Thursday, April 22, 2010

Project Me


Lately, I have been taking an honest look at my life. I have a very full life. The only problem is, it's full of too much of what I don't want... too much stress, too much stuff, too many worries, too many deadlines, too much debt. I'm not quite sure how it got to be so out of hand. I only know that it isn't working for me anymore. Now, I could sit here and feel sorry for myself... pity party for one please... but that would only lead to too much depression and what good would that do? I'm already stuck. The last thing I need to do is sink myself into a sweet funk.

Certainly all of this excess of what I don't want is breeding an undercurrent of drama in my life and drama provides an excellent distraction. Instead of focusing my energy on taking steps to create the life I want to live I can engage in the drama and that frees me from a  hell of a lot of responsibility. It is, after all, all-consuming. The drama requires every bit of my attention to maintain its status quo in my life. Now why the heck would I want to maintain the drama? Why do any of us? And we do... make no mistake about it. Our entire culture thrives off drama. You tell me that reality TV, tabloid headlines and the cult of celebrity aren't the new pornography and I will eat my words. Rather than addressing our own problems, we get caught up in everyone else's. How do we get sucked in? Why do we feed the drama? I have a hunch.

If we are so busy focusing on the drama we never have the opportunity to recognize how utterly unfulfilled we are. We never have to experience the discomfort of questioning our motives and taking steps to affect change in our lives. We provide ourselves with an out. Instead of taking ownership of our lives and responsibility for our personal fulfillment and happiness, we can make the drama the scapegoat. Surely, we could have all we dream of if only there wasn't all this stuff in the way. Woe is me... I have so much stacked against me... why even bother? What a pretty shade of pity that is.

I think part of the problem is our fixation on convenience and instant gratification. We have forgotten the value of rolling up our sleeves, digging in and doing the work necessary to create the life we long to live. No one is going to hand us our fulfillment on a silver platter. We have to be willing to take an honest look at ourselves and understand why we want to stay stuck. Yes... you read right. I said why we want to stay stuck. Now, when I point that finger, I have one pointing directly back at me. Everywhere I look around me, I see my stuckness. I have barricaded my life with a wall of excess that makes it difficult to move forward. Notice I didn't say impossible. I merely stated the inconvenience of the proposition.

I think I have finally come to the point where I have gotten over myself. Even I'm tired of hearing my excuses. I'm ready to get on with it. It's unacceptable that I find my own home inhospitable. Everywhere I look I see clutter. It feels overwhelming. I'm not welcomed in my own home and I created that atmosphere. I've successfully crowded myself out of my own life. In fact, I try to avoid being at home at all cost and believe me, it costs a lot. Since I don't have room to cook in my kitchen I predominantly dine out. This is adversely affecting my health and causing my debt to skyrocket. I want to dance and have intended to set aside room in the garage for a studio where I can practice in between classes but the space has been crammed full of useless stuff... so I don't dance. I also don't get much exercise because quite literally, I don't have room for it in my life. My stress levels are high. I know that relaxation is a must if I am to feel my best and be effective in my life but how can I possibly relax when everything in my personal environment feels so suffocating? I can barely breathe, let alone let go and unwind.

It's a vicious cycle that feeds upon itself. As my self-care slips, my life becomes more chaotic. As the chaos takes over, I feel more overwhelmed. The more overwhelmed I feel, the more my eating disorder issues become exacerbated and on and on we go on this merry-go-round. The imbalance has reached a critical mass and it's going to take a big push to get over this hurdle. In response, I have decided to commit to a personal challenge. Beginning next week, I am going to stop settling and start expecting a little more out of myself. I'm going to think outside the box and push through my comfort zones. For 30 days I will embark on a challenge to take my home and my life back. Peter Walsh inspired me to make this bold move. His book, "It's All Too Much" made me realize how I have been holding myself back from living the life I deserve. I highly recommend the read to anyone facing similar challenges...

I am dubbing my 30 day challenge, "Project Me". This challenge involves clearing out the excess from my life so I can make room for more of what I want and less of what I don't. Room by room I am going to go through my home with a fine-toothed comb, cleaning and organizing... setting up my space so it supports me in moving in the direction of my dreams. I am also going to stop the bleeding of excess spending and take back the intimate act of nourishing myself by preparing all of my meals at home. That's right folks... no meals out and that includes my usual double white mocha from the local coffeehouse. I want to see what happens when I stop bitching about what isn't working and actually do something about it.

I think these are two areas that many Americans struggle with and thought it would make an interesting blog project. I'm going to share the entire experience... all of it. I will post before and after pictures of my living space and decluttering efforts. I will track how much money I save by cooking my meals at home. I will share my progress and also the difficulties I encounter along the way so you can benefit from my trials and errors. I'll let you in on the tips I discover that help make such a proposition easier and more convenient. I also imagine that some hidden emotional stuff will come up to be cleared as I work my way through this challenge. I will be candid with the emotional process, as well.

I would love to connect with others who are ready to take this challenge themselves. It would be great to come together as a community and support one another in bettering our lives. I think we can learn a lot from this experience and through sharing our stories with each other.

"Project Me" kicks off next week... GULP. Look for future blogs to come.


  1. I have actually been going through a similar process and at this point it is getting kind of scary. I have gone through and decluttered so much, there is hardly much left and I am starting to feel fearful of what is on the other side. Last night I felt myself resisting wanting to do my 15 minute routine (a quick nightly clean up of the house) and it left me wondering why.

    I have moved into a completely new phase with my intuitive eating and even my career. I am starting school to become a holistic health counselor May 3 and hope to really start clearing out the big burden in my life (9 to 5 job) and I am sure all of the cleaning and decluttering represents this new phase.

    And, I am totally with you on the money thing too. I am so sick of spending money on mindless dribble, things that don't matter and only work to clutter our space even further.

    Wonderful challenge.

  2. Wow Christie! Great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your experience. It's interesting to see that we are working through a similar layer in our healing journey. Like you, I do believe that all of this stuff is masking something deeper. I can feel some fear as I approach this challenge, but I also have a complete aversion to living anything but an authentic life at this point, so come what may, I will work through this.

    I hope you will continue to share what you discover through this process. Thank you for opening up about your experience. It helps to know I am not alone.

  3. I can't wait to see your progress, Shannon! I know that you will do what you set your mind to, and that mind is set! This is going to be so very fulfilling for both of us! I am setting my "start" for next week as well, because my brother is in and will be going back to Africa Sunday. He stays at my house when he's here, and the clutter and dust have aggravated his allergies...and apparently have been keeping mine in a constant state of agitation. He will be back in December so I'm giving myself til then to totally and completely have everything in order in this house--including home repairs.

    So let the games begin!!