De-cluttering life

Messes, messes, oh the messes.  Remembering what it was like when we had several young homeschooled children, I remember being baffled about the extent of the messes.  It wasn’t like that in my house growing up.  Oh right, we’re homeschooling!  On top of regular toys, we have educational toys and workbooks and videos and art supplies, etc.  And we’re home all day using them!  This became a real source of stress for me and for the children when I was angry and upset about their messes.  

I read a brilliant idea in a parenting book (I think it was “Parenting With Love and Logic” but I could be wrong) called “Gunny Bag”.  Gunny Bag in my case was a pillowcase with a scowly face drawn on it.  The purpose of Gunny Bag was to sneak into their rooms (via Mom) and collect everything that was lying about on the floor that shouldn’t be there.  Those things could be retrieved from the jaws of Gunny Bag by doing chores for Mom or by paying $ to get them back.  

Is this your life?

I’m not sure how much it really helped with keeping rooms cleaner, but it did teach them what they valued.  And as a mother, I learned what sorts of things each child valued and what things they could easily let go of.  That helped me know what sorts of purchases were valuable and what would end up being a waste of money.  I’m not sure what they learned or if it was just a fun game for them, but I do know that with 4 adult children now, they’ve all demonstrated the ability to discern between things they value and want to keep and what they can let go of.  They don’t agonize about getting rid of things that aren’t serving them anymore (like their mom and dad sometimes do).

But I realize I’m getting better at that because of my LifeLine training; because in LifeLine living, we learn to let go of old limiting beliefs and patterns that we once treasured, valued, and needed and replace them with a tidier way of living.  We replace anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, etc. into acceptance, understanding, patience, love, joy, peace, etc.  Sometimes we recognize the old patterns for the garbage that they are, like the dried up markers, headless Barbies, and games with missing pieces.  We also recognize what used to have value but is no longer serving us like old and frayed toothbrushes, outgrown toys, partnerless socks, and well-worn but now holy shoes.

So let’s do a Gunny Bag for the mind exercise together!  Think of an automatic, emotional response that you recognize as garbage (modeled for you as a child so it became yours but you don’t want it) or as something that used to have value for you but is now getting in the way of your progress (in life or in relationships).  Either way, we’ve learned and grown from these patterns and so we can say:

“Thank you subconscious for the gifts of _____________________ (your pattern), but I no longer need it.  I now have the tools, strategies, and support to think, feel, and act with love.  I am _________________(your replacement pattern).  Infinite love and gratitude.”  Then let your heart’s intention guide you into your daily living with that new pattern.  It’s work, yes.  But sometimes bringing out Gunny Bag is just what we need to bring awareness to our feelings and behaviors and determine their value in our lives.  And those , my friends, are messes worth cleaning up.

Love and light to you,


If you would like more support please email me to schedule a session.

Activating Your Superpower

I began my brisk walk on the trail like usual, a podcast cued up and ready to play at 1.2x speed, ready to burn some fat and learn something valuable.  I only do this form of exercise once/week and look forward to it.  As I rounded a corner, the view caught me off guard.  This is a view I see (or don’t see) every week.  The different shades of green from the different trees, weeds and grass, blue sky.  I stopped the podcast.  I slowed my walk.  I took some deep breaths.  I noticed the birds singing and saw them flit between trees.  The wind made everything move and shimmer.  The sunlight amplified the shades of green.  I felt like I was in a sacred grove.  I felt connected to the beauty around me.  I felt grateful.  I felt warm and radiant.  I felt in awe.

My therapist daughter recently introduced me to polyvagal theory which corresponds with what I’ve been teaching and practicing concerning our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.  The above moment would be considered a ventral vagal state, which correlates to the parasympathetic healing state. This website has great info and a neat chart if you want to know more. 

Both parasympathetic and sympathetic are part of the autonomic nervous system.  That means that they react to stimuli automatically.  But there are some things we can do to consciously get ourselves out of the rushed, hectic, frenzied, worrisome, stressful state (sympathetic).  The parasympathetic state is one in which digestion, regeneration, detoxification, and healing occur.

Being in sympathetic state isn’t bad; it’s necessary at times, daily in fact.  We use it everyday to move, work, play sports, take on challenges, etc.  But we aren’t designed to sustain that state long term.  Doing so wears away at our physical, mental, and spiritual health.  Imagine the world with us all being Hulks most of the time!  We aren’t doing anyone any favors.  That Hulk mode is a superpower–to be used sparingly.  

Sometimes switching states feels subtle and flowing.  You spend time working on an urgent project or at a high stress job and then you take a break, eat, go for a walk.  Later you go home and relax, connect with loved ones and meditate.  Other times the switch feels like Hulk.  You’re calm and pleasant one moment and then turn mean, defensive, and irritable in an instant because of something someone says.  Just like Hulk, we need training.  Most of us need to practice slowing down and getting into healing mode (zen). It’s ok to be in “go, go, go, gotta get it done” mode for part of the day, but how many of us end up doing that all day?  

Studies show that “insufficient Parasympathetic activity with excessive Sympathetic activity (a typical result of persistent stress, including psychosocial stress) may suppress the immune system, over stimulate the production of oxidants leading to excessive oxidative stress, raise blood pressure, promote atherosclerosis, cause persistent inflammation, accelerate diabetes, promote atherosclerosis, and accelerate the onset of heart disease, kidney disease, or dementia.”,blood%20pressure%2C%20promote%20atherosclerosis%2C%20cause

I looked up articles in PubMed but there’s too many to list. 

I now allow myself time each day, several times a day to enter into this healing state.  We can spend a lot of time and money doing things to encourage this state; and we can do simple, free things as well.  As the above story illustrates, we can simply stop multitasking and focus on one thing, being really present.  We can take deep breaths.  We can watch a sunrise or sunset and smile.  We can connect with those we love.  We can enjoy a pet or nature. Light exercise.  Eat slowly, noticing the flavors and textures.  Hold hands with a loved one.  Gaze at the stars.  Hum a tune. “Take time to smell the roses.” These are some of the things we can create habits of doing often.  

I also use some therapies to aid my transition into a healing state.  BrainTap and light therapy are probably my favorites.  I’m using my DNA Vibe right now as I type this for light therapy.  I use an infrared sauna often.  BrainTap helps me get deep sleep at night or during a midday nap.  Sleep is critical for healing and regeneration.  I rarely wake up to an alarm and let my body awake naturally when ready.  I take vitamins to lower my cortisol level when needed.  I use adaptogenic mushrooms and Vit. D to enhance my immune system.  I fast for 3+ days quarterly to boost autophagy and stem cell production.  I eat low inflammatory foods…usually, lol.  I exercise regularly.  These are just more ideas that may speak to you.

My challenge this month is for each of us to choose at least 3 things to implement into our schedules that activate our healing power.  Improve the quality and quantity of that innate power and you’ll find yourself loving yourself, your life, and others even more.

All my Love,

Lisa Gilmore

Imperfection By Lisa Gilmore

I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection.  My favorite line from it so far  “As a recovering perfectionist and aspiring good-enoughist…” describes myself very well.  She clarifies the difference between healthy striving to be our best and perfectionism.  Perfectionism is actually armor we choose for protection and a mask we choose to hide behind.  The book gives great tools and help for overcoming perfection, so if you’re interested in that, please invest in her book.  Now for part of my journey with this.

I wouldn’t say my perfectionism was all-consuming in my life.  My home has never been perfectly organized and clean.  My meals are usually slapped together and casually presented.  My hair is usually pulled back into the easiest, most comfy, practical ponytail.  So why do I think I have struggled with perfectionism?  Straight A’s since the 3rd grade.  Voted “most likely to succeed” as a senior.  Dutifully signing up for every service opportunity that came my way.  Those are all fine and dandy, so….

How I know that these were laced with the drug of perfectionism is because of my feelings.  Despite all of these good things, I felt misery.  I was never really happy with myself or my situation.  

Another semester of all A’s:  “Who cares, there’s another one coming to prepare for and a GRE to study for.”

Voted most likely to succeed:  ”So what, now the real work begins.”

Serving/volunteering at every chance:  no conscious thoughts about this one.  Just a pattern for me to be “good” and distract myself from caring for and loving myself.

I began to notice my perfectionism patterns after reading another of Brown’s books called Daring Greatly because of the level of shame she helped me identify in my life.  So it’s been a journey since then.  I noticed myself apologizing for the state of my house if someone popped by.  I found myself apologizing to the family about the meals I made.  I discovered that it felt excruciatingly hard to say “no” to anyone.

When I recognized those patterns in my life I decided to outwardly change them.  I committed to myself that I would never apologize about those things again.  If someone doesn’t like my housekeeping, they don’t need to come over or they can do it themselves.  If I burn dinner or make a simple one-pot meal I might say:  “Oops.  I burned dinner.  If you don’t want to eat it that’s fine.” Or “Dinner is simple tonight.”  It was so easy for me to start or finish those sentences with “Sorry”, but why feel sorry when I did my best?  The “sorry” was really a declaration of shame.  What I learned to do is separate my failings from my self-esteem/self-worth.

Making those changes has improved my life significantly. Now I tend to sit awhile on decisions to help someone, and decide if it’s something that resonates with my mission/purpose/passion at the time.  Is there anyone else more qualified to help?  Can I give myself fully and joyfully to this situation?  Is the need real or pretended, exaggerated or inflated?  

After a year of improvement, it was time to level up again.  This time by way of a trigger.  I took on the role of “team mom” of my 6th grade daughter’s basketball team.  I was mostly there to encourage and provide bandaids; that fit my nature and desire to be helpful.  But one day the head and assistant coaches didn’t make it to practice.  I was in charge. I’ve never played basketball!  I was so angry after that pre-game practice!  When I dove deeper–past the blame game–I discovered the underlying belief of “not good enough.”  Just as a tip, they say if you’re angry, it’s a cover emotion for something much deeper and not necessarily about the person you’re angry at; it’s all about you.

As a LifeLine practitioner, my way of dealing with such things is to run a session with myself. The intention I chose:  “I am enough; feeling successful and confident.”  I was able to drop the judgment, fear, and anger I was experiencing and back to a place of loving what is.  For me, a miracle happened that I totally wasn’t expecting.  Our team won 3 games in a row, when they hadn’t won a game yet.  Granted, there were lots of variables to create that, but what if my hidden limiting emotion of “not good enough’ emanated from me, contributing to the previous losing season.  What if my shift to “I am good enough” radiates outward to my family and friends?  That would be amazing.  But the shift within me is enough.  

I’ve now added to my mantra “feeling fulfilled” as I’ve needed to do another round with this one.  I now feel the added weight of the perfection armor lightening and the mask lowering and enjoying the process.

Keep shining bright!

I’m here for you if you need support.