Archive for the ‘ballroom dance’ Category

Happiness is…?

October 19, 2016

2015 05 beautiful roses

At the end of September I had the privilege of attending a conference run by a group to which I belong: The Institute for Challenging Disorganization. I love this conference. In fact I love it so much that I decided to demonstrate that by chairing the conference in 2017! But I digress.

One of our speakers was a young woman, Ayla Lewis, who spoke to us about the power of positive thinking and happiness. Her presentation was well thought out, fun, and interactive. Ayla had a marvelous way of engaging the audience to teach the concepts she was presenting.

Many of the concepts presented were not new to me and I’m sure not new to many of us there. However; Ayla included scientific information to substantiate these concepts. It was fascinating.  

So, what is happiness? Ayla told us that happiness is a choice. I believe this to be true. I’m one who likes to look at a glass and say that it is half full rather than half empty. I’m always looking for the positive spin and am generally happy. Or should I say content.

We were told that no one is always happy. We have moments of happiness. It’s more important and better for us if we often experience small moments of happiness rather than striving for that one big fleeting moment to be happy. Have you ever heard someone say ‘I’ll be happy after I …’ or perhaps ‘I’ll be truly happy when I’ve …’ I have heard people say things like that and wondered if they ever had those moments of happiness. And how long the happiness lasted.

Ayla advised us to use journaling to record the brief happy moments that occur during the day. She asked us to write down three things daily. If you’re looking for the small things I’m sure any one of us could find way more than three things to write down.

Let me tell you a little story. I attended a wedding last weekend in Connecticut. An adorable three year old little girl was the flower girl.  She made many of us smile as she ran down the aisle in church during the rehearsal. When she got up to the altar she turned around and faced those of us sitting in the pews, sat down, and just started swinging her legs. She looked like she was waiting there to watch the show begin. She was happy in that moment. And those of us watching her chuckled and were happy too!

Ayla encouraged us to take those moments and savor them. This is happiness. It is something that comes and goes. Celebrate – really be happy – live in those moments when they arrive. It’s ok, in fact, natural, not to be happy 24/7. Acknowledge and experience  other emotions. Then welcome the happy moments as they occur.     

I’ll tell you what makes me happy. Working in my garden, successfully completing a series of dance steps with my partner, getting a phone call from one of my children, getting together with a friend, seeing that a client has maintained the organization, making progress on my needlepoint canvas – all these things create moments of happiness for me.

What makes you happy? Write me back and let me know. 

 

 

Advertisements

Pursue Your Hobby to Improve Your Work

June 29, 2016

Do you have a hobby or sport that you love? My brother loves to play golf. I know that several times a year he and his wife travel to play golf. They combine their love for golf with their love for travel. It’s a win/win. Even though he works at this sport – perfecting his swing, strength training and more, I’m sure – he finds this a great distraction from his regular work. Playing golf allows my brother to focus on something else. Interestingly, having this other outlet makes his focus at work that much greater.

I love to dance. I’ve always been involved in one way or another with dance.  For the past four years I’ve been studying ballroom dancing. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, I’ve been taking ballroom dance lessons and learning the intricacies of this beautiful art – which is also a sport.

There is so much to learn. When I first started taking lessons I thought; great! I’m mastering these steps. My instructor started off teaching me what I thought I already knew – the waltz. We moved from there to the foxtrot and the tango. Great! And then I learned that there was more to this than just moving my feet correctly. My instructor taught me about the continuity of the dance, the rise and fall, the sway, the timing, the musicality and the list goes on…

I went from a lesson a week, to several lessons, to where we are now – practicing 10 hours a week. That works out to be five 2 hour sessions.  I also decided to start competing at ballroom dance competitions. This is an amazing experience. I get to dress up in beautiful ball gowns and demonstrate that which I’ve learned on a huge dance floor, dancing with other beautiful dancers and being judged by a panel of professional ballroom dance judges.

In fact, I just came back from a competition in Orlando. It was fabulous! My partner (also my instructor) and I competed in three different styles of dance: American Rhythm (Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero, Mambo), American Smooth (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz), and Standard (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep).

It was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.

I’m telling you about this because I believe that participating in something other than what I do professionally allows me to cultivate different sets of skills. I’ve always had a good memory but learning so many different dances and dance styles requires me to focus and memorize dance positions as well as dance steps.

Pursuing this hobby lets me come back to my work refreshed, refocused, and ready to purse my other passion which is creating organizing solutions which work for my clients.

102, Julio Aguirre_M2016_30322What do you do that is different from your work? Do you have a sport you’re passionate about or another hobby? Write me back and let me know.

Clutter-Free Gifts

November 28, 2012

Did you go shopping this past weekend? Maybe you were one of those who shopped after their Thanksgiving Dinner? I didn’t shop on Thanksgiving Day but I did shop at some of the small businesses in my community on Small Business Saturday. Did you? I will admit that I’m a great cyber shopper and in fact was one of those shopping on Cyber Monday. Interesting don’t you think that these shopping days have been named…

There was a terrific chalkboard saying posted on Pinterest last week regarding purchasing gifts for children. It went something like this: 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, 1 thing they want, 1 thing they read. I love this and hope you do too!You do not need to purchase an abundance of things. Too many things just adds to the collection. As a professional organizer, I’m always repeating this mantra to my clients: 1 thing goes out before 1 thing comes in. This is a wonderful time of year to help your children organize their toys and books. If there are toys that are in good condition but that your children no longer play with donate them to a local charity or Goodwill. Books in good condition can be donated to a childcare facility, your local library, or even your school. This way you make room for some things to come in and teach your children that they do not have to hang on to things they are no longer using. A valuable life lesson!

We usually take a family vacation over the holidays and the vacation itself makes up a large portion of my gift to my children. I am a big believer in clutter-free gift giving. These gifts usually involve an experience and they don’t take up any space! You don’t have to put them away.  There are many ways to give a clutter-free gift All you have to do is know the person to whom you are giving and then use your imagination. Here are some questions to get your creative juices flowing. What do they like to do? What are their favorite foods? Do they have a hobby?

Here are a few concrete suggestions:

1. Tickets to a show, the movies, or a local attraction – like the aquarium

2. Something baked: cookies, a cake, or even a casserole

3. Gift certificate to a restaurant (if the person has children you could include babysitting!)

4. Gift certificate for a spa service: facial, manicure/pedicure

5. Gift certificate for a lesson: tennis, golf, skiing, snowboarding, ballroom dance

6. Hire a Professional Organizer for a few hours to help a friend or family member get organized in 1 area of their home

The best part of giving a clutter-free gift is that you are not just giving a thing to use you are also giving an experience! It’s two gifts rolled into one – Isn’t that wonderful!

Small Steps Forward!

August 14, 2012

Are you in the process of learning a new skill? I’m always learning new things. New ways to approach an organizing task, new methods of teaching how to set priorities, new theories on productivity and time management – to name a few. Recently I decided to learn a brand new skill. Well, it’s really not completely new to me. All my life (ever since I can remember) I have loved to dance! I studied ballet and modern dance through my college years and took the pre-requisite ballroom dance lessons as a teenager. Dancing has always been part of how I define myself. About 6 months ago or so I decided to study ballroom dancing with the goal to enter competitions. Learning ballroom dancing is a real challenge for me. Just when I think I have the steps mastered my instructor(and partner) lets me know that if I tweak the series of steps by turning my shoulders slightly it will be that much better. Yes, it’s a little frustrating but at the same time it is challenging and rewarding. I am learning so much more than just how to move my feet. I’m learning how to occupy space and to create beautiful visual lines. I’m also exercising more than just my body.  I’m working my brain as I memorize the steps and patterns for the different dances. Even though I have been studying ballroom dancing for about 6 months now, and I know I have learned lots of steps, I still have many more things to learn to become the kind of dancer I would like to be.

I stay focused in this endeavor by understanding that I am learning. I do make progress. Practicing my dance steps at home while I’m folding laundry or cooking dinner or walking the dog brings me a little closer to mastering whichever step I am working on. I celebrate the small victories. I love it when my dance instructor tells me that series of steps ‘look good!’

Are you learning something new? If you are, practice patience with yourself. Learning a new skill requires time, effort and diligent hard work. You can not expect to be proficient in a day, week or even a month.  Maybe opening the mail everyday and dealing with it is a new skill for you? Mindful practicing  will bring you closer to mastering whatever you are attempting to learn. Developing a new skill is hard work – believe me when I say I know! All your hard work pays off in the end when you accomplish that which you set out to do. Celebrate every small step forward, I do!