Powerful Books

A side effect of writing down my random thoughts is that I know the exact date when everything changed, when one of those thoughts was an epiphany. 

On April 4, 2015, I was sitting in Bryant Park in NYC (I already knew it was a magic place, this day’s events cemented it.) I was tired and a bit chilly; I’d realized that running a 10K race the first morning of a weekend of walking, walking, walking was not the smartest thing I’d done which led into a spiral of remembering all the other maybe-not-smart decisions I’d made. I couldn’t find the pen shop google told me was nearby, so basically I was failing at life.  

I did what I always do when I’m out of sorts, I started writing. Describing the setting made me appreciate it even more and the breeze made my notebook pages flutter against my hand, celebrating with me, comforting me. My angst blew away on the wind, and I wrote with happiness: I loved my decisions. Recently I’d started to “reset” my whole life and doing things – intentionally choosing to do things – that landed me writing in a midtown park on a spring day were definitely the right decisions.

Magic being what it is, when I looked up, the pen shop was right in front of me, hidden earlier by scaffolding. It was a book shop, and though their pen collection was my target, I browsed on my way in. There was a sweet little book featured – I’d heard of it, a japanese author telling us to organize our homes by sparking joy ( Little woowoo, but I flipped through it, curious. And I saw the chapter called, “Reset Your Life.” The echo of my own writing minutes earlier made me smile. Woowoo indeed.

Its title truthfully claims it is Life-Changing Magic, and it sparks much joy in my life. I bought books on buddhism at my now favourite bookstore as well, and my life was officially reset.

I gobbled up – and began to practice – more buddhist teachings and minimalism. I didn’t just tidy up my house and office and computer (though radically decluttering them was, yes, life-changing), I decluttered my mind. HeatherAsh Amara’s Warrior Goddess books and workbook ( gave structure to my emotional work and gave me oh so much insight. Sarah Knight’s Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck ( might be less spiritual, but she nails it, what it means to choose how you want to spend your time, your life.

In 2016, off on another adventure in another magical place, I created my own ritual of release – where I let go of things tangled up in my heart and mind. Ocean waves washed away what I didn’t need, and soaked me (okay, maybe it was the sudden rainstorm that soaked me, but still) in serenity, freedom, and love.

I started writing about Radical Decluttering recently so the magnet that draws me to bookshops around the world (this one was found wandering while on a full-day layover between flights in Calgary) drew me to Tara Brach’s book on Radical Acceptance ( At the perfect time, of course. My journey continues, as I embrace this magical life. 




Treasured Tools

Have I mentioned my love of ink on paper? For me, writing things down is a meditative, sensory experience. The physical act of handwriting calms me and gives me joy. I also find that using a paper schedule helps my brain plan better – I rely on my computer schedule, and also write things into my Passion Planner ( My planner is also where I put everything, work – kids – social – exercise – home. It’s highly personal and the place where I decide when I need a sanity day because it’s too cluttered, or notice the balance of time with friends and time alone is skewed. (More details in this blog post)

Work schedule & email: Novell GroupWise. I wouldn’t actually say I treasure this, so much as I appreciate the functions. It’s like Outlook or Google-Suite and makes sharing storing and finding information so easy. Booking appointments and meetings is easy, and I’ve got it set up to make managing my work load and work flow a breeze.

All computers – I do love tech! My favourite by far is my MacBook. I use Windows at work, and an iPhone, an iPad, and will gladly play with any other device you hand me.

Cloud services. I’m a certified Privacy Professional (CIPP/C) so I get the worry about putting personal information into online services. I decluttered my digital life radically too and have specific uses for iCloud and Google Drive. I have the privilege (?) of having to know the privacy settings intimately for my day job.

Pretty things! I don’t have many hardcopy files, but the ones I do have are in stunningly gorgeous folders. My MacBook has a colourful vinyl skin (from that makes me smile all day. My pen case and notebooks are lovely. I don’t keep notebooks when I’m done with them, but I have been known to take a photo of a few of them because they are so joyful to look at.