Organizing for Connection and Ease – an Introduction

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When I was asked to write for the Ease up – The Organizing Experts blog, I immediately felt optimistic and hopeful, and nervous as well. There is SO much to discuss when it comes to organizing and living with more ease…but will people find what I have to say useful? Interesting? Worth their time and effort? Meaningful?

What is interesting about my reaction is that similar feelings surface when we think about organizing our belongings and our life. We feel excited about the change, hopeful about the ease it will bring, and perhaps a bit fearful that it will be too hard to do and keep up.

As someone who has been interested in the psychological aspects of organizing for some time, this seems like a good place to start and I’m honoured to share my thoughts here.

When we think about ‘being organized” perhaps what comes to mind is the notion that everything will be in its place, looking perfect, just like in the magazines. This can surely happen (especially with the help of professional organizers!), however, I think what we’re really looking for is a sense of connection – to our things, to our choices, and to our lives.

Yes, we have to do something to get organized (make a call, hire professionals, release items, etc.), however, most impactful is how we feel throughout the process.

According to researchers Sandra Sigmon and Stacy Whitcomb, (link to abstract) there is a powerful correlation between how we relate to our home and how we relate to the world outside. The more “at home” and “in charge” you feel in your home, the more you will feel “comfortable” and “in control” outside of it. The decisions and actions undertaken in our “psychological home” have immediate and lasting effects outside of the home as well.

In another study, researchers Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Eugene Rochberg-Halton (link to abstract) found that people who described home as “warm and welcoming” were more likely to be connected and thriving in the larger community, while people who described their home as “disorderly and cold” were less connected to others.

So much of the organizational process is about uncovering how we feel about our “home” and how we extend those feelings outwards. In our increasingly fast-paced, high stressed 24-7 world, taking action that makes us feel more in control, connected and at ease, seems like a great way to move forward.

Please email me through Ease up – The Organizing Experts and jessica@easeup.ca with your comments or suggestions – we would love to hear from you!

iREAD Kika virtual book tour

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Kika the Upside-Down Girl just keeps on giving!  Up next on our fliptastic journey is a virtual book tour with iREAD  June 1 – 12. It’s an amazing tour schedule lined up and we can’t wait to start!  And there are free giveaways too – follow us on the iREAD page to see where we’re at!

OUR FLAG, OUR PRIDE – Celebrating 50 Years

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What an amazing experience to be part of the human flag to commemorate the 50th birthday of our Canadian Flag!

Held at Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) at ice level, hundreds of us dressed in red looked up high at the ceiling while renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky captured the shot (above).

Below you can see a close up of Sebastian and I, along with fellow Olympians, Pinball Clemons & his Argonauts, and other proud Torontonians.  Learn more at:   http://arts.lgontario.ca/flag/

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Five Things That Are Inspiring

When the weather shifts from 10 below to 10 plus, I am reminded of just how quickly things change and how life is full of surprises and inspiration – here are 5 of mine right now!

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1.  Darling, You Can’t Do Both, or CAN YOU?

Loved listening to Darling, You Can’t Do Both authors, SWIM strategists & DOVE Campaign for Real Beauty co-creators Janet Kestin & Nancy Vonk at the recent McGill Alumni Luncheon. They encourage breaking the rules, mentoring others, speaking up and recognizing that  motherhood can mean better work.

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2. LOOK UP – A video plea by Gary Turk

Two students in my persuasive presentations class shared the LOOK UP VIDEO, an incredibly powerful visual poem by Gary Turk that addresses our increasing use of technology and social media and diminishing ability to connect with fellow humans. As he says, “stop watching this video, live life the real way.” I was so moved by this video and think you’ll be too. REQUIRED VIEWING!

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3.  Toronto Mini Maker Faire

The greatest show (and tell) on Earth is how they describe this festival – and how true that is! Sebastian is completely in awe of meeting his hero, giant storm trooper guy!  A mighty collection of do-it-yourselfers, tech enthusiasts, crafters, homesteaders, scientists and garage tinkerers of all ages and backgrounds, this faire inspires magnificent making for all!

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4.  Inspire! International Book Festival

Kika the Upside-Down Girl author (me!) and publisher, Genevieve Rossignol of Domnizelles Publishing Inc., share a fun moment “in the park” at the recent INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Festival.  Great to see so many young readers enjoying the tenting and reading – kids just like to sit, relax and read, quite simple really. So grateful and inspired to be part of it all.

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5.  Year-End Review

As hard as it is to complete a thorough and meaningful year-end review, it is totally worth it! I get excited thinking about the process – thinking about what went well, what did not go so well, what can be better next year, what i can focus on, what can shift, and most importantly – what can be celebrated as 2014 accomplishments.  Many different ways to do this; personally I like big paper, coloured markers, lot of scribbles, some wine and a friend or two to share in the fun.

 

Join Kika & Jessica’s Fliptastic Fall!

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KIKA the Upside-Down Girl – we are going to have a fliptastic fall!

So many great events coming up and I’m so honoured to be part of them – as a speaker, presenter, fan, panel guest and all around creative innovator. Please consider joining in the fun  – these events are sure to ignite, inspire and empower you to make the world a more creative, active and healthy place!  btw – the new book cover pictured above is pretty fun isn’t it?

Fall highlights below:

Kika has a new publisher!

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Very excited to announce that Domnizelles Publications Inc. has acquired the rights to publish Kika the Upside Down Girl! 

Our new soft cover version will be released in September 2014 in English, French and Spanish as we prepare to reach an even broader audience worldwide with Kika’s inspiring message.

Led by Genevieve Rossignol, Domnizelles Publications Inc. is the publisher of acclaimed kids and young adult books such as:  Dear Bully of Mine (winner of two Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal Awards), Pants, No Chance!, How to Say Goodbye Forever, Pepper, The Wig Warrior, and When I am Older. For a full catalogue, please click HERE.

Check back for more updates as we prepare for a full fall lineup including reading and interactive presentations at Indigo Yorkdale (Sept. 20), Word on The Street Literary Festival (Sept. 21), The Inspire International Book Festival (Nov. 2014),  the Christmas Gift Show (Dec. 2014) and many other visits to schools, clubs, gyms and community events in the GTA — it’s going to be a FLIPTASTIC fall for Kika the Upside Down Girl!

A Somersaultilicious Summer Ahead!

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4-time Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser holds a copy of Kika the Upside Down Girl, which she graciously endorsed on the back cover – I hold her gold medal from Sochi. Very Inspiring!!

It is indeed exciting times for Jessica, Kika the Upside Down Girl and the FL!P movement!  Spring has been full of wonderful opportunities to engage with students, athletes, coaches, publishing & literary professionals, festival guests and happy Kika the Upside Down readers.

As we look ahead, I am thrilled to be engaging in so many amazing events that will undoubtedly build our community of confident, creative and fliptastic fans! 

Highlights:

The Art of Leadership for Women Conference – attendee & Hayley Wickenheiser fan (see photo above!). May 29, Toronto.

Gymnastics Ontario’s National Acro Cup – Kika the Upside Down Girl presenter and vendor  at inaugural competition.  June 6-7, Humber College, Toronto.

Pickering Invitational Gymnastics Competition – Kika the Upside Down Girl speaker and author signing.  June 21, Pickering.

Pan Am Games one year countdown – athlete representative & speaker. July 12, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

Camp Woodward – Guest coach, physical literacy expert & FL!P presenter. June 28 – July 5, Woodward, PA, USA.

Literature for Life – Reading Circle facilitator & FL!P Approach presenter. August, Toronto.

Seneca College – lecturer/speaker. July & August, Seneca College, Toronto.

Word on the Street – Kika the Upside Down Girl kids stage presenter & author signing. September 21, Queen’s Park Circle, Toronto.

Chapters Indigo Yorkdale – Kika the Upside Down Girl reading & book signing. TBA September, Toronto.

INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair – Kika the Upside Down Girl presenter & author signing. November 13 – 16, Toronto.

Reading for the Love of It Conference – Kika the Upside Down Girl presenter & author signing. TBA February 2015, Toronto.

3 Reasons to Fling into Spring with Kika!

Revolution girlsSo many reasons to celebrate spring – warmer weather, more outdoor play, lots of Easter chocolate & new opportunities to hang with Kika the Upside Down Girl!

# 1.  Kika has a few new homes to share with you, including a permanent spot in the Archives of Canada Library, which I feel honoured and grateful for.  Books are now for sale @ CHAPTERS / INDIGO Bay/Bloor and at the amazing TYPE BOOKS. Books also for sale @ amazon.ca and through Jessica directly for organizations/bulk orders.

What should we do next? Having sold 750 of my original 1000 books, I’m going to Continue reading

My 2014 Manifesto for Living

Currently attending an inspiring Amplify your Business conference and one of the things host and business coach extraordinaire Darla LeDoux asked was, “What’s your manifesto for Living?”

I thought about her question and realized I always have had ideas in my head about what might be guiding me, but have never actually written them down.  So, in an effort to do my homework (I have always been one to complete my homework for better or worse!), here is a snippet. To see the whole manifesto, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

See each day as an opportunity to connect, learn & grow.  Be crazy curious & serenely contemplative.  Face forward; look up.  Treat time as the precious commodity it is.  Smile, breathe & move.  Be authentic and genuine.  Just figure it out.  Share stories.  Empower others to take action. Cultivate kindness and curiosity.  Do not waste imagination and creativity on worrying.

For anyone looking to make a difference in the world and amplify their presence in work, play,  family (or other), I highly recommend creating your own version.  If nothing else, sitting down and writing out what you truly believe to be important forces you to think through how to say yes to opportunities and people that serve you well, and no to those that do not.