It’s the day after Christmas and I’m lurking upstairs, afraid to face the debris of a day well spent opening presents, cooking for friends and family and running all over town to see what Santa brought everyone. Looking back, the dread has been building for weeks as I rummaged through the decoration boxes, looking for the missing hooks, my treasured Lenox Santa collection and the holiday china. (Never did find the mugs and had to drink my peppermint cocoa from regular cups)
Disorder has crept into my life and now I just have to deal with it. Not much gets done in the week between Christmas and New Years anyway, so what better task to tackle than bringing order to the chaos that has become my closets, basement and drawers.
Wait, I have been here before I think. This feeling overtakes me every year about this time. Maybe I will just move! Buy a new house and take only what I need, organize it well and live happily ever after, but no–that is extreme and maybe I can try it another way. Wasn’t there a chapter on clearing clutter in my book? (Yes, in the information box section–after Chapter 7)
I decide to pretend I am organizing a house for a friend, a very dear friend who feels helpless in the grip of her own disorganization. After all, a caregiver must care for herself first, or her spirit and body will be unprepared for caring for another.
Thinking ahead to the satisfaction of walking through my house and feeling the serenity and clarity radiating from every tidy and beautiful corner, of a opening a drawer to find just what I was after instead of a tangle of items saved, forgotten and unwanted, I resolve to begin. I know this job is too big and daunting to take on all at once, so I “chunk it down” into smaller and smaller parts. Here is a bit from my “clutter clearing” chapter to get you on your way just in case you feel the urge!
Fast start-Your Entryway
Walking into a chaotic home is demoralizing. Creating a clean and peaceful entryway is the first step to a whole house transformation. Take a look at your current reality and decide which things are essential to an efficient comings and goings. Is the umbrella stand choked with broken umbrellas? Sort and toss the bad ones. If they are all bad, start a list of what to buy and replace them.
Is there a collection of recycling waiting to go out? Find a pretty basket to catch the newspapers and bottles. Too many knick knacks on the entryway table? Curate your selection down to three that go together. I have four plastic bins in an out of the way closet marked for the four seasons and I swap such collections four times a year. Finally, clean, dust and polish what remains and ditch scatter rugs, they are a trip hazard.
Now the energy that greets you when you walk in is positive and will give you strength for the tasks at hand!
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As we draw closer to the longest night and plug in every candle and twinkle strand we can lay hands on, it is good to remember that the long night is followed by the return of the light. What does light do for us? Why is it so important? How does the body respond to less or more light and most of all-how can we use the answers to these questions to “jigger” the system for better lives?
Light, or lack of light, is tracked in the body by the pineal gland. Living deep in the brain tucked between the two halves, this pea sized, pine cone shaped gland gets information straight from the eyeball, via the optic nerve, and coordinates our biological clock signals. The pineal gland is made from the same embryological tissue as the nervous system. Stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light, it produces melatonin.
Some sleep disorders and jet lag have effectively been treated by taking doses of melatonin at bed time. There is no blood barrier protection for the pineal gland and it’s blood supply is second only to the kidneys, so the dose makes it’s way quickly to the gland, indicating that it is time to enjoy some sleep.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, appear to bear a direct relation to the seasonally induced change in light and have also been shown to improve with the therapeutic use of light. Add in bright lights towards the end of the day, to keep awake for the evening hours during the darker months and then turn off all the lights at bedtime. I wondered if reading with my e-reader kept me awake, with its illuminated screen. A few days of experimenting proved this to be true, so now I close my day with a few pages of a conventional book and keep the blackout curtains drawn. No night light for me!
One last thought about the importance of a healthy pineal gland from an article in Natural Recovery e-zine-(www.thenaturalrecoveryplan.com) “Adult pineal glands typically contain hydroxyapatite crystals that have been referred to as corpora arenacea (brain sand) that become enlarged by deposits of calcium, phosphorus and fluoride throughout life. This deposition has been linked with aging. These crystals almost certainly serve a critical function and although descriptive, 'brain sand' may be overlooking their significance!”