Planning with the Placemat Process

Daisy, by Cheryl

This is one of my favorite planning tools. And by favorite, I mean that I actually use it, and it works! If you’re a bit like me when someone says – “Now just write down everything you have to do and then schedule it!” – you want to never ever do anything ever again because if it has to start that way you’d just rather not, thank you. Well, this practice might be useful for you too.

I call this the Placemat Process with God.

It’s a combination of a tool shared by Abraham Hicks, and the idea of using a God Box from Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness. It’s simple and allows you the focus and clarity to get the things you really want to do…done. And here’s how it works:

Step 1: (the set up)

Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, and sit in a fairly quiet spot. Write the date at the top of the page and then draw a vertical line to divide the page in half. Above the left column write ME, and on the top of the right column write GOD (or Source, Spirit, Universe, etc). (By the way, it’s called the Placemat Process by Esther Hicks because the first time she and Jerry did this was in a restaurant and they used their placemat to write their list out. Cool, yes?)

Step 2: (make a very small list)

Now, on the left side of your paper (under ME) write down the things you definitely need and/or want to do today. Not everything, everything, because a lot of daily “musts” you already have down pat – eating, sleeping, going to work, caring for your children, etc. But perhaps you have to write a blog post for your 30 Days of Blogging Love Challenge (you know, just for example), or you may need to pay bills, help a friend, find your tax information, make an art journal page, run a mile, etc. (And keep in mind that it doesn’t work to list a big project like “Write my novel” as one of your tasks for the day.) List no more than three of these tasks for today.

I know, only three! But trust me this is best. You can add more later if you really want to, but three is generally do-able. Even if the water pipes freeze and you have to spend a good part of the day dealing with that (ummmm, true story…), you can still get your three or less things done.  And getting things done is the point, after all, not having a gigantic, important busy-ness list. You feel good when you get things done, you have a sense of completion, and you learn that you can trust yourself to accomplish the tasks that are important to you. And, oh yeah, the rest of the stuff is being taken care of anyway.

Step 3: (make a larger list)

So, on the right side of the page (under GOD) write everything else. I know – we don’t want to write everything we need to do, Ack! But this is different because this is God’s list. Everything else you have on your mind that you need, want, should, would like to do. Write it here. Do not be logical – just write. Some days this list is quite long, especially at first. You may need more paper. Other days it’s shorter – or you might just refer to yesterday’s list. My lists change daily because I’m just getting it all out and not trying to be organized or strategic in any way. It’s a form of mental dump.

Step 4: (hand it over)

The final step is to offer this longer list to God. I ask God to handle these things for me. I say something like, “God, if these things should be done, or You want them to be done, please help me. You know I can’t do it all alone, and I don’t want to. I sincerely value Your help and guidance. Thank You very much!” Next I quickly look over the list again and imagine everything being done with ease, support, and love and I say, “This can all be accomplished with God”. Then, cut I the paper in half and place the right side in my God Box and turn it all over to Him. Whew!

Sometimes I make a copy before I put God’s list in the box so I have it to refer to. I might use it for longer term planning, or to choose something in case I have extra time after I get my list done. Later, you may want to look back at what gets done – it can be truly amazing! Many things just resolve themselves, like, I didn’t need to do them at all. Other things have attracted interesting and surprising assistance or brilliant solutions. And in case you’re wondering what a God Box is – it’s a place (a lovely box, bowl, or jar work nicely) to put your concerns, worries, and anything else you want God’s help with. You also might place affirmations, and prayers, and dreams in there. By putting your massive to-do list in the Box you’re turning the process over to Divine Order and Assistance.

I also ask for help with my smaller personal list and know that it will happen with God. And if it doesn’t (and there are occasionally days when it does not happen!) I know that it’s still all OK. What did happen was just fine. Sometimes the timing just wasn’t right, or I was pushing something that really didn’t need to be pushed. The magic of this practice is in having space to focus. It is in being clear about what to do today. It is in releasing your overwhelm and accepting Divine Assistance. It is in allowing things to happen in the best way – not necessarily in the way you think it should. This is good stuff!

Now you can begin your work with clarity and peace, and the knowledge that you’ll get some important things accomplished. And the rest is being worked on by Someone with mad skills!

Wishing you a delicious day with plenty of serendipity and assistance.

Lots of Love,

Cheryl

Saturday with Marcus Aurelius

Wildflowers in My Garden, by Cheryl

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

(from The Spiritual Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius by Alan Jacobs)

Hello, and Happy Saturday! I’ve decided that since around here Saturdays are full to the brim with things to take care of, and people to spend time with, I will simplify life by sharing a few of my favorite poems, quotations, and lyrics. Today, I offer some profound words from the great Stoic Philosopher and Emperor of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius. He lived in interesting times, but managed to run an Empire and write his Meditations, which have inspired people ever since. I find his belief in reason and divine order comforting, and refreshing, and still so relevant.

All “that is” in every way is beautiful, like a red, red rose is beautiful in itself, and perfect in itself. That which is truly beautiful has no need of any addition. Praise is unnecessary. Is an emerald made worse if it is not praised for its greenness? Or gold for its aura, ivory for its whiteness, the cochineal dye for its purple, the lyre for its vibration, a tiny steel knife for its sharpness, a lily for its glory, a hydrangea bush for its blueness, are they worse off if no one flatters them?
There are many sticks of frankincense on the same altar. One burns out first, one later. It makes no difference, all bear their own fragrant perfume.
To avoid trouble do not look to find fault with your neighbor’s deeds but only with your own. A good man does not criticize the depraved morals of others; rather he pursues the straight line of goodness as an arrow pursues its target, as an excellent example.
Everything which happens happens perfectly. it comes from the Source of Creation.
Remove your opinion and so is the complaint “I have been hurt” taken away, the hurt has vanished. So let go of opinions – they are so relative.
Work with full attention, without too many words or busy busyness. Let the God within your heart be your guardian, your intuition.

Wishing you a day full of the best sort of divine attention to your beautiful life!

Love,

Cheryl

 

 

 

Goddess of the Sacred Home Fires

Fiery Flower by Cheryl

Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet, — where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last.  (from Homeric Hymn 29)

Hestia, the Ultimate Domestic Goddess of Hearth & Home {and quite a lot more…}

I have this category on on my blog called Goddess of the Month and – it’s sadly mostly empty. It was a good thought that never quite panned out for me. But since I’ll be posting for four Fridays on this 30 Day Blogging Love Challenge I thought I would try my hand at Goddess Fridays instead. I always think of goddesses on Friday, as it’s a day ruled by lovely Freya and Venus. Today I want to share a few things about one of my favorites – Hestia. I adore her – she’s like a big warm hug! And also a vital protector of the things that matter most to us – home, community, warmth, spirituality, and food.

Hestia is from the Greek pantheon and is a sister to all of the big Gods there – Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hades. But she isn’t really like them, though she has a very specific area of influence, she’s a bit of an outsider and yet also like the glue that holds it all together. She’s the Goddess of domesticity, the hearth, the hearth fire, family, cooking, and the spirit of home in each private residence. She invented the building of houses and so she’s the Goddess of architecture too. But her fires weren’t limited to the private sphere of life – she also ruled over the Hearth of the Gods and of that of each Greek state, city, and village. Greek political entities – like a city or town – each had an area called the prytaneium – a central hearth, a sacred fire. This is Hestia’s sanctuary. She didn’t have many temples, because she was basically honored wherever there was a hearth.

The importance of the prytaneium in Greek life always gives me a bit of a thrill because this sacred fire was never allowed to go out! And fire from here was carefully carried when a new area was settled to light the new hearth fires there. The fire was tended by the king (or the highest authority in the area) and his family. It was a meeting place, and the political and spiritual center of life. These shared hearths offered asylum, welcomed guests, and they represented the unity and vitality of the community. How delightful that is – a center that represents the unity and vitality of your community – your city or country. I want one! I have tried to think of a comparable institution in my world, but somehow the county courthouse just doesn’t seem the same!

One of the best things I’ve ever read about Hestia is that she is the giver of domestic blessings and happiness. Though she decided not to marry (and she was asked by both Poseidon and Apollo) and to stay “pure”, she was the Goddess you went to for harmony and delight in your home life. I often ask her for help when things get frazzled at home – she is the queen of domestic order, after all. I definitely can use her on my side! I picture her sitting by my fireplace, sometimes shaking her head at me, and lovingly offering her peace, purity, warmth, and blessings. (Below is a gluebook page I made for her.)

The energies of the Goddesses (and Gods) that were worshiped in other times and in other places are still here with us. Perhaps because they are truly aspects of ourselves personified and set apart – and in which we can still find ourselves. But also they can offer us things we think we don’t have – perhaps courage, or wisdom, or the ability to be blessed in our home and at unity with our community.

I’m adding this to my Goddess of the Month category – the rules are pretty loose, so I can do that! I hope you found something of value or interest here. If you have any questions or comments you can always contact me via email at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com.

Happy Freya Day all!!

Love,

Cheryl

Hestia gluebook page by Cheryl

 

My Design Manifesto

Home love, (at my previous house) by Cheryl

Note: SO, you get sick on Day 4 of your 30 Day Blogging Love challenge – what do you do? Here is a re-post from 2015 about interior design and my personal Design Manifesto. Enjoy!

When you tell someone you’re an interior designer, they have an idea of what that means. There are plenty of design shows, and blogs, and magazines, after all. We all know what a designer does, right?

Hmmm…not so much, maybe. Because we’re all different, we designers, and we mostly don’t design for cable TV programs. 🙂 Also, “good” design is a bit subjective. What’s “good” to me could be “bad” to someone else – and that is actually what I love about design! It’s personal. And it should be personal, whether it’s for a business or your home. The point of design, of any kind, is to create personalized solutions for people.

Interior design isn’t about a space being pretty, or “cool”, or “in-style” or striking – though it may be one, or several, of those things. Design is about creating an environment that feels like something to you, something you want to experience. It could be passion, peace, comfort, excitement, warmth, belonging, relaxation, harmony, etc. As an interior designer I don’t sell furniture, or window treatments, or tell you how your home should look. I enable you to love the places you spend your time in by helping you to access the deep longings you have, and fulfill those needs and wants in your environment.

For those who wonder…..Here’s my Design Manifesto:

  • If you really LOVE it (really love it, as in you chose it, or if you didn’t, you adore it anyway) then I love it for you too (even if my aesthetic is very different than yours).
  • Good design feels good to you.
  • Good design functions well for your needs and life.
  • Good design supports you in your best life and expression of yourself.
  • It doesn’t need to cost a lot or be a certain brand name.
  • Good design is adaptable and flexible.
  • Good design showcases your life – what you love, do, feel, desire.
  • It also enhances your life.
  • You are the ultimate designer – it’s about your innate ability to make the best choices for you. Yes, you may want help to interpret it all, but it is your home, office, family, etc.
  • There are no real rules. Or, if you like, rules are meant to be broken when they don’t serve your design inspiration.
  • Ceilings absolutely deserve love too! Let’s stop ignoring them!
  • Color, texture, light, and other design elements, are also elements of healing.
  • “Every room needs some black” just means that contrast and depth are important considerations in an environment, just as in life.

I could, of course, go on! But mostly what I believe is that design isn’t magic, it isn’t tricky, or only found in those “to the trade only” showrooms. It’s about you – your family, your life, your work, your loves and desires. Simple.

Lots of Love,

Cheryl

The Sacred Art of Puttering

Pink lilies, post puttering

“Putter, verb: “To occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner doing a number of small tasks, not concentrating on anything in particular; to move or go in a casual, unhurried way: to loiter”.

The grace of a day of puttering – really, can anything beat it? It’s one of my favorite ways to attend to life. And I especially like to putter around my home. You might wonder what the heck I’m talking about – or you may get it completely! But read on, I’d like to share with you The Sacred Art of Puttering.

Setting aside a day to tend to your life is such a blessing in our hurried and full of distractions world. You can focus, go slowly, attend to the details with pleasure. Puttering as a practice allows you to comfort your home – and receive comfort from it in return. It is grounding in a profound way. Grounding into your life, the people you love, the environment that supports you, and the small rituals that delight and assuage. It is a luxury to not be goal-oriented, but to still be focused and attentive, loving.

Today, I really enjoyed a day to tend my home and home life, which has been neglected lately. I also needed to ground myself in what is true and what matters to me, and puttering around the house is the perfect way to do that! Tending to your life is such a pleasure when you just slow down and take your time. Below you’ll find some ideas for puttering – but of course it’s a very personal practice and it’s always best to putter from the heart!

  • I like to set a bit of atmosphere for my puttering. It’s very easy to default to get-it-done mode and become efficient and rushed – that is really anti-puttering! We are loitering here! And I find the right props help me loiter and be desultory in a pleasant manner with greater ease. Some ideas: Music is my favorite tool. I play a bit of Blossom Dearie or Madeleine Peyroux to get me in the mood! Light some candles or the fireplace. Or fill a diffuser with a favorite, peaceful scent.
  • You could choose a surface that has been bothering you and just take everything off. Clean it, revel in it, and then replace the items as feels good to you. This is not about decluttering (though you may indeed get rid of a few things, or put them away), it’s about the enjoyment of creating a space that supports you functionally and delights you visually. Really it’s just play! No thinking too hard, or worrying what others will think, no stress. Clear, clean, replace with love.
  • You could do laundry like it’s delicious. If you hate laundry then, of course, skip this one! But I find I hate laundry mostly because I try to cram it in between 20 other things, so I don’t do it with care and attention. But let’s say you took time sorting and handling your things, attending to stains and tears. After you put in a load, you might sit down and read a magazine, or have a quiet cup of coffee in your favorite chair, dance to music, or take a stroll. And when the timer goes off you calmly, slowly, with pleasure, change the load to the dryer, or hang things up, or take the next step – whatever that is – with care and love. Enjoy the scent of warm clothes straight from the dryer, the softness as you fold them, and the simple steps of putting them away in ways that make choosing clothing, or towels, or sheets a joy. You may find a new appreciation for your things – or find they no longer work for you and need to be replaced. The point is not to get it done (laundry, as you know, is never done!), but to enjoy it as a practice.
  • One of my favorite puttering practices is to move things around. This could simply be changing things out seasonally. Today I took great pleasure in hanging my Valentines’ wreath on the front door! And over the next week I’ll be making things to decorate and add romance and color to our home. I also like to consider what I want at this time of year – soft velvet pillows, cozy and sensual throws, pretty tablecloths, lots of candles, and room to work on inside projects. In the summer I like clean surfaces, less rugs about, shiny windows, crisp cotton pillows in bright colors, etc. You might put some of your lovely objects away and bring others out. I keep a cabinet with favorite things to rotate in and out as I like. You can even move furniture (oh, how I love to move furniture!) and create a more beautiful and/or functional layout for your home. OK, this gets a bit more involved…but still is very satisfying puttering.
  • I also putter with things like papers and financial projects. These of course have more of a real process and goal, but I like to keep the spirit of puttering. Basically – I act like this is the most delightful thing I have to do, and that I want to offer it all of the time and attention it needs. Not being a numbers or detail girl, I have much of my life felt stressed about and put off these types of tasks. I can’t tell you how much it changes when you decide to do something from a place of peace and openness, vs lack and strain!! Go figure…

The truth is puttering doesn’t require anything but a willingness to spend some time enjoyably engaged with small tasks of any kind. You can putter in the garden, at the library, in the grocery store. It’s like a vacation from being “on task” and efficient. It feels good, it lets your mind wander to lovely things, to what you want, and changes you’d like to make. It is creative and open-ended. It is a release. I’ve written about puttering before – so you know it’s good! :). You can read that post right here.

I hope you have a delicious day and spend some time puttering. Please let me know if you did!! I We fellow putterers must support each other! You could set up a time to tell me all about it here, or email me at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com.

Happy Sacred Puttering!

Cheryl

 

7 Things About Me {right now}

Flowery Feb by Cheryl

I don’t write much about myself here unless it’s related to a practice I want to share. I usually save that for Instagram, but maybe it’s time to share more here too. So below you’ll find 7 things about me right now – off the cuff and unedited!

1)  Flowers – I CRAVE flowers in February! I still enjoy the snow, that glorious white and blue color scheme, the brightness of sun with nothing to shade it, the clarity and super-chilled air. But I need flowers too! So, many of my post images will be flowers this month (digging deep into my old photos). I’m calling it Flowery Feb

2)  Well, you probably know I’m blogging for 30 days but I haven’t shared the main reason for doing this. It’s about making major changes – especially in my business – by listening to myself and allowing myself to do things I love in the way that works best for me. You can be your own worst boss, trust me! You begin with joy and a good balance, but along the way you could get lost. You want to do what everyone says to do – what successful others do (hoping it will rub off?), and you really want be there for everyone, and also to be awesome! Fine, but when you wake up one morning and want to just chuck it all in the trash, then you know it’s not exactly working for you. So, this is a recalibration, and a test, and a checking in. And me being me – for better, or even better.

3)  I began exercising 6 days a week recently – and I’m really pretty into it! I’m mixing free weights with yoga and some sort of movement – like biking, walking, or dance. The variety is key to longevity for me. It’s been a while since I was this dedicated…like a looong while. So, if you hear moaning in the background – well, that’s just me getting in shape.

4)  I’m madly in love…I can’t deny it! And the subject is our girl Gracie. If you’re on Instagram with me you’ve probably seen her – our lovely, calico kitty. She’s almost 2 years old now and still just as much of a minx as ever! She is my loyal office assistant, paper eater, stalker, goofy girl, lap cat, and full of so much energy and fun. When we lost Mulligan I didn’t want another cat, I was too sad, and there are definitely pluses to not having a pet. But my sweet husband finally got me to the shelter to look at the cats, and of course that only ends one way! I’m very, very grateful every day. Even when she eats my stuff.

5)  I spent the last few weeks of January sorting things out. Wow! That always makes me feel better! How about you? I mean, I put it off and put it off, and then it’s fabulous! Well, it’s also quite hard sometimes, but the release is so worth it. In my sorting I found some oracle and tarot decks I no longer want. I’ll be sharing these on Instagram soon because I’d love to give them to someone who would like them. Look for that in a few days!

6)  I have painting to do and it seems the weather refuses to cooperate. I’m just going to have to suck it up! It’s interior painting – so I would like to have the windows open for safety (even with low VOC paints you should have ventilation). This just points out the wisdom of one of my firm design rules – get the painting done BEFORE you move in. Because afterward it is going to be 10 times more annoying and difficult, so you will put it off for 2 years, or so (or maybe that’s just me…it’s my rule after all). But I’m going to get it done. I said it here – you’re holding me to it! Thank you!!

7)  I’m so happy it is February!! The days are noticeably longer. I don’t like to will away time, and I don’t hate Winter, but by February I’m thinking of Spring. And I can see it from here! It seems strange to begin a year in the middle of Winter, or Summer. Maybe it really begins with the first Spring flower that peeks out of the soil, or the first day you can go to work and come home in daylight, or perhaps when you can actually feel the sun warm on your shoulders. Of course my “New Year’s Day” would be quite specific to where I live and the weather there. It would change each year. Chaos! But I think I will still declare my own first day of a new year (and of Spring) with flowers and warmth. And I can still celebrate the traditional one – the more celebrating the better I say! Right now, I will be joyful that I have a fireplace, and lots of candles, and warm food because an ice storm is coming. I’ll be staying inside soaking up all the cozy Winter offers me.

Well, there we go!! That wasn’t so bad! I’d love to learn more about you and how you are today too. Drop me a line at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com or post your 7 Things About You on Instagram.

And speaking of new years – Happy Chinese New Year!

Love,

Cheryl