Apr 122017


What do relocation to a new climate, a chronic health issue, and a lifestyle change have in common? They are a few of the things that ganged up on me to create chaos in my closet.

For a while, I ignored the fact that nothing felt right: either too heavy for the intensely hot weather, or too formal for our lovely island lifestyle. I mixed and matched, tried alterations and new accessories, but no matter how hard I tried, the things in my closet didn’t match my life. Everything felt slightly “off.”

So, I decided to take the now-famous Marie Kondo approach: I took EVERYTHING out of the closet and the drawers and made a big, confused pile. I brought in the largest empty storage bin I could locate. Anything that didn’t fit? Anything I thought I “should” want? Clothing that would look better when I lose a few pounds? Items that didn’t spark joy? Gone. Into the bin. It took several hours, but I made a decision about every single piece of clothing I own.

Less sorting. Less organizing. Less ironing. Click To Tweet

I started to think about how much easier it would be to pack for our trip next weekend… and how much less time would be devoted to laundry. Less sorting. Less organizing. Less ironing.

I remembered a long-ago campaign. “Clean closets save lives.” Wow. That blast from the past was a promotion we put together when I was the director of a domestic violence program. We made an arrangement with one of the local thrift stores so donors could bring items directly to them and donate on behalf of the organization. And when clients needed clothing they went straight to that store. No more piles in the back room of the agency or of our donors’ closets. It wasn’t our biggest fundraiser, but it became one of our most consistent.

What happens when we let go of things that no longer fit? Click To Tweet

What happens when we let go of things that no longer fit?

My closet feels like a finished manuscript. Neat. Logical. There’s no more “should.” “Someday” seems to be gone, too. Also missing is “what if” as in “what if I need it?” If it’s not here, I don’t need it. And that feels good. It feels like peace and space for more of what is wonderful.


 April 12, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Inner Critic 5 Responses »
Apr 062017

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” – Henry David Thoreau

There is no remedy for love but to love more. Click To Tweet

“People are weird. When we find someone with weirdness that is compatible with ours, we team up and call it love.” – Dr. Seuss

When we find someone with weirdness that is compatible with ours, we team up and call it love. Click To Tweet

“Love me when I least deserve it because that’s when I really need it.” – Swedish proverb

Love me when I least deserve it because that’s when I really need it. Click To Tweet

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up, it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. It is about appreciation.” – Osho

Love is not about possession. It is about appreciation. Click To Tweet


Andrea Patten has managed to love her inner editor long enough to publish  The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.

 April 6, 2017  Posted by  E, Happiness, Self care No Responses »
Apr 052017

Favorite books. One would think that would be a fairly easy topic of conversation, right? It isn’t. The question “What’s your favorite book?” immediately brings about a feeling of dread. Novels or non-fiction? Recent or classic? What if the person asking the question really wants to know? What if I’ve temporarily forgotten one that has truly served me? Yikes!

I think of book recommendations as a sort of serendipitous matchmaking. After all, how many times have you picked up a book and fallen in love simply because it was exactly what you needed at the time? And as a lifelong learner who believes that really good books become part of us? My lists go on and on. (I feel vindicated by none other than Thomas Aquinas who is reported to have said, “Beware of the person of one book.”)

I write mostly non-fiction and most of the time that is what I prefer to read. But there are times that a good novel is exactly what is called for. So here, in no particular order, is some of my favorite fiction.

Beware of the person of one book. Click To Tweet

It was probably a high school reading assignment that introduced me to John Steinbeck. My guess is that we started with The Grapes of Wrath and, while I may have grumbled about the assignments as much as anyone else, guess who dominated my independent reading for some time after? I’d be hard-pressed to choose between Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, and Travels With Charley. I loved each and every character and was hooked on the feeling transported to a completely different place and culture.

If you’ve visited my blog before, you know I’m fascinated by thinking. And brains. I’ve noticed that, as I think about various books and authors, they show up as a category. For example, when I was a single Mom with a young child, we were fortunate to leave New England in early spring and visit relatives in the sunny South. At the time, John Grisham’s releases coincided with those trips and became a bit of a tradition for me.  Runaway Jury comes to mind.

... prose as forceful as a hollow point bullet. Click To Tweet

That leads to my love of series. Andrew Vachss’ Burke series is full of honest, gripping stories and compelling characters. It has been described as “prose as forceful as a hollow-point slug.” When recommending a starting place, I can’t choose between Flood, Blossom, or Hard Candy. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series (One for the Money, Two for the Dough) is as silly as Vachss is revealing.

And of course, there are my friends who write. I love them — no only for the feedback and encouragement they share but for the work they produce. They keep me traveling to genres that I might now always choose for myself. I enjoy David-Matthew Barnes short plays and romances. (Ambrosia is pretty funny.) I turn to my sometimes-neighbor Barbara Bond for mature chick-lit that takes place on my island home… although I’m going to a launch party for her new release Everyday Enemies next week. And I can’t thank Nancy Blanton enough. Sharavogue — the first book in her series of 17th-century Irish historical fiction — boasts well-drawn characters and enough “action” to make me a fan of a previously untasted genre! There’s something wonderful about knowing The Prince of Glencurragh is waiting for me on the bedside table.

Tell me about some of your favorite novels in the comments, please.

This post was originally part of a “Favorite Books” blog hop — a collaborative effort by several different authors. The links below are other posts on the topic.




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