A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Friday, August 22, 2008

5 Ways to Dump the Junk!: What Things are in Your Life That are No Longer Serving You?

By Marianne Merritt Talbot

I wish the act of invention – or reinvention, which is common in the worlds of today’s modern women – was blissfully easy. I wish big life changes would appear in a puff of pink smoke and a “BLAMMO” sound and then – voila! – the changes are instantaneous and easy and pretty, like in a fairy tale.

Unfortunately, re/invention doesn’t normally work like that, whether it involves being a new mother (or mother in general!), changing careers, moving, or losing loved ones. Re/invention involves release, sometimes a feeling of loss, surrender, creativity and being open to possibilities, even ones that you never dreamed of yourself.

Thomas Edison said that “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

So what is your pile of junk? When I talk about junk here, I am not in any way casting aspersions on your life, career or choices. I am using the term “junk” in the sense of what things are in your life that are no longer serving you so they are time to go!

Here are some ideas of what junk you may be carrying:

  • a concept that something in your life is “wrong” or “bad” or “not quite right” so you disapprove of yourself

  • the thought that what you are doing TODAY – being a stay-home Hip Mama or embarking on a new career that doesn’t make as much money, for example – is not “as good as” your formerly high-powered high-paying career

  • the concept that that your looks, fitness or overall sense of well-being are “past their prime” and cannot be recovered in their full glory

Do any of these sound familiar? My personal journey of reinvention involves shedding a 14-plus year career as a highly successful litigator and law professor to start my own lifestyle and career coaching company (Modern Venus Ltd.) where I practice both here in Park Slope and in the West Village. I had many moments where I thought “what am I doing?,” “should I be doing this” and “am I insane?” I have ridden – and continue to ride – the waves of reinvention.

Here are some tools – 5 to be exact! – to assist you in your path. The process of releasing our egos, careers, and thoughts about what “should” be happening are intense and deep, so these tools are just a “starter tool box” as it were! Give them a shot – even if you think they won’t work – because hey, why not? What do you have to lose?

1. Lighten Up On Yourself! Modern women tend to be really hard on ourselves – we should be doing this, making this much in salary, look a certain way, blah blah blah. It’s time to lighten up! How to do this? Two ways: write out a gratitude list about all the amazing wonderful beautiful things in your life. Add to it every day. Write out a list (even think one in your head) whenever you feel really stressed and hard no yourself. Another way: go and HAVE FUN. Laugh. Go to a silly movie. Jump in a puddle. Call up an old girlfriend from college and laugh about the old times. These things snap you back into the present and have you seeing the JOY in your life!

2. Practicing Releasing Your Ego. Our egos get us all knotted up sometimes. If we think we are doing something that isn’t “big” enough, we think we are not “good” enough. This is a terrible trap our brains set for ourselves – but guess what? Our egos are NOT who we really are. When you start thinking those thoughts, recognize that they come from your ego, not who you really are. Who you really are is the generous beautiful spirit who is in the world, not any of the labels attached to it. A great read on the topic: “A New Earth” by Eckert Tolle. Download his conversations with Oprah Winfrey on the subject as well. It’s very liberating!

3. Be creative. No matter how busy you are, make the decision to do something creative for 5-10 minutes every day. It could be painting; dancing; writing a quick poem; cooking something special; gardening; doing a mini-meditation; playing the piano – just choose something that you love to do. Take this time for YOURSELF and yourself ONLY. Notice how making intentional time for yourself makes you feel. Being creative also can trigger ideas about who you want to be, what you want to do and how you want to do it. It is a springboard into your life’s passion and your joy, so give yourself just that little amount of time and see what it can do for you.

4. Practice exquisite self-care - whatever it is that makes YOU feel groovy and hip, do it! Being groovy and hip doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of time or money – it simply means that you identify what it is that makes you feel that way and then make it a practice of doing it. Ideas: Be intentional about the time you take to get ready every day. Buy personal care items that are organic and don’t contain parabens or other icky bits. Put on perfume before you leave the house. Stretch regularly. Wear lipstick when you take your kids to the park. Choose not to wear the undies that are past their prime – wear your good stuff, every day! As I like to tell my clients, life is in the details – so just add little details to your life to make it more fun and beautiful and notice how that makes you feel.

5. Get support when you need it. Sometimes we can’t surmount our problems, stresses or concerns – at that point, ask for help from friends, your partners, a therapist, a coach. One thing that I really enjoy about being a coach is that I bring an objective eye to your life. Sometimes friends and family won’t tell us or suggest things because they know us so well. Coaches (and therapists!) are there to partner with you to bring that objective eye to assist and partner with you. If you want to investigate this option, interview therapists and coaches to see what is the best fit for you- and then give it a shot!

If you liked this topic and want more ideas, please let me know! I am thrilled that I will be having a monthly column on Hip Slope Mama and if this resonates with you, I’ll be sure to write more about it and will give you more tools!

Marianne Merritt Talbot is a former litigator and law professor who now runs a lifestyle and career coaching company called Modern Venus Ltd. She absolutely adores living in Park Slope and can be found on any given morning running around Prospect Park or nibbling on something at Sweet Melissa’s! Marianne’s coaching style is comprehensive, as she focuses on all areas of a woman’s life including career, well-being, creativity, balance, relationships, stress management, and even personal and professional style. She is a featured expert on various websites, including LadyAdvisor.com (where she also has a beauty blog), RealBeautyIs.com, and of course Hip Slope Mama! Marianne sees clients both in Park Slope and at her office in the West Village and is happy to give a free consultations for any reader of Hip Slope Mama. For more information about Marianne, including her background, services, and many testimonials from happy clients, please visit www.ModernVenus.net. She is also launching an organic skincare line in late 2008 called Modern Venus Organics – stay tuned for more information!”