Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

I don’t usually write about what I disagree with, but I think it’s time for me to express my opposition to cultural metaphors and myths that feed the growing epidemic of stress, anxiety, powerlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that so many people are experiencing today.

war of-art-steven-pressfield

What better place to start resisting than with a best-selling book that has 309 5-star reviews and declares something as untrue as  “Resistance is Evil?” 

If resistance is characterized as evil…no wonder our culture destroys the confidence and self-respect of anyone who dares to be different, express dissenting ideas, or disagree with dominant values.  

Today, I’ve decided to resist openly and honestly. I’m not going to be “nice” or “quiet” just to not make waves.  Our cultural obsession with the idea that self-control and battling one’s inner resistance is the only way to “break through” procrastination or creative blocks must be challenged.   Continue reading

Agilizing Your Mind: Unlearning Clutter Producing Thinking Habits

I've been blogging almost 10 years now...and it's time to do some weeding out. What is posts are still relevant and worthy of my reader's time?  What needs updating? What can I delete?
I found this article I wrote in 2007 and found it stands the test of time and is actually a great example of how mental agility works. Getting unstuck and becoming agile with my thinking habits was the most important part of enabling me to heal my traumatic emotional attachment to things and be able to release the things that were cluttering up my home and heart and making it difficult for me to function with ease.  My things no longer have so much power over me.  I can enjoy them and am willing to take care of them and then just as easily, I can let them go when I no longer need them.  I hope you find my story inspirational in your journey to making peace with your things.
Resolving traumatized attachments and indecision about the things taking up space in my heart, mind, home and office spaces is among the most liberating and educational experiences I've ever had.

 

Things I had to UnLearn so I could Let Go of My Clutter


by Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed. Agile Lifestyle Design Coach, ADHD Coach, Organizing Coach, Author Chronic Disorganization Specialist


Like many of you reading this, I have had a tendency to hold on to things long past their useful life as far back as I can remember.  Especially sentimental things, books, clothes, furniture, gadgets and paper.  Okay, pretty much everything.  When I was 30 years old, I still had most (95%) of the clothes I had ever owned and I had over 1000 books.  Out of an un-questioned need to document my life, I was accumulating photo albums and souvenirs at an alarming rate. I had outgrown all my storage and was using any available surfaces and spaces to hold it all. In my journey to let go of the massive clutter I’d collected I had to “unlearn” lots of habits and beliefs that caused me so much stress and anxiety.

Here are a few beliefs I had to unlearn [2102 Note:  I now call this "relinquishing or updating default settings] so that I could experience the freedom of living with less stuff – or better yet, just enough stuff to function with ease.


UNLEARNING my need to take responsibility for the ultimate fate of the things I own – as if they were people and had feelings.


 

This is what I now think of as the “earth mother” syndrome.  I couldn’t let go of things unless I knew they were going to good homes where someone really needed them. I couldn’t throw anything away that was still in usable condition. (Kind of like leftovers. I also used to not be able to throw away food unless it was already rotten.)  Once things were destroyed, it was a lot easier to put them in the trash. 

I even kept a lot of broken things thinking I would fix them someday.  I have to admit, I still have broken watches and necklaces in my jewelry box but I’m working on it. : )

I unlearned this belief to some extent by realizing that my approach was basically turning my home into a junkyard full of rotting stuff.

 

Why was I doing this to myself? That’s a whole other story I won’t get into here, but I will say that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) had much to do with it.

 

I started learning how to donate and began to give things way like a pro.  But there are things you can’t donate, so I had to make peace with the fact that sometimes I have to throw away things that still “work” simply because no one wants them and I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for the fate of all things. 

 

Things do not have feelings and ultimately, everything has to return to the dust it came from. It’s only a question of when. My updated belief?  Some things have to be sacrificed so that I can have a home I love being in. My well-being is, for the first time in my life, worth more to me than keeping stuff just so the STUFF could have a good life.  Seriously, I would never have said things were more valuable than a human life, but i was treating myself like they were. 

 


UNLEARNING my fear that if I got rid of things I would never be able to replace them.


This one was really hard to get over because some things truly can’t be replaced.  The solution for me was to question the fear itself.  I had to ask “So What?”

My time and energy can’t be replaced either!

 

So what if an item can’t be replaced?  Does that mean I won’t be able to go on living?  Will my life be irreversibly damaged?  I will have to get used to the fact that the item is no longer available. I have done it before. I will have to do it when I die. I will have to learn to fulfill the need for that item in some other way or just learn to live without it. It can be done.

 

It’s amazing how we as human beings can adapt to whatever life throws our way. I had to unlearn this self-limiting belief that because something can’t be replaced it’s importance is magnified. By practicing this thought process over and over, like an exercised muscle, I’ve gotten so much stronger. I still have thoughts like this from time to time, but now I can stop myself, course correct, and make better decisions. Some items I keep, but not if they are detracting from the quality of me life.

 


UNLEARNING my feeling that things I owned were a part of me and if I let them go I was letting go of all the hopes, dreams and feelings I had when I was still using those things. 


It may sound weird but I honestly felt that by letting go of a book I had read, I would also be letting go of the experience of reading the book and in some weird way, what I learned from the book would be gone too.  In effect, I’d be losing a part of my identity.

 

In my defense, I actually do have a tendency to forget the past.  My personality type is ENTP – creative, sentimental, interested in many things, spontaneous and future-oriented.  A personality type shared by many people who are disorganized and have a lot of clutter

 

I’m always thinking ahead, and tend to take a long time to recall trivial things like the names of movies I’ve seen and titles of books I’ve read.

 

Keeping things was my way of remembering what I’d done and staying connected to who I used to be.  I was an idealistic teenager of the 70’s who wanted to make the world a better place and didn’t want to become part of the bureaucratic machine. I swore I would never lose touch with that part of myself. I didn’t want to grow up to be just another cog in the wheel of the machine. 

 

What I finally realized was that this part of me was so strong I could never forget it. It IS me. I will always be me, stuff or no stuff. After letting go of so much of the stuff, I realized that I will always remember the truly important things that shaped me and make me who I am today. Whatever I do forget was probably not important anyway. 

 

The BIg AHA Paradox

 

Oddly enough, I came to realize that keeping too much stuff actually makes it harder to remember things.

 

How can you distill your experience when you are immersed in so much stuff that the important lessons can’t be noticed? 

 

Eventually, I adopted a kind of “So What?” attitude toward forgetting. We are designed to forget things for a reason.  Let’s face it, why do we have to remember every detail of our past?  Who really cares?  What’s really important to remember about the life you’ve lived anyway? 

 

Is it really important what the date of that trip to Disney World was?  Or is it more important to become the best person you can be and make a contribution to society and the world?   

 

Clarifying my values and looking at my things with a fresh perspective required a lot of “unlearning” my need to document every aspect of my life.  Not to say that I don’t still take photographs or acquire souvenirs when I travel, etc. But I do take far fewer photos, and sometimes my only souvenir of a trip is a postcard.  I no longer spend excessive time and energy creating a museum of my life.

 

Instead I use that time to learn, write, travel and help other people. I relax more and enjoy my vacations more instead of worrying about documenting them so much. If I can contribute more to the world by writing. Isn’t that a much more valuable legacy than a photo album or a collection of stuff? 

I hope you find inspiration in questioning your own attachment to things that clutter up your space and drain your time and energy.

Arianesignature

__________________________

© 2007-2009 Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed, Life Coach, ADHD Coach, Author & Optimal Performance Therapist offers hope to creative, gifted, neurodiverse people, people with ADHD and anyone whose quality of life is impaired by  chronic disorganization and time management challenges.  She guides people in clarifying priorities, prioritizing, making difficult decisions and learning the tools needed to heal and agilize their relationship with clutter, change habits, and regain self-confidence. She is the author of a best-selling home office organizing book “Neat & Simple Guide to Organizing Your Office” on Amazon, and the popular organizing and decluttering blogNeat & Simple Living. She offers a free Agile Life Design toolkit at www.ArianeBenefit.com

 

Organize Your Time the AgiliZen Way: Agile Time Management Strategies – VIDEO

Welcome to life in perpetual beta. There’s almost no time to plan. Nothing seems to follow the plan even if you do have one. Conventional time management strategies are inadequate to the challenges of the digital age.

Agile Time Management Strategies ClassAgile Time Management™ offers a whole new organic approach to juggling the 8 Dances of Life™ that works for creatives, ADHD, gifted, neurodiverse and anyone who desires a simpler, more enjoyable and flexible way to organize their lives.

[br] Session Description:  Organizing Your Time – The AgiliZen Way

Join me and discover:

  • The benefits of the Agile way of orchestrating the 8 Dances of Life™
  • Your time management style and how it affects the way you get things done
  • How to design Agile goals that inspire you
  • How to cultivate habits that reduce stress and overwhelm
  • Powerful Mantras to inspire putting Agile into Action
 

 This class is over.  Here’s a Video Clip from the class.

 

Agile Time Management by Ariane Benefit, Life Coach, ADHD Coach, Gifted Adults, Creative Personality

WHEN
Thursday, January 17, 2013

7:00 PM Eastern
4:00 PM Pacific

INCLUDES Downloadable MP3 and PDF of slides so if you can’t attend live you can still attend!

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED 

 

 Organize Your Time: Agile Time Management Strategies – Featured in the “Organize Your Life” Webinar Series

If getting organized is one of your new year’s intentions, join me and other experts  including Judith Kohlberg, Ramona Creel, Elizabeth Hagan, Allison Carter!

 Allison organizes this annual event to celebrate Get Organized month with a series of high quality learning experiences to help you focus, plan, and organize your time, space, and information. CEU credits are available for professional organizers. 

 

 

 


Designing Stress Out of Your Holidays – the Agile Way

 

Designing Stress Out of Your Holidays
Presented October 18, 2012
Ariane Benefit is interviewed by Michelle Barone – a special event for the “Finding Your Way” Home Schooling Community 

Note: We talk a little about homeschooling in the beginning but then the rest of the class is relevant to everyone and particularly to parents of neurodiverse kids.  Hope you find something helpful in this for you! 

holiday-stress-adhd-coach-ariane-benefit

Highlights of Topics Covered

  • Hidden Sources of Holiday Stress
  • Dealing with Stress and Anxiety Triggers
  • Tips for simplifying gift-giving, card sending
  • Managing expectations
  • Setting boundaries gracefully
  • Designing disappointment out of the way we make plans
  • Helping ADHD, Asperger’s, Neurodiverse Kids reduce stress
  • Negotiating happy compromises to get the rewards of both being spontaneous and planning ahead

Would love to hear your favorite tips from this class – just post a comment below. Thank you!  

  • Which of these tips might you try this year?  
  • How are you reducing stress and simplifying your holidays this year?

ARTICLE: Get my  holiday organizing tips in writing!

20 Neat & Simple ways to Simplify Holiday Decorating,
Gift Giving, Card Sending, and Entertaining


  Listen & View the Slides below.  

 

Related Articles from my Neat & Simple Living Blog


  MORE RESOURCES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Organize Your Time: Agile Time Management™  Unconventional Strategies for Thriving in the Age of Perpetual Beta

Organize Your Time: Agile Time Management Strategies for Thriving in the Age of Perpetual Beta

 

5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit with Agile Thinking Habits

 

Cultivating the power of habit is the ultimate productivity tool.  Learning how to shape your habits is like learning how to fly a plane — once you know how, you can go just about anywhere you want to go — much faster.   But first, you’ve got to learn how to fly the plane.

The thing about habits is they have different characteristics and ingredients.
 How you cultivate them requires understanding the features of the habit and using strategies and tools appropriate to that habit.  For example, habits range from simple to extremely complex. Some are easier to change than others.

Some habits are composed of many smaller habits and so can’t be changed all at once. Some were learned on purpose, most are learned by accident, without you even being aware you are learning them. Most habits can’t be learned on a time schedule. In fact, putting time pressure on yourself to learn them actually makes them harder to learn.  That old adage that it takes 21 days to establish a habit is actually a myth. Continue reading

ADHD Expo October 2012 Appearance

I’m appearing at the  ADHD EXPO Online 2012 along with 25 other ADHD Experts, Coaches and Doctors!

October 14 – 20, 2012

I’ll be sharing some of my best life design strategies for juggling the “8 Dances of Life” PLUS special bonus gifts at the ADHD Awareness Expo.
[br]The Expo is a great place to find support to understand and treat ADD / ADHD. Whether you or a loved one have ADHD, or think you might, you will get lots of great ideas from 25 of the leading ADHD experts, doctors, therapists, educators and coaches in the world. 
[br]Speakers are appearing by video to share their best tips and strategies.
You will also be able to connect with other attendees 24/7 in the Chat Room.  The Expo Exhibits will feature additional complimentary goodies offered by the guest speakers.
 
HOW TO REGISTER


Sign up at www.adhdexpo.com/

Just a few of the leading experts you’ll see…

  • Sari Solden
  • Nancy Ratey
  • Dr. Charles Parker
  • Melissa Orlov
  • Dr. Roberto Olivardia
  • Dr. Rory Stern 
  • Jennifer Koretsky 
  • Dr. Ari Tuckman
  • Dr. Stephanie Sarkis
  • Terry Matlen
  • David Giwerc 

Look forward to connecting with you there!
I’ll be in the chat room as often as I can be.  Look for me there!

Want to send me a note or comment about my video appearance? Comment Below. 

Want to Learn More Now?

View Video by Neurologist Dr. Sam Goldstein on Diagnosing and Treating ADHD, Autism, and Attention Difficulties

      Check out recordings of and clips from some of my past classes on Agile Life Design, ADHD, Organizing, Time Management, and more.

Dr. Sam Goldstein Video on Diagnosing and Treating ADHD, Autism, Attention Difficulties

I’m so grateful to You Tube for making it possible for us to see this eminent and enlightened neurologist speaking at a Psychotherapy conference in Romania!  And for FREE!  The full lecture is available below.  Watch it while you can.  My experience is that many of the best videos on You Tube get removed after a short time.  

A couple of my favorite quotes:

 “Pills do not substitute for Skills”

In my life and with my clients, ADHD meds make it easier to learn skills and to USE the skills we have learned to develop new habits.

Continue reading

Chronic Procrastination and Resistance: How we Learn to Procrastinate.

 How do we learn to procrastinate?

We are waging a cultural war against procrastination and inner resistance as if they were evil itself. I believe it is time to STOP the War and START negotiating a peace treaty with yourself.  Persistent patterns of procrastination are the outer manifestations or signposts of inner conflict and resistance.  

Procrastination is the result you get when one part of you is trying to get the rest of you to do something using tactics like: ordering, coercing, pressuring, tricking, or even bullying yourself to do it.

Resistance can only exist when there is some kind of pushing, pressure, or force trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do, or aren’t ready or willing to do at this time for some reason.    Continue reading

Agile Life Lessons: Dealing with Setbacks

Agile Life Lesson: Bouncing Back is the Key to Self-Confidence

There will ALWAYS be setbacks. Our greatest accomplishments are in the moments of bouncing back.  Our self-confidence is the trust that no matter how frustrating and horrifying our challenges may be, we can and will bounce back and rise to the occasion with a new design or strategy.  It’s the only thing in life we can count on really.



Agile Life Lesson: Acknowledging Yourself is the Key to Bouncing Back

Every day that you keep trying and making steps, even though they are so microscopic it can feel excruciating, YOU are worth acknowledging.

Those teeny tiny steps are what add up to the bigger accomplishment. Acknowledge yourself and they will keep adding up.

Self-acknowledgement is the difference between stuckness and progress. It’s what puts the gas back in your tank.


 RELATED POSTS

 Chronic Procrastination and Resistance: The Truth Behind Why we Procrastinate

 Top 10 Mistakes People Make when Trying to Change Behavior

 

Top 10 Mistakes People Make when Trying to Change Behavior

Great presentation. Fits very nicely with my AgiliZen approach to designing and changing habits. I’m working on my own version of this to add 10 more to this list.  : ) 
 

Notes

This is NOT a recipe for how to end a compulsive or hard to stop habit like eating sugar, interrupting people, etc. Strategizing how to change unwanted habits is much more complex and custom to the individual. 

If you are “neurodiverse” or tend to be impulsive, compulsive or suffer from chronic procrastination, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. this information is helpful, but not “everything” you need to know to start a new habit. In particular, learning more about trigger design, self-acknowledgement, and iterative systems design so that you can design your environments to support the changes you want to make is crucial.


RELATED POSTS

5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit   - The Agile Way : )  

SMART Agile Goal Setting 

The 8 Habits of Agility 

Mythbusting: Are New Habits Established in 21 Days? (from my NEAT & SIMPLE LIVING blog)

Is it worth trying to change your habits? If so, how can you make it easier to change habits? (NEAT & SIMPLE LIVING)

How we learn to Procrastinate

 Agile Life Lessons:  Dealing with Setbacks