Eliminating Soul Clutter

“How am I regularly getting rid of the soul clutter I no longer need?”

Emily P. Freeman shared this prompt in her book The Next Right Thing, and I LOVED it.

How powerful is that?

Soul clutter. The cobwebs keeping you from making meaningful connections. The dust hiding your true desires. The distractions and disappointments. It’s both poetic and real.

What are you holding onto that you can let go of? What stories, what taunts, what hurts, what old patterns aren’t serving you any longer?

As she goes on to say in her book, it’s not that you shouldn’t hold onto anything, but that nothing should have a hold on you.

When we can let go of the stress of extra obligations, when we can declutter and destress and clear the decks, it’s in the stillness that we can hear our inner wisdom.

Clearing space, away from technology, away from the voices of others telling us what is or isn’t right for us, we start to hear that inner knowing. That’s when the wisdom comes. That’s when the answers appear.

Have you carved out any time for stillness or silence this week? When you do, what do you hear?

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

The Role of the Sacred In Crafting Your Dream Life

Do you consider yourself to be a religious person? Or a spiritual person?

It’s something that I’ve struggled with somewhat for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to have faith, to have a certainty or sense of knowing or trust about what’s coming.

I grew up Episcopalian, aka mainline Protestant, aka Christian, in a fairly liberal, “low” church that saw more diverse families than I ever saw in my classes at school. It wasn’t unusual for our pastor (a woman) to have us dance around the church, singing a song that wasn’t in our hymnal, or have us engage in discussion groups during worship.

Nevertheless, even with her occasional elaborations and interpretations of the beautiful Episcopal prayer book, I still grew up with a fairly “by the book” religious education.

Going through confirmation classes, I did my fair share of questioning, but I’m also a rule follower, so it didn’t occur to me to do anything but complete the classes and get confirmed in the church.

When I went to college, for the first time I felt like I had a wide variety of options for where and how I would worship. Some of my friends became Pagan (intriguing, though it never occurred to me at the time to seek it out), but after trying out an Episcopal church service in town (nice, but nothing too memorable for me), I found my home at our college Protestant services.

These ecumenical services brought together students and staff from very diverse backgrounds, and they were designed to give everyone a little taste of the familiar. So we’d sing a “traditional” hymn or two that I might have sung growing up, and we’d have a praise and worship part of the service, led at the piano by our African-American pastor who had grown up Baptist and gotten his bachelor’s degree in music. For that section, there was no need to hold the hymn in our hand – the pastor would call out the lyrics and we’d follow him for the cues.

There might also be another hymn or two from a different hymnal, and perhaps we’d have a guest performer, and every other week, I’d sing with the gospel choir, where I was usually the only white singer and learned every song by ear – an incredible contrast with my strict, traditional, white, Western music education. It was a wonderful immersion in another culture and a new experience for me.

I’d stand on the stage with the choir, singing gorgeous music that filled and uplifted the space, and I’d be in my element. Afterwards, people would come up to me and say how transformed they were by my solo, or how much they enjoyed our performance, how moving it was.

I always wished it would move me that way. I felt like something was missing, something was wrong with me. To be fair, music did sometimes give me glimpses of God, just brief moments, when all the musical parts would come together perfectly. But otherwise, I’d always feel like there’s something wrong with me. Jason Robert Brown describes it well here when he requests, “Let the music begin.” and “Longing to feel what you feel…music of heaven to open some path to your soul and let something glorious in.”

After leaving the utopia that my bubble of a college experience was in many ways (definitely lots of privilege there), I spent the next year traveling the country with a children’s theatre, followed by a few additional years of searching when I settled down in New Hampshire. In weeks that I had some flexibility on a Sunday, I made a point of checking out a local church (in hopes of finding the connection I’d been seeking). I enjoyed the contemporary Christian experience from a music standpoint, but found it didn’t resonate with me in terms of beliefs. I found lots of mainline Protestant services that reminded me of home (similar, but different), and I got angry at the Catholic church a couple of times. I also had a couple of truly frightening interactions that I won’t get into here.

Later, I found a ton of satisfaction as the accompanist at churches I found a home in. I loved the communities I worked in, and in addition to those occasional transcendent music, I was delighted to help other people find those connections to God through my music.

In more recent years, I’ve loosened up my definition of spirituality. Maybe I’m never going to feel that clarity I’m seeking every Sunday. Maybe it’s more a question of creating a practice of contemplation, where I seek wisdom, get in touch with my inner knowledge and seek connection with the universe. I connect with nature. I read. I engage in challenging conversations. Creating sacred time for myself each morning has evolved into one of my favorite things about my day, and I’m so thankful to have a morning routine that truly lights me up and makes my day better.

Working with my clients, I’m finding it’s really important to encourage them to take time for themselves to check in and be still each day. We all need that time for ourselves, and the consistency of a morning (or evening) routine offers us so many benefits. For some it’s meditation, for others prayer or reading and journaling, but it is essential.

Do you aspire to have a consistent morning practice? If you’re working to create the life you want, it may feel daunting to acknowledge where you are now compared to where you want to be. I encourage you to take one small step today to get aligned with your dream life.

Does the dream version of you make time for a prayer each morning? Practice gratitude before bed? Take a walk outside? You may not have the car of your dreams, or the abundant bank account, or the dream schedule, but I’ll bet there are steps you can take today to make your present more like your future.

So while spirituality or religion isn’t a requirement as you create your dream life, it’s important for all of us to have some grounding practice that centers us each day. And honestly, sometimes even very religious people, on the outside, aren’t taking enough time to do the work on the inside.

If you’d like help with this, let’s get on a call to discuss how I can help you get there.

Do you have a sacred practice? Does it light you up? If not, what’s one change you can make this week to get you more aligned with your future and best self?

P.S. Ross’ new holiday ukulele album (it’s gorgeous!) is available now – what a perfect gift for a friend or yourself – and Ross’ online ukulele course is now available for purchase, less than half price until the end of the year. And my new Facebook group is a great place to chat about next steps in your life and career!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Hello Childhood, My Old Friend

A mistake that I used to make, prior to my personal development journey and even early within it, was to think that I had a “normal”childhood, without much to complain about, so didn’t need to bother examining my childhood for “childhood wounds”, “limiting beliefs” or issues from my past that might explain my current struggles. (Quotes to note my discomfort with the idea.)

Oh my goodness – how wrong I was! SO MUCH of what I struggle with today is related to my childhood. Does that mean I had bad parents? Nope! On the contrary, I think I had great parents, and I’m super lucky for all of the blessings I had and have, and for how supportive and attentive they were while also fostering my independence.

But the deeper I go in my personal development, the more I see issues popping up that make MUCH more sense when I put them in the context of my childhood.

Issues around food insecurity, where I get oddly possessive about my food? The recipe was a passion for food + seeing emotional food eating modeled + a few episodes of a family member eating my leftovers. Hello, food obsession!

Over the top anger when someone doesn’t suffer the consequences of their actions? Oh, of course, I remember, that’s something I saw play out as a kid.

Some of my struggles and personality quirks can’t be as directly tied to one incident, but it’s easy to find examples of the behavior that contributed to my mindset on that issue.

It is 100% normal for our childhood experiences to shape how we interact with the world. And we can’t change the past. But it is our choice how we choose to move forward and act today.

Personal development is the super power that gives us the tools to act more deliberately.

Does this resonate for you? Join my new Facebook group or contact me for a free exploratory coaching session, and let’s dive more deeply into this!

P.S. Two HUGE things in our world this past week. Ross’ new holiday ukulele album (it’s gorgeous!) is available for pre-order (you’ll pay half price if you purchase before it drops on December 7th, and you get a few tunes on the spot), and Ross’ online ukulele course is now available for purchase! Both are just in time for the holidays, whether as a gift for a friend or yourself. Please take a look and consider purchasing and/or sharing with your friends and family!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following: