Positive Priorities

March 13th, 2009

The creative process gives back tenfold. It is by definition abundant and unending.
~ Cathleen Rountree

I really love the latest chapter in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's wonderful book group. The chapter is all about living in abundance and that is what I'm all about right now.

Abundance is one of the things we talked about a lot at the retreat I attended last weekend. While I don't agree with all the Law of Attraction stuff out there, I think some of it is valid. I believe in a mix of articulating your vision for your life, calling it out (in the form of writing or vision boards or whatever works for you), and then taking action. The action piece is important.

Since leaving the retreat, I've been spending a half-hour every day clearing clutter in my studio/office space. I know a lot of artists are clutter collectors and I am definitely one of those people who has trouble throwing things away. But I also know that when I'm able to release clutter, I feel more clear and more open to bringing good things into my life.

I tend to get overwhelmed easily, so the idea of clearing all my clutter tends to just freeze me up and I do nothing, but doing it at a set time (I chose 11-11:30 a.m.) and for just a half hour (set a timer), really helps me out. It's along the same lines as SARK's micromovements, but having the exact time set up helps too. Accountability also helps me, so knowing that I was going to check in with my fellow retreat participants helped keep me on track too.

I love 12 Secrets' author, Gail McMeekin's explanation of abundance,

When we are in touch with true abundance it permeates the fabric of our lives. It includes passion, both romantic and creative; positive relationships with people, animals, and nature; life experiences you crave and enjoy; personal and professional challenges and growth; and individual moments to savor. Abundance invites us to live the life we desire instead of settling for less.

Yes! Part of inviting abundance also includes getting rid of "scarcity thinking," releasing things we no longer use, no longer fit, or no longer love (or maybe never loved, but held onto out of guilt!) Christine Kane has a great post about the reasons we cling to clutter and how to let go. I recently took Jennifer Hofmann's office spa day workshop and one of the things she talked about asking yourself, with each item in your space, "do you love this and does it support you?" This is such a beautiful, gentle way of making choices for the stuff in your space.

I also loved what Gail McMeekin had to say about Positive Priorities,

...a life of Positive Priorities - life choices that express who we are and what we want for ourselves - is in itself a creating act....own up to what it is that truly nourishes you.

Indeed. So, for me and my de-cluttering escapade, that has meant getting rid of the cheap-o plasticy shoes I bought at Tar-jay that feel awful on my feet. It also means, replacing the office chair that is literally falling apart (anyone have any recommendations for an awesome office chair?) It also means, surrounding myself with things that bring me delight, burning delicious smelling candles (I love the ones from Zena Moon!), and wearing clothes that fit, feel great, and that I love.

What are the positive priorities in your life? What makes you come alive? For me, daily creative expression is huge. Laughter is essential, as is movement (getting to the gym, doing yoga, dancing in my pajamas, etc...). Other priorities include time to myself, connection with people I love, learning, and time in nature. I'm also learning that my physical environment is something I want to make a priority and bit by bit, I'm making changes to reflect that.


Hey, there's going to be a super fun celebration call with the 12 Secrets book club and I'm going to be on it with lots of inspiring women! You can sign up for that here.

Also, be sure to sign up for my free Intro to Virtual Art Picnics call right here!

17 Responses

Beautiful post, Leah! Thought I would include a quote from Sarah Ban Breathnach that fits in nicely:

“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present – love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure – the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.”

xo, Silky

I floated along reading this entry. It reminds me to pay attention to my atmosphere more and hints to me that so many of the things I have lingering around may just be weighing me down as well.
Time to clean up my writing area, get rid of the distractions and proclaim my abundances.
Thank you,

leah, this is a wonderful post. i am actually in the process of creating a new space for myself. it is the first time ever maybe that i have had a studio/office for myself. i am being quite intentional about what i add into the space. i am resisting the urge to have it “finished”, but allowing new things piece by piece be added.

regarding your “office chair” request, i bought a chair from pottery barn. it is actually a dining table chair, but i love it! no rollers on the legs, but it has a nice comfy seat and a straight back that suits me for long periods of time.

you and i have such similar things that make us come alive, it’s almost scary!!

wishing you continued abundance!!

In January I made my goal for this year to declutter. To release the things that do not feel good. They can find another home where they would be happy. I have been parting with things that belonged to my mother which is definitely a challenge since there is emotional attachment to the items. I like yoour idea of a half hour at a time. It would be much better than spending three hours going through her things and being totally drained the rest of the day.

This is a great chapter, one that I know I will keep going back to. In fact, I’ve blogged about it two days in a row!

I wish I could join you on your picnic but I’m busy at work during that time of day.

I’m jumping off right now to do some housework so I can make room for more creative play!

Have a great weekend.
{soul hugs}

yet another timely post, as i am planning on starting the organizing/decluttering project in my house (also known as spring cleaning) this afternoon.

i am a big believer that you get back what you give. choosing to believe the best of people, giving time and energy and ideas, appreciating the daily miracles and seeing abundance rather than lack is just a better way for me to live. life’s too short for negative energy.

Thank you for this post! It was exactly what I needed to read.

Hi Leah,

A very nice post here. I took Christine’s Great Big Dreams seminar a while back and the decluttering exercise was HUGE. It continues to be a challenge to keep decluttering but I’m slowly working through it all. Also love Jen’s question to ask when you declutter. Will have to try that.

It is amazing what happens when you remove what you don’t need and open to that which is most important and special.

Have a great, abundant weekend!


Maybe all that clutter results from trying to create a false sense of abundance. If we value most the things that really make us feel great, it’s easier to part with the little things.

Susan, I feel for you — had to clear out my mom’s stuff when she died and it is very difficult. My best advice is to keep only the things you truly love, and let friends and family have their choice of the rest as much as possible. My mom’s church was fortunately having a rummage sale shortly after she died, so much of her stuff went there and was picked up by her friends, both giving them a memento of her and donating to the church. Perhaps you could have a sort of estate sale for her friends, and have the proceeds go to a favorite charity? That way you even get her friends to help you with the process, maybe find ones willing to help you sort and organize for the sale, which gives you a more dispassionate person to work with. The things you truly love will let you know as you sort them out, and you’ll enjoy seeing her friends get things they love, too. And know it’s all for a good cause, as well.

For an office chair I’d suggest a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair – I have one at my computer desk and it is wonderful! Here’s a link to it: http://www.gaiam.com/product/id/1028418.do

There are also a series of exercises you can do on the chair. And no, you won’t ever fall off it :) take it from someone who once fell off the weight bench at the gym – I’ve never fallen off it.

But it is possible to slouch on it :) I can manage that.

This post is a great read. I mean really great in that I can not always express myself in writing or maybe I have never just sat down long enough to focus on writing what is going on in my psyche so reading something that synchronizes so well with me is always a pleasure.

If you experiment with the laws of attraction you might be surprised.

I am so here now too Leah. I have abundance and clutter slowly getting under control. I have been on my “mission organization” since the new year and it is getting very rewarding and empowering.

I achieved a specific set of goals up to this point over the course of a few years it has all been a success of exactly what I wanted, when I wanted it and the steps of how it was going to happen. (in hindsight I should have set even bigger goals :) My next set of goals or vision board needs to be my big breakthrough one. Occasionally there is a tweak of something holding me back and can not put my finger on it.

I really love that idea of setting a cleaning time. Also a good idea to do with PJ girl. I often wonder if I get overwhelmed because I am torn between cleaning/clutter control and creative time. Then I pick creative time and the clutter seams to get worse…or at least in my imagination because I chose to ignore it.

My “task chair” is a treat I did a few years back for myself and picked it out at officechairs.com based on my needs. Pharmacists have horrible ergonomics in the “cage” so in the hive I need to be “ergonomically correct”.

YAH!! Clearing rules! It takes a lot to get me started sometimes, but once I start, I just love love love talking with each item and really feeling the response. You are sooo right, it is a most gentle and loving way to tend to the space around me — which, really, come on, this space is an extension of me in many ways.

AND I had to say thank you for mentioning what you did about not agreeing with all the LOA stuff out there. This is such a good reminder that we have to engage in whatever we do. I get so frustrated with anything like LOA or The Work or Simple Abundance when they are presented as THE PRESCRIPTION to fixing everything. I so just can’t abide it. They are all great tools, but not prescriptions. I really loooove SARK for that reason specifically — she is so clear always that she is offering tools and ideas for experimenting, not prescriptions. It’s just a way of offering gently — without guilt and shame about “how to do it right” and such.

Anyway, lots and lots and lots of miracles to you, Leah!!
Looking forward to the 12 Secrets celebration, too!


Thank you for sharing so deeply. I loved it all.

Peace, Ananda

In high school, one of my marketing teachers taught me the power in goal setting. By my late teens, I started to apply the concepts of the 7th Habits, and over the years, I’ve developed my own system breaks down my goals into five major categories…health, relationships, creative, financial, and spiritual. I find these simple categories help me stay focused on my priorites across all facets of my life.

Really great post! Just what I need to read today…

agh, leah, your posts are always so thoughtful and perfect. i love your views on decluttering– i am also a clutter keeper, but it drives me crazy to have it there, too. i’d love to be able to let go of some of it- this post is helping prompt me to do so. :) and yes, abundance, YES!

This post is so full of abundance! I smiled as I read each word.

I’m always amazed at the connection between clutter and abundance but experienced that when we were working through Soul Coaching too. May your decluttering process make room for yumminess and joy!

I’m so excited that you’re sharing Virtual Art Picnics! I’m going right over to see if I can make the call!

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