Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Farewell Mr. Bill....

Life is amazing, isn't it?  You never know when you're going to wake up and be given a gift.  Twenty-five years ago I was still a professional actress.  I was cast in a one act play (The Girls on the Porch) that went on to become part of a Festival of One Acts that played for several months.  I won a local award for my performance and I was given a special gift: a friendship with the playwright, Bill Derringer. My beautiful friend slipped into Eternity last week.  The landscape of my life will never be the same.

Bill was a gifted actor as well as a playwright.  He was also a great raconteur of stories from the theater. The thing I admired most about Bill is that his love of acting, theater and writing were as fresh and alive on the day he died as they were when he discovered his love for them at 13. No matter what life tossed Bill's way he remained a pure Soul.  He was never jaded or cynical.  He didn't care about riches and fame.  He was all about the craft. 

His life partner of 30 years Bob Bak is an extraordinary man who took care of the business of life so that Bill was free to be an artist.  I can't imagine one without the other.  If you have someone in your life who has contributed to the quality of your life, give them a call today.  You never know when you will hear that voice for the last time.

Mr. Bill, across time and space I send you my love. Your friendship made me a better person.  And your words as a playwright made me a much better actress than I dreamed I could be.  I love you for always.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The 'Stuff' of life and the chaos it creates

I've spent more than twenty years helping people eliminate the 'excess stuff' they've accumulated. But it isn't just 'stuff' that needs to go from the physical environment. From time to time it's also people, places or jobs.

We sometimes hold onto relationships for years after they have ended. We all know one sided friendships or marriages that are dead. We witness destructive relationships that seem to go on forever. What's the old saying? 'The devil you know is better than the one you don't.' This was no doubt stated by someone who was frozen with fear. After all, what if the devil got his walking papers and a bevy of angels was invited in to stay?

There's a law of physics that states that two objects can not occupy the same space at the same time. You won't have more nurturing friends, a better love relationship or a great workplace if you don't create the space. I'm not suggesting you wake up tomorrow and do a wholesale cleaning of your life. I am suggesting you take some time to examine every aspect of your life and see if something needs to be eliminated. You may discover what needs to be done is some serious nurturing of current relationships whether they be personal or professional.

I helped a client recently who had some plants. She adored them. She simply forgot to care for them on a regular basis. She found it heartwarming to see how quickly they could bounce back with a little water. I suggested she nurture them on a regular basis so that they didn't have to come back from the brink every few weeks. There's a metaphor for life in this story. Do you nurture your relationships on a regular basis? Do you nurture yourself by creating an environment that supports you on every level? Or are you the kind of person who senses distance in your friends and rushes in with last minute invitations to dinner? Does your home get so messy you have to tidy up every few weekends?  Do you wonder why the order you created never lasts? Only long term and consistent care will create the results you want whether it's people or places.

I had to walk away from a long term friendship recently. Something happened that hurt me deeply. When I examined the relationship I realized that for several years it had been falling apart. Had we been honest we would have seen the hand writing on the wall and parted years ago. My environment 'speaks' to me in much the same way. I look around and suddenly something I treasured and loved looks old or out of place. I realize I've outgrown the item. And then I have the fun of replacing it with something that reflects who I am in this moment. If the original object is still in great condition I can compound my fun by giving it to someone else. Now even the object has a fresh start.

I took a leap of faith when I created my organizing business. I took another when I decided to write my first book. Both have developed in ways I could never have imagined. These leaps of faith have given me experiences, friends and creative fulfillment beyond my wildest imagination. I never considered that my business would take off and I'd be organizing 21 years later. Nor could I possible have dreamed that I'd one day be writing my 8th book.

What can you eliminate that may open the door to greater possibilities?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer is here ... what are your plans?

Have you ever noticed that winter drags on forever but the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is about 3 seconds? At least it feels that way to me ... I love all the seasons but summer has a special place in my heart. There is something about the lack of clothing for one thing that makes me feel free. Years ago I helped a client move from Los Angeles to New York City which is my hometown. We were leaving a lunch counter when she looked at me and said: "I feel like a beast of burden!" I had to laugh. I grew up in Brooklyn where my mom taught me to count to seven before I left a location. If I had my: hat, gloves, scarf, coat, purse, boots and shoes, I was good to go. If not, I had to start looking around for 'my parts.'

My home base now is Los Angeles. June is traditionally when we experience 'June gloom.' In the morning the sky is overcast. No reason to complain, however, as it will be in the triple digits soon enough. The hottest weather of the year is after Labor Day Weekend. It took my East coast Soul some time to adjust to that reality. It's really hard to work on getting organized when it's that hot. Thankfully most of us have AC. My sweet golden retrievers are gone now but when they were alive I had to have fans as well. Goldens run a little hotter than other breeds and my babies had to be comfortable! Writing a book without a dog at my feet is a sad experience. My female Katie seemed to know when I was working on a book. She would sit by my side for the entire process. Once the book was ready for press, she went about her business. How do they know these things? My old male golden whose name was Spirito Divino or Spirit for short was the Dalai Lama of dogs. He was close to 15 when I rescued him. Spirit just wanted to sleep, eat, love and float through the day without cares. I miss that guy. He taught me how to relax and 'hang out.'

How are you spending the summer? Are you going to take a trip or hang around the house working on projects? In the interest of balance, I hope you plan a combination of the two! I've just completed a new book and I'm waiting for editorial notes. This is my 8th book total and the 4th in the One Year to ... series. It's called One Year to an Organized Life with Baby. I wrote it with Meagan Francis who is the mother of five and a published author in her own right. We hit it off like gang busters! Even though our lives look different, we're wired very much the same. And we certainly share the same work ethic and many of the same beliefs. When this one is ready for press, I'm going to miss my daily chats via e-mail or phone with Meagan.

The book takes a pregnant woman from the start of month three through delivery and covers the first 5 months of baby's life. It was a joy to write and I hope it is embraced by readers. There is so much to get organized before a child enters the world. There are the things we remember (plan the nursery, get a diaper bag, stock up on supplies et al) but there are also important items that can easily slip through the cracks like updating your will, discussing with your partner how emergencies will be handled and setting up a college account ... just to name a few! You know me ... I like to plan and have all my ducks in a row.

Let me know what you have planned this summer. I promise to post here more often.

What type of information would you most like to find here?

June 2009, in China

June 2009, in China
At the Summer Palace outside Beijing

About Me

My photo

I will always be grateful I grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  It was a rich atmosphere that introduced me to different races, creeds and professions.  It seemed that anything was possible if you were willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

I'm a yogi which means that my spiritual path is that of yoga principles that have been handed down for over 5000 years. Yoga is an ancient philosophy based on the Gita, the sutras of Patanjali and yes, the Bible. The postures are a key element as is meditation. We honor all paths.

I got my first dog when I was 6 years old after a full year of begging.  She was a collie and her name was Queenie.  As an adult I've had 2 golden retrievers.  A female named Miss Katie who came into my life when she was 3 months old and an ancient male golden who came to me when he was 15.  I'd like to have a Great Dane next but we'll see what the universe has in store.

I've been organizing clients for over 24 years and writing about it for over ten.