How To Simplify 2017... Today

I hope your holidays were full of much love and laughter!

And now here we are. We're “back.” Back to where we were before the holiday hustle began. We’re back, but now there is decidedly more stuff with us.

You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed and anxious when you look around at your home which was was already “full” and is now overflowing with holiday decorations, your tree…or remnants of your tree, the big holiday pots and pans, gift wrapping supplies, gift wrapping from a gift you received which you just can’t throw away because it’s so pretty, new toys, old toys and all of the gifts yet to be put away because you don’t know where to put them. Why? Because you were looking for space before all this new stuff arrived.

You want to focus on how blessed you are…and you are. But it’s hard to feel blessed when you feel a lack of oxygen due to the walls closing in on you.

No worries. Here are a few “Pearls Of Wisdom” to SIMPLIFY your 2017.

  • BREATHE. That’s not a euphemism. Really take a moment and slowly breathe in and a few times. Not breathing causes a blurriness in our heads and it’s hard to think about what to do and where to start when your head is blurry. Understandably clean up and organization can feel very overwhelming, so breathe.
  • PLAY. Let’s use toys as an example since they have a way of taking over your house. (This game applies to most everything in your house.) SET A TIMER for 30 minutes and tell your kids you’re going to play “Let’s See How Fast We Can Gather up ALL  Of The Toys Into One Spot.”  Ready, set, go!!!
  • BREATHE.  You may feel overwhelmed by the mass of stuff you’ve gathered. You may be tempted to shove everything into a closet. But now is the time to breathe and look at each item, one by one. IF IT’S BROKEN…THROW IT AWAY.
  • DONATE. As you look at each item, consider the joy it has given you. Consider the joy it hasn’t given you. Some items are well used, some not used at all. Each item has a story. It may be the story of the someone who gave it to you. Maybe that someone is around all the time. Maybe that someone has passed away. You might not like the item but you loved the person who gave it to you. This is a wonderful time to talk with yourself, your spouse and your kids about things, sharing, balance and meaning.
  • PLAY. Time to play “Let’s See How Fast We Can Fill Up Donations Bags.” You will need just 30 minutes on the timer because you’ve already looked at each item. Encourage every family member to play. Set your timer for 30 minutes. Ready, set, go!!! FILL THOSE BAGS!

I hope you enjoy filling your car with your donation bags. I hope you enjoy the new space in your home, your mind and heart. I hope you enjoy imaging how much someone will enjoy the things you are sharing.

Please let me know how it goes. I look forward to your comments and questions. Here’s to a healthy, happy, simplified New Year!

Best,

Lauren

Give It Away...

Give "It" away? What is "It?"

"It" is something you own and don't use or need anymore. It's very likely that "It" is something you love. It may seem impossible that we can love something and not need it. How can that be? If we love it, then we need it! Right? 

My personal and professional experiences tell me we sometimes when we feel like we need something it's because we've turned that thing into a person or memory. The feeling can be so strong it's palpable. Of course we don't want to give away a person or a memory that's special to us. 

Giving away my books stirs up strong feelings of loss in me. My mom loved books. I love my mom. I love books. My books are my mom. I miss my mom. I have tons of books and each feels like my mom. 

I recently cleared out my book shelves. It hurt. It was really hard for me to keep the books in the donation bags. I second guessed myself all the way to the library. My stomach hurt all the way to the library. Thinking about giving away books felt like I was losing my mom all over again again.

But, when I handed the bags of books to the librarian, I instantly felt SO good. My action freed me. I felt relieved and happy to share. I know my mom would feel happy too. With these books, someone will learn something, go on an adventure to a make-believe land or get lost in an ancient time. 

As much as we fear giving "It" away, when we do, we realize we didn't lose anyone or anything...we get something invaluable. We get to share and there is a special joy in sharing.

So, this week, take a look in your closets, pantry and garage. Fill a bag (or two or three) with things you don't use or need anymore. You may love them. You may feel sad. You may feel scared. You may feel torn inside and scared that if you give "It" away you will lose something precious.

Do it anyway.

On your way to donate your things, in your mind's eye, see someone loving the thing you are reluctant to give away. See their joy. There are so many people in need of things and in need of love.

Love is is an action and now is a really good time to give it away. 

 

Give Yourself A Cookie

Our lives are always changing.

  • Birth
  • Death
  • Moving
  • Divorce
  • Illness
  • Graduation
  • New Job
  • Loss of Job
  • Retirement

When we go through major changes our organization, systems, rituals often break down. Our reality changes suddenly (or not so suddenly) and we have a new reality. When we go through changes sometimes we need to initiate change to feel some control and be able to look at things in a new way.  Time to move furniture. What???

Really. It’s a great way to get a quick new perspective on things. Try it. Move your desk.

You may be thinking…

  • She’s crazy
  • Not a chance.
  • Sounds like fun.
  • I would but there’s way too much stuff on and around my desk to even think about it.
  • Even if I moved the stuff, where do I put the desk?

You may like the idea of moving your desk but when you do inch it forward, the stuff that was piled on it falls to the ground and now lays amidst the stuff that was already on the ground.  It’s worse than it was a few minutes ago. Why did you ever think about moving your desk?

This is when I recommend a few things…

  • Breathe.
  • Just leave the desk where it is for now.
  • Grab your keys, purse and/or wallet and go buy a few medium packing boxes. 6-10 boxes is good for right now. (You also need tape and a marker.) If you think you have tape but you have no idea where it is, allow yourself this tape purchase now now just get one roll of tape. I promise you, you will find out if you already had tape and where it was. This one roll of tape now is not frivolous, it helps keep everything together.
  • Give yourself a “cookie” a.k.a a reward. For example…if buying the boxes took you half an hour, then take 10 minutes for a cup of coffee, quick window shopping, a stroll down a tree laden street or a quick call to a friend you never have time to call. The treat must match the accomplishment. Not too big. Not too small. But, very important…don’t skip the treat.
  • Go home.
  • Take your boxes, tape and a big marker to the room where you keep your desk…let’s call it your “office.”
  • Take a “before” picture of your office.

Now it’s time to PUT LIKE THINGS TOGETHER. Start making piles of the piles that are on the floor. But the new piles are all like things together…

  • pens together
  • pencils together
  • staples together
  • pads of paper together
  • And so on and so on until everything is in it’s appropriate pile. You may have lots of piles. That’s good.

Tape up your boxes. They’re ready to fill. Put the pile of the largest items in the first box. The next largest pile of items in the next box and so on. When you come to the smaller piles, separate in clear plastic bags and group them according to task and/or functions (paper clips, staples, extra staplers all go in a box.)

Gift wrapping items can all go in a box…boxes, tissue paper, gift wrap, tape, ribbons and bows.

Etc., etc. You only have 6-10 boxes to fill so if the last box is a bunch of odds and ends that are not “like” that’s fine. It’s all good. No problem. You’re doing great! Just “throw” the last stuff in a box.

Take your marker and clearly label the box. Since you bought matching boxes, they will stack evenly and easily up against a wall or in a closet in your office. Stack up your boxes. You have 6 – 10 boxes. They will not take up a lot of space nor take very long to stack up.

Here’s where you and your eyes get a “Cookie.” Your eyes love open space. It fills us with a calm and peaceful feeling. Makes it easier for us to think and to breathe. You feel calmer, more peaceful, you’re breathing better AND now you know where things are. You know what you have and what you don’t have.

You have calm and control. Those are 2 BIG “Cookies” to me! Soak it in.

And now, you get to move your desk and learn a little about Fen Shui. Feng Shui tells us locating your desk (and yourself) farthest from the door puts you in the most positive strategic position.

You want to be able to see the door clearly when sitting at your desk.Whether you realize it or not, you want to know who or what is approaching you. We all do. It’s survival instinct. We’re more at ease consciously and subconsciously when we see the widest scope of the room when seated at our desks. Don’t have a door or an entryway behind you or at your side. If your office has multiple doors, sit where you can see the main door. It strengthens the subconscious feelings of security and control.

Seeing your whole office also expands your perspective, inspires greater optimism, and supports a future-oriented vision.

Move your desk. Sit down. Take a look around and enjoy the new view! Take a few minutes to take it in. This is the perfect time for this new perspective.

And now…give yourself a “Cookie!”

Tree Climbing

I love helping people. I thrive on simplifying their chaos. It’s a wonderful feeling to hear clints say “I can breathe again!” And so, we do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Pearl Concierge was assisting a client post-surgery. She was in a lot of pain. Her well-intentioned husband was around but she preferred Pearl Concierge to change her bandages, grocery shop, cook and drive her to her follow-up appointments.

Pearl Concierge drove our client one day after a long follow-up doctor appointmnt. She was in pain, tired, grumpy and very ready to get in her bed. As we pulled up to her house, it began to rain. Yes, really rain, in Los Angeles. 

I suggested she wait in the car so she wouldn’t get soaked and I would open the door for her. I asked her for her house keys. She looked. She looked again. No keys. She called her husband but no answer. “I don’t know why he has that damn phone. He never answers it” she told me.

I asked her to stay in the car and I would check the doors and hope (pray) something was open.

I checked the perimeter of the house. The rain came down heavier. I was soaked. All entry ways into this beautiful house were sealed shut. And then I saw it… a window…cracked just a bit. An open window…on the second floor of the house!

No problem.

I had a meeting after this client and I was in a dress and heels. No problem.

Just by the open second floor window, there was a tree.

And UP the tree I went, in my heels, in the rain, up to the second floor window of the house. I pried the window open and crawled in. Actually, I tumbled in, but I was in. Soaking wet, attacked by Dust Bunnies, Pearl Concierge was not deterred. Quickly down the stairs, out the door and to my car where my client looked up at me with eyes that radiated pain and just a faint glimmer of hope. I nod and she says “You’re an angel!”  

So when we say "If you don't see a service, please feel free to ask" now you know at Pearl Concierge, we will even climb up a tree for you.

Dreams...

we all have them but we don't all pursue them. We may give it a try but we quickly get discouraged, embarrassed, scared and we give up...on ourselves. We feel foolish and fill up with self doubt. We listen to the negative voices in our heads and the discouraging voices of "well intentioned" people around us. But, if not for dreams where would we be? On this day, we think of Martin Luther King and his dreams and the battles he fought to make them come true. His courage and determination fill our hearts with inspiration and rightly so. There are many dreamers, not all as famous, but nevertheless, their dreams mattered. And so do yours! We need our dreams... they keep us going and moving towards a goal. So how do you do it when it's an uphill battle?
Find someone you trust...a mentor, friend, good listener and tell them so you have someone to talk to. Might be a good idea to limit those with whom you share...at least in the beginning. Baby dreams are a little fragile and need a lot of nurturing and support. They don't need others' fears and negativity. Take a step...do the research, make the call,  even a tiny step is moving you in the right direction. Breathe and accept that you aren't perfect! What!?!?! Sorry!!! None of us are. But if you accept the untidy fact and still dare to dream...you just may get to know what it feels like to have your dreams come true!

Happy? NEW Year...


New isn’t always comfortable. In fact, often it is often UNCOMFORTABLE!

Even when a change is better, we tend to avoid it. There is a feeling of safety in what we know and we like to feel safe and in control.

Truth is, what we know is sometimes far from safe. It can cost us time, money and peace of mind. In it's most extreme forms, it can even be dangerous to our well being.

So how do we move on, keep our resolutions, improve ourselves and our lives without going
CRAZY and abandoning our very good intentions???

1. Breathe…keep breathing!

2. Find a mentor, friend, good listener, someone you trust…and allow them “hold your hand” through the process.

3. Take a step…even a tiny ONE. Clean out ONE drawer, donate ONE piece of clothing you haven’t worn in a year, make ONE phone call you have been avoiding.

4. If it’s something you’ve been avoiding you may likely feel scared, embarrassed, shameful, angry, sad, etc., etc., etc. It’s okay, it won’t kill you even if it feels really bad. Remember to breathe and feel the discomfort. Acknowledge it… “Hello, discomfort! I don’t like you but I am willing to share some space with you for a little while and then you are OUT OF HERE!”

5. Lather, rinse, repeat

It may not get easier right away…probably won’t. But, maybe it will!!! You won't know until you take a step. I promise, at some point, it will begin to feel good. You will feel more and more proud of yourself and, ONE step at a time,  you will feel safe with your NEW!!!

HAPPY NEW!!!!!!






MAKE TIME TO MAKE MEMORIES

My wonderful kids and I were sharing holiday memories earlier today. Funny the different things that stick in each person's mind. The memories may be different for each person...no matter. All that matters is that memories are made.

If the season goes by without a night of caroling or sitting together watching a holiday classic on TCM or baking holiday treats with your kids & grandkids, then you are missing out on the TRUE joy of the season...the True Joy of LIFE!

It's easy to get caught up in the mechanics of the holidays...shopping, cooking, buying, wrapping. At the end of it all, it can be a big blur! But don't worry! Worrying just takes time and energy! Here's the easy solution...

Right now, go get your calendar & a pen! Make a list of specific memories you’d like to create and schedule them into your calendar just like any other appointment. It's a great time to think about what really matters and what really doesn't! Think about what you have to do and what someone else can do for you! It's a great time to DELEGATE!

When you SCHEDULE, PLAN AND ORGANIZE time to make memories...you are SHOWING yourself and your loved ones who and what is really important! You know, it's that "actions speak louder than words" thing! So think of who and what. Then figure out when and WRITE IT DOWN. Send emails, make calls or stick Post-Its on doors. Whatever it takes, be sure memory time is on their calendars too. It may seem cold, calculated and business-like now but when you are cuddled together with your loved ones it will be so warm! And so memorable!!!

Keep it going. Don't stop when the holidays are over. Memories are made year round as long as you make time to make them!

Do the Worst Thing First

Tis the season of joy but I see a lot of people more stressed out than during the other 11 months put together. A LOT of expectations running around our heads right about now. So much to do and it seems that no matter how much we do we never feel like we are getting anything accomplished.

So, Stop! Yes, stop! Right in the middle of buying & wrapping, stuffing & stamping, planning & cooking!

Make a list (and yes, you will be checking it twice…in fact you will be checking it every day from now on!)

Make a list tonight for tomorrow. Start it off with the WORST, most dreaded, awful THING you REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO!!!

You’ll find that even writing it down sends shivers up and down your spine but wrap yourself in a blankie and drink some tea or whatever you need to do…just take that step and commit the deed to paper.

Don't stop... add to your list. Brainstorm and write down everything else you need and want to accomplish tomorrow. NOW GO TO SLEEP!

When you wake up…yes, you guessed it…now you need to actually DO the worst thing…first thing in the morning! Make that call, file that paper, go to the gym...whatever you have been avoiding you will now look squarely in the eye!

Get it over with and you will be amazed…the rest of the day is easier!!!! It’s icing, it’s a cake walk, it’s..you get the idea! Nothing will be as bad as the thing you avoided and dreaded and now it is still the morning and it's DONE! You can even take a moment to treat yourself because you deserve it!

And tomorrow you get to do the worst thing first thing again! There is always a worst thing and then there is ALWAYS that wonderful, relieved, weight lifted off your shoulders feeling that follows!