Cluttered Mind, Cluttered Life

Is this a subject that needs talking about?  You bet it is!

I am a left-handed, (ambidextrous), creative, artistic, right-brained and could be called “Airhead” in many instances.  I’m always thinking outside the box with no mind as to what is in the box.  I would rather be digging fence post holes than inside cleaning the toilet.  I change my mind frequently.  I can see things from many different angles but have a hard time selecting just one.  My tastes are eclectic so I have a hard time picking a style.  I like to take a bit from here, more from there, and meld it all together to make my own unique style.  I’m that way with my music…a little of this and a little of that and, how about more of that over there?  Details?  Oh, don’t worry about details, just start.  It will figure itself out in the end.

So, when I started my business, (my boutique) seven years ago, It was a spur of the moment thing.  Had no idea really what I was going to do or how I was going to do it.  I just knew that I want to own a business.  It didn’t matter if I was qualified or not.  Starting a business is easy.  You just start. Right?  Not!

I just rented a space and voila!  I was in business.  It didn’t last long.  I closed the doors a year later.  Is there any doubt why?  Well, I had no focus.  I went in so many different directions I was going in circles and spreading myself thin because I didn’t focus on one thing.  “Oh, pretty shiny things!  I want it for my shop.”  I got so excited about buying all the great things for my shop, (I did not use a business plan, which is deadly), that instead of focusing myself I spread myself and my finances too widely and ended up hurting the business.  Initially I was going to sell jewelry.  What I ended up with was a hodge-podge off all sorts of things and no one really knew what it was that I was selling.  I Satisfied my teenage angst that I had not been allowed to indulge in as a teen and before I knew it I was surrounded by beaded curtains, boas, nick knacks, clothing…everything but the jewelry and I could not keep it going.

I hate drudge.  Most of running a business is repetitive drudge, like the bookkeeping.  I love creating it and getting it up and running. (Someone told me that was the description of an Entrepreneur).   I’m a writer, a muralist, and I get bored easily.  Did I tell you I am also a Gemini?  There are many me’s.  There is the artist me, the business me, and the writer me.  Oh, and there is also the mother me, the wife me, the sister me, the daughter me…well, I guess you get my drift. My family says they never know who I will be from one day to the next.

I often stop in the middle of projects and have a hard time getting back to them so my home is one big project in progress. Not one room is finished completely.  My family groans when them come in and find me staring at the latest HGTV how to programs because they know me too well.  “That’s what I want to do!” I will shout out eagerly.

My kitchen is three different colors because after I got started painting it, I found I didn’t like the color.  Making up my mind is a problem as I see so many options and opportunities and I don’t want to limit myself. I’m always looking for perfection.  I have developed a saying about paint.  “It’s just paint.  If I don’t like it I can always redo it in a different color”.  My family knows that once I stop, they may have to live with the half-finished room, for sometimes years, as I get pulled in a different direction.

I want to do it all and I want to do it right now!  I have problems waiting. There is good reasoning behind my motivations.  I spent the better part of my life financially and emotionally caged and unable to experience the full potential of my creative abilities and so I guess I am making up for lost time…a kind of bucket list of sorts.  At age 62 I don’t have a lot of time left to experience all the things I let pass me by before.

In helping women, many of us are limited by finances, or the lack there of.  And, in order to be totally truthful, lack of income can stifle creativity simply by not being able to indulge in it.  This happened to me in my first two marriages, so, after my second divorce I included financial considerations along with other things on my list of what I want in a spouse.  I had done the poor thing and I did not want to repeat it.  So, Financial considerations was right there at the top of my list along with all my other criteria.

Patience is not my virtue.  Bookkeeping is a drudge that  I am not well suited for.  I have to force myself to keep financial records orderly and I often fail at this task.  This failure helped to create the situation that led to me shutting the doors on my boutique seven years ago, after only one year.

So, you can see that living in a cluttered state of mind can be detrimental to success. My failed business venture was not a waste of my time.  I know now what are my strong suits and what I should avoid.  First, I need to hire a good bookkeeper or accountant to make sure that the bookkeeping fiasco is not repeated.  Second, retail is not a good fit for me.  In fact, what I really liked, and need to focus on now, was all the women who came into the store and chatted.  So, when I decided to start the Woman’s Study Center, I knew that it would not be a retail business.  It is a service focused entity set up to help women.  It is something I must do…give back!

I also do not want it to be a non-profit.  I had no idea what a non-profit was until I did my research.  The non-profit was crossed off my list soon after discovering that as a non-profit I would lose total control over it to a board of directors.  However, I am not ready to declare it a business either.   I started doing free workshops to get my feet wet.  I set up a series of six workshops over three months and was lucky enough to find a non profit to allow me to use their facilities for that three months with only asking for a donation to cover their expenses.  This was a God send for me.  I could introduce the Woman’s Study Center without a commitment to a permanent locations and hone my craft on the ladies who attend the workshops.  And, I can see whether the workshops are viable and accepted and needed in the community before making a big financial commitment.  So far there have been ups and downs and I will have to really evaluate it at the end of the series to see if I really want to continue.

I am forcing myself to be organized and it goes against everything that I am.  I am hoping to retrain myself and hope that soon it will feel more comfortable for me.  I know the de-cluttering actions seem to produce better results as I trying to find a structure that works for me and still allows me the freedom of creativity.  I’m not asking much, am I?

One of the things I am doing to de-clutter my life is cleaning out the stuff.  I am donating to the Salvation Army store almost weekly.  I am going to eventually sell all  of my Dragonware Collection because it just takes up valuable space and I have to dust it and I don’t have time for such things anymore.  My life is full, where before it wasn’t. It’s amazing how I have surrounded myself with stuff to fill up the holes.  I don’t have to do that now and need the holes so I can fill them up with my Woman’s Study Center.  I have made a pact with myself that if I want to bring new things into my life I have to let go of some of the old stuff first.  I’m doing that with clothes as well.  Old out first, new in after.

And, I am not just jumping into things.  I really get an adrenilin rush when an idea develops.  I think for years the excitement of the energy rush I got from starting projects has been l ike a drug for me.  That’s why once I get into the project and the newness wears off, I struggle completing them.  I’m an adrenalin junky!  Knowing this, I can slow things down a bit and take my time developing the project.  I divide the project into phases so that I can enjoy the beginning of each phase but make the project doable by not biting off more than I can chew.

I’ve also made a commitment to finish my projects before I can start new ones.  It has taken me a long time to get the Woman’s Study Center going because I am doing it in phases.  I find myself re-entering old patterns by getting ahead of myself at times, so I have to stop, pull back on the reigns and take a deep breath so I can really think about things first.  No jumping into an empty pool head first!  Ouch!  In the past that has caused me a great deal of emotional pain.  I am not into Masochism these days.  A nice change!

I am dong little things that make big changes.  I just replaced my old ceiling fan, (didn’t have a light kit, just a fan), that was in my den.  When ever anyone came over to visit, I had to go all over the house turning on hall lights, kitchen lights, living room lights,  and these old, ugly lamps whose time has passed.

Since the ceiling was fairly low, my six foot five son-in-law had to always watch where he walked for fear of decapitation.  And, when we tried to use the Wii with one of those dance videos, the remote kept hitting the blades.  It was always dark and dingy and unpleasant.  Well, the fan is gone and a nice shade-covered light that hugs the ceiling has replaced it.  I’ll take a picture and share it with you.  It matches the one in the kitchen and matches the brown woodwork in my Native American style decor.  Everyone is pleased and I got such a good deal on it because it was boxed as a set of two and I only paid $14.00 for both.  Now I have one for my bathroom to replace the fishbowl style light.

I am really trying to think about the details now.  De-cluttering my life is helping to de-clutter my mind.  Structure is good!  I know, I keep telling myself this and one day perhaps I will listen to myself.  It’s called self-discipline, something I have avoided.  Well, it’s time to grow up, Chris.  Can’t stay a kid forever.  I’ve nurtured my inner child and it’s time to let her blossom into a young woman.  Maybe I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up!  An adult!

Time to clean out and move forward.  Let’s live with less stuff and more personal relationships.  Can’t take the stuff with us.  But the love we give and receive will be the only thing we will take with us to the other side.  Quality, not quantity!

Chris

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~ by womenstudycenter on January 5, 2011.

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