Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Story of the Grunions ~

Grunions are small fish who appear once a year off California beaches.  It is possible to catch them in containers they way children back East might capture fire flies in a jar. Many years ago a friend of mine told me this story. "When I was 18 I took a girl to my high school prom in my father's brand new Cadillac. After the prom my date wanted to go to the beach and capture grunions.  Like any dutiful 18 year old boy, I took her and we quickly scored a bag of the tiny fish.  We tucked the treasure into the glove compartment of my father's car.  There were several stops before the night ended and you can guess what happened.  The grunions were forgotten! Within two weeks the unmistakable stench of dead fish emanated from the glove compartment.  Needless to say, my father almost killed me!"

Now what does this have to do with your piles of papers or your messy closet?  Everything! My friend was a therapist and used this story to illustrate the importance of dealing with our emotional issues.  "If you don't," he would say, "they'll fester like the unseen, rotting fish and have a profound effect on your life." Piles of messy clothes and stacks of untended papers will swirl their chaotic energy around you like an evil spell.  It will be difficult to think clearly.  You will feel mildly depressed when you're in your home or work environment.  It will be hard to work there whether your task is washing dishes or drafting contracts.

What's behind your chaos?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Are you like my mother?

My mother instilled in me the need to be orderly.  I have never thrown clothes on the floor nor left dishes stacked in the sink. Had I done so in my mother's house, even as an adult, her sizable Lebanese hand would have whacked my bottom soundly. Interestingly, my mother was driven by a different set of needs than I was when it came to our personal environment.   She was overly concerned with what other people thought about her. The parts of the house that you could see where absolutely perfect.

However the inner structure was in chaos.  I was appalled by the state of my mother's closets and drawers.  "What difference does it make?" she would say. "No one can see the mess!"  This is where we parted philosophical company.  I never saw a difference between the inner and the outer environment.  I wanted everything in order because it made me feel calmer.  Work was easier to accomplish in this ordered universe.  Filing for me wasn't a problem because I set the files up to yield their treasures and absorb additional information. I didn't have stacks of orphan papers on every surface of my room.  Getting dressed was a creative adventure because all my clothes were neatly organized in categories and by color.  In my mother's "perfect to behold" bedroom, clothes lived in secret chaos.  They were thrown into dresser drawers or jammed into her closet.  You get the picture.

As a professional organizer I view the entire space as one unified whole that is capable of influencing our ability to function. 

Next time: The Story of the Grunions

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Do you delegate and mentor or shoulder the responsibility of the home and office?

Recently I was reminded of the time my regular assistant was out of town for a few weeks.  She and I function as one.  I can say 'Please organize the closet' and offer no direction.  I know in advance she will do exactly what I would in this situation. Of course we've been working together for over 10 years and at the start there were a lot of discussions!

I had someone help me during the time Tanya was away who is organized and had worked with me from time to time in the past. She wasn't a stranger to my ways but we were by no means a well oiled team.  What a lesson I learned! The reason we feel we can't let go control and need to do it all ourselves is because we are not good mentors.  We assume people will fill in the blanks and understand all the details. Delegating is as much about mentoring as mentoring is about communication.

When we teach others we not only free ourselves we better understand the task at hand because nothing is left to chance. 

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

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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.