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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


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. 


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,


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!


Unplug Your Internet!

I had a revelation today! 

I realized that when my partner is at work I can UNPLUG the internet.  The ping of a new email is to me, what the ding of that bell was to those Pavlovian dogs. 

I can't not look...

What do I think I'm going to find in there? 

A cure for cancer!  Free cashmere sweaters!  An email transfer for $10,000!

Puppies!!!! Real puppies!!!!

More often than not, it's a facebook comment that somebody I don't know has made on somebody I sort of know's post.  I couldn't care less. 

But that doesn't stop me from clicking.

So today, I turned off the internet.  I didn't just turn it off on my computer (that doesn't work, I've tried), I unplugged it.  Wow!  A brave new world revealed. 

Remember typewriters? 

In university I used to borrow my friend Graham's word processing typewriter.  There was this tiny little screen where you could see what you were writing, but that was it. 

No facebook, no youtube, no adorable elephants named Tara with best dog friends named Bella. 

Today after turning off the internet I opened a blank document in Word, fiddled with the font type and size and started writing.  Just like a typewriter!

I thought I was sitting down to write this, to write to you, but I didn't.  I just wrote about...  stuff.  Whatever.  It didn't really matter.  I did it for two hours and I did it because I enjoyed it.   

It was more than just turning off the internet.  It was also about allowing myself to write for the sake of writing.  To write for the pleasure of writing. To write for myself.

Jumbo crayons in both fists scribbling on your bedroom wall kind of writing.

Last week I asked you what you're struggling with.  I had so many great responses (thank you!) which I will be addressing in the weeks and months to come. 

A few of you wanted to know how to start, where to start and why to start.  I have a lot to say about starting but today, start here:

Unplug your internet!

Seriously, but first send this to a friend so they can unplug their internet too. 

When you're back online I'd love to hear all about what happened when you unplugged, so be sure to comment below.  

Take care,



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!


It's only January 3rd, Relax!

Happy New Year sweet one. 

I had a plan.  It was BIG.  It involved lots of ACTION and DOING and GETTING THINGS DONE and it was going to start...  Yesterday. 

OK, that's not quite true. I didn't have a plan but that date, January 2nd, was breathing down my neck. 

I should have a plan.  I should have a list.  I should be knocking things off that list. 

I've had a break, now it's time to dust off the whip and get to it.  Right?  Wrong...

It's winter.  It's cold (thank the earth mother goddess, the warm weather was freaking me out), it's dark, the moon is waning.  I have a sweater to finish and episodes of Glee to watch.  ;)

I gave up resolutions a long time ago.  Now I choose one thing to work on. 

An intention, a red balloon to let go of, a warm squirmy puppy to cover me with kisses and then run away to nap. 

Last year I chose one word.  Creativity.  I wanted more of it and I got it.  Contact improv dancing in the spring, singing with choir!choir!choir! in the fall and lots of writing throughout the year.

This year?  I'm not sure yet. 

It's not something to force, it's something to allow.  Don't run after the chipmunk, hold out the almond and let it come to you. 

The fact is, I feel a little like the tin man after a rainstorm, a little rusty, moving slowly with my friends helping me out with the oil can.

So for now I'm just holding it up, asking the question, sitting still and listening.  One thing that has become clear already is that is has to be kind, it has to be gentle and it has to be loving. 

Or as my partner Mike said to me when I was getting worked up yesterday, "What if 2013 is the year of no guilt?".  Oh wouldn't that be a treat.  I think I'll start there...

What about you?  Do you already have a theme for the year or will you wait and see?  I'd love to hear about it, you can comment below. 

Big love to you and you'll see a post from me soon, I just wanted to say hi and don't worry if you don't have it all figured out yet, I don't either.   

Take care,


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!


A is for Clutter Clearing? The Three A's of Change

I'll be honest with you.  I can't wait until the Winter Solstice.  I can't wait for the days to start getting longer, only 18 more to go. 

Yay sun! 

This time of year has me thinking of the new year, the new sun, what I want for my life and how I want things to be different. 

It makes me think of change.

And I was reminded me of a sweet little concept I learned from a participant in a group at Sheena's Place a few years ago (a centre for people with eating disorders where I've been facilitating groups for 8 years).

It's the Three A's of Change, and it's brilliant!

(Or for us Canadians, the three Eh's of Change. Hardy har har! ;)

If change was easy, you wouldn't stress and sweat over it, you'd just do it. 

But it's not.  Change is hard.

What needs to happen in order for you to change?

"I'm sorry, what needs to change?  I'm fine. Thank you."

Ah yes...  Well then, I guess we'll start at the beginning. 

The first A of change is... 



In order to change something, you need to be aware that it exists! 

You can't change something you can't see, just like you can't get that piece of spinach out of your teeth unless you look in a mirror (that is unless you're hanging around a gaggle of Germans, but that's a story for another time). 

Awareness can be a bit of a challenge.  Why?  Blinders. 

We are very good at only seeing what we want to see in ourselves, in our homes, in our lives. 

Why?  Because awareness can be painful and maddening.  There's nothing more frustrating than being aware of something but having no idea what to do about it. 

It totally sucks.

Like the other day I saw a picture of the back of my head and could see very clearly that I was long overdue for a haircut.  The days between seeing the picture and getting my haircut were annoying because I was walking around knowing that the back of my head looked like a discarded pile of Movember moustaches. 

Now imagine if I didn't know I could get my haircut...

Let's apply this to clutter.  You can't clear your clutter if you don't see it as clutter, or if you don't see it at all.

Only when you can SEE your clutter and recognize it as such can you do something about it. 

Your storage locker full of stuff, that closet you never open, the room you pretend isn't there. 

Ignorance is bliss...

Once you know it's there, you can't pretend that you don't.  You can't unsee it.  But it's hard, especially if you have no idea how you're going to deal with it and you're caught up in feeling bad about it.


Which bring us to the second A of change...


This A of change is simple and it's not. 

See that chair over there?  It's a chair.  It is what it is, just a chair.  Accept it.

Acceptance is about being with what is. 

I have clutter. 

It's not a judgement.  It's not a right or a wrong.  It just is.

Again, not always easy. 

I may have told this story before, but it's worth mentioning again. 

It reminds me of the first time I listened to the audio cassette (yes, cassette) Radical Self-Acceptance: A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame by Tara Brach. 

I listened to it on a bus ride from Toronto to Kingston to visit my friend Kate.

When I picked it up I was hopeful that it contained the secret ingredient, the secret handshake, the secret something that would help me to feel good enough. 

The secret that would allow me to accept myself.

Well...  It didn't. 

The radical notion Tara shares, is that you, me, all of us are worthy of acceptance right now.

I can't tell you how devastated I was to hear that there was no secret.  And I was confused.  If I accept myself, then it must mean that I don't want to change.  Right?

That night, I woke up at 4am crying. 

At the time, I didn't even know why I was crying (poor Kate, she didn't know what to do!), but it's obvious now.  My foundation had been shaken.

This idea that I had to accept myself FIRST, that I had to accept myself before I could change went against everything I believed.  

Acceptance.  It is what it is.

Or as Popeye says, "I yam what i yam and that's all that I yam"


The third A of change is...


Of course, in order for something to truly change, you have to take action. 

Action is the doing, it's the movement. 

It's signing up and going to that dance class.  It's bravely taking the garbage bag and facing your closet. It's making the appointment with your naturopath.

Can you act if you don't know it's there?  No.

Can you act if you don't accept it for what it is?  Well...  You may act, but it probably won't stick. 

When you act from a place of hate or dissatisfaction, it doesn't always work.  You need compassion.  You need acceptance.

One more little story. 

I used to smoke.  *gasp*  I know!  Nobody believes me when I tell them. 

In fact, I didn't really believe that I smoked half of the time.  I didn't like to think of myself as a smoker.

I tried quitting many times, but it never stuck.  I'd throw my cigarettes into the garbage after a night of too many and swear that I would never smoke again. 

But I did.  I always smoked again and then I would feel so guilty.  A cycle of guilt and shame, not a great place to change from. 

One day I came home and my roommate put a book on the kitchen table and told me I could borrow it if I wanted.  It was called The Only Way To Stop Smoking Permanently by Allen Carr. 

I read the book.  I haven't had a cigarette since.  The book is a beautiful combination of awareness and acceptance that leads to action, but you don't stop smoking at the beginning of the book, you stop at the end.

It's only through Awareness and Acceptance that you can take Action.  Action that sticks. 

I have to be aware of the box in my basement.

I have to accept that the box in my basement is what it is.  A box with stuff in it.  It's not a box of shame or of guilt.  I'm not a bad person for having it.  It's just a box.

Then I can take action and sort through the box. 


I totally heart the Three A's of Change. 

I like to remind myself of them when I'm at the beginning, when I'm at awareness.  When I feel frustrated and uncertain.  When I'm annoyed that things aren't moving.  When I have no idea how to change. 

I remind myself that I'm already on my way, I'm on the first A.  I remind myself that from the first A you can't see the third.  And I trust that I'll get there. 

Awareness, Acceptance, Action.

How about you?  Have you noticed the three A's of change at work in your life?  Is there something that you would like to change but you're not sure how?

What area of your life could use a little bit of the three A's of change?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below and please pass this along to your friend whose always beating herself up for not changing fast enough. 

Take care,



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!


Take a Me Day!

I'm grateful that I finished knitting up my cozy wristies for these blustery days.  I'll be happier when there's a good amount of the white stuff on the ground.  Brightens up the dark winter days. 

I have a question for you.
Are you good at taking time for yourself? 

Do you ever take time off, but then feel guilty or feel like you should be doing something else?

Well, I have a cure for you, it's called ME TIME!

Sounds selfish, doesn't it?  And it is, in the most delicious way.

I took a “me day” this week and decided I would make a little video about it.

Now it's your turn!  I'd love to hear from you in the comments below

When are you going to take some me time?  Remember it could be just an hour.

What would you like to do (or not do) to enjoy your time off?

If you're a me time expert, tell me how you like to take time for yourself.

FYI, email, telephone and youtube are sandtraps to be avoided during your me time.  More often than not (and I know this from experience) it's just fodder for anxiety and worries, especially if you're trying to take some time off. 

Put your phone on airport mode, close your computer and run a bath. 

I always love hearing from you so drop me a line with any questions you might have and please pass this along to your pal who never takes a day off.

Take care,



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!