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It's been three months since Michael died. When The Beautiful One returned from her last visit with him and his devoted life partner Jody, she knew much more intimately the . . . [Read More]

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Unruly Rants

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There was this piece of me—a young, vulnerable, desperate piece of me—who begged for someone to finally just tell me who the hell I was supposed to be, or do, or what my life was supposed to be about. Every time life intensified, waves of hysteria would swell from deep within me, the fear that I’d get it wrong… that I couldn’t trust myself to know what was true for me. I felt terrified that, without external guidance, my life would be wasted.

But then I started to explore what one of my early teachers called “the spirituality of the self”. I studied the way I reacted to the world around me, the way I allowed certain relationships, circumstances, and experiences to affect me. I learned I was powerful, far more powerful than I’d ever imagined, and that I could change reality by changing the way I was showing up in the world. In time, I released what no longer served me and made space for my truth to become my life. The artist, the lover, the priestess, the mother, the healer, the dancer, the writer . . . one discovery at a time, I hosted a reunion of the pieces of my soul.

This transformation was possible because of the supports I cultivated for myself along the way.  My blog is an extension of my journals. I use it to share the lessons I’ve learned, powerful resources, and inspiring stories of my clients’ transformations. Dig in and find the information and inspiration you need today and keep coming back when you need another dose! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, email me your question and I’ll see what I can find for you.

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January 13, 2016

House Rules

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Every now and then, two people hire me to support them both through a tender time in their relationship. We work on whatever feels true for them and the intentions vary a great deal. One topic that almost always bubbles up is conflict resolution. Recently, I “heard” to ask one couple to work with me to create a list of rules to help them make better choices during times of conflict.

What I love most about this list is that these aren’t my ideas about what’s best for them. I asked each of them to write me their (unedited) wish list of ways to bring their collective best at times of conflict.

Partner #1’s ideas

  • Be nice, not hurtful.
  • If you’re feeling hurt, tell me.
  • If you’re done, be done. Don’t get in a parting shot.
  • Operate on good faith
  • Give the benefit of the doubt
  • Don’t assume a fuck up is part of my character. Ask. Explain how I hurt you.
  • Recognize your own limits in a discussion and own them – communication isn’t your strong suit. What you think isn’t always what comes across.
  • If I ask for clarification, I’m not trying to beat you. I’m trying to understand you.
  • Don’t assume that I should know something. Check.
  • Acknowledge me. Out loud.
  • I understand that you’re mad. But don’t stay mad because you think you should.
  • Be open to my efforts (and recognize them as such)
  • Be open to your affectionate feelings toward me. Let them flow when they want, and don’t ever feel like you need to force it (fake it til you make it is ok, though)
  • De-escalate at every opportunity. Talk through, not over/around
  • Be intellectually honest. See that you may have not had the info you needed/missed something, and be willing to change accordingly.

Partner #2’s ideas

  • Assume all interactions / feelings are based on good will.
  • Communicate as clearly as possible. If an interaction changes quickly, consider a trigger being at play. Try not to snap back (escalate) but to call it what it is.
  • Check in with your own feelings. Own them. Maybe even disclose them proactively if you might need a little more space / gentleness / whatever.
  • Keep the ego in check. Everyone has different needs and wants, it’s not a personal attack if someone wants something different than what you hoped they wanted.
  • Clean up after yourself as much as possible. Don’t make yourself crazy about it but maintain the basics (dishes, wrappers, etc. to sink or trash). Paying attention to bigger things and helping out when able is really appreciated (vacuuming, organizing avalanche of kids’ toys, refill soap or paper towels).
  • Respect privacy. I am a more private person and don’t want to talk about tender things with just anybody. It feels unfair and hurtful when you share my more personal issues with others (in my presence or not).
  • Don’t drink directly from the milk container. Sometimes I use milk in cooking and it’s just gross to have crumbs floating in the milk.
  • Don’t yell at the kids or each other. As much as possible let’s really STOP.

These 13 house rules are the final product of our work together:

HOUSE RULES

  1. Be nice or leave (the conversation).
  2. If you’re going to leave, leave respectfully.
  3. Assume the best in one another.
  4. Bring the best of yourself.
  5. Seek understanding instead of right and wrong.
  6. Remember your partner may not know or understand what has happened or is happening.
  7. Ask questions and be open to receiving questions.
  8. Be as open to one another as you can bear to be in each moment. (Disclose feelings, reach out, reveal self, etc.)
  9. Be willing to recognize and disclose triggers. (Clues: Yelling, hateful words, disrespect, dragging up old stuff, always/never, etc.)
  10. Do “The Work” together and individually. This may mean returning to find resolution on previously “left” matters.
  11. Ask for what you need or desire.
  12. Take care of your own shit and the family’s collective shit.
  13. Respect one another’s privacy. If you’re not certain, ask first.

Are you bringing your best self to the conflicts in your home? Do you think a process like this could help? What do you need from your partner? What do you need to remember when the going gets tough?

Image: Andrius Petrucenia via Flickr

As always, if you need support, I’m here.