How is cleaning house like learning to ride a bike?

And what do either of those things have to do with success?

success and comfortWell, I’ve been on a mission this week – to clear out the clutter and clean up my space. I’ve said before, I am not a great housekeeper. There are many other things I would prefer to be doing.

I’ve tidied up some of my living spaces – my bedroom, my computer desk, the bathroom – all the horizontal spaces that clutter tends to accumulate. I’ve gone through a box of papers I have been avoiding for probably a year and a half – thrown a whole lot away, and filed some of it. It feels really good!

It’s taking me quite a while. And some of the clutter seems to be migrating, or threatening to resume it’s old home. I just keep working away, a little each day, because it feels so freeing. Like all this stuff has had control of my life, weighing me down, and by getting rid of it I am taking back control.

Even in the middle of cleaning, though, I took a break to help my youngest son ride his bike. He’s seven, and he’s been afraid to ride. Actually, he’s been afraid to fall, so he has been content just to ride on the scooter. When we were visiting my sister, he had some positive peer pressure – his cousin, who is younger than him, was riding his bike, with no training wheels. My youngest spent some time on the youngest cousin’s bike, which had training wheels. And then he did something with my sister, and later my brother-in-law, that he wouldn’t do with me at home: he rode the bigger bike with them holding on to the back. He even got to where he was starting to ride on his own.

Then he fell off the scooter, and scraped up his hip. And the old fear of falling came right back. He didn’t really ride the bike the rest of the trip, and hasn’t touched his own bike here…until last night.

He was playing outside, and then I heard him ringing the bell on the handle bars. Soon he came in and put on his helmet. He said, “I’m going to try riding my bike, but on the grass, so I don’t hurt myself if I fall. Will you watch me, mom?”

Of course! He tried on the grass, and it was a little challenging. Our yard is not very even. So after some encouragement, I suggested he try on the pavement. When he saw how much easier it was on the pavement, he went out to the street. This was stretching his comfort zone quite a ways, though, and he asked for me to hold on and walk with him to keep his balance.

As soon as he was going, I let go, encouraging and cheering all the way. With only a couple of stops, and no falls, he rode all the way to the end of the street and back. And he was so proud of himself!

I was comfortable with my clutter. And then something urged me to start letting it go. My son was comfortable not riding his bike. And then he saw how comfortable his cousin was.

I was afraid that by starting to clean, I would have to keep going forever. My son was afraid of falling.

Each of us is taking baby steps, and each of us is finding success outside our comfort zone. Each of us has experienced the pride of overcoming a challenge.

Where are you hiding inside your comfort zone? Here are some steps to help move you out of your comfort zone and into success:

  • Act in spite of your fear. It’s OK to be afraid. Fear doesn’t have to stop you, though.
  • Take baby steps. Break it down into smaller chunks so it is not overwhelming.
  • Take pride in a job well done! Congratulate yourself, even for the little steps. It’s not always easy to move outside your comfort zone.

Leave a comment and let me know what you are doing to move from comfort to success!



Making a Clean Sweep

I have a confession to make. I am a terrible housekeeper. It’s not that I don’t know how to clean, or how to keep my house clean. I even did the Fly Lady system for a while. I just can’t be bothered.

I hate cleaning my houseBefore you freak out, I don’t live in a pig sty. There’s no garbage laying around. Well, not much. I DO have three young boys! There’s some dirt (again, 3 boys), and clutter. I’ll admit to clutter.

Honestly, though, I can usually think of at least half a dozen (or half a million) things I would rather be doing than cleaning the house. To give myself a little credit, when I do clean, I do a thorough job.

Maybe that’s part of why I don’t want to get started. It’s kind of like the children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

If I clean the counters, I’m going to want to clean the cupboards.
If I clean the cupboards, I’m going to want to sweep the kitchen floor.
If I sweep the kitchen floor, I’m going to want to sweep the rest of the house.
And then I’ll want to mop. The whole house.

It’s a good example of how a small shift in energy can lead to major changes. Last night (when I’m writing this, not when you are reading it) I brought some boxes and packing paper to a friend who is moving. Today, I looked at the space where the boxes had been, and decided to shift a couple of things around. When I moved the filing cabinet, I saw I needed to sweep and mop where it had been. And of course, once I cleaned that spot, it was very clear how dirty the rest of the floor was!

I didn’t go all out and clean the whole kitchen today, just the floors of the main living spaces. And I do like having clean floors to walk around on. Moving the boxes on to my girlfriend opened up the space energetically for me to do some other cleaning.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else opens up in my life now that some of that stuck energy has moved on. I don’t know how soon I’ll be cleaning house again, though!




Autumn Declutter

I know a lot of people go in for spring cleaning – they like to start the spring with a fresh start.  I find myself right now doing a lot of autumn cleaning an decluttering.

To me, in the spring, I am starting to spend more time outside.  I’ve been cooped up in the house all winter, and the last thing I want to do is spend a warm spring day inside cleaning out all my junk.

De-clutter Mind MapIn the fall, however, the weather is not as nice, and the days are getting shorter. Very soon I’m going to be cooped up in my house again, so now is the perfect time to move out all the things I no longer use.

Another bonus about clearing out the clutter is that it makes room for more and better things to come into my life. I’m the kind of person that tends to hang on to something because I might need it “someday”. It’s something I’ve been working on-releasing what is not necessary. Because it really sends the wrong message to the Universe. Instead of showing the Universe that I have faith in its abundance, holding on to something for “someday” sends the message that I don’t trust that I will have the resources to acquire that something later if i let it go now.

This letting go process has definitely been one of baby steps. In high school, I kept all of my homework and assignments, just in case I needed to reference it for something. I threw most of that out when I moved to college, but there was a lot of other stuff I kept. Each time I go through a clearing, a little more goes out the door. And most of the time, I find I didn’t really need it anyway! And I feel a little more free from the attachments to all those things.

Baby steps are good. They mean I am making progress.And the cleaning out becomes a meditation itself, practicing detachment.

“Detachment is a plant of slow growth; if you pluck the tender plant to look for the pods, you will be disappointed.” ~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Whether it is cleaning out your closet, or cleaning out your inbox, how are you letting go of things you no longer need?



PS. Please come out and visit me at The ONE: A Spiritual Event if you are anywhere near Parksville, BC!