Ah, decluttering

I had finally had it this morning with my pigsty of a bedroom. I keep the rest of the house clean for two reasons, mainly because I hate cleaning so if I don’t start a mess, then there’s no mess to clean up and also because I do AirBnB.

While it’s really great, I also work from home. I had a separate office which I now use as a second guest bedroom and since my master bedroom is quite large, my office is also in it which means I have a lot going on in there so it gets messy. It’s amazing really that I let it go on for as long as it did because I can’t stand messy.

I got done with cleaning in about an hour and a half and put my laundry in the washer and as I hit here writing this post, I feel like a burden has lifted. Decluttering my live and work space has created a lot of breathing room. Because I hate cleaning, I don’t have to have it be the first and last thing on my mind every time I walk into my bedroom or before I go to bed, keeping me from focusing on the things that matter more to me at the moment, like writing.

Decluttering your physical space is no different from decluttering your emotional and mental space. Doing so allows in clarity, time, relief, a sense of accomplishment and the ability to see and focus on what really matters.

There’s no time like the present to reflect on the clutter keeping you from focusing on what’s most important and taking the steps to declutter.

You are your own competitor

I admit, I like to waste time playing games, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes silly games. There’s a game on FB games called Piano Bricks. It’s the familiar brick breaking game with a couple of differences, one being the sound of the breaking bricks are piano keys. It’s very soothing, if you like piano, which I do. I’ve become quite addicted to it over the past few days.

I not only play for the music but to improve my score. I’m up to 104 and I just realized there was a leader board and the best score so far is 150 and I think I can do it.

I bring this game up because my tenacity is playing it over and over again can also be applied to how I play the game of life. While I don’t consider there to be winners and losers in life, I do believe the quality of your life can be attributed to how well you ‘play the game’ and because I believe your only competitor in the game of life is yourself, the quality of your life improves as you learn better strategies for dealing with the curveballs life can throw at you.

I play the game of life in this way:

  • Have no expectations of anyone or anything except improving how I ‘play the game’
  • Play the game with fairness, respect, and compassion for others
  • Seek to know myself and grow from every experience and encounter
  • Be a positive, encouraging and supportive example to others in the game of life
  • Focus on the present moment rather than the outcome or expected result
  • Be open to learning new strategies for ‘playing the game’
  • Be open to challenges to expand my perspective

How do you ‘play the game of life’?

Becoming a conscious creator

I started my LLC, Conscious Creators, nearly two years ago. I had just finished my studies in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Transformational Life Coaching, and Aromatherapy and I was on a mission to change the world. I was recently transformed and wanted to share the magnificence of emotional healing with people just like me who were struggling in their lives and relationships.

I gave it a shot, I won’t even say I gave it my best shot but I failed and I failed fast and though I’d heard the saying, “fail faster”, when it happened, I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to go through that again. I thought to myself, I’ve tried and I’m just not cut out for this entrepreneur stuff, on top of which, I’d spent so much on quick fix schemes, many of which I feel certain are aimed at desperate new entrepreneurs who want to learn to do it right and have it all right now, that I’d spent myself into bankruptcy.

So I was done and I was miserable, again. This lasted for a couple months and I needed to go through that muck and then I was ready to try again but this time on my own terms, without a crutch. The attraction to shiny promises of success just didn’t hold the same power over me that they once had. I had learned my lesson.

This is the key to transformation, learning from life’s abundant lessons. But it’s a choice, to evolve or revolve.

The very thing I wanted to help other people achieve was the thing I saw myself shrinking away from, consciously creating the life and livelihood I desired. I was shrinking away because of fear and allowing defeat to define me. The decision to pick myself up was not conscious at first, it was fed by a knowing deep within me that I could not give up on myself. Despite my ups and downs and deeper downs, self-defeat was never a place I lingered in for too long. I’m not comfortable with mediocrity or self-pity or feeling dissatisfied. Once I became consciously aware of the discomfort, then I decided to take action.

That action was to start blogging and to take it slow and really figure out what I wanted out of life and how I wanted to make an impact. Once the decision had been made, opportunities began presenting themselves and all I had to do was say Yes. The first yes came in the form of Kyle Cease’s 2-day Evolving Out Loud seminar where The Wandering Lesbian was born. The second Yes came in the form of Natalie Sisson’s 10-day blog challenge that I finished yesterday.

I don’t know what more is coming but I know there is more coming and as long as I stay focused on being a conscious creator, opportunities will present themselves to me in abundance.

The best is yet to come

I did it! I’ve done it! Its done! Today is day 10 of Natalie Sisson’s 10-day blog challenge and I have to say I’m very proud of myself. It was a spontaneous decision to join this challenge and I’m very glad I did. I was going to wait to launch The Wandering Lesbian while I was in Europe but launching it now and in this fashion allowed me to really flesh out my intention.

My favorite challenge was from yesterday where I talked about location independence and how The Wandering Lesbian fit into that. I was able to really get clear for myself what the purpose is behind this blog and brand and it left me feeling not only excited but with a sense of direction in what my next step is which is to design a workshop, one I’m certain will go through several iterations as I develop my message.

Not only was it a clarifying challenge, it also relieved some of the doubt I had about writing, specifically what to write about and would anyone read it. I have followers!!! I was not expecting that and I’m so pleased people like what I’ve shared so far.

M biggest takeaway is ‘just write’ even if it’s short, don’t lose momentum. On day 7, I challenged myself to keep this going for another 30 days. Obviously, I intend to continue blogging but I hadn’t planned on blogging every day and it will definitely be a challenge without Natalie’s daily prompts.

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey, stick around, the best is yet to come. This is only just the beginning.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10.

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Live, work, and play

As I imagine what my ideal live, work and play scenario is, I am reminded of the original conversation I had with a friend when developing the idea for The Wandering Lesbian and the details behind that original idea still holds true now and is especially fitting for today’s blog post about location independence.

Personal Growth

Personal growth, self-awareness, and self-discovery are not concepts I grew up with and only fairly recently realized the magnitude of the healing properties they can have on a person’s well-being and development, speaking from personal experience.

Around 8 years ago, I was 30 then, the stirrings of feeling unfulfilled began. I wanted something else, I wasn’t quite sure what, where or how but I began doing research. At the time, I was very lonely, had recently left a heterosexual relationship with my best friend and decided to begin living as the lesbian woman I felt I was inside. I had been working in corporate America for only 3 years, having received my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and I just didn’t feel like it was the right environment for me. So I began looking at alternative schools. I had gotten an introduction to yoga and meditation a few years before in NYC where I had grown up and was completing my Master’s degree and I was interested in seeing where spirituality could fit into a future path so I researched yoga teacher training.

That led me Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) in Tempe, AZ. I browsed their course catalog and fell in love, fantasized about moving to AZ, going back to school and coming out happier and more fulfilled, working in a field that was calmer, freer and less stressful. At 30, I didn’t have much debt, only school loans, can’t even remember if I had a credit card but what kept me from taking action on this dream, was the lack of funds. You see, I wanted to be able to pay cash because I didn’t want to take out any more school loans, so the plan was to save up $15K, quit my job and move to AZ.

Well, as it so often does, life has a way of testing your resolve and if you’re like I was then, a people pleaser, never wanting to disappoint others, lacking boundaries and the ability to stick up for yourself, lacking self-trust, self-confidence, and self-love, when pushes, you give in and that’s exactly what happened. Work got more and more demanding, physically, emotionally and financially. As my salary grew, so did my expenses and my debt. I started living off credit, with 5 or 6 credit cards in my wallet, I didn’t know how to say No, I can’t afford to move here after having just bought a condo or take on these new responsibilities or No, I don’t feel comfortable telling someone not to come in to work tomorrow. Instead, I said yes and yes again and again and it took its toll on me and the relationships I tried to have.

When you’re broken, everything breaks around you, no matter how tightly you hold on, no matter how many promises you make. When you are not in touch with you are or what you stand for and are able to articulate what your needs are and demand they be met, life will trample you and that’s what was happening me. Life was happening to me and it sucked so bad and I needed to escape because my sanity was in danger.

Fast forward 4 years, I was finally in a position where I could work full-time from home and decided to leave a 2-year lesbian relationship that we both knew wasn’t going to work 9 months in and moved to Las Vegas, the city I’d lived in with my ex-boyfriend a few years earlier. I chose Las Vegas over two other choices, California or Arizona. Yes, I still had SWIHA on my mind but I wasn’t ready to make the big leap, I had no money and knew no one in AZ. Similarly, I knew no one in CA and heard it was expensive, so Las Vegas it was. I had some friends from when I lived there before so in a split second decision, 2 months before the lease on mine and my girlfriend’s apartment was up, I hitched a Uhaul trailer to the back of my Honda civic and drove cross-country.

I tell this whole preamble because 3 years ago, I was at a pivotal moment in my company. I had been consistently promoted, receiving top performance scores, was the go-to subject matter expert, well-paid, receiving excellent benefits and was absolutely miserable. I kept wanting to quit even if that meant working at McDonald’s or becoming a cocktail waitress making tips. I just hated my life. And then, an opportunity presented itself, one I initially said no to because I felt unworthy. My department’s director had nominated me for a 2-year leadership development program that provided outside career coaching and group facilitated training at our top-notch training campus. I said thanks but no thanks because I didn’t feel it was right to ‘use’ the company’s resources for selfish gain when in my heart of hearts I was just waiting for a miracle to happen to finally set me free.

What I didn’t know was that the miracle I was praying for was this opportunity and after a frank conversation with a colleague who had completed the program the year prior, I decided to accept the nomination, applied, and was selected and that was the best decision I have ever made in my life. As I write about this, I am reminded just how low I was and how high I felt following the series of events that followed as well as the ups and downs that followed the initial euphoria and how worth it it has all been.

The only coaching I knew about was on a playing field so the concept of career coaching was so foreign to me that I felt ill-prepared and a little closed off for my first in-person 4-hour session with my coach. Four (4) hours!!! It went by so fast and so much was revealed to me. The session wasn’t so much about where or how I saw my career but about how I was feeling, how I’d gotten there, how I imagined it could be different and what was possible to make it happen. It was freeing, revealing, shocking, and amazing. In those four hours, I decided to attend SWIHA and realized I didn’t need to quit to do it.

With courage I pulled from deep within, I strengthened my resolve, called my manager and told him I was giving my four-year notice. Yes, you read that right, I gave four year’s notice and explained, I was going back to school and following that would be planning my exit strategy. He said “okay, how can we support you?” I nearly threw up, I was perspiring like crazy and I could feel the blood pumping in my brain during that conversation. I don’t know what I expected, to hear no perhaps, or to hear yes but be walking on eggshells waiting for them to fire me because how dare I. So, when I heard “Yes” after articulating what I wanted and asking for what I wanted, I felt freed. That feeling I had been looking for the previous four years had been right there at my fingertips, literally, at the tip of my tongue all along, I just had to ask.

I enrolled at SWIHA a few months later, packed my bags and moved to Arizona, subletting my apartment in Vegas. During that year, I changed my focus 3 times from yoga teacher training to nutrition and finally to Hypnotherapy, Transformational Life Coaching, and Aromatherapy.

Completely experiential and immersive classes, hypnotherapy had the biggest effect on me, helping me release years of blocked emotions, self-sabotage, and destructive relationship habits. Transformational Life Coaching helped put into practice the skills of helping others find the same release I had found and Aromatherapy was just fun. I had tried my hand at making soap and bath products in the months preceding moving to AZ and felt that becoming a certified Aromatherapist would take my products to the next level.

I spent the following year attending several personal development seminars, really devoting myself to rediscovering who I was and the purpose I was meant to serve. Personal growth and self-discovery continue to be top of my priorities and I want to expand and explore that even more by connecting with people, sharing my experiences and wisdom and learning more about myself in the process.

Travel

The Wandering Lesbian has an aspect of travel to it. I love learning and why not combine my love of learning with travel because learning about people is my favorite thing. Give me food, culture, history, music, art, and architecture and I’m in heaven. The first of many adventures begins on Oct 6th – 14th, where I’ll be visiting Budapest, Vienna, Prague and a new city added to the itinerary, Bratislava.

Service

The ultimate goal of The Wandering Lesbian is to combine travel and personal development in being of service to others. Women like myself who have spent years feeling depressed, disconnected, alone, imprisoned, desperate for something to break the chains but not knowing what or how to find their wellspring of fulfillment and happiness, they are who I want to serve. I imagine traveling to cities and hosting freedom workshops, incorporating hypnotherapy and transformational coaching to begin breaking down those walls, releasing trapped hearts and minds, opening them up to the splendor life could be, a life they can create when they experience healing like I did and to be able to ask for what they want and let go of everything that is not serving their highest and greatest good.

With these three foundations, I can create a truly location independent lifestyle that combines my passions and serves a higher purpose.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9.

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A day in the life

Coincidentally, day 8’s blog challenge called to do something fun and write about it. I usually don’t get to the day’s challenge until nighttime so I was pleasantly surprised to read today’s challenge because I in fact had spent my day doing fun things.

I spent the morning with new friends at a fantastic local coffeehouse in town, Sunrise Coffee, chatting about old classic movies, Las Vegas farms, upcoming Pride and other meetup events. I host this New Members Coffee once a month with my meetup group, LEZ Vegas in Motion.

Then I went bra shopping and I hate to admit it, having gained a lot of weight recently, my bra size has increased and just my luck, it was 50% off at Soma with a free pair of knickers. To continue on the shopping vein, I stopped off at REI to do a return and make a new purchase of a jacket (for my upcoming European tour), a pair of much-needed running/tennis/walking sneakers, and long hiking pants for my 6:30am hike tomorrow.

I visited my friend Mark for a bit, caught the end of a This American Life’s podcast, The Problem We All Live With, on integrated schools in Missouri and he loaned me a book he thinks I’ll like but I’m not so sure, David Weber’s Off Armaggedon. My reading these days has been on my kindle so I’ll be bringing sexy back falling asleep reading an actual book by lamplight.

On a whim, I decided to catch a movie, Don’t Breathe, which I’d been wanting to see for a while and it was playing at the right time and place, uncrowded theater reclining seats, edge of your seat type of thriller. I enjoyed it very much.

I then talked myself out of buying fast food for dinner and made couscous instead and heated up some chili-lime-cilantro chicken I made the day before.

Okay, so maybe not ‘fun’ in the usual sense of the word but rather a chill, laid-back, uneventful, unhurried kind of day, just the way I like my weekends.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8.

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30 days makes a habit

Today is day 7 of Natalie Sisson’s 10 day blog challenge and today, I get to choose an imperfect action to do for the next 30 days that will bring me closer to living my freedom lifestyle. I choose to continue blogging daily. So far, this challenge has been fun and encouraging. The daily prompts has made it easy to find a discussion point and to express some of who I am and what I’m about. The challenging bit, for me, will be to keep this up on my own once the 10 days are up without the daily prompts.

Since 30 days makes a habit and quitting is not an option, challenging myself to post daily will create the muscle memory required to succeed in this endeavor. I created this blog to share my passions and my wisdom. I have some ideas on what I will write about but I’ll just let inspiration guide my hand. And, if inspiration is lacking, I have a secret tool I can use to combat over thinking and perfectionism, my kryptonite.

The Wandering Lesbian will be in Budapest, Prague and Vienna Oct 5th-14th so for sure some of my blog posts will be sharing these beautiful cities with you.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7.

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A Tribe called Wanderers

I’m excited about this post because I know exactly who I would love to mentor me. Today is day 6 of 10 days of Natalie Sisson’s blog challenge and she asks to write about 1 – 2 people who are living the kind of life I want to live and whose tribe I would like to be a part of.

Mara Glatzel

Mara is an intuitive guide and energy healer whose tenets are self-responsibility, self-trust and self-love. Mara inspires me because she is true to herself. She has become one with and loves herself. That is the number one reason I am attracted to what she represents. Self-love is one of the tenets of my beliefs. In my post, The Benefits of Self-Love, I speak about the four benefits to cultivating self-love; self-worth, self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Without self-love, the world is just a chaotic miserable place, intent on keeping you from achieving your desires. With self-love, your world is what you make it. Through the eyes of love, there is wonder, beauty and compassion in the world. I am also enamored with Mara’s style, in her writing, products and brand. If there was one question I could ask her, it would be, ‘how did you arrive at where you are today in your life and business?’

Kyle Cease

After watching Kyle from afar, i.e. the internet, I had the pleasure of seeing him live at his Evolving Out Loud 2 day seminar. I loved him before but developed a greater respect for who he is, what he does and how he inspires following that event. I left feeling not only inspired but motivated to take action and truly become the designer of my destiny. It was during that 2-day event that the idea for The Wandering Lesbian came about. Actor, Comedian and Motivational Speaker, Kyle lives and breathes the entrepreneurial lifestyle and he does it humbly, transparently and authentically. He’s funny, talented, creative and generous of spirit. What attracts me to him is his ability to take this thing called ‘personal development’ and make it real, practical and fun. If there was one question I could ask him, it would be, ‘how were you able to let go and become fearless?’

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6.

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My daily success plan

My daily success plan happens first thing in the morning and begins with a meditation to ground me before I go out into the world. Meditation helps to center me, quiet the internal noise so I can hear my inner guiding voice. The messages I receive often provide the idea for a new blog post, a solution to a problem, a new idea, clarity from a lesson learned or confirmation I’m on the right track.

Next on my daily success plan is stating my affirmations, powerful and positive words to encourage me and create the frame of mind I need to continue moving forward in my purpose.

My daily success plan would not be complete without journaling. This is the time to get down all my new ideas, thoughts and feelings about any and everything. When I journal, I get into a state of flow and feel directly connected with universal wisdom.

My daily success plan also includes action steps. I have four goals each day.

  1. Write one blog post
  2. Read/research for at least one hour something in my field of expertise
  3. Spend at least one hour on business development
  4. Review my budget and financial plan

Last but not least, a must in my daily success plan is travel planning, researching fun, historical, cultural and interesting locales and capturing beautiful images.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5.

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Dedicated to Mrs. Nancy Shankman

Dear Nancy,

You came to mind tonight and I wanted to take a moment to thank you and try to express the impact you made in my life. I walked into high school a 13-year-old broken little girl, traumatized and abused, lonely and sad and walked out a braver 17-year-old young woman with a joy for classical music and opera. I joined chorale first term and then chamber singers 2nd term and stayed in them throughout those 4 years. From Broadway to Disney World and from the practice room to your office, I carry the memories you helped to create in my heart.

You always supported me, had time to listen to me, cheered me and encouraged me. I remember you let me sit (hide) in your office when I wanted to escape from a bully and then congratulated me when I finally stood up myself in front of the entire class.

I remember my first solo performance in the library, the hours practicing; under your guidance, I felt I could accomplish anything, even singing by myself in front of an audience. Then on the day, even though I could stare at the clock or the ceiling perhaps, I could feel you there at the piano silently cheering me on. I was scared and nervous on that stage, afraid my voice would crack but then it was over and you were there hugging me.

You let me cry, no questions asked, when things at home got too heavy.

I’m crying as I write this, sobbing for the little girl in me that still hurts yet grateful that you took me under your wing as you did all of your students. No words can express my gratitude, so I’ll just say Thank You, You Made A Difference.

Epcot Center Nancy Shankman