About Cecilia

I am a Life & Clutter Coach and IST Practitioner. I LOVE helping writers, creatives and entrepreneurs just like YOU, make their homes and lives into supportive containers for their creative AND personal lives.  

Cecilia's sharp, crystalline insight has kept me on track in my creative life, my business life, and my emotional life for the past six years: she's a triple threat!

 - Sarah Selecky, author of Giller Prize nominated This Cake is for the Party


Live Life - The Fear Project Part 2

I Survived, Just Barely

First of all, I have to pat myself on the back.  I don't know about you, but as a perfectionist it is very challenging for me to acknowledge my successes without first pointing out all the mistakes I made along the way.  So, as hard as is it and as resistant as my arm is to help me out, this is me, patting myself on the back.

I have ticked a couple of fears off my list and they were a lot scarier than I ever expected.  On January 28th, after 6 years of facilitating groups at Sheena's Place and for other events, I held my very first solo/public workshop and 20 people showed up!  The workshop was great!  We laughed, we cried, we had confessions about clutter and I went home a happy camper.  I loved everyone who showed up and it felt good to stand up there, sharing the knowledge that I've been gathering over the years.

It was the days and weeks leading up to the workshop that were the challenge.  The words blood, sweat and tears keep on bubbling up to the surface and if I think back, all three played a part in my life this January.  Tears and sweat are familiar friends.  I am someone who cries and sweats easily and often, especially when I'm afraid of something.  I lie in bed, staring at the thin sliver of streetlamp that rests on my ceiling and whip myself into a frenzy that ends with me waking up my poor sweet partner so I can spill my latest fears and insecurities. 

It's the blood that surprised me.  On Monday January 25th, only days before the workshop, I found myself sitting in the waiting room at St. Joseph's Hospital, with a belly ache.  I'm very grateful that I'm not someone who has had to spend much time in hospitals.  In fact the last two times I visited an Emergency room were both for the fearful affliction of splinters, once when I was 8 and again when I was 20.  It's true, and the answer is yes, I grew up in a very old house.

So I sat for four hours in the place that no sick person should be.  I was cold and tired and of course, scared.  When I finally saw the doctor the answer was one I expected.  An ulcer.  I worried myself an ulcer.  I know that there were other factors at play, but I can't help but think that this was my body's reaction to stepping off the cliff into fearful territory.

By the time Thursday rolled around I was fine.  My belly and I had a little talk and it understands that a little fear is nothing to worry about.  It's hard to remember in the dark hours before facing my fears that fear is not the zombie following me up a stairway to nowhere.  Fear is the motivator, the elixer of life that propels me forward and through the hidden doorway behind which is the biggest funnest party I've ever seen.  And you know what, it's being thrown for me. 

And you know what else?  That party is waiting for you too, so walk up those stairs to nowhere, tip your hat to the zombie and walk on through.  The blood, sweat and tears are worth it.  I promise.


Live Life - The Fear Project

I'm Scared, in a Good Way!

At this very moment I'm scared.  I can feel the fear snaking around my belly and slithering up to my heart.  My teeth are clenched and my jaw is tight.  I feel grumpy and stubborn and the last place that I want to be is here, writing these words.  I could walk away, I could plop myself in front of the television and watch myself disappear into the night or I could stay and feed the forked tongue more of what it wants.

You see, I made a deal with myself that I would do this.  I made a deal with a list of 5 things that frighten me.  I made a deal with the Universe that I would check them off one by one.  I have witnesses who will hold me accountable.  This is no joke, this is an act of Will.

What would happen if you took a list of 5 things you were afraid of and did them all in quick succession?  How would you feel?  What would be different?  What would be possible?

I'm going to find out what happens and as part of me sits terrified, the other part can't wait.  The fear project has begun and what's so amazing about the process is that as I move forward, and as I talk about it, folks around me are starting to build their lists and they are starting to tick things off one by one.

Still, I doubt my list, I doubt that the items I chose are worthy of such a project.  I'm not sure if they scare me enough, but the feeling in my body tells me otherwise.  The shaking no of my head and the look of sour lemons on my face tell the truth.  I don't want to do it, but I will.

Who knows who I'll be on the other side?  I know from past experience that when I do things that scare me, I suddenly I find myself in a world full of opportunities and possibility.  If I can do five big things that scares me, then I can tackle the little things that scare me and the next time a big sucker comes along, I can take care of that one too.

For the record here's my current list.  New items may be added as I move along:
  1. Organize a workshop that I facilitate.
  2. Raise my rates.
  3. Revise, finish and submit a short story I wrote in the summer.
  4. Write an article and/or secure a column with a magazine.
  5. Take Stand-Up 101 and perform in front of an audience.
#1 & #2 are mostly taken care of by sending out this newsletter.  I had a meeting with my writing teacher Sarah Selecky yesterday about #3 and I'm signing up for #5 on today.  That just leaves #4...  Eek!

I hope that you'll join me on my mission.  If you're having a hard time coming up with your list of fears, ask the people who know you the best what should be on there, they won't let you down.  The fear project has begun and I dare you to be a part of it.  Make that a Triple Dog Dare, those are pretty hard to refuse.

Good luck!  I will give you a full report in January.  In the meantime, have fun with fear and as always, let me know how it goes. 

This is me, diving in!


Video Blog #7 - Paint with Intention


Live Life - Play or Pause

My life on pause...

Recently, some unfortunate events caused my life to screech to a grinding halt. Plans were thrown out the window, appointments rescheduled and emotions were set loose to mess up all the neat corners of my mind and my home.

Emails went unanswered, ringing phones stayed cradled and the stairs and hallways were fighting to claim bragging rights to the biggest ball of dog hair. For a week or two, my regularly scheduled programming was put on pause and the scripts needed to be re-written.

The questions is, how to press play again? Life can't stop for ever. When I stop, I get stuck and the longer I'm stuck the harder it feels to get going again. I had started to procrastinate life.

I had to laugh, because I've been facilitating a group at Sheena's Place on Clutter and Perfectionism and one of the trademarks of perfectionism, that leads to procrastination, is "All or Nothing Thinking". You know that saying, you teach what you need to learn? This has always been very true for me.

All or nothing thinking can easily get us into big trouble. This is the line of thinking that says "If I could only take 3 weeks off work, no make that a month, I could clear all my clutter." All or nothing thinking says that we have to do it all, right now, perfectly OR not at all.

Relating this to life, I guess I felt like I had to figure it all out, write the perfect new script and jump into life all the way. Pretend like nothing had happened. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't find a pen, let alone write a new script, so I stayed stuck.

I realized that the only way I was going to get unstuck was by pressing play, but I would do it slowly, by doing little things, one at a time. Get out of bed. Take the dog for a walk, even if you don't want to. Wash one sink full of dishes. Dust one shelf. Make one phone call. Cook one meal.

I remembered the things that were familiar and healing. I went to one yoga class and one night of dancing. I also decided that I needed to introduce things that were new so my partner and I explored a new conservation area and walked on new paths.

This past week, I've been alternating between play and pause, but the more I press play, the easier it is and the shorter the pause. What's been important for me to remember is that something is everything. Taking one step, making one gesture, moving one inch is enough to get life moving again. It doesn't have to be the best step and I don't need to know what my ultimate destination is, but as long as I'm moving, it's perfect.


Video Blog #6 - Intention vs. Expectation

Video Blog filmed and edited by James Scobbie at Raintree Photography. www.raintreephotography.com