On our recent East Coast visit, I spent a day visiting my friend, Irene Kendig, whose book, Conversations with Jerry and Other People I thought Were Dead, was my first editing project and has since won seven book awards.
But writing isn’t the only thing Irene does well. Her home, an urban oasis, exudes serenity. Part of this is her choice of paint and décor, but also—and this makes a huge impact—her house has zero clutter. It’s clean inside and out.
Irene’s refrigerator (pictured above) blows me away! I’ve never seen anything like it. How many of us have cluttered, jam-packed refrigerators filled with containers housing mildewed leftovers? How many of us take time to create this kind of order in our refrigerators? It’s obvious our food nourishes us, but how we organize our food, how we tend to it, whether we make it accessible or not, makes a difference too.
The inside of this refrigerator makes me feel like all is well in the world of health and nutrition. I love the fresh foods, the color, the order. Irene knows where everything is; there’s clarity here—and also respect.
Whatever you eat—whether you eat raw, vegan, vegetarian—or not—nourish yourself with fresh, nutritious whole foods and keep them in a clean refrigerator. Throw away stale leftovers. Wash containers. Wipe down the shelves. Buy live foods. Arrange them so you can see what you’ve got and can easily locate what you want when you want it.
Caring for your refrigerator is a wonderful way to honor your diet—and yourself.
Last week, at the end of a morning meditation, these words came: You are not your work.
It made me think about the day Brooke Warner, my writing coach, said, “You’re a very talented memoirist.” Her words shocked me. I didn’t believe her. I told myself she’d said this to be nice or to comfort me. But I hadn’t needed comfort that day, nor was Brooke the false, say-something-that-isn’t-true-to-stroke-a-person’s-ego type. So I decided to take in her remark. Welcome it. Make it my own.
I wrote her comment on a scrap of paper, switching it from second to first person: “I am a very talented memoirist.” This statement made me cringe, but I knew from previous experience with affirmation work that the more false a statement feels, the greater the opportunity for growth.
Maybe I am a very talented memoirist, I thought. That’s not so far-fetched. I’ve been practicing my craft for three decades. Perhaps I’ve learned something. Maybe I’m developing a modicum of mastery. I typed the statement into my computer, selected “Apple Chancery,” a script font, printed it, and taped it to the wall near my meditation cushion.
The next day when I read the affirmation it disturbed me. I wasn’t sure why. At first I thought it was because I was unable to claim this truth. But over the next few days, I realized it wasn’t the grandeur of these words, but the smallness of them that irked me. You are so much more than that, my Soul whispered.
So I revised my affirmation. It now reads: I am a divine, light-filled being, a gifted and prolific memoirist, poet, author, blogger, a loving, devoted daughter, wife, mother, friend, a teacher, coach, and healer, lover of nature, and more. This feels better—wider and more generous. It gives me space.
I realize that I am more than these roles I list, which are containers, but each of them provide my Spirit with opportunities to serve and share my gifts in the world. Gifts want and need to be shared.
As long as I remain aware that I am not my work, I can use it as a vehicle for self-expression and loving service.