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What I'm Pruning This Fall to Ensure a Better "Harvest"

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“ The way to maintain one's
connection to the wild is
to ask yourself what it is that you want.
This is the sorting of the seed
from the dirt.
One of the most important discriminations we can make
in this matter is the difference
between things that beckon to us
and things that call from our souls.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Can you believe there are only six weeks left in 2015, Blue? Here in the US, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving next week, and then time will speed forward through Advent to Christmas and then a visit from Father Time has he ushers in a new baby New Year.

Though I can't honestly say I'm ready for 2016 to arrive, I've been contemplating how I desire 2016 to look and feel.

Earlier this fall I shared with you that in order to bring forth the best possible harvest for ourselves, sometimes we have to do a little pruning. It can be painful....I cringe every spring when it's necessary to prune the rose bushes down to tiny nubs. On the years I fail to do so, the rose bushes are kind of leggy and spindly, yet when I make those heavy cuts, the rose bush grows back stronger and more beautiful.

In fact, here we are almost to December and our rose bushes still have some beautiful blooms.

We humans have to that in our own lives sometimes.

We may tell ourselves that if we were smarter, more talented, braver, or better, we could do EVERYTHING. Without the need to let anything receive less of our time and attention. But the truth of the matter is, as we grow and evolve, sometimes we have to let things go, or at least prune them back a bit, so that the result in our lives is stronger.

As I mentioned recently, I've been working on The Book - an edited collection of almost five years of blog posts and articles. In order to do the project right, it's taken an immense amount of time, attention, focus and energy. It isn't as "easy" as it looks...yet, despite the time and attention, I am loving doing the work.

Words have always nourished my soul.

And even though I know perfection is impossible, I want to do the project justice. I want to produce the best possible manuscript I can.

And the thing is....this isn't the only book I desire to write in my lifetime. This is the first of many books I desire to birth into the world. But it takes an immense amount of my focus to so do. I am not Wonder Woman, which means I  have a limited amount of bandwidth.

In order to pursue more, that means in some places I must pursue less.

This love note is one of the spaces I have made the decision to do less.

I cannot tell you how valuable I see this moment for you and I to connect. When I sit down each week, I dive into the depths of my heart and send out the threads of connection between our lives. I see this as a sacred moment between us and hope that what I share here in some way nourishes you, even if only get to nourish your body with a recipe because the words that week don't speak to your mind or heart.

In order to honor not only myself and my dreams, but the connection between us here, I have made the decision to begin sending this love note every-other-Saturday instead of weekly.

Way back in July when I made this decision to prune a little here, I had planned to make the change come January 2016.

After last week's world events in Paris, Beirut and many other places, I was reminded that no matter how much we may try to fight it or ignore it, we each have limited time here on this earth. It's important that we judiciously use the time to follow what our heart guides us to. Though it isn't as nice and neat as "The New Year" I decided the time to make the change needed to happen a little sooner.. Beginning next month (December 2015) this Love Note will arrive bi-weekly.

One of my deepest desires is that I stay within the mantra I learned back in my Quality Assurance Days: Say What You Are Going to Do, and Then Do What You Said You Were Going To Do. (Or in the words of Michael Ruiz, Be Impeccable With Your Word). The agreement I made with anyone here was to send you a note each Saturday - no fail, no excuses.

To make a change to that means that I have to lean into one of my core values - my desire for authenticity as we connect.

Which is why I am sharing this with you today. I mean, I guess I could have just cut back without telling you about it, but that doesn't feel like integrity, connection, authenticity or love.

What this allows for me is a bit more time and space to create Other Stuff without the weekly deadline of "consumable content". It also allows me to connect a bit more deeply here...because, some weeks the lessons I am learning overlap with the lessons from the week before.

I could easily work around this - by recycling content or ignoring the deep need I am having to create in different ways. But that feels like cheating to feels like I would be diminishing our connection if I were to present the same basic content in a rotation.

What this means for you is a little less mail in your email box, yet the promise to continue to deliver quality content that helps you connect more deeply to yourself and your life.

I am sure this Love Note will evolve as I make the transition. I'll still have this personal missive and a favorite recipe. I have yet to decide how I will handle sharing blog posts with you...and I honestly haven't decided if I'm going to still aim for a new blog post every week - or go to a bi-weekly schedule there.

I'm sure that part of the vision will come into better focus as time passes.

As for now, I just want you to know how grateful I am for the time we share here. And I commit to continuing to share words here that have the goal of helping you create a daily life that you love.

So, tell me, darling....what about you? What areas of your life might you need to prune a bit so that you can have a more bountiful harvest? Do you need to trim some areas of your world down to the nubs? Are there dreams that you have been putting off until "you have more time"?

What have you been waiting to pursue? Do you tell yourself that if you were "smarter" or "braver" you could do EVERYTHING? What might you need to let go of so that you have some breathing room?

And how can you be true to your deepest values while maintaining the threads of connection between you and those you love?

I will see you next Saturday. For those of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving.

With so much love,

PS - Did you get the email with the NEW Ebook? I sent the email out on Thursday for Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet: Define & Embrace Your Heart's Beacon . I have yet to choose my Word for 2016, but I can't wait to work through the book to help my Word find me!

This week in the blog you'll find Let’s Go Complaint Free for the Holidays. Is this the Holiday Season or Complaint season? Lines are too long, checkers are too slow, and there’s too much traffic. I was remind how it can feel like complaint season when I went to Target this afternoon for paper towels and laundry detergent. It was the cashier’s first day on the register. We had a few challenges during the transaction.

He’d never had to process any of the “$5 Gift Card Awards” for buying the right combination of products. Those product combinations made up most of my purchases. To add more to his challenging first day, I also had coupons on the Cartwheel App and a stack of those $5 gift cards from previous shopping experiences.

Every time he hit a snag, he apologized, even when I reassured him it was OK.

He had to call the manager over twice to help, and I thanked her each time, too. I told both of them no apologies were necessary.

When I paid, he thanked me for being a customer and apologized again for the challenges.

I assured him that the only way to learn all this stuff was to experience it. Because how can he held to the expectations of a seasoned cashier with a few hours of experience? He relaxed a little and smiled. His manager thanked me for my kindness and told me most folks she’d dealt with that day were bitchy and cranky.

I completely get where a trip to Target can be stressful and a less-than-speedy checkout can be irritating. It isn’t that I didn’t have things I needed to do (like write this blog post!).

But I’ve made a vow that I am going Complaint Free this holiday season. Want to join me?

Though complaining may seem as if you’re speaking your mind or allowing yourself to feel all the feelings, in all honesty, complaining doesn’t fix anything. Criticizing doesn’t really help anyone. What the point of inviting negative interactions with others?

Complaining is a choice to focus on the problem instead of seeking a solution. When it comes to your romantic relationships, The Gottman Institute found that couples who share negative interactions are more likely to divorce early. What’s worse is that we are more likely to believe criticism over compliments, which destroys our confidence.

Have you ever noticed how many conversations involve complaining or whining or gossip or criticism? I sure have. And both complaining and hearing the complaints of others makes me irritable and exhausts me. Complaining, whining, criticizing and gossiping are real downers.

And I don’t know about you, but with all that’s happening in the world, the last thing I want to feed my mind and soul with is more icky feelings.

So, I decided I was going to give myself a gift for the holidays and go Complaint Free. And if I can stick to it for the season, that’s six weeks I’ll be focusing on forging a new habit for a more positive life.

Your attention is your most powerful resource.

Focusing on problems, and then verbalizing them creates a continuous stream of energy flowing towards what’s not working. We think it’s normal. After all, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if the kvetching and complaining wasn’t so common.

I know the holidays can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. Maybe it’s the worst time of year to even think about not complaining. And I know that the expectation or push to stop complaining can trigger feelings of shame, frustration, or inadequacy.

What if we just committed to going “Complaint Lite” instead? Commit to doing our best to stop complaining and stop criticizing. To commit to not participating in gossiping or walking away when others try to draw us into it.

We’ll commit to doing our best to focus on solutions instead of problems.

Even though I survived this trip to Target with a smile on my face and without any complaints passing my lips doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

Complaint Lite doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to feel frustrated. This doesn’t mean that when you’re feeling shamed or triggered you should just suck it up instead of talking it over with your best friend.

I’d never suggest that you blissfully ignore unhealthy situations. What I am suggesting is that your life will be more peaceful and the holiday season feel more joyful if you don’t use complaints or criticism as the main words to cross your lips.

I know this can feel challenging, so here are a couple of solutions on dealing with the desire to complain.

The 5-Minute Bitch Fest

Set a timer and just go. Let everything out of your system. All your complaints and worries. Bitch. Moan. Let it all out. Do this with a friend who will write down themes or points – or do it yourself. When the 5-minutes are up, you stop. You can also do this on paper if you don’t want do it out loud.

Then, take the notes from your 5-Minute Bitch Fest and mark through everything that is out of your control. By complaining about things that are out of your control, you choosing to focus on things you can’t change. For anything that’s in your control, begin to brainstorm possible solutions. At the very end, tear that sucker up.

The “SAVE” Factor – Offer a Solution

You can “save” a complaint – and turn it around when you catch yourself in the act. You can do this by quickly adding the word “AND,” and then challenging yourself to offer a solution. For instance: “God, I’m drained by Sally coming into my office and gossiping every afternoon,” becomes “God, I’m drained by Sally coming into my office and gossiping every afternoon – AND I am going to challenge myself to face the discomfort and ask her to please not do it anymore.”

Make Requests Rather Than Complain

What if instead of complaining, we asked for what asked for what we needed or wanted? Instead of flying off the handle at our partner or kiddo about dishes in the sink, we could say: “Hey, sweetie. Can you please do me a favor and put your dishes in the dishwasher? I’m often tired when I come home from work, and this would help me because I wouldn’t have to clean up before I make my dinner.”

Making requests requires uncharged language. In other words, it doesn’t help to make a request by starting off with, “Since you obviously refuse to clean up after yourself in the kitchen, I need you to listen to me while I make this request…” It’s very easy to let a complaint slip in the back door.

I want to feel all the good parts of the holiday season instead of inviting the blues to join me for the holidays.

I want to focus on gratitude and joy. I want to connect to what’s right in my life, not what’s wrong. I want to sow words of kindness instead of meanness. I bet you do, too.

So, how about it? Are you game to go Complaint Lite for the rest of the year?

Most of the meals we've eaten this week have originated in the crock-pot. There's something magical about the slow roasting of veggies and meat for hours and being presented with a delectable meal without a whole lot of fuss.

I love the harder squashes of the fall, but sometimes they take ages to cook. Here's a place I go to the cheat as most grocery stores have a small section with already chopped veggies...and if I can find a container of already chopped butternut squash, it means I get the rewards of the flavors of fall without too much strain on my wrists.

Roasted Butternut Squash With Chicken.

So, spray your crock-pot with non-stick spray and put the butternut squash on the bottom. Add a small drizzle of maple syrup, a heavy dash of cinnamon, and a light dash of allspice on top of the squash.

Then add a skinless, boneless chicken breast on top of squash. Season with garlic powder and fresh ground pepper. Add half of a sliced yellow onion to the top of the chicken.

Now you need a liquid. I've made this twice in the few weeks and once I used Chicken Stock...and the other time I used Apple Cider. Both were great  You need enough liquid to almost cover the chicken.

Place on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Remove the chicken breast gently so it doesn't fall apart, gently scoop out the roasted squash and SERVE!

Volume 5 - Issue 47

November 21, 2014

Published Every Saturday
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 
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About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people fall in love with their lives.

An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar.

Alphabet soup wise, Debra holds a BS in Communications as well as a PMP. She's an ENTJ according to MBTI, according to Ennegram, and a 7-3-8-2 according to Kolbe.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Get social with Debra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Unbelievable Difference

Working with Deb for just a few months has made an unbelievable difference in my life.

With her encouragement, I made major progress on clearing the clutter in my physical life as well as in my emotional life, which paved the way toward creating a new vision for the life I want to live now.

Deb has an easy conversational style, rational down-to earth wisdom, and a warm sense of humor.

She got right to the heart of the things holding me back from living my best life, and has given me sound principles and practices I can carry forward into the future.

For the first time in a long time I feel excited about my life, and I have Deb to thank for that!

-Becca Rowan, Author

Fall in Love.

With Yourself.

How do you explore your own story? How do you stay on track to bring your dreams into your reality?

How do you find the breadcrumbs that will lead you from unconscious existence to the understanding that your daily actions have the power to create a conscious life?

That’s why I created Become Besotted. Become Besotted will assist you in writing your story, a month at a time. An opportunity to get to know all sides of yourself and fall in love.

Become Besotted will also help you explore your dreams and desires. It will serve you in monitoring your victories and shedding what isn’t serving you.

Ready to Become Besotted with yourself and your life? Get the details here.

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