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Blog: The Nature of Being Organized
Organizing Inspirations--Lessons From Africa

Have you ever had an "out of the blue" surprise that just knocked you off your feet and transported you back in time in an instant? My surprise came two weeks ago via email one night from an old high school classmate, Karen. She found me on a social networking site while on a mission to find as many graduates as she could for an upcoming all class reunion. The email read, "Are you Nancy McCauley—"Steep thyself in a bout of summertime."? (Since college I've been going by my middle name). Instantly my mind went to our old high school, the teachers and all the events over the years.
We exchanged a few brief emails that night. She found an article I had written, "How To Bring More Money and Peace of Mind to Your Life". It resonated so deeply with her that she wrote back to me about her time in Africa. Her story was so much in sync with my organizing message that I just had to share it with all of you. It's beautiful and says it all in two short paragraphs. Here's Karen's story:
In 2000, I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Africa for two years. I could only take what I could carry and no more. Before leaving, I gave away most of what I owned, sold my car, and only kept things I didn't feel guilty asking my family to store in their respective basements and attics. While overseas, I lived on about $2.83 per day, having very few possessions but enjoying a richness I really had never known.

When I came home, I had just about nothing...except the most important lesson of my pack-rat life. My 'stuff' had defined me. It was as if having all of it proved I was someone because it took up physical space and I was its custodian. But in Africa I learned that not having (stuff or choices or money) liberates you to BE ... to be good, to be funny, to be full of wonder, to be yourself (not hiding behind the junk or the obligations or the money you had before). I learned that I (not my stuff) have value - something I never knew before. Thank you for saying all of that aloud and teaching others to be free.
                                                     Karen Vanderwart Potter
This message comes at such a perfect time. Our current economic situation is begging for us to rethink, reevaluate and reform our materialistic ways. I'm not suggesting that we become minimalists; our stuff serves a purpose and can make our lives a lot easier in many ways.  However, when we look inside first for fulfillment and happiness—when we learn how to "BE"-- life will feel rich and prosperous all the time no matter what is happening outside of us.
Thank you, Karen, for your inspiration. Ah… the wisdom that comes with age…
Do you have an inspirational story you'd like to share? Let me know I'd love to post it!
Love To You,

posted on: 3/26/2009 12:00:00 PM by Maggie McCauley
category: The Mental Side

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The Nature of Being Organized

by Maggie McCauley

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About Maggie:

Maggie McCauley, ACC, LICSW, The Effortless Organizing Coach, is the president of "A New View". She takes a holistic approach to organizing coaching her clients to create new habits that promote overall well-being, a sense of freedom and peace of mind.

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Maggie's Products:

My Favorite Books

  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
  • It's Hard To Make A Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul
  • Organize With Confidence by Elizabeth Hagen
  • The Secret Of Letting Go by Guy Finley
  • Life Is Short--Wear Your Party Pants by Loretta La Roche
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin
  • Loving What Is by Byron Katie
  • Making A Change For Good by Cheri Huber
  • "Happiness Now!" by Robert Holden, PhD.

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