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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

Monday
Apr082013

Tulips Love Ice Cubes, Do You? 

I just got back from a month in California and didn't give you a heads up because I thought I could meditate and blog at the same time. 

It turns out it's hard to write when your eyes are closed, imagine that!  ;)

I'm back and delighted that the snow is gone (for this week) and our springtime friends are making an appearance for the first time this year. 

Hello crocuses! 

Hello not as fat (but still pretty fat) squirrels! 

Hello guys wearing shorts when it's too cold out!

Last Sunday me, my sweets and Bella went for a long family walk, and halfway through I couldn't resist two bunches of red tulips I found on Roncesvalles for only $6.   Six dollars!

The bargain distracted me from the fact that it would be a long time before they saw water again. 

It took an hour and a half to get home, and then I'm embarrassed to say that I got sucked into email for another hour or so before I remembered that I had new babies to take care of. 

When I finally turned my attention to the tulips, they were sadder than a clown who missed the caravan out of town.  So limp, so lifeless, so so sad... 

I did what I could, trimming the ends, peeling off the most lackluster leaves and putting them one by one into fresh cold water with tulip food mixed in. 

You've never seen a more depressing flower arrangement.  The centerpiece for a called off wedding. 

In a final act of desperation, I grabbed a tray of stale ice cubes and dumped the lot in.

The tulips hung their heads all the way down to the table, ashamed of their new mother and for trusting the farmer with their bulbs.  All that work, growing and getting ready to bloom, for this?

Before I went to bed the tulips had lifted their heads just enough to memorize my features for their post on the "People Who Hurt Flowers" website. 

It wasn't looking good. 

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the kitchen the next morning to find a beautiful healthy bunch of tulips, with strong green leaves, stretching and growing to meet the sun like a group of runners at the starting line. 

What happened?  What was the secret to their success? 

Of course they needed water and food, but the last ingredient, the one that really worked...

Ice cubes!

Tulips adore ice cubes. 

Perhaps it reminds them of the cold ground of early spring.  

It's only tulips who love ice cubes, a rose would feel very hurt and misunderstood if you threw a bunch of ice cubes into her vase.  The rose says, warm water please.

I have to admit that coming back from California left me feeling a bit like those forgotten tulips.  Limp, tired, dull.  While I was away I felt strong and capable, with moments of extreme discomfort, but always fed, always supported, always connected. 

So, I've been on a hunt for the human equivalent of ice cubes, for the secret ingredient to help me spring and grow.

I started by trying the usual.  Singing, jogging, meditating, working, tea with friends, etc...  But it didn't help.  I felt OK, but I didn't feel that jolt of inspiration.  I didn't feel Alive with a capital A! 

Those things must be the food and water.  Expected, needed, but not enough.

What is the ice?

Ice is different.  Ice is unexpected.  Ice is bold.

I've been sitting with it for a week, trying this, trying that and this is what I've figure out.

 

Ice is Will. 


Ice is opening your eyes in the morning and deciding to wake up. 

Ice is writing through the discomfort. 

Ice is finally doing the thing you've been procrastinating for months. 

Ice is deciding to open, even though it would be so much easier to close.

Ice is not something that happens to you, although it might feel like it at times. 

Ice is you saying "Bring it on!" and then opening your arms to receive it. 

 

You may have to remind yourself that you invited the ice in.

You invited the ice because you want to grow, you need  to grow, and you're not content to flounder limp and lifeless in a vase of tepid water.

Ice is not the every day. 

Ice is a statement, a choice. 

It may feel harsh or scary in the moment, like the first dive into a cold spring lake, but after a moment it just feels like LIFE!  And just like that cold spring lake, you're never going to get in if you inch your way in, you have to jump.

Remember, tulips LOVE ice cubes. 

The ice is something that you LOVE but that scares the shit out of you.  What scares you might be something soft and vulnerable, sharp and cool, or muddy and wet.

I'm a tulip, I need ice.  I love ice!

Today's ice was finally finishing this blog post and sending it out to you.

What about you?  I'm curious, what's your ice?  Let me know in the comments below, and if you have a human friend in need of a jolt of inspiration I'd love for you to pass this along.

Love,

Cecilia

ox

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

 

 

Sunday
Mar032013

Do you feel... Weird?

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with my sweetie in the kitchen and said

"I feel..."

and he said

"Let me guess? ...You feel... Weird?".

First came uproarious laughter, then a pause. 

Hmm...  Is it possible that I feel weird a lot? 

It's true.  I'm often saying "I feel weird" or "I feel funny", so it's not surprising that he could finish my sentence but what does it mean?

When I looked at it more closely I realized that I feel weird when I don't feel 100% like myself.  Not like Cecilia Moorcroft, but that feeling in my heart and being that feels like ME, the real me, the bigger me, the me that doesn't feel... weird.

Thus began the hunt for more ME in my life.  When did I feel weird?  When did I feel not weird?  When did I feel AMAZING?

I call it the Weird Barometer, Weirdometer (? Thanks Gaby!), and is it ever helpful.

If I feel weird, then it means that something is off and most likely what's off is that I'm not in alignment with what's true for me. 

I told you a couple of weeks ago, that what's true for me is this feeling in my heart, the heart wings feeling. 

The fact is, not everything I do makes me feel that way. 

I recently said yes to something that I probably should have said no to and boy did my heart wings kick up a fuss.  They got all ruffled and went straight to sulking, wings crossed in a huff. 

Yuck, that didn't feel good. So, I went back and said that I had changed my mind.  I said no. 

It was hard.  It was uncomfortable, but as soon as I did my heart wings sighed in relief and went to work grooming themselves so they could stretch out again. 

Since the "I feel...let me guess?...you feel weird" day I actually feel weird a lot less, in fact more often than not I have the heart with wings feeling and I have to say, it's a much sweeter place to live. 

It's easier to say no to things that I have a feeling will bring on the weird and yes to the things that will make my heart wings hula hoop to Dance Mix '92.  

Thank goodness for the people who know me best, thank goodness for my sweetie. 

The fact is I was saying "I feel weird" so much that it felt normal to say it and more importantly it felt normal to feel it.  I don't want it to be normal that I feel weird, I want it to be normal to feel like ME!

Am I the only one?

Do you ever feel weird, off or funny?

What does it feel like, when you feel like YOU?

What helps you to feel less weird and more like yourself?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below and you know what?  It would definitely make me feel more like ME if you did.  Not that you should do it for me, you should do it for you and then send it to your friend who is always complaining that she feels... weird.

Love,

Cecilia

ox

p.s. B-School registration closes TODAY, Monday March 4th at 3pm.  If you want to feel more YOU in your business and life you should totally check it out, you won't regret it.  I made sure that I felt 100% me when I wrote this love letter to B-School and came up with my love-filled affiliate bonus.  There are only two spots left and it would make my heart wings sing to have you join The YAY team and take the leap into your own arms. 

p.p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Thursday
Feb212013

Legally Blonde It! Pull off the Impossible!

I love Legally Blonde.  I remember the first time I saw it at the now defunct Paradise Cinema right after 9/11.  The world seemed so bleak in those days and I didn't think anything could make me smile, but Elle Woods did.  From that moment on she had my heart.  She never fails to make me feel better when life feels grey and sniffly.  

Imagine my delight when my beloved coaching client Catriona (an amazing harmonica player, musician, teacher, crafter, all around heart filled awesome gal) told me that it's her favorite movie too! 

Last week Catriona was setting out to do the impossible (she's applying for something MASSIVE) and she needed some serious inspiration.  Lucky for her Elle Woods saved the day.

 

 

This week I'm going to let Elle teach you how to pull off the impossible, just like she did when she got into Harvard Law. 

Sometimes there are things in life that just have to get done, not because you have to, but because you really really want to.  It's easy to give up before you even start, but before you do see if Elle can't talk you into it.

What can you learn from Elle?

Relentless Optimism

Warner Huntington III: You got into Harvard Law? 

Elle: What? Like, it's hard?

Elle did something very important when going after Harvard, she didn't say no to herself first.  Instead of assuming it was impossible she found out how to make it possible and she got to work.  Her belief in herself never wavered. 

It's so easy to say no to yourself first.  To look at a big goal and say that you'll never get it, so why bother trying.  Be like Elle, go for it even if it's totally far fetched, and believe you can do it even if it seems crazy.

Get a Team

Elle didn't do it alone, she had her whole sorority rooting for her.  If you need to pull off the impossible, don't hide in the shadows, let people know!

Your friends want to support you, they want to be able to say "I knew her when".  There is nothing more exciting than cheering for the underdog and then seeing them win!  Give your friends the pleasure of supporting you.  You can ask for meals, help with accountability, moral support, texts of encouragement, etc...  Whatever is going to get you through to the other side.  

Ask for help!

Say NO

Elle knew that in order to get her LSAT score from a 143 to a 179 she was going to have to study her step class toned butt off.  Even though she didn't enjoy it, she knew this meant studying when she could have been at a kegger with hot shirtless frat boys. 

In order to pull off the impossible you're going to have to say no to some things, or as Marie Forleo says, "Get on the NO Train!".  You can't do it all, all the time and this is especially true when you need to get something huge off the ground.  Start practicing and get used to saying it.  No. 

A no to one thing is a yes to another, say yes to yourself.

Be Yourself

It never occurred to Elle to be anyone but herself.  She wore a sparkly bikini when other's would have worn a suit.  She was proud of her degree in Fashion with a major in the history of polka dots.  It's what helped her to stand out among a crowd of Philosophy and English majors.

You don't need to pretend to be someone you're not to get what you want.  You just have to show up 110% authentically YOU, no apologies.  When you do that, people can't help but respond.

Do it From the Heart

Elle wasn't trying to get into Harvard Law to please her parents or live up to some Ivy League ideal, she was doing it for love.  OK, so maybe Warner was a total jerk who didn't deserve her, but the fact that she had a motivation beyond the goal itself is key.

You need to know the why behind your impossible goal.  How do you think it's going to feel when you get there?  Go for the feelings, not the goal itself. 

Celebrate!!

When Elle got her LSAT score back she had a huge celebration with all of the people who helped her along the way.  She didn't know if she would get into Harvard Law yet, but she celebrated the fact that she achieved her goal of scoring a 179. 

Remember to celebrate your accomplishments even if you're not sure of the results.  The fact that you did it is reason enough to celebrate.  Remember to let your helpers know you did it so they can celebrate with you.

~~

I'm happy to report that Catriona did in fact pull off the impossible last week and she couldn't have done it without Elle and her inspiration.

Yay Catriona!!!!  (One happy coach here!)

She got a team, believed she could do it, made sacrifices, asked for help, was 100 herself and is celebrating all her hard work with a trip to the spa. She also asked her angel for help and boy did she pull through by throwing some earthly angels into her lap to refine and edit just when she needed it.

Of course she had Legally Blonde playing on repeat as she was grinding away.

I can't wait to see what comes from it, but in the meantime Catriona can glow in the satisfaction of doing something she didn't think could be done. 

Is there something seemingly impossible that you want to do? 

What is it? 

What do you need to help you pull it off?

Or maybe you've pulled off the impossible, what made it possible?

I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below, and please pass this along to your friend who needs a little Elle Woods this week.

Take care,

Cecilia

ox

p.s. Thinking about B-School?  I'd be happy to skype if you want my honest input about the good, the bad and if it's the right fit for you.  I'm gathering a group of amazing peeps and I can't wait to see them all make incredible things happen.

p.p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Tuesday
Feb052013

Rip up carpet! Knock down walls!

Happy February!  I have to say I'm partial to this much maligned month. 

It's short, often bright if cold and fun things seem to happen in February. 

I had to laugh on February 1st as my inbox filled with emails and promotions all about love and Valentine's Day. 

I'll have a little love treat for you next week but this week is all about the carpet ripping animal inside.

Have you ever wished you could get down and dirty with a sledge hammer, a crowbar and use your muscle to make your home into the one you see in your mind?

I recently had a letter from Rami, a lovely gal who really wants to rip up her carpet, but isn't sure if it's worth it because she's only renting.

GREAT question and one that relates not only to the renters of the world but also the home owners who aren't sure how long they're going to stick around.

Let's go crazy!

~~~~~~

Hi Cecilia,

I struggle with the conundrum of how much energy to put into my home: it's a rental, it's not permanent. And, my home is terribly important to me. 

Other people think it is lovely, but there are things like a crappy carpet I hate, and a general lack of light that I find suffocating (on bad days).

I want to move but we couldn't find something better without a massive increase in cost.

I want to stay but I feel like I can't make the changes that I want to do (rip up the carpet, tear out some walls!).

How's all that for some January ambivalence?

Happy New Year, best wishes to you for the year ahead!

Rami

~~~~~

Dear Rami,

Thank you for this!  Two things jumped out at me immediately when I read your letter. 

It’s a rental, it’s not permanent.

and

My home is terribly important to me.

When you're renting, sometimes it feels like there are neon signs everywhere, flashing TEMPORARY.  They're on the porch that could use a fresh coat of paint, the 70s pink champagne toilet, the carpet you despise. 

You want to do something about it, but you're renting, it's "temporary".  Why put in a lot of work when you're just going to move? 

This is the thing, the more you treat your home as temporary, the more stuck you feel.  You're going to move, but when? 

I'm going to get to the point Rami.

As you said above, your home is important to you.  This makes what I'm about to say that much more pertinent.  

Put in as much effort into your home as you want to JOY in your life. 

I'm serious. 

The more you own your space, the more you put your heart and belly into it, the more you are saying to life that you want MORE. 

More creativity, more movement, more beauty, more LIFE. 

The more you say YES to your home, the more you say YES to your life.

And if it feels extravagant just pretend you're European.

My sister lives in Berlin, Germany where the relationship to renting is very different.  In Germany, home ownership is expensive and rare, so most people rent.  Because of this renting culture, it's not unusual for people to totally renovate their apartments. 

For example, when my sister moved into her place in Berlin, she ripped up all the carpets and replaced them with hardwood floors.  Over the years she got custom made curtains, a built in closet and had the whole place repainted. 

My sister is not alone in this.  In Germany it's assumed that each new tenant is going to do whatever it takes to make their house feel like home.

Listen to your gut, follow your instincts and rip up that carpet.  Yes, you might move, but in the meantime you can live in a house that's truly yours.

This is important so I'm going to repeat it. 

This is about listening to your instincts and following through. 

You've had an instinct since you moved in to rip up the carpet, but you haven't followed it.  What would happen if you did? 

Where else in your life are you not listening to your instincts?  What would happen if you did?

And when you do, I'll be very curious to see what happens in the rest of your life.  Please let me know.

Take care,

Cecilia

p.s. Can I tell you a secret?  After painting my office and moving my furniture around I went from no new clients in three weeks to three new clients in three DAYS.  And that was just painting one room.  Imagine what could happen if you ripped up a carpet?  Imagine if you knocked down walls!  The heart boggles.

p.p.s. In my experience landlords are usually pretty happy when you want to improve a place.  One landlord was willing to pay for materials if I did the work and the other was happy to do the work if I payed for materials.

~~~~~~

What about you?  Do you have some carpet that needs ripping up or a wall that needs demolishing?

Paint, scrape, tear, demolish, build, clean, transform.  Make it yours.  Own it!

A quick note for owners.  It can be tempting to redecorate and renovate to make it appealing to the next owners.  Do it for you!  You don't want to live in someone else's home, you want to live in YOUR home.

I'd love to hear all about your past adventures and future dreams in the comments below and please pass this along to your friend who's always going on about how much she'd love her place, if only...

Take care,

Cecilia

ox

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week on clearing clutter and living life.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Monday
Jan282013

Armpits, ease and beauty. Painting, a journey...

It's almost February, I guess I should stop saying happy new year soon, but not just yet. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

I'm saying it (again) because it feels like the year is just starting.  Maybe it's because the days are finally getting perceptively longer, or maybe it's just that the pressure is off. 

I told you I was going to take it slow, to see what the year would reveal to me, and I have. 

I've been doing a lot of dreaming, desiring, writing and tea drinking with my special peeps.  The picture isn't 100% clear yet, but it's getting clearer every day. 

One of the things that I've done to clarify my intentions for 2013 involved, and this is going to sound weird, very sore armpits. 

As in the muscles of my armpits hurt.  Not in a bad way, but in a "I've been using my body to do stuff I don't normally do" way. 

I think my Pilates instructor would be proud, apparently I really should be using my armpits more often.

Why sore armpits? 

At 9:45pm last Thursday evening I was struck with the need (yes NEED) to paint my office/living room.  I got to Home Depot at 9:55pm to get some starter supplies, hole filling goo, a spatula, an enviro painting kit (code for crappy low quality gear you'll have to replace the very next day) and ceiling paint. 

Then I spent the whole weekend moving furniture, cleaning, painting, painting, painting, cleaning, taking apart furniture, moving furniture, curbing furniture, moving books, etc... 

It feels like I'm living in a new home and it feels GREAT!

Sometimes when you're not sure what to do, it's time to DO something. 

In the doing, something becomes clear.  For me, it became super clear that I need to stop pushing. 

My first day of my painting was all about "GETTING IT DONE!" no matter how late, how tired or what the cost. 

The second day started out in the same vein.  I woke up early, didn't meditate, went to the paint store to get a new brush (because the first one was crappy, buy quality my friends, learn from the vitamix!) and rushed home to get to work.  I was grumpy and feeling generally like a big fat poopy head.

When I got home, I thought I should at least try to meditate for a few minutes, but I shouldn't linger because there was WORK TO BE DONE!

But as soon as I sat down on my cushion, I knew that I wouldn't get up for an hour. 

You see I've been working through Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map, reconnecting myself with what's really important, and one of the things that she says over and over again is that you have to enjoy the journey, you can't just do it for the end result.

Once I was reminded of this, the second day of painting became very different from the first.

It found me with a beautiful paint brush, taking my time, painting winged hearts on the walls, listening to The Desire Map, singing my heart out and generally having a lovely time. 

I was painting my room in a way that reflected how I wanted to feel in that room.  Easy, joyful, connected and beautiful.

Want to hear something curious? 

Doing it the fun, easy, pleasurable way, took EXACTLY the same amount of time as the pushing, have to get it done way. 

Another thing that was really interesting to notice was that when I was pushing, my mistakes were driving me C-R-A-Z-Y.  When I was doing it from a place of pleasure, I was still making mistakes, but I didn't really care.

It was work, sore armpits work, but it didn't feel like work.

I have to say that since I painted my office life has looked and felt very different.  Opportunities are pouring in and that they all feel very easy, joyful, connected and beautiful.  Coincidence? 

Painting is such a great teacher for me.  Last time I did a lot of painting I learned about the importance of practice.  This time, I learned the importance of savouring the journey.  I wonder what I'll learn next time?

I'd love to hear your experiences with enjoying the journey rather than rushing for results. 

Where are you pushing when you could be seeking pleasure?

Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this I would be tickled cherry red if you shared it with your friends.

Take care,

Cecilia

p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  I send out a fun and useful email just about every week on clearing clutter and living life.  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!