. I began taking action to realize my intention to include more music and art in my life. I took a painting class, my first oil painting class since college. I rented an oboe and registered for classes to learn how to play it.

The more healthy and whole I am physically and psychologically, the more empowered I feel. The more empowered I feel the more likely I am to take positive action. What is broken in your life that if fixed would give you new life, motivation, inspiration and could lead to positive action on your behalf? What is your first step to fixing it? What’s possible if you do fix it? How will fixing it empower you to go for what you really want? 

Clear Clutter and Create Awareness

“When your life is possession-centered, the important thing is what you have; when it is

Possession-focus keeps you disconnected from yourself.

A possession-focus keeps you disconnected from yourself.

principle-centered, the important thing is who and what you are.” Nido R. Qubein

I love this quote. It really makes you think about what’s most important, what you have or who you are. “What you have” is an external focus. “Who and what you are” is an internal focus. We have far less control over things that are external to us like the opinions of others, opportunities, challenges. But, if our internal focus is the stronger of the two, we have more control and ability to make informed decisions for our well being.

Many of my clients are very attached to their things for many reasons. What’s sad is that the energies of those possessions that seem so precious can block good things coming to us, especially if their things are in great quantity and/or disorganized. Those energy blocks actually serve to keep us disconnected from ourselves, unaware of who and what we are and what really matters. 

When you release possessions you no longer love or use, you will find it much easier to think clearly, generate new awareness, generate new ideas and get clear about what’s most important.

Clear some clutter and watch your perspective shift! You will feel more empowered and grounded, connected with the important principles by which you want to live your life.

Cease Judgment and Create A Happy New Year!

I once was quite judgmental. When it was called to my attention on a number of occasions by

Cease judgment and focus on what you want, what's possible.

Cease judgment and focus on what you want, what’s possible.

people who really mattered to me, I made a decision that I wanted to be a different way. About that time I read two books, A Return to Love by Mary Ann Williamson and Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky. Both really helped me change my mindset and realize that there are only two choices in every situation, love or fear. I can act out of love or I can act from a place of fear. Judgment is a form of fear.

I began deliberately trying to approach every situation from a place of love. A loving response is accepting “what is,” doing that with curiosity instead of railing against it in judgment. This is not to say I don’t feel anger or judge anymore. But, when I find myself in that place, I take it as a signal that I need to check in with myself and figure out what I need. It’s usually a call to take care of myself in some way — by making a request, getting clear about what’s important, walking away, whatever will be most loving for me and the other. It’s also a signal to keep my mouth shut and breathe deeply to calm my feelings.

I believe I really learned how to be less judgmental when I began doing clutter clearing because I got to practice every day. The way I did it was to focus on my intention for doing the work — to make a positive difference for my clients, to be a loving force in their presence. I deliberately chose not to focus on what was wrong with them and their spaces, but rather to look for what was right about them as people, their gifts, their passions. I look/looked at their spaces with a neutral mindset, with curiosity. By refusing to allow judgment to take up space in my brain I was free to consider how to approach the challenge and work effectively with the client.

By keeping my greater intentions in mind — to approach everything from a loving place and make a positive difference, I was able to suspend judgment. I also reminded myself that judgment hurts others and goes counter to my values and intentions. Coming from an interested, curious, respectful place also worked well. I got lots of repeat business because clients felt safe with me, because I didn’t judge them.

I also keep in mind the wise words of Bill Harris, the founder of Centerpointe Research Institute and the Holosync®* method of meditation, that a great source of misery is not accepting what is — not accepting who people are, what is happening in the moment, the reality of a situation. That motivated me to accept what is, whether I like it or not, and put my energy into doing what I can to take care of myself and move forward despite what is.

It takes a lot of practice and patience to learn how to stop being judgmental. Perhaps a good thing to do would be to ask yourself if you like who you are being when you are being judgmental. Many people focus on who’s right and who’s wrong, and what’s right and what’s wrong and miss the opportunity to working things out in a respectful, loving way.

The first place to cease being judgmental is with your yourself. When you look at clutter in your space, the weight you have gained, the state of your finances, watch your thoughts. Are they condemning, critical and negative? Many of us think that judging ourselves negatively will motivate us to change what we are doing. Unfortunately the opposite happens. The judgment undercuts our self-esteem, sucks away energy and motivation, and increases the probability that we will stay stuck right where we are.

On the edge of a new year you have an opportunity to do something different going forward. What could 2015 be like if you looked at your clutter and other challenges with curiosity and an intention to let love for yourself and others be your guide?

*Holosync® is a method of meditation that  creates profound changes in the brain, leading to life-changing mental and emotional changes.

Travel Re-Entry — A Grounding and Clutter Clearing Opportunity

Travel creates clutter. There are suitcases to unpack, clothes and toiletries to be put away, IMG_2394papers associated with travel details, souvenirs accumulated. Getting ready for the trip can be hard enough, making sure you pack all you think you’ll need during your time away. But, unpacking and restoring order post travel is much more difficult. After all, the excitement and anticipation of a trip can motivate packing. But, what provides motivation for unpacking?

Why has my brain landed on this subject? I’m just back from the vacation of a lifetime, a trip to New Mexico for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It was a magical, spiritual and fun experience beyond words. Therefore, re-entry has been VERY difficult. I didn’t want to leave the pleasure and freedom I experienced during that week with Bob, my husband, and Pattie Toad, my best friend since age 16. So, as is my habit when I’m struggling emotionally, I’ve been watching myself navigate this uncomfortable re-entry process.


Debbie & Bob

I could have just gone to ground — dropped my suitcase, backpack, purse and hit the sofa, ignoring the need to unpack. If I had followed the direction of my feelings (sadness, anger, irritability), that’s just what I would have done. But, instead I used my swirling feelings to motivate action to resist parking on the sofa indefinitely and kept thinking about how much better I would feel when I was unpacked and really home (based on my memory of past experiences).


Debbie and Pattie Toad

When you’re not unpacked, you aren’t home yet. You aren’t grounded in your current life. Your bags and associated papers hold the energy of the trip in place — a past event. Your space and your brain are cluttered with things and thoughts associated with the travel. It’s hard to be present, productive, back on track in your life and moving forward when the things around you keep you stuck in the past.

Over time I’ve developed the habit of unpacking and creating order within the first 24 hours of returning home. It helps me get grounded physically, mentally and emotionally. My work with clients has taught me that many people have a very different habit. They drop their suitcases and immediately launch back into their lives. Spewing suitcases take up residence in bedrooms and mail goes unopened. I’m sure it’s due to the ho hum, boring aspect of unpacking. But, I also wonder if part of the reason for not unpacking and fully landing back in real life is also a function of not planning enough time for re-entry.

The saving grace of my re-entry from my Albuquerque trip is that I scheduled a day off after we arrived back home. That day provided me with time to unpack and re-establish basic order in my home which made it possible to work through my unsettled feelings and prepare myself to step back into the roles and responsibilities I’d set aside while on vacation. When I did return to work the following day, not only was my home in pretty good shape, but so too was my mood and attitude.

So, having just experienced the benefit of my day off post balloon-heaven, I offer you this travel strategy to prevent physical, mental and emotional post-travel clutter.

Strategy: Schedule an extra day off following a trip, especially a major trip, to unpack, clear travel clutter, and get grounded in your life. Make unpacking and grounding yourself a priority on that day.

A Positive Focus Is Empowering

The Law of Attraction states that what you focus on you attract. A friend once told me, “You are 

Look for the positive, the gifts in every circumstance!

Look for the positive, the gifts in every circumstance!

addicted to your misery.” That’s one of those statements that at the time felt like a slap in the face. However, it gave me pause and the opportunity to look at my behavior to see if what she was saying was really true. She was right! At that time I did invest much energy and time focused on problems, losses and negative thoughts. As long as my focus was negative, I made little progress moving forward to a better place.

Why was I so wedded to negative thoughts and a negative focus? Looking back at my history I realized that I was raised by parents who had lived through the trauma of WWII and focused on problems and spoke of the malevolent universe. I grew up listening to news which was skewed to the negative because trauma, violence, and wrongs are more dramatic and attract more viewers. Essentially I was programed to focus on the negative. I knew no other way to be.

It was only after my husband and I were in a serious motorcycle accident, when I sought help for anxiety and fear about my husband dying, that I became aware that there is another way. I was advised to do a gratitude list every night, listing five things I was grateful for. Recording gratitudes and affirmations each night became part of my bedtime routine.

I faithfully kept that journal for at least three years. The result? I unconsciously re-programed my brain. No longer did I automatically go to negative thoughts and judgments about myself, my circumstances and others. I noticed that I was looking for the good in every experience, looking for solutions instead of wallowing in the drama of the problems. With that new focus, I was able to better manage my feelings, even difficult feelings like sadness, hurt and anger. I was able to experience more moments of joy. I felt empowered and was able to handle my life more effectively.

Neuroscience teaches that change is not possible in the presence of negative emotional attractors. Change can only happen in the presence of positive emotional attractors. Believing that there is a solution to a problem you encounter is a positive emotional attractor. Trusting that there are lessons and gifts that exist even in the most difficult situations, and looking for those gems can shift a negative situation into an opportunity for growth, empowerment and change. And, remember the Law of Attraction? It teaches that positive thoughts and feelings attract more positive into your life. Negative thoughts and feelings attract more negative into your life in the form of challenges and obstacles.

Make looking for good, lessons and gifts your focus in every situation and you will empower yourself to keep growing and making changes that will make life an exciting, positive adventure. It’s your choice. Make it positive!

9 Elements of Success

Green treeSuccess isn’t a yes/no, right/wrong achievement. It can’t be attained by hard work alone. Many people operating from the “just work harder” school of thought have tried and failed. So, what really is necessary to achieve success in any endeavor you undertake?

My own life journey and my coach training have helped me get conscious about nine distinct elements of success. I share them as the beginning of an on-going conversation I plan to have with you in future blog posts.

  1. Self-knowledge: know your passions, your strengths, your needs and values, the areas where you struggle, what you avoid.
  2. Keep the big goal top of mind: identify what matters most and keep it conscious as you navigate through your days.
  3. Positive focus: look for the good in every experience, even challenging ones. What you focus on you attract more of.
  4. Self-care: good sleep, regular exercise, good hydration, good nutrition create the conditions for the best brain power, the best attitudes.
  5. Good boundaries: learn to say no, avoid taking on too much, giving too much to others to your own detriment.
  6. Continuous learning: look for the lessons. Learn from every situation, especially challenging ones.
  7. Support: get help in areas where you struggle, areas you hate, areas you avoid.
  8. Letting go: do your part and let go. You are responsible for the effort, not the outcome.
  9. Balance: avoid extremes — all work, no play; all play, no work. Avoid black and white thinking and engaging. Go for gray. Find a balance. 

Working with these elements is part of the program I offer coaching clients. They can become the building blocks for consciously living an empowered life of your choosing. Instead of just floating down the river of life at the whim and mercy of events and those around you, consider these elements to be strong trees on the bank of the river. They can help shape your perspectives and guide your thoughts and feelings to personal and professional success.

In upcoming blog posts I will be writing about each of these elements in more detail. Stay tuned!

Good Feng Shui Leads to Business Productivity and Profits

It can be difficult to explain the benefits of feng shui. However, nothing says it better than a story by a  client, who hired me to do a feng shui consultation who experienced positive results. Following is a story by Deena Kretzer,* a small business owner who used my feng shui services and offered to share her story with my readers. I’m most grateful to her for her willingness to share her experience.

before feng shui consultation

before feng shui consultation

In 2006, I had the privilege of beginning an incredible business with Arbonne International. More files and more shelves moved into my office!  I was thankful that much of my Arbonne work was done away from home, as I never liked working in the hodge podge jumble of my home office.  I was so embarrassed about how the office looked (even when picked up, it was a clutter of so many odds and ends of files, crates, shelves, tables) that I kept its doors closed, never once allowing any consultant on my team to catch a glimpse of it.  If I had to do any training with them at home, I would bring my laptop onto the kitchen table.

I am personally a 110% positive person. But, when Debbie Bowie spoke about “Using Feng Debbie Bowie at River CityShui to Make More Money” at the River City Express Network meeting in February, and talked about the effect of natural energies in your workspace on your ability to be productive and make money, about how spaces that have abundant sources of positive energy and very little negative energy attract more business and therefore more money, I realized that my workspace was anything but positive.

Debbie said that your desk should never be positioned with your back to the door, since in that position you have your back to your business, to customers, and to potential new business. She noted that we never see a doctor’s or an attorney’s desk facing the wall, having their back to the door.  Everything she said was ringing with truth. I thought, “I am a Regional VP with Arbonne and will reach the top level of the company in 2014. For all 7 years in this business, I have not only faced the wall, but have kept the doors closed so that no one would see the space I work in.”  I was determined to create a space that a National VP with Arbonne feels great about  and is happy to welcome others into.

I made an appointment for Debbie to come to my office to do a feng shui consultation. Just knowing that she was coming motivated me to remove everything that was not useful to my business.  I found another (much better) place for the piano, after spending years thinking there was nowhere else for it to go. I now face the door and have a solid wall behind my back, a position Debbie calls the Power Position. I learned that in that position my nervous system is able to relax and function really well, unlike when I had my back to the door and couldn’t see what was coming at me. That position disempowered me and kept my nervous system on high alert.

after clutter clearing, feng shui consultation and enhancements

after clutter clearing, feng shui consultation and enhancements

As I write this, I see light streaming in from not only my office windows, but also the hall glass panels at the front door and the dining room windows.  My double doors stay wide open, and I absolutely love being in this room that at last reflects who I am on the inside and my vision and my commitment to excellence in my work and service to my team. 

It’s a pleasure to walk in this room to begin my work day.  Instead of seeing that jumble of crates, files, shelves and an endless “to do” list produced by my surroundings, I walk in smiling (after 2 months, it’s still brand new every morning!) and can immediately give my focus and energy to my work – to helping my clients and my team.  After all these years of keeping everyone out of my office, I now feel great about where I am and about being able to welcome anyone into my space.

I am so grateful for Debbie and cannot recommend her highly enough! My only regret is that I forgot to take before and after photos.” (the first photo above was taken by Debbie when she did her consultation, when Deena was mid-way through the clearing process)!

Thanks, Deena! As you can see, letting go of clutter and repositioning furniture so that you are empowered and have a lovely view not only leads to spending more time in your office, it lifts your spirits and results in improved productivity and increased revenues. Can you afford to endure an office that is not “good feng shui?”

*Deena gave me permission to use her name and share her contact information. If you want information about Arbonne or about her feng shui consultation experience, she can be reached at 804-878-8710 or

Making Difficult Decisions = More Energy

During the last few weeks I’d been noticing some troubling changes in my mom who has Alzheimer’s. She spent more time sleep. She resisted going to the dining room for meals. She had more difficulty walking and was quite unsteady on her feet. What made all this more troubling was that she was alone in a two bedroom apartment in Gayton Terrace, an assisted living complex. Though staff were going by to encourage her to get up, get dressed and go to the dining room, they were no match for my mother’s determination to stay cocooned in her bed. And, staff in assisted living are spread pretty thin. There was no way Mom could get the monitoring for safety and the amount of encouragement and attention she needed. I had a niggling feeling it was time to make a change in Mom’s living situation.

The next step for Mom was memory care, moving to a locked floor where she would be able to have more care, more encouragement and more watchful eyes. Part of my reluctance to move Mom to memory care was my perception of memory care. I thought it was a step down and one step closer to the inevitable end of the sad course that Alzheimer’s runs in the brains of its victims. I was also hung up on the fact that it’s a locked floor. I didn’t want Mom locked away, even if it was for her safety. Mom doesn’t wander (yet), so the locked aspect wasn’t what Mom needed. But, after meeting with the nursing supervisor for memory care and the psychologist who coordinates activities for memory care residents I learned that being in a smaller community can be comforting to Alzheimer’s patients who as their cognitive abilities decline become easily overwhelmed by too much sensory input. Moving to memory care could be a very good thing for Mom.

Woman with teaAs I sat on the fence of that decision I realized that part of my reluctance to commit to making that move was that I didn’t want to take more of Mom’s independence from her. The Alzheimer’s was already doing a number on that. She has a comfortable apartment that she has grown to love and find comfort in. The thought of disrupting that and making her move into a new, unfamiliar situation was daunting. I knew she’d object and resist making the change. And, I couldn’t blame her. The familiar is comforting. To make matters worse, I too loved her apartment and loved spending time with her in the greater community of Gayton Terrace. I too would be losing some things that brought me great comfort as well.

Then fate stepped in and gave me a sign. Yes, a sign. When I arrived for my regular Saturday morning visit I found Mom in the midst of an uncontrollable bout of diarrhea. She was beside herself with the discomfort and feeling out of control of what her body was doing. She had been struggling for some time all alone going back and forth to the bathroom, not always making it to the toilet in time. She was exhausted. She was a mess. And, the staff were unaware of her plight. Mom’s failing memory made it impossible for her to remember how to call for help using an alarm in the bathroom and the bedroom. That cinched it for me. The horror of that situation and my mother’s powerlessness pushed me over the fence. The next day I wrote the nursing supervisor to get the ball rolling to get Mom into memory care.

Once I made the decision that the move was going to be made, once I’d talked to the nursing supervisor and learned that just the right kind of room was available, and once I’d lined up my husband and a dear friend to help with the move, I felt such great relief. I felt a surge of energy and optimism from a deep knowing that though difficult, this change is the best course of action for Mom. I hadn’t realized that carrying that decision around in my head and heart for weeks was such a heavy load. Only after making the decision was I able to acknowledge the emotional toll that sitting in indecision had been costing me. Though I still have many challenges in front of me to coordinate the move and help Mom with this transition, I now have energy to face them. When in indecision my energy was consumed by fear, dread and grief. Once the decision was made I was energized and free to imagine how Mom and I can find pleasure, new connections and support in this new situation. 

Decisions that affect us emotionally and that affect our loved ones can be among the hardest to make. They carry a psychic weight that is wearying. When you face reality and make a difficult decision you will be rewarded with an amazing release of energy. Fence sitting is costly in many ways. With information and support it can be possible to step over the fence and enjoy the benefits of dropping the weight of indecision.  

Change Your Perspective, Change Your Experience

Mom and me on Valentine's Day

Mom and me on Valentine’s Day

As I was thinking about plans I’d made for a day trip with Mom last weekend, I noticed that I was in a very different place mentally and emotionally with regards to my mother than I was a year ago. Mom has Alzheimer’s, a tragic, progressive form of dementia that eventually leaves people unable to care for themselves.

A year ago I had just moved Mom into assisted living. At that time she was unhappy and unsettled about the change. It took everything in my patience arsenal to get through every interaction with her. Consequently, I felt burdened by the responsibility I had, resentful that Mom had Alzheimer’s, mad that everything seemed so hard. I was focused on the difficulty and struggle. I had a “I’m worn out, scared, resentful” perspective of my reality. If I’d been planning a day with Mom last year that perspective would have made me dread taking the day trip.

What I noticed this time is that I was looking forward to having an adventure with Mom, to having the chance to bring her some pleasure by having lunch with an old friend, to having a great trip through the country listening to music we both love. My perspective had shifted. The current perspective is, “This is an opportunity to connect with Mom where she is, to enjoy special moments in her company, to make a new memory for me.”

How did that perspective shift? I wasn’t aware that I was trying to operate with a very limiting, negative perspective last year. I was just doing the best I could. Part of what happened with is that enough time has gone by and Mom has adjusted to her new home and is less scared, threatened and oppositional about her living situation. She has adjusted to her new home and has forgotten much of her previous life. Ironically, that’s one of the gifts of dementia.

I’ve also had a lot more experience dealing with Mom in her impaired state. I have figured out what works with her and what doesn’t. At some point I began making a conscious effort to go with the dementia rather than resent and fight it. Since I couldn’t change what’s happening to my beloved mother, I chose to observe it with curiosity. I watch the changes and make adjustments to my behavior in order to accept what is and make the most of a very sad time.

Instead of focusing on my sadness, I spend more time looking for ways to give her pleasure, even as this terrible disease is robbing her of so much that is precious to her — her ability to take care of herself, her ability to anchor memories, her ability to read, her ability to understand language and communicate with people who matter to her. By going with the flow of the disease process and looking for opportunities to demonstrate the love I feel for her, I’ve landed in a much more accepting and positive place myself.

If you have a difficult situation in your life, check out your perspective about that challenge. What are you thinking? Are you holding a positive, helpful perspective or clinging to a limiting perspective that keeps you feeling like a victim of circumstances beyond your control? Choosing a new way of thinking about your situation can change your experience from negative and burdensome to positive and life-affirming. My mother’s disease has taught me so many important lessons. The lesson I’m sharing with you now is that changing the way I view things can change my experience of them. I’ve learned to look for and spend time with what I can control, my thoughts and my perspective.

Inattentive ADD & Workaholism: Two Ends of the Productivity Spectrum

Some people struggle to get started, particularly on tasks that are challenging, unpleasant or boring. Others can start with relative ease, but have difficulty finding their off switch. The first type of person struggles to get things done, to be reliable, to be consistently productive and follow through consistently. The second type gets lots of things done, but struggles with exhaustion and burnout as well as the personal fall out from being so absorbed in work that other areas of their life, particularly relationships, are neglected.

Are you ready to step out of the stress?

Are you ready to step out of the stress?

The first description is of a person who has inattentive ADD (attention deficit disorder), a neurobiological disorder. The second describes a compulsive doer, a workaholic. The person with ADD is likely to have more conflict outside of herself in relationships for not following through, finishing tasks and being reliable as well as an internal struggle with shame and low self-esteem. The compulsive doer seems to have her act together because she is productive, but she is not free from struggle. Though her relationships can be stressed by her unavailability, her biggest struggle is internal. Workaholics are often driven by fear that they might not measure up and an unconscious need to do enough to be OK. They manage their fear of inadequacy by continuing to push themselves mercilessly. No matter how much they accomplish, they have never done enough to feel safe from the critical voice in their own head.

These two types of people are at opposite ends of the continuum of productivity. One struggles to be productive. The other is incredibly productive, but is unable to acknowledge and enjoy their accomplishments. Unfortunately it’s common for both types of people to continue struggling because they are not aware that there are other options to dodging bullets, racing for deadlines and working to the point of exhaustion. 

Coaching is a process that focuses on developing self-knowledge and self-awareness to make it possible to accomplish goals. In coaching the person with ADD has the opportunity to develop awareness of how her ADD sabotages her efforts to be productive and design and practice strategies for managing her ADD. The workaholic in coaching has the opportunity to pause, connect with herself and discover what keeps her on the treadmill to exhaustion. With greater clarity about what drives her to the point of exhaustion and even illness, strategies for shifting to a lower gear, and the support of her coach, the workaholic has the opportunity to shift her perception of herself and make space for more than work in her life.

Opposites aren’t always opposite. The person with ADD and the workaholic both struggle to feel competent and productive enough. Their lives are lived in stress mode. Coaching is an option that can help them identify and manage their internal and external struggles and create new ways of being that can result in long-lasting personal empowerment.

If you recognize yourself in either description, consider investing in coaching to make possible living a life with less stress, more pleasure and more peace.

Moving Beyond Perfectionism

Pathway in Sunflower cultivationPerfectionism is a cognitive/emotional process held in place by habit and strong emotions. It is based on faulty beliefs like “perfect will give me what I want.” Habits, feelings and beliefs are difficult to change. Therefore, though the costs of perfectionism are high, self-esteem challenges, physical challenges, lowered productivity and performance, no time for yourself to enjoy life, and relationship difficulties, you cannot just make a decision not be a perfectionist and change overnight.

But, with awareness of how your perfectionism shows up for you, you can take steps that will help you ease up on yourself and learn to accept less than perfect.

  1. View your imperfections/mistakes and the imperfections of others from a detached perspective. Notice them. Don’t judge them. Perfectionism and making mistakes are not character flaws. Your perfectionism is with you because you think it is important to your well-being and perhaps your survival.
  2. Befriend your perfectionism. Be curious about it and identify the ways that perfectionism shows up for you. Notice when you’re stuck, being unproductive or taking too long with a task for the value of the task. Notice when you are thinking that something just isn’t right and you’re internally twitching about it. Also, notice when you are beating yourself up for a mistake or job that was less than perfectly done. Being critical of others is another sign that your perfectionism is running the show.
  3. Be curious about how perfectionism has served you. Bringing to light how you have benefitted from aiming for perfect and understanding the origin of your perfectionism and what it made possible could make it easier to shift away from the rigidity of perfectionism. Aiming for perfect could have been a useful method for managing anxiety because you were shy or insecure. Presenting perfect may have been a way that you stayed out of hot water at home. We tend to cling to strategies that have worked for us. Perfectionism can work up to a point — pushing you to excel, to manage the impressions of others about your worth. It can give you the illusion of control. For example, if you and what you do are perfect, then you will be above reproach.
  4. Re-aim for good, excellent or complete, not perfect. Shooting for perfect results in you shooting down your own self-worth or that of another. Excellent is possible. Perfect is an illusion. Those who strive for excellence can take mistakes (imperfections) as incentive to work harder. Unhealthy perfectionists consider their mistakes a sign of personal defects. Making excellent the new perfect will allow you ease up, take action, complete actions and be gentler with yourself.
  5. Adopt a new goal. Perfect is a goal, that unattainable result that never happens. Holding out for perfect can have a profound impact on productivity. For example, you don’t complete tasks because you are afraid of not measuring up, because you don’t have the time to do them perfectly, or you want them done just so.  Make completion your new goal. Done is better than perfect!
  6. Adopt a new thought. Since perfectionism is a cognitive/emotional process, using a cognitive strategy can be very effective in challenging perfectionism. You have no direct control over the strong emotions that may have created and now sustain your perfectionism. But, you do have control over your thoughts and actions. Changing thoughts can change feelings. So, adding a new thought not only will address the cognitive challenges of perfectionism, but can help you manage uncomfortable emotions like anxiety and fear that keep perfectionism in place. Make sure it’s a thought that resonates with you. Following are some possibilities: progress not perfection; done is better than perfect; mistakes are learning opportunities; perfect is impossible, excellence is the new perfect; human is better than perfect. 
  7. Notice and silence negative self-talk. What are those things you automatically say to yourself when you don’t measure up to your idea of what is acceptable in any arena? Your intention may be good, perhaps to motivate yourself to work harder. But, negative self-talk always hurts self-esteem and your sense of your own value and worth. You couldn’t stop criticism from well-meaning or perhaps not so well-meaning parents, teachers, and other family members when you were young, however, you can silence your own negative thoughts about yourself. First notice them showing up. Then silence them by saying to yourself, “Thanks for sharing, but I don’t need your help.” Or, counter the negative self-talk by making the distinction between who you are and what you do. You could say, “Even if I make mistakes, I am still OK.”
  8. Laugh at your mistakes. You know when you’ve screwed up. You’re probably hypersensitive about that. So, why not use that automatic awareness for good. When you’ve made a mistake, instead of pulling out the bat and beating yourself up or looking for someone else to beat up, notice the mistake and laugh at yourself. Laughing is completely counter to the critical voice that tends to rise up when people perceive imperfection. Once you shift your energy from the intensity of criticism to the lightness of laughter, you then can look for the learning opportunity that is available.
  9. Learn from your mistakes. When you accept mistakes and imperfections from a lighter perspective, it is then possible to view them as information and an opportunity for learning. Sometimes imperfect gives us important information that can be missed if you’re busy berating yourself.  It may signal a change of heart, a lack of commitment, a need not being met, a lack of commitment, an oversight, or a need for change.
  10. Deliberately be imperfect in some areas of your life. Practice being imperfect in a part of your life where you are less likely to experience negative consequences. That way you can experience the benefit of lightening up and adopting a new way of being without a lot of risk. I practice being imperfect in my yard. Part of that is practical because there is no way I can keep up with all the weeding. And, part of it is me letting go and accepting that good really is enough.

Living with the constant striving for perfect is exhausting, a threat to your physical health, your relationships, your sense of self-worth and peace of mind. Releasing perfectionism is possible, but will take time, commitment and mindfulness.

What’s possible if you aim for done instead of perfect?

3 Tips to a Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2014 message greeting written on heart shape blackboard against a pink background.The last day of 2013. What a perfect time to review the last year and set your intentions for the new year! It’s an opportunity make some decisions and internal commitments about what you want to accomplish and experience in the new year in your personal and/or professional life. Does considering that type of thinking and planning send you into overwhelm? Here are three suggestions to help you find your way.

  • Choose a guiding theme or message for the year. This year my guiding them is, “feed your heart.” Recently while being coached I came to the realization that when I feed my heart I have fun, feel most alive, and experience joy. Last year was so heavy with family obligations and hard work that I really long for more fun and joy in the coming year. Feeding my heart with experiences of deep connection, creating beauty, spending time in nature, spending time with dogs, and enjoying music is the way for me to get that. 
  • Choose an area for personal or professional growth and learning. One of the best ways to feel alive and excited about life is to be engaged in learning something new, particularly something that is in alignment with your values, needs and your guiding theme. My areas of learning and growth for 2014 will be in further developing my coaching skills and in some type of art endeavor. 
  • Make a decision to get unstuck in at least one area of your life and make it so. Perhaps you’re stuck in a pattern of overeating when stressed. Perhaps your physical environment is cluttered and keeps you stuck in indecision and in an inability to take action on your own behalf. For years my automatic has been work, work, work. My drug of choice is work. I’ve been somewhat clueless and mostly unsuccessful in efforts to play, lighten up and have fun. Because I have no been successful at achieving more balance between work and fun/play on my own, I’m seeking support from a coach specifically to address my own self-care.  Our goal is to increase my awareness about the nature of my challenge and about how to shift from being a compulsive doer to being a more balanced, playful person. 

Following through on any one of the above steps could be challenging. How will you keep them in the forefront of your mind as you drift back into the current of daily life post holidays?

Partnering with a coach is a great way to identify your goals for 2014, to keep them in your awareness, and make steady progress to accomplish them. If you want 2014 to be your best year yet, I hope you’ll call me to discuss the possibility of working with me as your coach (804-730-4991). I’m offering a $50 discount off three 30 minute micro-coaching sessions until January 31 ($150 reduced to $100). Consider coaching to launch yourself into the new year with intention and purpose.

Thanks, Mom, For Setting the Stage for Happy Holidays

Mom’s Holiday Meal Assistant

When I was a little girl my mom began including me in holiday meal preparations as soon as I was capable of polishing silver and setting the table. I hated polishing silver, but loved being able to help her. It made me feel important and helped me feel really connected to Mom and the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

From silver polishing and table setting I graduated to making my grandmother’s special sweet potato casserole, getting out all the necessary serving dishes and serving spoons, and helping Mom serve all the tasty foods. Then I washed the dishes. That too was not my favorite chore, but it seemed a good way to thank Mom for all her hard work.

I was the only daughter, so it was just Mom and me in the kitchen on a Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. We worked as a team and loved being together making a special meal for the rest of my family.

Had Mom not enlisted me as her assistant in the kitchen during the preparation of holiday meals at an early age, I have a hunch I wouldn’t have the fond feelings for the holidays that I do. Being included empowered me, provided powerful connections between Mom and me, and precious memories and a love of the holidays. Thanks, Mom!

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at

Surviving a Fire: A Miracle or a Message?

This could have been my reality!

“Your house is in really good shape.” Those are words that I can imagine every homeowner likes to hear. And, I did too. However, it was not what I expected to hear from Larry, the lead firefighter who had come to my house in response to my 911 call about a ruptured gas line and open flame under my house.

It had been a typical hot summer day complete with a late afternoon thunder shower. When I got home it was raining so hard I decided to hang out in my car until the worst of the storm had passed. I grabbed The Best Year of Your Life, by Debbie Ford, one of several books I’m currently reading, and was feeling grateful for a few moments of alone time to read. Then suddenly there was enormous crack of thunder right overhead that was so loud that I was certain it must have hit a nearby tree. I looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Shaken by the thunder, I made my way into the house. Once inside I noticed a funny smell. There was a hint of gas and a slight burning odor. I looked around the inside of the house to determine the source. I went back outside and looked at the roof for smoke, but saw none. I even went into the attic because I’d heard that lightning strikes could cause fire in areas of homes that are out of sight. Nothing. I did notice that the smell was stronger on one end of the house than the other. I talked to my husband and asked him if he had any ideas of what could be causing the smell. He had no idea. We have no gas appliances in the house. Our gas line runs two on-demand hot water heaters located on the back wall of the house and our generator, also at the back of the house.

Baffled, but at a loss for what else to do, I went to my office and worked for three hours at my desk. When I finally quit for the night I went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. The strange odor was still present, but hadn’t gotten worse. When I walked across the tile floor, however, I noticed that it was warm. Normally I wear flip flops or sandals, but for some reason that night I was barefoot. The warmth caught my attention. I thought to myself, “That is not normal.” I called Bob and asked if he had any idea what ran under the kitchen in the location of the warm spot. He suggested that perhaps it was due to a hot water pipe. Had I been using the hot water? No. He hurried off the phone to handle a psychiatric emergency at work and I was left to wonder about the warm tiles.

At that point I knew I had two choices: do nothing or check the crawlspace. I was worried about checking the crawlspace because I knew that just opening the door to that space could cause an explosion if there was a fire there. Opening the door would let more oxygen into the crawlspace. Oxygen feeds fires. I could call 911 and tell them about the warm tiles and the smell. But, what if it was nothing?I’d regret that I’d called them out for nothing. I decided I had to take the risk and open the crawlspace door. When I got to the door it was stuck, having become swollen by the moisture from the storm. In frustration I hit the door with my fist and it magically popped open. To my horror I saw a six inch blue flame hanging down from a pipe. I ran inside and called 911 to report the fire.

As instructed I got my two dogs and grabbed my cat and waited outside for the fire trucks to arrive. It must have been less than ten minutes before they arrived, but it felt like an eternity. There I stood upwind of my house with my cat pressed to my chest, wondering if my house was going to blow up before they got there. I was never so grateful to see fire engines come down my street releasing their fire hoses as they drove up the street. Five units showed up. Firefighters were everywhere.

When Larry finally came over to me to tell me that all was well, that the gas was off and that they were waiting for the guy from the gas company to arrive, I was so relieved. He told me that the gas line had ruptured, probably from the lightning strike. And, he added, “It’s a miracle that it was not much worse.” The gas man reiterated that message. He told me that my gas line had been between two copper pipes, a perfect setup to spark a flame. The lightning strike was the match.

What’s so amazing to me is that the fire had been burning for three hours while I worked away in my office, clueless to the threat. The fact that it had done no damage whatsoever, not even charring the wood above the flame, is miraculous. Larry the firefighter, the gas man, and the men who came to repair the gas line and ground it all said that it was truly amazing that there had been no major damage.

As I’ve replayed the events of that evening over and over again, I’m struck by the fact that my house was struck by lightning that caused a fire that did no damage. How often does that happen? And, Larry’s comment, “Your house is in really good shape,” struck my as odd, almost like a message or affirmation of some sort. Being a professional organizer and feng shui practitioner I work hard to keep our house clutter-free, and Bob and I both are very committed to taking good care of our house. But, it had never occurred to me that my house might be noteworthy, especially by a young man who has probably seen the inside of plenty of homes au natural (with no preparation for outside visitors) while doing his job. And, I was reading Debbie Ford’s book, The Best Year of Your Life, at the time of the lightning strike. Was the fire a message that even though bad things happen I’m being taken care of? Was it a sign that I should pay attention to the content of the book? Or, perhaps it was an opportunity for me to see that I am capable of problem-solving and taking decisive action in very scary moments that could be life threatening, even when I’m all alone.

Whatever the bigger message, I am so grateful for our good fortune. I’m grateful for firefighters like Larry and his colleagues, who know what to do in emergency situations, for the kind gas man and good help from the Lakeside Heating and AC men who came out the next day to replace the gas line. I’m grateful that by some miracle we were spared a disaster and that our house is still in really good shape!

I Love My Life! Clear Clutter and You Can Too!

I love my life! I love almost everything I do. I love my work. I have a great marriage. I have a comfortable home. I have good friends. I enjoy learning new things all the time. I have three great furry children. I’ve made peace with all family members. And, when I really want something new, I can usually find a way to get it. What a big change from the days when I was working full time for a school system, counting the hours until I could go home to watch a taped soap opera!

When I think about how I came to be in this good place, I can definitely say it was not a straight line to get here. Each step along the way involved some challenge, some pain, and some learning. I think what made it possible for me to maneuver through all the obstacles to a more fulfilling and peaceful place was that I have been vigilant about maintaining an organized, comfortable home. The order I created and the hard work required to maintain it has grounded me through the tough times. When I run into a rough patch, my stuff is not part of the problem. I can focus on the current challenge, supported by the systems I have in place that help me maintain order even during the worst of times.

Do you love your life? If not, why not? What would you change? Start by clearing your clutter so you too can clear a path to a life that you love.

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in your life. If you’re ready to finally clear the clutter from your life and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at

5 Strategies for Personal Empowerment in Difficult Situations

My guess is that most of us would rather not spend much time in a hospital, unless you’re a doctor or nurse and love what you do. Last June I spent a day and a half in St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT, with my disabled brother Mark who was waiting for surgery to remove an infected knee implant. So, I had the chance to remember why I really like to avoid hospitals.

No matter how much effort goes into the decor, the cleaning, and the landscaping, it’s really hard to offset the effects of the negative energies that exist because hospitals are places with a problem focus. Illness is negative energy. Patients are scared–more negative energy. Family members are concerned–more negative energy. Doctors and nurses are typically overworked, at times doing work that involves risks to human life and dealing with some overwhelming and unpleasant situations. Whew! Lots of negative energy!

I found myself shifting into survival mode with my own energy so I endure this hospital experience. Here are some things I was doing:

  • I looked for the good in every employee I encountered, even the nurse’s aide who wouldn’t make eye contact.
  • I asked for what I needed or what Mark needed as our needs arose.
  • I didn’t take personally employee behaviors that weren’t as pleasant, helpful or supportive as I would have liked.
  • I stayed calm even when I felt scared or annoyed so I could be a grounding presence and bright light for Mark.
  • I took lunch outside so I could shake off some of the negative energy I had absorbed.
  • I remembered my life outside of the hospital and reminded myself that this experience was only temporary.
  • I focused on how much I love Mark and remained detached even when he was grumpy and reactive.
  • I appreciated the overall cleanliness of the building.
  • I noted and felt grateful for every friendly person I encountered, from the person who made my salad at Subway to the receptionist who validated my parking ticket.
  • I congratulated myself for my patience with Mark and the waiting despite my own fears about Mark’s situation.

I figured if I had to be there, if that was where I’d been led to make a difference, I was going to do whatever I could to counter the negative energies that I had no control over with positive energies I did have control over. I could control my thoughts and my attitudes, and manage my emotions and behaviors.

When you find yourself in situations where you are exposed to negative energies over which you have no control, remember that you can control your own sources of positive energy if you so choose. Here are some ideas.

  1. Look for the good that does exist. Feel grateful for it. When you deliberately look for good, you will find it. When you focus on negatives, you’ll find it. Wouldn’t you rather have a steady diet of good energies? They will help you more effectively cope with the challenges.
  2. Avoid reacting to others and taking their behaviors personally. Pia Mellody, author of Facing Codependence, once said that people’s reactions have more to do with them and their history than they do with you, unless you’ve been offensive. So, observe others and wonder about their behaviors, but know that what you’re getting from them could have absolutely nothing to do with you.
  3. Stay in your own power by remaining calm even when others are not. “Shut your mouth and breathe,” is another of my favorite reminders from Pia Mellody. Doing that will help you stay grounded and avoid saying or doing anything you might regret later.
  4. Ask for what you need from people who are capable of giving it to you. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Only you know what you need. And, it is empowering to respectfully make your needs known.
  5. Don’t make requests of people who are incapable of responding appropriately to your requests. That’s a setup for disappointment and will only fuel your anger.

What would you add?

Using Color for Personal Empowerment

Everything is alive with energy. It therefore makes sense that every color is alive with energy and that there are differences in the energies of different colors. What I have learned is that I can strategically choose colors to wear on my person that empower me in whatever way I am wanting at a particular time. To be able to do this you first must know some basics about the energy of colors.


  • Is associated with the fire element
  • Is the highest energy color, the energy associated with passion, intensity, excitement
  • Is best used as an accent color when a pop of energy is needed
  • Is associated with passion and intensity
  • Must be used carefully because its heat can cause feelings of irritability, anger or aggression when used in abundance
  • Can be used as an empowering color when worn in difficult situations
  • Orange, pink, peach, and salmon are shades of red with yellow or white added. The bolder the shade, the more hotter the energy.


  • Is associated with the wood element
  • Has an active energy of growth and expansion
  • Is a great color to wear when you want to be productive
  • Is an appealing color because it brings the feeling of the outdoors inside
  • Makes red shades have even more energy


  • Is associated with the wood element
  • Has the energy of growth and expansion
  • Has a cooling, calming, peaceful energy


  • Is associated with the earth element
  • Has the energy of positive activity, optimism and joy
  • Can feel hot in shades other than a buttery yellow


  • Is associated with the metal element
  • Has no active energy and can be associated with inflexibility
  • Fire melts metal, so wearing a touch of red with white will balance the inflexibility of metal


  • Is associated with the water element
  • Has no active energy
  • Too much black can lead to being wishy washy
  • Is best used as an accent, not the main course
  • Cools off hot colors like shades of red (water douses fire)

Given those color basics, you can intentionally make color choices in your dress to create the kind of energy you want to have. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Wear red when you want to be on fire, inspired to take positive action.
  2. Wear red when you are going to face challenging people or situations.
  3. Wear green when you want to be productive.
  4. Wear blue when you want to keep a cool head or you want to have a calming influence on others.
  5. Wear yellow when you want to have a positive influence on others or brighten up a grim situation.
  6. Wear white when you want to be taken seriously in a formal situation.
  7. Wear black when you want to wear red for protection or passion, but want to be able to stay balanced emotionally.

Feng shui teaches that everything is connected. The colors you wear affect you and those around you. Choose your colors carefully to feel fully empowered every day!

Change is Difficult! Seek Cheerleaders!

Not everyone is going to be thrilled for you when you begin making changes in your space and in your life. Family members in particular may say they want you to make positive changes, but when you actually do begin making changes, especially if those changes impact them in some way, watch out! Their unconscious impulse may be to want to maintain the status quo. Your changes may be viewed as threatening to their comfortable discomfort. And, if you begin asking for their help and their support, you may not get the reception you want. Instead you are likely to get resistance and judgement. Expect it! Then it won’t blow you sideways and distract you from your own path.

A lack of support on the home front doesn’t mean you shouldn’t proceed with your changes. It means that you need to look elsewhere for like-minded others who “get” what you are trying to accomplish. I call it “family of choice.” Look for others who are on a similar journey, who want the kinds of things you want. Just put that request out to the Universe, God, whatever Higher Power you believe in. Expect an answer. Watch for it. Soon you’ll find yourself running into like-minded others in the grocery store, at a meeting, on a committee, at a social event.

Over the last few years I have been committed to expanding my business and taking it to another level of influence and financial success. I was first drawn to an incredible sales training and marketing program that immediately opened doors to other small business owners on a similar journey. In addition, I connected with Laura Posey and Will Turner of Dancing Elephants, two incredible sales and marketing experts who are on their own journey to get the life they really want.

Then I joined the Virginia Chapter of the National Speakers Association and found many other kindred spirits. And, most recently I was invited by some of those NSA folks to be part of a law of attraction group for couples. Many of those new friends have become Facebook friends. What a thrill it is to share my successes with people who support me and cheer me on in my efforts to make a difference in our world! When I recently did my first TV interview ( and posted it on Facebook I got so many shouts of, “You go, girl!” “Great job!”

So, if you want change but keep encountering resistance and criticism from the people in your inner circle, consider branching out to find kindred spirits to walk with on this journey. Look for people with a positive focus, those who encourage and celebrate strides you make in your personal growth. You deserve to have your own cheerleaders! Change is hard! You need the best support you can find!

Moms, Reclaim Your Dreams!

If you are a busy mom, be sure to create a file or designate a basket as the container to hold papers about things you want to do just for you.

The role of mother is so consuming that many mothers have to put their own life and personal interests aside, at least until the children are in school, and often until they are out of the house. I’ve met dozens of incredible moms in my work as a professional organizer, many of whom have sacrificed careers, hobbies and activities that feed their spirits for the sake of their family. It seems there is just not enough time in a day to do all that is required to maintain a happy home and well-adjusted children and take time to follow their own passions.

There is a cost to pay for disregarding yourself, however noble the reason. Depression, weight gain, health issues and marital difficulties can all result when a woman spends a majority of her time caring for everyone but herself.

Starting a dream basket of events you want to attend, places you want to go (with other women or by yourself), classes you want to take or services that will nurture and spiritually feed you is a simple way to acknowledge your very normal needs for self-care. It will hold the energy of honoring yourself. And, it can be the bud of a decision to make yourself one of the priorities in your life.

Positive Focus & Organizing: Strategies for Difficult Times

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. . . For example, I spent two wonderful days with my brother, Mark, this past weekend. We planted a garden, enjoyed good food, saw the movie Marmaduke, shopped, took naps. Then Mark wakes up from his nap unable to put weight on his right leg.

Initially we thought he’d slept on it and it had gone to sleep. Or, perhaps he’d just been on it too long. He had a knee replacement over three years ago and the knee is a weak link. Last night I learned that he’d been hospitalized because he has an infection in his knee and will receive IV antibiotics.

What’s the big deal? Infection is always a scary thing. When he had his knee replacement he had multiple infections and the knee had to be replaced three times. It was quite an ordeal for him. And, he is alone in Connecticut. I had to return home to work. Our parents live in Virginia and Michigan and his brother is in Japan. Plus, Mark needs to work every day to be able to keep the apartment he moved into in December.

Yes, I’m feeling overwhelmed. I am Mark’s conservator. That means I am the person responsible for making decisions about his care. And, this is new to me. I’ve never had this kind of responsibility before.

The scared part of me is attempting to run some awful scenarios. “What if the infection is resistant to the antibiotics? What if he has to have surgery again because the joint is infected? What if he can’t keep his apartment?”

Fortunately another part of me keeps telling me to breathe deeply, to picture Mark healing quickly and returning to his apartment and to work. I keep focusing on all the blessings in my life–my loving, supportive husband who offers such wise counsel at times like this, my caring supportive friends who are praying for Mark, the beauty of my blooming butterfly bushes, my comfortable home, my affectionate kitty and pups, my faithful clients who keep me busy doing work I love. By keeping focused on the positive I am able to keep the fears under control, keep my vibration high and hopefully attract the wisdom I need to help Mark instead of those awful scenarios.

It’s really a challenge to stay positive at times like this when the scared little kid in me is trying to run the show. This is when it’s more important than ever for me to do things that ground me, like writing this blog entry, walking my dogs, making the bed, cleaning up after myself so our house stays a comfortable, peaceful haven.

I can’t do anything for Mark other than pray and ask others to pray, keep in touch with him and his doctors and nurses by phone, and picture him recovering quickly. But, I can keep my life in control so I am better able to think and make good decisions on his behalf.

The next time life throws you a curve ball that triggers fear and inertia, remember that keeping your thoughts positive and maintaining your space as a safe, organized haven can help you make it through whatever challenges you are facing.

Getting and Staying Organized–Anyone Can Do It

“I’m just no good at organizing,” my client said as we worked together to organize her tiny home office. At that moment I bit my tongue, but I wanted to say, “If you keep saying that and believing that, you will continue to be no good at organizing!” What you say and what you believe have an incredible effect on what becomes reality.

In the case of this client, she prefers creative and intellectual pursuits, right brain activities, to left brain activities like achieving and maintaining order. Even so, her house is reasonably organized, especially given that she has three children under the age of twelve. Her perception of her organizing ability did not match the reality I saw in her home.

And, after thirteen years and working with hundreds of clients, I know that almost everyone can learn to be better organized if they commit themselves to the process. A former client, Michele, proved that to me. On our first appointment she actually vomited following an asthma attack caused by anxiety over parting with papers. She was chronically organized and had ADD. Her house was a wreck every time I worked with her.

One day after about a year of working together twice a month she greeted me with, “I had unexpected guests. The house was a wreck and you weren’t coming so I just thought about what you and I do every week and I was able to clean the place up by myself!” She was so excited about her victory! Michele went on to learn how to live with much less stuff, keep her home organized and become a professional organizer! If Michele could do it, anyone who really wants to can learn to get and stay organized!

Improve Self-Esteem-Return Mistakes

“I bought those curtains for my bedroom, but they don’t fit the windows.” This is the kind of statement I often hear when I explore the contents of a shopping bag in a client’s home. And, I’m thinking, “Then, why is it still here?”

Have you ever purchased something that just didn’t work the way you wanted it to? Or, have you ordered a CD course that you were sure was going to change your life for the better, but discovered that the speaker’s voice was intolerable? We’ve all done something like that from time to time.

Once you realized that what you bought was a mistake, what did you do? Did you return it? Or, did you just leave it in your space, immobilized by the feelings of regret about your choice?

Things you’ve purchased that just didn’t work out for you have “mistake” energy, a particularly toxic type of negative energy comparable to the energy of something that is broken. Every time you come across “the mistake” you remember its history, its flaws and you reconnect with the feelings of regret, disappointment, and perhaps even judgment of yourself for making the mistake. And, it also communicates, “There’s something you need to do to fix this problem.” It irritates you because it’s not right and needs tending.

Imagine this. In your space you have a collection of shopping bags, bags that contain items purchased that you don’t want because they aren’t what you really want or don’t work right in your space. They radiate “mistake” energy. They may be buried under other things like piles of recycling or clothes that need to be donated to a charity. But, they are still there holding the energy of the mistake you made. Because the energy of those items is so negative, it drains your energy even when you are no longer conscious that those items are still there. Because mistake energy is particularly toxic, when you have even small quantities of it in your space you run the risk of absorbing that energy. When you do that you begin to feel like you are a mistake. Mistake energy erodes self-confidence.

So, when you make a purchase that is a mistake, return the item immediately. The sooner the better. Some people seem to need a period of time to beat themselves up for their error. Self-flagellation is never helpful and a total waste of energy. Others struggle to follow through with tasks that need to be done. Not following through on tasks that have a direct effect on your self-esteem is a form of self-abuse. Fix those mistakes quickly and view that action as a matter of life and death for your self-esteem. You are worth the effort!

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in your life. If you’re ready to finally clear the clutter from your life and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at

Women Clearing Clothes for Empowerment

When I’ve helped women clients clear out their closets, I’ve had the impression that what we really were doing was helping them take a close look at who they really were at that moment in time. Tackling their closet ALWAYS seemed to empower them.

It was as if when a woman’s clothes closet was a mess, she was totally out of touch with herself, her gifts, her wants and needs and her value. Once the closet was done, the woman would stand taller and give a great sigh of relief. Of course! She just got herself back! What a wonderful feeling!

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at