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


Feng Shui - It's Alive!!

Your stuff is talking to you.  Can you  hear it?

It may sound a little creepy, but everything that surrounds you is alive and is talking to you all the time.  That's right!  I'm talking about the clothes on your body, the pictures on your walls, the books on your book shelf, that pile of magazines in the corner.  Even your garbage can is talking to you.  This is one of the main principles in Feng Shui.

Can you hear what your stuff is trying to tell you?  Here's a hint...  Not only is everything around you alive, but everything that belongs to you is connected to your energy.  If you can imagine, there are little energetic threads connecting us to all of our stuff, and those threads are constantly sending little messages to us.  Some messages are louder than others.  What's so cool about Feng Shui is this idea that when you work with your stuff, you are actually working with yourself.

Take a wedding ring for example. Out of context a wedding ring is a small circular piece of metal.  To the person who is wearing it, however, this small circular piece of metal contains a thousand stories about the person who gave it to them.  Not just about the moment when the ring was placed on their finger but all of the moments leading up to that one and all the moments after. 

Now consider a wedding ring that no longer lives on your finger, but lives in a drawer in your dresser.  What is that little piece of metal telling you?  How many stories are attached to it?  How does it make you feel?

Not all of our stuff has a voice as loud as a wedding ring but you would be surprised.  Take a moment to think about your closet.  Imagine yourself standing in front of your open closet door and looking at what's there.  If you like, I invite you to get up and look at your physical closet.  What's living in there?  I imagine there are some clothes.  Take a moment to check in and see how the things in your closet make you feel.  How loud are the voices coming from the hangers?  What are they telling you about yourself? 

It's not so bad now, but I used to have a closet full of clothes that were yelling at me.  Telling me that I was fat, that I should lose weight, that it's no wonder nobody loves me, etc... etc...  I finally got tired of being yelled at and let go of all the clothes that didn't fit me any more.  I wanted to be able to look in my closet and only see clothes that I liked and that I could wear at that moment. 

What happened next was really miraculous.  After years of steadily gaining weight, I slowly but surely began to lose weight.  I didn't go on a diet, I wasn't consciously trying to lose weight, but slowly my body began to change.  I have no doubt that it was connected to me taking that long hard look at my closet and letting go.

Try it for yourself and see how it makes you feel.  If you're not ready to let go of the clothes, at least put them in the basement or in a separate container. 

I invite you to start a conversation with your stuff.  See what it's telling you about who you think you are and who you would like to be.  Here are a few questions you can ask your stuff

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I use it?
  3. How does it make me feel?
  4. Do I love it now, or did I used to love it?
  5. Does it represent who I am now, or who I used to be?
  6. Where did it come from and who gave it to me?
  7. What does this remind me of?

Have fun talking to your stuff and let me know how it goes by commenting below or dropping me a line at spaceforlife@gmail.com.


Make a Date!

If you are having trouble getting stuff done, you might just need some support.  Read on..

For example.  I've been trying to deal with some filing I had hanging around for...  let's see now... ok, I'll be honest...

 *deep breath*


There, I said it!

 Anyhow, obviously I've been having some trouble getting to this pile of filing and what I really needed was a little support and motivation.  I had tried scheduling time to do it in my palm pilot, but the task remained unchecked.  I tried making a commitment to myself to deal with it, but obviously it didn't work.

So this is what I did instead.  I made a date! 

This is a fantastic tool that I learned from my friend and mentor Elizabeth Verwey, small office mentor and creator of The Mentor's Circle.

The Miraculous Motivational Date!

 Step 1 - Find a Buddy

Find a friend or colleague who could also use some support.  I like to do this with other folks who are self-employed, but I find that most everybody has some tasks that they've been putting off, whether it's doing their taxes, cleaning their bedroom or setting up a website.

Step 2 - Make a Date

Choose  a date and a time to work together.  Choose a time of day that is good for you energy wise and set aside 2-3 hours.  For example, this Wednesday I had a date from 10am to 12noon.

Step 3 - Choose your Task

This is a great opportunity to tackle what Elizabeth calls the "yucky jobs".  These are the jobs you've been putting off forever, like making that phone call, filing your taxes, getting started on your website, cleaning your office etc...

Step 4 - Make the call - Make it quick

At the beginning of the first hour, call your buddy  and check in for two minutes each.  During this check in you will tell your buddy what you're going to accomplish in the first hour and your buddy will do the same.  This is not the time for a chat, you're just calling to say "I'm going to clean the bathroom now!" or "I'm going to finish editing my essay!".

Step 5 - Call back

At the beginning of the next hour call your buddy back to check in.  Celebrate your accomplishments from the first hour and set your goals for the second hour.

Step 6 - Repeat as needed

Depending on how many hours you have set aside, repeat steps 3 - 5 as needed.  I encourage you to choose a different task or set of tasks for each hour.  If you are working on one larger project for the whole time, break it up into managable and distinctive chunks.


I can't tell you how much I love this tool!! 

I actually managed to get this blog up in only an hour using this tool.  If I hadn't had the clear time structure and support, I could have spent days trying to choose the "perfect" layout and the "perfect" colours.  Instead, I just stuck to the time I had and put what you see here up on the web.   

I also finally got that filing done, this morning in fact.  Phew, it feels good!

Try if for yourself and let me know how it goes in the comments below.



p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  Just pop on over here to join!  All the cool kids are doing it!


Live Life - Motivation

My Bathroom - The Great Teacher

Sit down and gather close, I would like to tell you a story about my bathroom. 

One day, while cleaning my bathroom I decided that this time, I would really get it clean.  Being an elderly bathroom, clean is a relative term.  There is some age old dirt in this bathroom that no amount of scrubbing and nasty chemicals can get clean. 

Never the less, I let my perfectionist loose and attempted to clean the uncleanable.  I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned for an entire afternoon and still it wasn't quite clean enough. 

I had a brain flash!  What I really needed to do was PAINT the bathroom, that would do the trick.  So, I spent the following day painting my bathroom from head to toe.  Walls, ceiling, cupboards, door and windowsill.  I had now spent two days performing a chore, that usually takes no more than half an hour. 

What's interesting, is not so much the amount of time that it took me to clean the bathroom, but what happened next. 

After finally finishing my task of cleaning/painting the bathroom I stood back to admire my work.  But instead of seeing how clean and fresh my dear old bathroom was, all I could see were all of my mistakes.  Everywhere I looked I could see mistakes, patches where the paint was not quite even, tiles that could have been scrubbed a little cleaner, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.

I had run into one of the many perfectionist monsters, actually a couple of them:
  • It's never good enough
  • When you do something right it's very small and when you do something wrong it's very BIG.
If you are a perfectionist I'm sure that you can relate to the story of me and my bathroom. 

Maybe you had a super productive day clearing clutter and at the end, all you could see were the places you didn't clear.  Perhaps you finished a big project at work or school and instead of celebrating your success you beat yourself up for the project you hadn't quite completed. 

If you're anything like me, this happens on an almost daily basis.  Instead of looking at our day and going through all of the things we've accomplished we can only see everything we didn't quite get to.

The next time this happens you're going to do what I did with my bathroom.  In fact, I encourage you to try it RIGHT NOW!  This tool is called:

Three things
  1. When you find yourself going down the road of mistakes, STOP.
  2. Take a deep breath
  3. Get out a piece of paper (or an imaginary one)
  4. List three or more things that you accomplished today or in a given situation.
  5. Give yourself some love
Now this might sound simple, but it is a powerful tool.  When I found myself strolling down mistake lane in my bathroom, I left the room, took a deep breath and came back in and this time I was only allowed to look at what I had accomplished, which was an awful lot.  Suddenly I could relax and really appreciate all of the good work I had done, instead of beating myself up.

Warning.  Your perfectionist mind will try to edit what "counts" as an accomplishment.  I'm here to tell you that it all counts.  If you're having a challenging day this could be your list:
  • got out of bed
  • had a shower
  • ate breakfast
Again, there is no accomplishment too small to be included in your list. 

I would love to hear from you! Please email and share with me the three things that you've accomplished today.  I promise you, I will hold a party in my heart for each and every one of them.  Email me at spaceforlife@gmail.com.

Clear Clutter - Time Container

All or Nothing? Start with something! 

My clients often tell me that one of the hardest things about clearing clutter is just getting started. One of the reasons for this is that if you have clutter, you are probably a perfectionist and one of the trademarks of perfectionism is all or nothing thinking.

Have you ever had this thought?

"If I could just take 3 weeks off work, I could clear all my clutter at once! Make that a month. If I really dedicate myself for a whole month I could really do it right."

So either we clear all the clutter, right now, perfectly, or not at all. The reality is that most of us opt for the not at all. I mean, who wants to take 3 weeks of their precious holidays to clear clutter? That's why we need to start small! Small is mighty, small is powerful and small is HUGE.

So, this is what you're going to do, you're going to use a tool that will change your life! This tool can be used for any task you have been procrastinating whether it's doing the dishes, doing your taxes or clearing some clutter. This tool is the...

Time Container!

  1. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes
  2. Clear clutter until the timer goes off
  3. STOP
  4. Celebrate!!!

There are a few important things to remember about using the time container. First of all, as you set your time container you also want to set your expectation container. You are not going to clear your entire closet in 15 minutes, but you can go through one drawer, or the top of your bedside table or a stack of junk mail.

You also have to stop. The reason we stop is to honour ourselves and to avoid slipping into "doing it all" and staying up all night trying to get it right. Remember that one of the trademarks of perfectionism is all or nothing thinking, so once we get started our instinct may be to do it all and to do it perfectly. This can be a punishing path to go down, as those of us who have stayed up into the wee hours clearing clutter know very well.

Celebrating is also important. The reason that we celebrate is to acknowledge that we accomplished our task. So many big things in life pass us by without notice, but when we start to celebrate the little things, we're more likely to start celebrating the big things too. We're also more likely to try clearing clutter again if we make it fun and easy.

Here are some great ways to celebrate:

  • Make a nice cup of tea
  • Go for a walk around the block
  • Call a supportive friend
  • Pat yourself on the back
  • Shake your booty!

However you decide to celebrate, make sure that it's healthy and supportive. If the clutter on your butt is getting you down, celebrating with food may not end up feeling like a celebration, so shake that butt to your favorite tune instead.

Now, go forth, clear clutter and most importantly, have FUN! When you clear clutter, you start making space for what you really want in your life and that is definitively worth celebrating!


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