Maribeth Wilder Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

The Great Declutter Project of 2014

I have a walk out basement that is finished except for the laundry/storage room.  It’s always been a bit cluttered; you know that space that just seems to acquire anything without a permanent home.  It got really out of control when we moved my dad in along with 2/3 of my parents’ belongings.  In January, I was really appalled when I walked in and noticed that my guys had just tossed all the boxes of Christmas decorations (including the tree) on top of all the junk.   I was about to do some screaming when I realized they had done this because they couldn’t get to the closet that houses the Christmas stuff.  How they got it out in the first place is the real mystery here.  I was looking at 250 square feet of a mess that the T.V. show Hoarders would have loved–quite literally, stuff was piled on top of stuff from floor to ceiling–and that mess had begun to trickle through my entire house.

It’s taken six months but the room is FINALLY decluttered.  Can you hear the relief in my words?  There’s room to DANCE  now and my son and I have had a few dart games in there and holy shillelagh!!  With the energy change from this completed project, I couldn’t stop there . . . I’ve since gone through 97% of the house.  I feel as though I have my home back after three years of sharing it with my parents’ stuff and it feels so good!

Going through your loved ones things is a tough job.  I got stuck doing it by myself for both my mom and then my dad.  Lots of things were boxed up and stored in that laundry room because we were in a hurry after Mom died and I simply couldn’t decide what to do with most of it in that raw state of grief.  Three years later, I’m not so attached to bowls and artwork and . . . well, crap, my mother owned.  I’m still clinging to things she made like crocheted afghans and embroidered linens plus several photo albums I still need to go through but otherwise, I was able to let go of almost everything else  knowing I’m letting go of STUFF, not my mother.

Once my parents’ things were gone, it was time to go through our own junk.  I have to say, this resulted in some unexpected and surprising finds – some not so nice and others were totally delightful.  Here’s a few:

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Baby Mari

This is yours truly.  On the back of this picture, my mom had written, “Mari, dad carried this in his wallet for years, that’s why it looks so worn out. That smile is just like Eric’s.”  🙂  Eric is my oldest surviving son.  I’m guessing Mom sent this to me after he was born, that baby that took years to get and the whole family was a little gaga over him.  I love that shiny bright look in my eyes.

Eric and Chad

Eric and Chad

Another classic photo find.  These are my babies at grandma’s.  On the back, Mom had written, “Look at that monkey go!”  I have no idea what Eric may have done to Chad to get him to climb up the chair like that but it looks hilarious.  These boys are now 27 and 25 1/2!  I found so many fab photos that were just tossed into this room.  My winter project will be to sort them all out and do something with them.  No more crazy photos littering up the joint!

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Gone With the Wind

I found a very old copy of Gone With the Wind.  I remember my husband buying this for me in a used bookstore many years ago.  He wrote this note on the flyleaf, “Mari, with lots of love for being a great sport.” I have no idea what I was a great sport about! Note the date – just over 20 years ago. Curious!  When I asked him about it he said, “Do not remember ol sport.”  I think he was channeling his inner Sean Connery.

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Best Find of the Great Declutter Project 2014

This was probably the best find of all, at least in my husband’s opinion.  It looks like a corvette but it’s really a decanter!  It was holding about a pint of SEALED whiskey.  This was a gift to my husband from his mom in 1987!!  27 year old Jim Beam.  We spent about an hour on google trying to see if whiskey like this could spoil but everything we found said if the seal wasn’t broken, it was probably fine.  Greg opened it, smelled it, poured a little into a glass and examined it for yuck . . . seemed okay so he swallowed it and waited 24 hours to see if he’d be sick.  All was well so he nursed this juice for a week.  He’s still alive so this gets the best find of the Great Declutter Project of 2014!

It was a toss up for worst find between old horrible cat food in the cabinet next to the washer (the cat died in 2008!) and this gem:

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Greetings from the Hole in the Wall gang

We have four large bookcases in our living room with a zillion baskets on the tops.  The baskets were filthy so I took them all down to wash and possibly chuck some when I found this lovely hole in the wall/ceiling.  There was something wonky with the gutter right there and well, at some point the water leaked through and caused this damage.  We have no idea when it happened as this was totally dried out.  Oy vey!  Mr. Fix-it got right to it and now we need to repaint the living room (needed it anyway) but the crazy hole is gone.  He fixed this right after he fixed the dining room light I broke with overzealous cleaning:

OVERZEALOUS CLEANING GETS SLOVENLY HOUSEWIFE IN TROUBLE. Dateline Nevada, July 30, 2014 . . . . As amateur housekeeper, despite being married 28+ years, Maribeth Doerr removed the 4 light bulbs and 4 globes of her dining room chandelier (Note: chandelier is stretching the description. It’s really a hanging light with nothing chandy about it.) The fixture including chainlink hanger were dutifully cleaned to a sparkling state (Note: sparkling only in low light on a cloudy day). When she attempted to replace the globes, it became obvious that one socket had been stripped during the removal process and now hung rather low compared to the other globes/bulbs. Gregory Doerr, said husband of the amateur unhousekeeping wife, will now have to remove the entire fixture after shutting off the electricity to that room and attempt a repair. Considering it’s Hot August Nights week in Reno where Mr. Doerr is himself a fixture with his 1965 Pontiac GTO, the repair will have to wait. Mr. Doerr was overheard muttering to his German Shepherd that this is what happens when ze wife attempts to clean where no one has cleaned before.

Between the books, VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs and cassettes we’ve donated to the libary plus bags of coats, jackets, and games given to Goodwill, we have empty shelves for the first time! And I LOVE that. The flow of energy around the house is so free now. The next step is the BIG CLEAN which will keep me busy for another six months but as much as I resist housework, the effort and result just feels so good – finally. My house is my own again.

If you have boxes of stuff from your loved ones and you don’t know what to do with it, my best advice is give yourself some time.  I really needed to wait before I got rid of everything; it was too heart-wrenching to do it all at once.  For me, I finally reached a point where the clutter bothered me so much, it was painful to not go through the stuff.  Once I got started and could FEEL the results (besides see the results), I was very motivated to keep going.  Doing it in spurts seemed to work for awhile so do what feels right for you.  And if you have to go it alone like I did, be really kind to yourself while you’re doing this work.  Play your favorite music and give yourself permission to cry or feel however you feel.  This isn’t easy work!

And now . . . I’m going to go dance through my empty laundry room, throw a few darts, and then tackle the disgusting spots in my dining room carpet.

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WriteGrief has launched and other less interesting tidbits

Can you believe January is nearly over already?!  It’s raining as I write this, I hear a plunk plunk plunk as it leaks through the ceiling into my office.  But it’s delicious moisture that my area needs so badly to avoid a more serious drought this Summer.  It’s also the new moon and so I’m happy to share something new with you . . .

WriteGrief has launched following WriteGrief for the holidays.  If you enjoy writing or exploring your innermost self and you’re grieving, you’ll find WriteGrief helpful (although, it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, and I know some of you will call me names with some of these prompts 🙂  It’s okay; I won’t get offended!).  Even if you don’t enjoy writing, these prompts can work for you because you don’t have to be a writer to do them.  In fact, it works  best when you’re NOT fussy about editing and spelling and grammar and all the rules I’ve just abused this sentence.  Letting go and digging deep without regard to grammar or any other rules can make a cloudy merky grief filled mind find clarity as you see your words in black and white.  It’s been a lifesaver for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.

So without further ado, here are the details for WriteGrief over on my Permission to Grieve site:  http://www.permissiontogrieve.com/?page_id=92  I am SO excited about finally offering this to you.

What else am I up to?  I am a yoga teacher in training!  Can you believe it – and at my age??  Some days I think I’m totally nuts.  It is my dream, though, to teach yoga to grieving folks and those struggling with whatever it is they’re struggling with.  Grief has such physical symptoms that we don’t realize; we tend to furl up into ourselves hiding our hearts from further pain.  Yoga and movement can help us unfurl, unstress, and connect with your hearts again.  It’s a gentle opening and that is so very healing.  We can learn to breathe with our entire lungs again instead of taking sips of air with the very tops of our lungs.  As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about this and I can’t wait to bring it to you.

Last but not least, a beautiful share from David Gilmour as he sings Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 . . . Enjoy

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WriteGrief for the Holidays

WriteGrief for the Holidays is over until November 2014.

In the meantime, try WriteGrief weekly prompts. Details here.

Announcing a new offering – Write Grief for the Holidays: Weekly prompts encouraging a self-exploration of healing and grief.

Grief can often leave us numb, and it can be hard to articulate the simplest things. You may feel that there are no words to express your feelings, that it’s all just a big knot in your throat or your heart and everything is stuck there. Writing can be an outlet for these knotted up feelings, a way of unraveling the stuck. I have often found writing to be a new way of seeing my thoughts in black and white which brings more clarity to the muddy chaos of grief.

Once a week, you’ll receive a writing prompt which you are free to use – or not. Write a lot, or write a little. Share it – or not. It’s all up to you. We will have a private Facebook group where you can share your writing if you wish. Here’s a sample prompt:

“If I could sit across the porch from God, I’d thank Him for lending me you.” ~Flavia
Prompt: If you could sit across the porch from your loved one, what would you thank him/her for? For 5 minutes, write a list of what you’d like to thank your loved one for. After 5 minutes, circle a few items on the list that really grab your attention. Then spend however long you like writing a letter to your loved one focusing on one or two of those items you circled.

Our first session will run from November 4 through December 29 – 8 prompts with a focus on the holidays. The cost for these 8 weeks is $25. You can join anytime before the end of 2013; previous prompts will be sent to you so that you receive the full 8 weeks of prompts.

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If you would like to schedule a one-on-one coaching call to discuss anything that comes up during your writing, the discounted price for WriteGrief participants is $50 for a 45 minute session.

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In January, WriteGrief will continue with weekly prompts available as a month-to-month-subscription. Details here!

Questions?

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A Gift for the Weekend

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This was taken at a fabulous restaurant called Nepenthe in Big Sur, California.  We were eating outside facing this view in early evening.  There is a blue jay in the tree and dolphins were splashing around in the Pacific.  About as close to paradise as you can be!  When I’m feeling stressed, which happens a lot these days, I take a deep breath and pull in this image.  It never fails to helps me feel better.

What do you do to help bring a sense of calmness to your stressed out self?  I’d love to hear your methods.

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Looking for Beauty

December has always been a difficult month for me.  I talk about it a bit in this video.  This year, we have the added shock and horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings.  With so much ugliness and sorrow, it’s very easy to forget there IS, there truly is, beauty in this world.

Because I’ve been sucked up into a pity party pit lately because of my health (and yada yada yada), I went on a mission to find ways to feed my soul beyond my usual morning meditation and afternoon yoga.   Music tends to work wonders so blasting the tunes while I’ve been painting and scraping in my future ZenRoom helps a lot.  But I really needed some visual beauty – and then I found this:

If you actually watched that (and listened), you might have a new view of “Oh my God!”  Beautiful, isn’t it?  Worthy of a deep healing sigh . . .  If you skipped over the video, give yourself a 9+ minute gift and enjoy it.  I KNOW you have 9 minutes to do it and it’s worth it, trust me.

From my heart to yours, blessings this holiday season.   And if you have an extra minute, tell me where you find the beauty in this challenging world.

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