Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.

When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.

This episode part of a series about how understanding our relationship to clothes and our closet can lead to a more enjoyment and less stress.

A great big thank you to Seven Production here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie as the intro and outro to the show, to Matt Kugler, who you can find on social media as Matt hyphen K, who sang it and to Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Episode 46: Closet Inventory

Talking Points: Antiquities, Costumes and Sentimental Items. The contents of our closets are not just things we wear, but we insist on treating them as such. It is useful to start viewing some of the things in our closets as souvenirs or artifacts.

This episode part of a series about how understanding our relationship to clothes and our closet can lead to a more enjoyment and less stress.

A great big thank you to Seven Production here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie as the intro and outro to the show, to Matt Kugler, who you can find on social media as Matt hyphen K, who sang it and to Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Week 3: Being Still

According to the rules of my New Year’s Resolution, I’m meant to be doing for others what I would want done for me. This *should* be easy, right?

Surprise surprise, this has become an increasingly mindbending endeavor.

This requires a clarity of thought that I don’t often have in abundance. “What would I want done for me?” is a question that quite often leaves me cold.

“Why? Why do I not know what I would want done for me?” This has become my refrain. Now I find myself in a kind of paralysis to act, where before I might have just acted out of habit or expectation or perceived urgency.

Unraveling this particular ball of yarn has been keeping me busy.

There is inherently the idea that I should be doing something. And maybe that is my first big error in thinking. Maybe this inability to determine what I would want done for me is because I am seeking to act in situations which do not require my action.

Being still and not taking any action is a very scary thing. It means we have to sit with our thoughts and self-judgment, particularly that self-judgment that tells us that we should always be doing something, because our worth is measured by what we do.

This idea circles around to something I have been trying to learn to do since I became a parent: learn to be quiet. The parenting method we tried to adopt for our children advised us to be observant, to be a presence, but to allow the children to pursue what interested them as they developed. This meant not intervening while they would try to stack blocks, and even (and this was very very very difficult for a natural born cheerleader) not to praise them every time they did something new.

But the hardest part was the silence: not interrupting their creative elan when they were concentrating. Not asking what they were doing. Letting them learn to ride the wave of their own thought processes.

This week, I am coming to grips with the fact that maybe I don’t know what I would want done for me because maybe what I really, deeply want is quiet and stillness and to ride the wave of my own thoughts uninterrupted.

The urge to “encourage”, which is, in and of itself a laudable impulse, has often been my go-to “action”. “When in doubt, encourage,” right?

But have you ever been on the receiving end of well-intentioned but uninformed encouragement? The kind that makes you feel pity for the person who is trying to give it to you because they are missing a whole piece of the puzzle that isn’t within your purview to disclose? Yet again, I would prefer silence.

So as I start winding back up this ball of yarn, I see that perhaps it is less that I don’t know what I would want done for me, and more, what I would want is that nothing be done for me.

Learning to listen to this call to refrain from action is like learning to recognize different bird calls. It’s not my language, I will never be able speak it, nor be understood in it. But it is an exquisite reality that makes all of life more beautiful.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Closet Inventory Download

As promised in Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy, here is a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that will help you kickstart your closet inventory:

Don’t worry, the formulae are already there for you, and there are more than 1000 lines ready. (I really hope you won’t need 1000 lines. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!) I even put in a couple examples in to inspire you.

The goal here is to develop an objective measure of the value of each item in your closet. Obviously, you might not remember the exact date or price of each item, but you probably have a good idea of when the item came into your possession.

Likewise, you won’t know exactly how many times you wore something. (Unless you are a freak like me!) But you can estimate. Once you’ve given your best estimate, you can start actually calculating from the day your start your inventory.

For items that are hand-me-downs or gifts, just enter $0 for the price. The formulae will do the rest for you.

As I mentioned in the podcast, I actually have mine as a Google Doc. I am linking to the document here, and all you need to do is copy the document and save it to your Google Drive.

I keep it on the Google Drive because I can update it from anywhere…like when I am standing in line at the grocery store, bored out of my skull while the little old man in front of me pays with pennies or have three minutes before I need to go pick up the boys from school. Wherever I have wi-fi access, I can update my document.

Don’t try to do it all at once. Just take it one day at a time.

Drop me a line if you need help or encouragement. I promise this little effort is worth it.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy

Talking Points: Why do you wear what you wear?; Living off the land (AKA stop shopping!); doing a closet inventory.

This episode is the first in a series about how understanding our relationship to clothes and our closet can lead to a more enjoyment and less stress.

A great big thank you to Seven Production here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie as the intro and outro to the show, to Matt Kugler, who you can find on social media as Matt hyphen K, who sang it and to Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Week 2: A Golden Rule Conundrum

I had just spent a good thirty minutes folding clothes. They were not mine, because my clothes get the royal treatment. I usually hang mine up as they leave the washer, so that they dry nicely. I know. It’s selfish. But whatever. Call it self care.

“Okay, everybody! Come get your laundry and put it away please,” I said, as kindly and as friendly as could be possibly said. There were stacks for each man of the house. A stack of 5 year old clothes, a stack of 7 year old clothes and a stack of clothes for a fully grown man.

“Did you hear your mother?” my indulgent husband chimed in.

“Yeah yeah,” came the mostly tepid response. Eventually, the 5 almost 6 year old arrived, and I stacked his stacks in his little arms and went with him to put them away.

The 7 year old heard me ooohing and aaahing over how helpful his brother had been and he turned up, probably more to be fawned over than anything else, but he did move his stack.

The remaining stack did not move.

Dinnertime came, and when it I asked someone to set the table, the stack was moved from the table to the piano. I grumbled a little bit.

The Golden Rule would tell me to do for others what I would want done for me, which as previously established is me doing self care by treating my clothes like they were a Lamborghini Gallardo.

But I was busy overseeing the setting of the table and making dinner, and I figured that the human to whom the stack of clothes would move them after dinner.

He did not.

The laundry stayed there all night. The next morning, I saw them and I got angry.

Angry? Angry. I felt ignored and disrespected and I was not in the mood to treat this pile of clothes like a Lamborghini Gallardo. So I left them.

And anyway, would I really want someone to put my clothes away for me? Knowing how picky I am about hangers and how things get folded and put away? Absolutely not. The Golden Rule Rules. So if I wouldn’t want someone to put my things away, then I shouldn’t have to put his things away, right?

Right, I tell myself defiantly.

So that laundry stayed there another day and night.

The next morning I was livid. Does no one see this eyesore? Am I the only one who cares?

I thought about the Golden Rule again. What would it tell me to do in this situation now, now that I was angry and that no one was going to do anything about it?

So I moved the pile to the bedroom, on top of the dresser and left it there.

Another two days. Nothing.

And then I thought about the Golden Rule. Again.

What would I want someone to do for me? I would want someone to remove the reminder of how angry I was. So I put the stupid pile of laundry away where it belonged.

And I had to really think about what it means to me to live out the Golden Rule. It means I needto act quickly, and not give myself the time to doubt and overthink. The Golden Rule is a question of in-the-moment action. The Golden Rule means do it now.

It means when someone asks me to do something, I need to be prompt and thorough about doing it, because that is what I want done for me.

Two weeks in and I hate the Golden Rule already.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

The “Golden Rule Rules” Rules

You know me by now, right? I like rules. I like to make rules and I like holding myself accountable to rules. So obviously, when Lily Fields makes a New Year’s Resolution, it comes with rules. I find that this helps break down a resolution into smaller chunks, making it hard to fail entirely, which, as you may imagine, I am loathe to do.

Fairy godmothers do not fail.

So when it comes to my resolution to live out the Golden Rule, or, as I am calling my little attempt at loving others as I love myself and doing for others what I would them to do for me, “The Golden Rule Rules”, I need a few rules. Thus the strange title of this article.

  • When my first reaction is “no” because I want to stay comfortably doing whatever I was doing, I need to change it to a “yes” and do what I would want done for me.
  • When my response is a “no” for a health or safety reason, I need to explain it.
  • When I have said “yes” after an I initial “no”, I need to make sure to connect with the scalawag as I do whatever it is…not just “do it for them”.
  • If anything takes less than a minute, I must do it now.
  • Pray for the people I love.
  • Let the people I love know I am thinking about them when it pops up.
  • Small, insignificant but ultimately meaningful gestures of love are de rigueur. (Sending the elevator back to the garage for a neighbor, putting toothpaste on toothbrushes, putting away everyone’s laundry even though they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves.)
  • Refrain from grumbling about the insignificant gestures.
  • Hug liberally.
  • Explain things patiently.
  • Ask for help when I need it.
  • Give undivided attention.
  • Speak kindly to and of others.

That’s it. Them’s the rules. It sounds so easy, but I assure you that for a short-fused, self-centered creature of comfort such as myself, it is anything but.

So there we have it. The building blocks of this year’s resolution.

PS: I am currently staring down a pile of folded laundry that belongs to someone in my house that has been sitting here for four days, and yes, I have been grumbling about it. I have been resisting putting it away for this person, because I want to make sure I am doing it for the right reason: because it is what I would want someone to do for me, and not just because I am sick and tired of looking at this tower of laundry.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Week 1: The Golden Rule Rules

This is my first roundup of the highlights from my Golden Rule resolution….that is…my resolution to live out the Golden Rule in as many ways as possible in 2023.

First up, whereas this, pre-scalawags had been something we always used to do, but had stopped doing it in the last few years. It is so so incredibly tiny that I am embarrassed to admit that it was a highlight of my week, but here goes: when I went to brush my teeth this week, I put toothpaste on my husband’s toothbrush, too.

I know. It’s insignificant. But it is something that, in the past, used to make me feel really loved. So I decided that if it was something that would make me feel loved, then it had the potential to make him feel loved. And if I would want to feel loved, then I should do it for him.

Judge me. It was a highlight of my week.

Another incredibly small thing: I was putting my face on one morning this week, listening to a true crime podcast (as one does…) when my eldest came in and “just wanted to talk.”

I may have sighed a little, because on Dateline, Josh Mankiewicz was making a snarky comment to a woman who had been having an affair about how her behavior seemed awfully suspicious, (which was definitely a highlight of my week). I hit the pause button so my eldest and I could talk about…the taillights on Mini Coopers. (Thrilling, thrilling thrilling.)

If I needed connection with someone I loved, and just “wanted to talk”, and that someone was listening to a murder/mystery podcast, I would want them to prioritize me, too. So I muted Josh Mankiewicz. (Sorry, Josh.)

Lastly, I set up a rotation with my boys so that each one of them would have one night a week where they would choose our meal, help me prepare it, they would set, serve and clear the table.

I did this, not because I want to double the preparation time of meals twice a week and have to deal with all the complaining and they whining (which I love, as you can imagine.) I did this because I would want someone to teach me basic life skills too, and would want someone to put up with all my whining and complaining in the process.

This was, in spite of the whining and complaining, a success.

Sure, I failed this week, too. I’ll save telling you about those for another time.

Be great this week. Listen to the podcast!

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

2023: The Golden Rule Rules

Happy New Year!

This year, I have a New Year’s Resolution that is not nearly as interesting as it was in 2022, and is absolutely, positively boring compared to 2021. But sometimes, boring is good, right? “Right,” she tries to convince herself.

This year, I don’t have 22 little goals to make progress in, and this year, I am not foreswearing the purchase of any new clothes. This year, I am going to live by the Golden Rule.

“Boring,” you say.

It’s been almost one week now, and I have failed at my New Year’s Resolution already two big fat ugly times that I can count. But I have also succeeded a good number of times. But before I get into that, I want to explain why and what this means.

The Golden Rule tells us to love others as we love ourselves, and to do for others what we would want to do for us. As we have been saying here since, oh, I don’t know, forever, there is no way that we can love others if we don’t love ourselves first. Because if we don’t love ourselves, then we have no place to start from. We have nothing in the bank to be generous with.

So my goal is to get to the point where I love myself without reservation, so that I can love others without counting.

But that’s too hard, I whine to myself.

And the fact that it is too hard its exactly why I want to do it.

So, the goal this year is to, as much as I possibly can, do for others what I would want done for me, and to do this without any expectation that anything will ever be done for me in return.

I do not want to be generous out of the hope that someone will be generous to me in return. I want to be generous because I would want someone to be generous to me if I were in their shoes. (Does this make sense?)

I want to give my son the last piece of cake because I would want someone to love me enough to give me the last piece of cake.

I want to invite my kid to snuggle up next to me while I’m reading when he should really be in bed already, darn it, because if I were in his shoes and needed a snuggle, I would want someone to snuggle me instead of scolding me and sending me off to bed.

I want to speak in a calm voice with my kids, even when they don’t deserve a calm voice, because I would want someone to speak in a calm voice to me when I am feeling and acting crazy.

Have no fear, though, people pleasers of the world. This does not mean I am abandoning discipline of my children or handing over a pen for others to write all over my calendar.

Because I also know that if I were behaving badly or dangerously, I would want someone with authority to address this with me instead of letting me hurt myself or others. So I have to be willing and able to address misbehavior with authority, gentleness and grace.

I also know that if I asked someone to do something, and they agreed half-heartedly and came to learn that they dreaded doing what I asked, I wouldn’t want them to carry through on their commitment. So my resolution says that if I have a reservation about a commitment, I have to be honest and upfront about it. I have to not commit if I think I won’t be able to keep my commitment, even though it means I won’t be pleasing everybody all the time.

So yeah, it’s a boring resolution, but it is keeping me busy.

I have, on a few occasions, been accused of overthinking everything. (You know who you are.) But I think even you would agree that this is productive overthinking. So, while the resolution is boring, I doubt that I will be bored!

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? I would love to hear about it!!!!!!

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Episode 44: Facing Disappointment

Talking Points: Disappointment isn’t just for kids on Christmas Day; the origin of disappointment and how it can lead to rage; constructive ways to deal with disappointment in the long-term and the short-term; holding space for others as they let disappointment run its course.

A special thank you to Seven Productions here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song “La Joie” as the intro and outtro to the show, to Matt Kugler (Matt-K on social media) who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?