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Mindfulness: A Fundamental Practice in Organizing

Mindfulness: A Fundamental Practice in Organizing

Mindfulness is a fundamental practice in organizing, although most people don’t think much about it. Here’s why.

Did you know one of the biggest reasons a house becomes disorganized is because we fail to place things back where they belong? 

Much of the blame for this goes to everyday absent-mindedness. And the antidote to this absent-mindedness is mindfulness. 

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens.

Mindfulness is one of the fundamental practices to live by when we wish to gain better control over how organized life can become.

 The (Lack of) Focus in Everyday Life

Unfortunately, regardless of how focused we can be when something demands our attention, everyday menial tasks, things we routinely do, and how we move around in our home or work environment usually are not focus-demanding tasks. At least, we do not perceive them to be.

When we get comfortable in specific routines, especially at home, we engage the mind in something that happened, something to come, or anything else but what lies in front of us at any given moment.

An Exercise in Mindfulness

Have you heard how a sustained focus on chewing food helps with weight loss? Concentrating on chewing achieves several things:

  • We savor the food better.
  • Digestion starts with the chewing process (it’s supposed to).
  • The brain reaches satiety with less food.
  • The body absorbs nutrients more efficiently.

Notice that focusing on chewing food is an exercise in mindfulness. I remember undergoing this process during a 12-week mindfulness workshop that I participated in. At that time, paying full attention to chewing our food, we could taste even the additives and preservatives in the food. Talk about focus!

This seemingly unrelated example illustrates how focusing attention and engaging the senses in a particular activity or life moment connect us with new information that ordinarily would have been overlooked. That is what mindfulness does. It makes us understand better what we do, how we do it, why, and how we feel about it without judgment.

Recognizing and Mending Mindless Patterns

If you need help with disorganization or feel you can’t keep up with the house, the solution might be to focus on your actions, reactions, and thoughts at home. Notice those things you might be performing mindlessly. You’ll recognize the pitfalls in your processes throughout the day. Noticing those instances will help correct the habits responsible for the home chaos. 

We could discuss many tips and tricks for this or that. We can list ways to become organized or maintain home systems. But as long as we remain mentally disconnected, habits won’t change.

Exercising mindfulness (as in being constantly present in the body and aware of our circumstances without judgment) is essential to change unhelpful patterns.

 Nothing Like This Very Moment

Have you ever heard, “In the present moment is where your power lies”? I don’t know a better quote to illustrate the power of mindfulness and focus on the NOW.

Mindless operation is what makes us place the phone in the freezer, look for our glasses while wearing them, pour orange juice in the cereal, or take the dog’s pills instead of ours (true story -this one has happened to me more than once! 😬)

If you need help organizing your time, home, work, or life, you must know that some things must change. Habits need to be modified for those things to change sustainably and significantly. Becoming mindful allows us to recognize which practices need to be adjusted. It also helps us achieve the modifications required to become more organized.

Becoming mindful takes effort – like learning to meditate, for example. However, to become intentional, aware individuals, we must learn to focus attention on the moment and be present in the body.

How He Finally Found Flow at Home

How He Finally Found Flow at Home

Years Went By

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.

But for the last decade, he had tried to sell his condo.

During that time, the property had been on and off the market. And although my friend had done everything within his power and seemed to do it all right, the sale never went through for various reasons.

All the while, he had felt emotionally detached from his own home, as he said.

Deciding To Flow

At some point during those years, his life significantly changed – It sped up exponentially. Consequently, he was spending much less time at home. The timing was ideal because now, he did not need to spend so much time in a place he did not love.

However, he thought maybe his path was not to sell his apartment after all and that he probably needed “to flow” with his home instead.

And by “flowing,” he meant he had decided to align his actions and feelings with the energy of his dwelling so it could be the source of joy he wished for – a home that would delight and support him. (I swear I had nothing to do with his decision or process – this was all him).

As he started to plan some upgrades on his apartment, it was clear he could only begin those after emptying several areas that have been storing a lot of stuff through the years. He had not seen, touched, or needed that for long.

As you can imagine, this was not a project he looked forward to doing.

The Unexpected Happened

But then something unexpected happened- as soon as all that stuff started coming out of the many “hiding” areas, he felt a rush of energy compelling him to declutter and reorganize everything in his home. He could not explain it, but that feeling was enough. He took action.

Unbeknownst to him, this was a first-hand experience of clutter causing stagnant energy and the contrasting feeling of unleashing the positive energy that comes with decluttering.

He witnessed how this fresh, vibrant energy carried him forward, infusing his environment with the attitudes and feelings he longed to experience in his place.

Comfort Coffee at home

Becoming Mindful

It might be easy to ignore the draining effects of stagnant energy, settling for the status quo. However, becoming mindful gets us in touch with ourselves, our feelings, their why, and how. Then, it’s easier to discern what should be done and the path forward.

So yes, my dear friend has a beautiful, well-appointed condo that he loves and is no longer trying to sell. He made peace with his home, which is now a place that supports his hectic life and gives him joy.

His Story Is My Wish For You

Listening to his story made me realize his journey perfectly embodied everything I wish everyone to experience.

  • Becoming mindful
  • Making the right decisions
  • Taking action
  • Eliminating clutter and chaos from their lives
  • Shifting their energy
  • Loving where they live

(My friend should become My Space Reclaimed poster child, right?)

It’s simple- once you decide to love your place and act mindfully, your house becomes that HOME that supports your life and speaks of rest, comfort, and joy.

When that happens, life becomes easier, bigger, and better. That’s when you experience the flow.

Restoring Proper Body And Mind Energetic Flow

Restoring Proper Body And Mind Energetic Flow

The Body Knows

Our environment can make us sick. I’m not necessarily referring to pollution but how we react to our environment. We react consciously and subconsciously. We are energy. Everything around us is energy. Even the colors we see are nothing other than different wavelengths of energy, and we know colors have the power to impact our mood. Thus, restoring proper body and mind energetic flow seems essential to practice self-care.

It is impossible not to react to our environment in one way or another. You might not react consciously, but our bodies know. Our subconscious minds know. I first learned this through an acupuncturist when he showed me how the “muscle test” works. He showed me how the body is the best lie detector. The body can’t lie, and it has a mind.

So, regardless of our thoughts and what we perceive from our environment, the subconscious mind and the body know the truths we might not be aware of or purposely ignore.

The Energy of Clutter

I have discussed clutter and its psychological and physical effects in previous articles. 

In her book Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui, Karen Kingston says:

“The word “clutter” derives from the Middle English word “clotter,” which means “to coagulate” – and that’s as stuck as you can get. Clutter accumulates when energy stagnates, and likewise, energy stagnates when clutter accumulates. Clutter begins as a symptom of what is happening to you in your life and then becomes part of the problem itself because the more of it you have, the more stagnant energy it attracts to itself. It starts with a bit, and then slowly, insidiously, it grows – and so does the stagnant energy around it, which has a correspondingly stagnating effect on your life. Sorting out your life by sorting out your junk results in a tremendous renewal of your life force energy.”

It’s no surprise that clutter directly interferes with the correct flow of energy at the physical and metaphysical levels (spirit and mind). So often, the surrounding mess creates a physical or mental imbalance. However, the process can work in the opposite way – pains and tensions that make it impossible to deal with our clutter. Most times, these two scenarios feed off each other.

When clutter surrounds us, our physical and emotional energy is cramped. An impaired energy flow can cause adverse mental and physiological reactions. Unhealthy patterns emerge, and illness might follow. We should strive to be on the defense rather than relying on corrective methods when it comes to the energy in our bodies.

Holistic Practices That Prevent Disease

Traditional Medicine is mainly an interventional solution for health problems and falls short on prevention. Practices such as essential oils, Chiropractic care, and Acupuncture are examples of holistic ways to correct our energetic flow and health.

Essential Oils

In my article The True Power of Essential Oils, I share my story with essential oils and my genuine surprise to discover their true power. 

Chiropractic Care

Plano Chiropractor Dr. Brian Dillon explains: 

“One of the many hidden benefits of chiropractic care is creating a more effective immune system by removing interference with the nervous system at the spinal level. For example, when the spine is out of alignment, the immune system is impaired, interfering with the body’s healing ability. Being aligned allows the body to heal itself and help prevent “dis-ease.”

Acupuncture

Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist Xenia Maradiaga-Gross explains:

 “Acupuncture is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers and treats patients as whole individuals, looking into the physical, emotional, and mental aspects, with the conscious and subconscious. When we suffer physical or emotional trauma that is left unaddressed, this might create an obstruction of energy over time. When this happens, energy gets stagnant, which disrupts the flow of blood and vital fluids. Then, we experience physical symptoms like headache, tension, tiredness, cramps, and bloating. Those symptoms are the body telling us that it is out of balance. Those symptoms affect our mood and quality of life. Ignoring chronic imbalances affecting organs and body systems might result in severe conditions and disease. Acupuncture addresses the patient’s symptoms and the root cause of energy imbalances creating those symptoms. It increases blood and energy flow in the body to restore its systems’ functions properly.”

Prevention Is Key

Prevention is the best strategy, given that the body and the subconscious mind perceive what we can’t notice. We don’t necessarily know when/where energetic disconnections occur. Leaving these disconnections unattended might result in those strange, spontaneous pains we experience occasionally. Even worse, illness might follow sooner than later.

The Grass Is Greener?

The Grass Is Greener?

We can all agree we like this picture. (I think that would be a fair assessment) 

But what would this place look like with dirty dishes on the counter, some lights burned out or mixed colors, plastic wraps, carton boxes on chairs, an overflown trashcan, and cleaning products on counters?

Then we can also agree the magic is gone!

I usually feature beautiful interiors and exciting buildings on my feed to get you in touch with that part of your soul that craves beauty and order. I always aim to demonstrate that great design can only shine in clean, uncluttered spaces. That type of space allows the mind to see the beauty of the design without the distraction of clutter.

Who doesn’t like a hotel room? Of course, we all want the novelty of experiencing something unusual. But the neatness and simplicity of a hotel room have a lot to do with how we experience that space. That neatness and simplicity are no accident — it is by design.

Think about the magic that a staged model home delivers. Yet, even if you were to buy that same model home, furnished and all, as soon as the disjointed moving boxes and bags arrived on moving day, the magic would be gone instantly.

So, what happened?

No matter where you live or what you own, you can have a place that excites you to gasp. You can be in love with your own home! But it takes attention and intention. Unfortunately, these two things are pretty much neglected regarding where we live. 

But why?

Many take their home for granted and stop paying attention to details, neglect to repair broken items, and use their home as storage spaces (instead of living spaces). Clutter creeps up when we stop paying attention to our environment and what we keep.

And we stop paying attention to our surroundings when we live mindlessly.

The level of clutter directly correlated to the level of disinterest shown in a home. It is easy to get to that point when we have so much stuff that we can no longer pay attention to anything. Nothing seems unique anymore. Consequently, we turn blind to mess and beauty alike. It’s a vicious cycle.

That makes me think of family relationships; after some years of marriage, some people start taking their partners for granted, stop trying, get bored, and don’t care. What if we tried to keep the magic alive?

So, is the grass greener elsewhere? Not necessarily. It is not always the case, and it largely depends on you.

So, keep your grass green; fertilize and water it, and enjoy it.

Contact My Space Reclaimed, LLC, for inspiration. We can’t wait to show you that home you never knew you had!

“When” Matters

“When” Matters

I discuss the concept of mindfulness quite often. Mindfulness is about being in the moment, each moment, noticing our actions, reactions, and feelings toward others and the environment. Mindfulness puts seemingly ordinary, routine, everyday life events under a magnifying glass for close inspection – the things few people notice. Under this mind-frame, we can’t help but see how “when” matters. The timeliness of things matters.

You have probably heard that clutter is, at its core, a bunch of postponed decisions. So, let’s put the concept of timeliness under that magnifying glass to illustrate its importance and consequences. 

Clutter, Mess, and Chaos Creep In

If a drop of tomato sauce falls on the floor while you cook, one of two things will likely happen: you take four seconds to wipe the area clean at that moment, or you keep cooking undisturbed because you can always clean it later (Oh, later).

You continue with your culinary endeavor. Then, you or someone else inadvertently step on the spot once or twice. As a result, the inoffensive tomato drop that could have taken four seconds to clean is now significantly spread on the kitchen floor. 

Also, mixed with shoe dirt, it has transformed that four-second job into a floor-moping task that adds five minutes to your schedule. But that is just the time. Consider the effort of prepping the mop, mopping the floor, and then cleaning that mop afterward.

The Toxic Build-Up

It is your choice to postpone taking any action – of course! But understand that the timeliness of actions does matter, and when we delay decisions, consequences usually follow. 

Often, those consequences come in the form of additional time and effort required to achieve the same goal. The extra effort needed to accomplish the goal grows each minute while the likelihood of taking action decreases. However, the situation (now compounded) will still be there for you to resolve later. Ignoring the situation won’t make it go away.

The tomato drop example might seem insignificant. But unnecessarily postponed tasks and decisions bring more impactful consequences. 

Life constantly provides us with opportunities to neglect or delay actions and decisions. And the consequences related to ignoring them might not bother us, especially if we don’t immediately notice. But sooner or later, we’ll find out that the results accumulated due to neglected or postponed decisions and actions are such that we no longer feel capable of bringing back balance or control to the situation, home, or life (whatever it is).

Neglected Actions Create Chain Reactions

Because Dad is an early riser, he gets assigned the chore of emptying the dishwasher and feeding the dog in the morning. There is an understanding that these activities should happen before the rest of the family gets up.

But Dad starts wasting precious morning time doing something other than those two chores under his responsibility. As the rest of the family members get up and want breakfast, the equipment they need is still inside the dishwasher. Therefore, everyone tries to get what they need directly from the machine. Dad tries to complete his unfinished tasks at that (very inopportune) time.

Everyone trips over the dishwasher’s open door and steps over a wet kitchen floor. It turns out the stuff coming out of the washer is still wet because the dishwasher is a piece of junk, and no one has bothered to replace it or call for repair service. So, the floor is now a mess that will require mopping with cleaner instead of a piece of towel paper to dry some water. 

Remember the dog that has yet to eat. The poor thing is in the middle of it all and pretty hungry. Dad knows he should have fed the dog and starts mixing the stuff into her bowl. He takes up considerable counter space to complete the task while others deal with their breakfast in the reduced counter space left.

But everyone has responsibilities and places to go – delaying breakfast is not an option.

Each person usually rinses their things and puts them inside the dishwasher. It takes about one minute to do so. 

On this day, however, since the dishwasher is still partially loaded with clean items, dirty stuff cannot yet go in the machine. So, the first person to finish breakfast puts dirty utensils in the sink without rinsing (because rinsing is associated with placing things inside the dishwasher, which is not the case this time). 

The action taken by the first person is the cue for all others to do the same, even when the dishwasher becomes available in the next three minutes. (You know, “so and so did not do it, why do I have to do it?” syndrome). 

Dishes are piling up in the sink and on the counter, with food remaining, making them crusty (yeah!). 

The day goes by with the pile of dirty stuff over the kitchen counter and in the sink. It will take more time and effort to rinse those dishes and place them inside the dishwasher now. 

Also, the process will require someone (as in mom) to have the extra time and willingness to do so. Unfortunately, that one-minute job has become a ten-minute ordeal (with resentment!). 

And who will happily volunteer to take on the task when everyone is tired at the end of the day? Let’s remember that the kitchen needs some cleaning up before dinner cooking starts. Hello, kitchen clutter!

Often, we do not take action or make decisions because we forget- not necessarily because we purposely run away from it. But that is yet another consequence of delaying or postponing. 

Take that alarm on your iPhone that reminds you of your noon pills, for example. Can you count the times it has gone off, and you have ignored it, thinking you will take care of it in five minutes? Then, hours later, you realize you did not take your pills.

A Nourishing Home

When you live in a household, you are part of a system. Everyone’s actions and inactions directly impact the unit’s function. If you are relied upon to complete specific tasks, please understand that such chores are tethered to a time frame and not subject to when you “feel like it.” “Feeling like it” might never come, and it is not a reliable time frame.

Every chore becomes manageable when all household members understand and accept the home systems and perform their duties on time. As a result, such a home efficiently keeps the chaos at bay, improves family relationships, and enhances the positive energy flow. It is a nourishing, supportive, and efficient place.

Does this ring a bell? Observe these patterns in your life for about a week – on the significant and seemingly insignificant things. You will probably see the cause/effect of delayed decisions and observe their ripple effect in your life. You will make amazing discoveries!