Reflections from India

As they say, back to the real world…

Doug and I returned recently from our two-week adventure in India to attend the wedding of two close friends.

This month’s newsletter will be a bit of a different (and abridged) format.  I hope you enjoy!

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Hearsay is a funny thing. 

Much of what we heard about India leading up to our trip was cautious, at best. 

Summed up, it was “be VERY careful”.  Things like…

Scams are rampant, beggars are everywhere, even reaching their hands into your pockets to fish out rupees.  Taxi drivers will rip you off and/ or take you to the wrong places on purpose. 

The merchants are aggressive.  Every meal poses a risk of violent illness.  The wild dogs can be overwhelming.  The Indian Mafia is alive and well.  Police are in on it and may need to be bribed.

I’m pretty sure our list of things to watch out for was longer than our list of things to do.

But the reality looked nothing like the information thought we knew.

We found the Indian people to be the warmest, most patient, genuine, happy, connected culture that we’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter. 

While that may sound like an exaggeration, I can tell you that, in two weeks, Doug and I never once had anything resembling a negative interaction. 

Think about how incredible that is! 

Never heard anyone complain.  Never saw anyone being rude or angry.  Never felt like we were being taken advantage of.

Instead, our memories are of laughing and dancing in the car with taxi drivers who barely spoke English, being welcomed into secluded beach getaways for late night dance parties, posing in pictures with fascinated locals, and a contagious love of life and people that seemed to flow through every encounter.

As we flew back home and started to process everything we’d seen, Dougand I came to a couple realizations, one obvious and one not so obvious.

First, after seeing the patience and positivity of the Indian people, even in the face of poverty and lack of material comfort, we started to think that maybe they’re onto something. 

In America, our blood pressure goes through the roof for the smallest things.  Like if the line at the grocery store is too long.  Or the car ahead of us doesn’t turn right away at the green arrow.  JEEZ, what is he doing?!?!  LOL

But what do any of those things matter in the larger picture of our lives?

I believe now more than ever that patience is the key to health and happiness

Letting go of the things you can’t control, and living in and appreciating this moment, instead of rushing into a future that’s always just outside of our reach.

As a culture, Indians seem to choose their state of mind admirably.  Stress, anxiety, happiness or peace of mind are all choices we make in our thoughts and through our reactions to the happenings of the world. We tend to create all this drama and stress where there doesn’t need to be any. 

Coming home from this trip, Doug and I have become hyper-aware of our

little complaints and working to replace them with appreciation.

In a few short weeks, I can tell you that the impact touches just about every area of our lives.

Our second realization was related to organizing, since, well, I’m an organizing nerd!

It had to do with the misleading information we got before our trip to India…

I bet a lot of people who would really love India will never take the trip because of how it’s portrayed.  A trip to India seems so “extreme” and they don’t think they have it in them.

I see a similar thing happen in the world of organizing.

Most people don’t think they have it in them to become organized.  It’s like this far off distant land that they’ve read about in books and seen on TV, but one that they don’t ever expect to visit themselves.

There’s lots of misinformation floating around that scares people from ever trying.  Things like…

…You’re either born organized or you’re not.

…It’s impossible to be organized with kids.

…It’s a full-time job to stay organized.

…Getting organized means looking a Container Store commercial.

In reality, none of these things are true.  They’re just someone else’s limiting beliefs that you can choose to accept or reject.

Organization looks different for everyone.  Your trip is what you decide it will be!

Organization the intersection of style, function and feel.  If your space is pleasing to your eye, functional for your life, and inspiring to your being, then you’re organized.  Regardless of whether you’ve done pretty bins with color-coded labels.

As someone who’s “taken the journey” myself and with countless clients, I’m telling you that you do have it in you.  Not just to have me come organize your space, but to internalize the organized spirit of calmness, coolness and control. 

Sure, we probably need to help you declutter first.  But, trust me, you won’t miss the stuff you get rid of.

Yes, we definitely need to design systems that work hand-in-hand with how you live.  But keeping up with them is simpler than you think.  And one experience of the “other side” is all it takes to realize that it’s actually more work to be disorganized than it is to stay organized.

So ignore the naysayers (especially the one inside your head).  Forget the reasons it won’t work.  And decide to create your own experience of “organized” that re-writes everything you thought you knew!

With love,

    Jen