Fierce Women Dish

an artist, a journalist, an activist, a psychologist, a student, and a diva place a cup of nourishment on the table.

How can we lose the excess while finding our essence? May 4, 2008

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Crystal: For some reason, I need a certain amount of physical clutter. Not sure what it’s all about but if things are neat and orderly, I just want to mess them up. Is it because I’m right-brained? Or the desire to always have a task? Or is it a reflection of the environment I grew up in (which would seem silly since I’m nearly 44)?

The brain clutter is another matter. More and more, I find I just need pockets of peace and quiet in the day.

One of the best things that I’ve done recently is disconnect my cable. I immediately noticed how more relaxing it was. I wasn’t being pounded by mindless blather.


Donna: I am soooooo with Crystal on the loosing the mindless blather that seems to be all around us, all the time. I find that these days, more and more, I just love peace and quiet!  At other times I really like loud music, so this is really odd to me. I am working in attempt to get the monkey chatter out of my brain and have been doing some experimentation with meditation recently, something I have been interested in for a long time but something to which I have not made a real commitment —well, unless you count yoga class. It’s very hard for me to make the time to do it– which is EXACTLY why I should do it– and then when I have decided I will do it, it is never easy for me.  But it sounds so great–clearing all those thoughts out of the clutter so the really good ideas and creativity can come through and make themselves known. Running also helps me with brain-clutter clearing.


Rosie: When I was in high school, a teacher had this quote on her door, “We too often love things, and use people, when we should love people and use things.”  It stopped me in my tracks the first time I saw it.  That quote has been on the forefront of my mind every since, and I try to apply it equally to both my acquisition of stuff and how I relate to people.  All clothing and accessories that come into the house have to be met with something that is out going.  Sometimes, I am especially good and get rid of two for the price of one, but always something has to go if something is coming in.  This year, I am trying something new with buying freezes.  For 12 separates weeks, I can’t consume, buy anything other than food, medicine, and absolutely necessary toiletries (think toilet paper).  The freezes have made me so much more intentional about what I do buy when I am not on a freeze. 


Amy: I am finding that finding my essence requires that I say “no” sometimes. 


Donna: This is such a great point. Why is saying ‘no’ to things sometimes so hard? I think I have the innate fear that I might be missing out on something somehow…


Janine: I’m with you, Donna! I think it becomes a ‘sickness.’ However, I’m suffering from both ends of the clutter madness. As a Libra, I am all about keeping balance, but I get incredibly distraught if anything and I mean ANYTHING is out of sort. For example, there is absolutely NO CLUTTER in my home. Everything has to have a purpose. No extra newspapers, unpaid bills or unread magazines can lay out openly. That can’t be normal, can it?  On the other hand, my closet is stuffed to capacity!! I find myself giving away clothes that I’ve never even worn—they even still have the tags on them!! Then I feel guilty!!


Amy: I always want to explore new things and believe that some great opportunity or experience is out there on the horizon waiting for me to find it. . . . I’m having a Dorothy moment in that my realization is that “there’s no place like home”.  I find my essence by saying yes to things that keep me centered and focused on my career (aka, activities that bring women together in positive, non-competitive ways), my family and friends, and my health.  If I make sure everything I say yes to falls in one of these categories I’m good.  When I don’t, I’m out stressed, over-committed and doing nothing well. . . in fact, I lose my essence and fall short of my potential.


Rosie: I finally got honest with myself about where my world of excess is—beauty and hair products!  The new rule is that I can’t buy any of those things until I am absolutely out of what I have collected over the years.  No new hair product until all of the old hair product is gone.  When you have curls as big as mine, you are convinced that there is some product out there that can change your whole reality.  After 15 years of looking, I just need to give it up and admit to myself my hair is my hair and quit buying everything that says Curl-Defining, Frizz-Fighting, Smoothing on it because I inevitably replace it with a brand new option after one use.  It’s the same thing with make-up.  For years, I wore no make up.  Now, I could give a Bobbi Brown counter a run for their money on product.  And the truth is that no matter how strongly someone suggests that I wear olive green on my lid, it’s not my essence.  We all have our thing—that product we gravitate towards and hoard.  For my sister, it is shoes (flip flops especially) and handbags.  For someone else, it might be lip glosses or earrings, cookbooks or coasters.  Whatever it might be, be honest with yourself about whether or not you need an intervention. 

And, if you do, bring in reinforcements—those people you love– as you stare all the stuff—those things that you use—down and make room for your essence.   


Janine: I definitely need some sort of intervention! And it’ll very likely start with me! I think like Amy that the things I allow in should be those things that represent my essence and that keep me centered and focused. I plan to continue focusing on all the really important things in life and maybe just maybe they aren’t clothes, shoes, a nice handbag, jewelry…Oh, darn!! I’m doing it again, huh?


Donna: Okay, I think I can safely admit that I think I am in need of an intervention on all fronts mentioned so far also. Although, I have been cleaning out my own closets lately and do try to take two big bags to Goodwill a week…


Amy: Oh, and I seriously need to clean my house of clutter.  It’s my 2008 resolution that I’ve got a few more months to achieve.  I’m excited and committed to it! 

Donna: Here’s another thing I am realizing I have an excess of these days…newfound GUILT over all of this stuff!  I’ve got a lot to work on here on the way to my essence.


What are the excesses in your life and what techniques do you find useful in managing them?