I love Oprah Winfrey, I have watched her programme since I used to live at home with Aged Parents. I get emails from the website every day, some of which I pass onto here and to friends and family. I admire her philanthropy, generosity, understanding and compassion for people. If you just think that she is an annoying, really rich woman, then you need to look on her website for the details of the South African children she gave clothes, shoes, books for school, toys to play with, back-packs to hold it all into. She persuaded friends and relatives to help on the tour, and people walked for days to get to the meeting points where a huge tent was erected, she thanked them for coming to meet her – not the other way around, and the gifts were distributed. As she says, some of the boys didn’t have a football to play with, girls a doll and how can they be expected to learn with no books? She also supports education in SA as well as in the USA, most schools have IT equipment she has brought and donated, and above all else, she reads voraciously. Richard and Judy may have a successful book club over here, but blimey she can shift some books all around the world.
I found that ITV2 show her programme when I was off sick the other week, since then I have set up a series link on Sky+, and rediscovered through watching the programmed exactly why I want to improve my life, pass on my knowledge to people and live well. Branding 2007 as ‘This is THE year!’ she is waging a one-woman war on everything we do to ourselves to make us miserable and down.
So with the help of again friends and experts in their fields, the last couple of shows have featured diet (as in exactly what you eat, not putting yourself on one) with Dr Oz and Dr Rosen, we should be all aiming to eat sensibly, walk more and women aiming for waist size 32″, men 35.5″. OK I can live with that, check out www.realage.com for more advice.
We also need to de-clutter our lives (Mum, Dad this is for you more than anyone else I know). Are you drowning in paperwork, stuff and don’t really know where to start sorting it out? Well think of it a different way, you are causing the clutter, even though it is now owning you. You will be suffocating psychologically, as you cannot be at peace looking at it all, spiritually, as you cannot be in touch with what matters, all your energy will be focused on the mess and socially you won’t be able to entertain as much as you want to, as the thought of tidying it all up is HUGE. But if you focus on the mess and clutter you won’t get organised, you need to look at why it has got like this. So you need to look at your life first, the clutter is only a symptom.
In this era, we have been taught that to have more is better, buy one get one free. One is good, two is better, it really is a Supersize me age. So most people will have two types of clutter, 1) we might need it one day, 2) memories. We are so busy collecting, collating and storing stuff we are not looking and enjoying now, which is the only thing that matters. How many of us have stuff in the loft that we haven’t touched in ages? I do, I have pictures and paintings in Mum and Dad’s loft since I split up with dickhead, they also have my cat, but as she has adopted my Dad I won’t be claiming her back. (More on another blog on Branston in my archive if you want it). We also wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time, if you haven’t worn something in six months, if you can’t fit into it, if you don’t love it then give it to charity for someone who will love it and will wear it.
Mess and clutter will also paralyse you into inaction, so you have to take a big breath and step up and say enough, I am not doing this any more. I have done that in other areas of my life a lot recently, you will attract the life you project. Quantum Physics and spirituality are agreeing on this now, ever noticed that if you grin at the person behind a till first thing in the morning, you have a better day? What if your life was like ordering at a restaurant, you place your order and you should get exactly what you asked for. By sending out messages of chaos in your house, you reap chaos in your life. I know I sleep better, work better and am better when I know where everything is. We have to learn how to keep a house, we have to learn our behaviour in a house, and we forget that we run the house – it does not run us. The master bedroom should be driving it, the kitchen nourishing it. If your bedroom doesn’t offer you a place of sanctuary and solitude – no TV, just you, your clothes and a bed, then you won’t rest as well. If your kitchen cupboards aren’t stocked properly, organised properly you won’t feed your family as well. When I say family I mean that, the unit that when you lock the front door at night, is all inside the house. So TB and I are a family, E & I are a family, W, J, E & M are a family and so on.
So the plan of attack is one room at a time. Take everything out into another room, appreciate the space that you have, and then only put back what you need and love. Be ruthless, if you buy a piece of clothing, get rid of a piece of clothing, we do not need so much stuff, we need our family, we need our health, we need our friends. We do not need books we don’t read, DVDs we don’t watch, pictures that have been in an attic for nearly 2 years (who are they being looked at by?!) Fill your life with things that matter.
(As an aside, I will start to use people’s names from now on. I didn’t want to on the interweb, but what does it matter?)
How many of you read this blog about Barbara? Becky at work whose Mum has been re-diagnosed with breast cancer. I received so many texts and emails from you sending those messages through the ether. We need to send some to Isabel, Patrick’s girlfriend’s Caireen’s Mum, who also has been diagnosed with cancer. Liz and I had a lovely evening the other night, when she told me about the church she belonged to trooping en masse to a member of the congregation’s funeral, as they had become part of her family. But she hadn’t realised that Jim and a study, Ellie and Mark had their rooms, but there wasn’t a single area in the house that was ‘hers’. I hope that she will re-organise something, so she can hang out a sign and say ‘mine’.
So stop and think about the things that matter to you, do you need that item of anything before you buy it? Do you need to look at a pile of paper, that to find a shopping receipt you have to rummage through and try not to spill it every where?
No, we need to love our lives, be grateful for everything that has got us here today, me typing this in my dressing gown, sneezing and blowing, you reading it on your lunch break or in the evening thinking that I have gone a bit mad. But truly stop and think. Even when you are in the middle of the worst crisis in your life, it has been sent to you to teach you something, I learnt when Mark left me that he had made a decision that I couldn’t. I didn’t want to admit my marriage was failing, that I was powerless to stop it, as he had already made a decision and took it out my hands. But I learnt that I was stronger than I ever thought I was, I learnt that I need and want to live life the best I can every single day, I learnt that my friends would take care of me and help me by making me chee-bor-gay and letting me live in their houses when I had no where to go. I also learnt that my Dad is one of the strongest people I know, but that he hasn’t realised it yet, or his full potential. Dad will be 60 this year, and although he cannot see it, is on the cusp of finding and doing the best he ever has. This is the year. This is 2007, time to look at your lives, and achieve greatness. Disorganisation will drain you, clutter will defeat you, make you tired, irritable and ineffective.
Step up to the line, look at your life and say I am not happy with x or y so I am going to change it. I am now living the life that I always dreamed of, and I am still aiming high. I will be going to live in Australia, I will carry on with this blog so that you can laugh with the mad things that happen to me, I sent an article to a magazine this week (I wouldn’t have done that a year ago), I will share the same motivational advice with you (enough of you are saying you like it). This all started by saying to myself, I am not happy with living with someone who doesn’t love me, appreciate me or even care about me (if he had he wouldn’t have lied, and lied and lied) so I am going to change it. Although he left, I am the one who is paying off her debt, losing weight, living well and bringing a little bit of fun to the world.
So accept and be grateful for everything that has happened in your past- you can’t change it, don’t worry about what may happen in the future – you can’t change it, what you can do is live every day to the best you can. You only live in the now, by the time you have registered what is happening, it has happened. Until you acknowledge what you have in your life, you cannot expect anything to change. Have your goals and work toward them. ‘Time is fleeting’ (for the Rocky Horror fans). Enjoy what you have, and if you are in the middle of the worst time in your life, if someone you love is seriously ill or has died, or like me you are divorced, even in the depths of despair your crisis is there to teach you, to guide you, to give you something you didn’t have before. Be it patience, strength of mind, tolerance; the list is endless, only when it has passed will you know why it was sent to you. Sit down and ask yourself, how am I better because of this, and although I haven’t lost a parent, I have no grand-parents, but I thank every day they were there for me when I was little, for helping to shape me into the Maddie that is still sitting here in her dressing gown.
Thanks for reading. I hope that the little cattle prod I got from watching Oprah this week, looking at the website and the books I have read and condensed for you above will help you. Live your best life, this is the year for you to do it.