Choosing Advice Wisely

If you have ever been to a yoga class, you might have noticed that before the class starts the teacher asks a few questions. She wants to know if anyone has any injuries or illnesses that might affect their ability to do the exercises. She does this because she wants to protect you from harm. As the class progresses the yoga teacher may issue warnings. Don’t do this if you have a bad back. Or she might give you options, such as an easy version (which seems hard enough!) and a more challenging version for the experienced students.

In yoga class the teacher and the student share the responsibility for ensuring that the exercises which are intended to be beneficial are in fact helpful, and don’t cause injuries. The teacher plays her part by giving a few pointers. The student plays a part by providing information about their specific needs, by paying attention to instructions and how their body is responding, and by using their own good judgement.

When I write my blog posts I am mindful that whether advice is helpful or not depends on where each person is up to in their own personal journey. Its not a one-size-fits-all situation. Advice that strikes the right chord with one person and launches them into a productive organising project might send another person into a panic because it seems ridiculously difficult.

For example the last post was a suggestion for capturing memories held in family heirlooms using photography, writing and other creative arts. If you have a large organising task on your plate, this advice might be too much. It could prevent you from moving on because you need to proceed with some decision making and follow-up actions and its not going to be helpful to stop to take photos and write about every object. You would probably be better off ignoring that post and getting on with the job.

Earlier I wrote a post about decluttering a coin dish. I would regard that exercise as fine tuning. Its something you might do when you have done a lot of sorting and organising and are at the point of noticing small improvements that might be fun to try. However if you are feeling like you are up to your eyeballs in stuff and have no idea where to start, you aren’t going to be worried about one little coin dish. In fact, I might suggest that you start a coin dish as a means of capturing small valuable items that tend to go astray. Whether that advice is relevant or not depends on your specific situation.

I am hoping that readers of this blog, or other information available on decluttering and organising activities, will act like the wise yoga student, and be mindful of their own needs.  I hope that you are on the hunt for suggestions that make you feel enlivened and hopeful, and that change is possible. I hope that you will have “aha” moments. I hope you will think, “Yeah, I can do that”.

If you read something that makes you feel hopeless, inadequate or overwhelmed, move on. Maybe thats not the right advice for you right now. If an organising suggestion seems like to much trouble, not worth the effort, or like its making a hard task even harder, then pay attention to that reaction. Its probably not the right time for you to go down that path. The last thing I want you to do is go away feeling like you have added one more impossible task to the list of things that you should be doing. If you feel confused by all the options, consider enlisting the help of a trusted family member or friend, or contacting a professional organiser.

Advice on how to organise is intended to be helpful, but you need to be selective. Take care of yourself and be attentive to your needs. Look for things that loosen you up, and make space for new possibilities.


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