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make

your home
a
soul oasis!

www

house-coach

.com
Come Home to Yourself
An inspirational self-help book using Interior Design and Life Coaching tools
Limited edition for BoConcept
By Kirsten Steno
Title: www.House-Coach.com
by Kirsten Steno

Graphic editing: Claus Bradsted, www.Image-Factory.dk


Editor: Diana Soloman, www.MyVADiana.com
Printed by: Zeuner Grafisk, Odder
Cover illustration: Lydia Wienberg, www.WienbergDesign.eu

Photo :
Jean-Francois JAUSSAUD/ LUXPRODUCTIONS.COM
Jens Erik Bk, www.HighwayStudio.dk
Claus Bradsted, www.Image-Factory.dk
Jonas Ahlstrm, www.JonasFotografi.dk
Diana Lovring, www.DianaLovring.com
BoConcept, www.BoConcept.com

Text and design: Kirsten Steno 2013


1st limited edition for BoConcept July 2013

"How to Find Out Who You Really Are" by Anne Lamott. Copyright 2009, Anne Lamott, originally published in
'O' Magazine, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.

The author of this book does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment
for physical, emotional or medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. The intent
of the author is only to offer helpful information of a general nature. It is your right to use any of the information in
this book for yourself; the author and BoConcept assume no responsibility for your actions.
CONTENT
What is a House-Coach? 4
Why BoConcept, House-Coaching and Me? 6
Get to know Kirsten Steno 10
The Power Of Home 12
When Do You Need a House-Coach in Your Life? 17
Young-Love Nest: Boy Meets Girl 29
Boy, Girl, Plus Baby 41
My own Story 53
The Challenges of the Single Parent 63
Our Story 73
How to be a Happy Patchwork Family 87
The Guardians of Things 97
Young at heart 111
Pathfinder Vision Board 123
Thank You 128
RESOURCE: Tool Box 130
Karen Blixen: Babettes Feast and Other Anecdotes of Destiny

our longing is our


pledge, and blessed
are the homesick
for they shall come
home.
4
What is
a House-Coach?
Home and Life Coach equals House-Coach. The How do you do this? By understanding and lov-
pronunciation is deliberately close to house-coat, a ing who you really are and realizing what home really is:
comfortable and very private object of clothing. You al- a metaphor for You and how you feel inside. Once you
low very few people to see you in a house-coat! But it truly accept and love who you are in the present, you can
represents your bodys comfort zone. learn to fully appreciate where you live right now and
I am a House-Coach, a certified Martha Beck find joy in life and in nesting.
Life Coach and interior designer for 25 years. The more Please bear in mind that coaching is not therapy
I work with people in their homes the more I realize or counseling, although it is relationship-based and con-
House-Coaching has developed in answer to a powerful fidential. So, how is it different? Basically, life coaches
voice of restlessness from deep within us. That voice calls (and I as a House-Coach) work with the conscious mind,
out for Home, it yearns for Home, and for belonging, for while therapists work with the unconscious mind. Ther-
safety and peace. House-Coaching is the cure for feeling apists and psychologists work with deeper psychological
Homesick-at-Home and is the end to longing for life issues, and need to delve deeply into the past. Coaches
in your life. help healthy people be the best they can be, while ther-
I, myself, used to be so discontented, always want- apists often work with a state of poor mental health, even
ing to live somewhere else with another version of my pathology. (Although its true that many people invest
lover or another version of my own body. I wanted an- in therapy simply to learn about themselves and push
other job, more money, and better health. In fact, I was themselves to growth.) I am not a therapist, and I often
homesick in my life. In my mind all I could see was refer a client to a professional when I recognize issues
lack. Unfortunately, I didnt realize then that I already that need deeper work than coaching provides. But for
had so much for which to be grateful! most people, House-Coaching is very powerful and even
I have changed the major course of my life as many life-changing!
times as I have moved. And thats a lot! Small changes in I encourage you to make the place you live the
my personal life (weight loss, job loss, etc.) have imme- place you love. I hope youll find inspiration from the
diately and unconsciously been expressed in my home following stories of people I have coached from all over
with new decorations, new colors or by rearranging the the world, many of whom are sharing the same life and
furniture. The more I expressed those changes, the better home challenges you have, right now. I sincerely hope the
I felt about my home. And the better I felt about myself. coaching tools and interior design ideas I have learned
That is because Home equals Me. And Home equals You! and invented will help you see yourself and your home
(Read why in The Power of Home chapter). I now ex- with new compassionate eyes. Start loving who you are,
perience the bliss of living in freedom and gratitude and and where you live for real forever!
would love to help you move away from unhappiness
and into gratitude, too.

5
Why
BoConcept,
House-Coaching
and Me?
I met the CEO of BoConcept, Torben Paulin, by I launched into my first public Trend Talk on
pure coincidence. I was rushing to a scheduled press House-Coaching, a few months after passing my exam
meeting with BoConcept and the Danish press in Hern- as a Martha Beck Life Coach. And it went so well! I was
ing, the location of the head office. I was a bit late... So fired up and impassioned as I shared my desire to help
on two wheels I spun into the parking lot, just as Torben people with this system. The audience laughed and cried
was climbing out of his car. I had delivered Trend Talks and it was a wonderful night for all of us. At the end
in Denmark for some months, but didnt know any- Torben came up to me, a big smile on his face, and shook
thing about BoConcept International or what their CEO my hand. After chuckling again about our meeting in the
looked like. So I just pulled up next to the first approach- parking lot, he had a question for me.
able human being I saw to ask where the press meeting Why dont I know about you? Have you pub-
was taking place! lished your new book yet?
He shook his head. No, there isnt any meeting I replied, No, not yet. And then I had my third
today, he told me, with a confident air, sounding sure surprise of the day.
of this fact. Wed love to publish your book, with a world
I insisted and even showed him my I-phone. See, tour to sign books, and we need you to teach our In-
look, its the right date. terior Consultants about House-Coaching!
He reached for my cell phone, enlarged the invita- OK. Oh, my, uh. Who are you??? I stumbled
tion and said, Yeah, it is today, but its in Copenhagen... and stuttered, feeling wowed and a bit confused at the
Well. How silly did I feel? I was stunned and all same time. He handed me his business card. Without
I could do was recite a popular TV commercial for a my glasses on (should really have gone to X) I could
well-known company. It mocks people who need glasses see the title: CEO, BoConcept. I gasped, but tried to be
but refuse to buy them, then make funny mistakes. And cool! Oh my, this was a match made in Home-Heaven!
regret it! Since then I have given my House-Coaching
Should have gone to X! I mimicked the com- tools to those who teach new interior designers at the
mercial, and we both had a good laugh. Then I went BoConcept Academy. I have given Trend Talks in sev-
on, a bit ruefully, Well, no worries. At least I wasnt eral countries, and the result has always been the same.
the speaker wouldnt THAT have been terrible? We Whether in the USA or Europe, Homesick-at-Home
laughed again. feels just the same to everyone. After my talks many in
Waving him good-bye and thanking him for his the audience approach me, give me a hug, look into my
help, I drove off, heading home to prepare for a Trend eyes through visible tears and share a few of their home-
Talk I was giving that evening near my hometown. Once life secrets. I am more than happy to hug them back and
at the venue, who should arrive but Torben and his wife? give them a dedicated moment of my life, just so grateful
As it turned out, they lived 15 minutes from my home. my words could begin to set them free.

6
I am also deeply grateful for the opportunity The second and very important reason I am pub-
BoConcept has given me: this chance to spread the good lishing this limited edition for BoConcept is to support
news and help people. My job is to help my clients un- and recommend the wonderful people I have met every-
derstand why they feel so stuck, so lost, so lonely or so where in BoConcepts stores no matter the country.
homesick, and to help them create a lovely, peaceful and They shine in a special, dedicated way. They want to sell
soul-restoring life and home. Alone I can only reach a you their products, of course; its their art and their way
few people, even via Skype worldwide, but with the sup- to make a living. But above all they truly want to help
port of BoConcept and the publication of this book I you come home. They want you to maximize what
can reach many people everywhere. There are so many you buy by incorporating new furniture and accessor-
people in a state of transition who need to know they are ies with those you already own and love at home. The
not alone and that there is an answer. There is more than BoConcept interior decorators (or Consultants might
hope, there is a way forward! be more precise) are being taught how to employ these
I hope youll enjoy this book yourself and give a House-Coaching tools, some of which youll find in this
copy to a friend, someone who is in the midst of his or book.
her own challenges, the type these chapters describe. I am very fortunate to be working with such
I hope youll find freedom and joy in decorating your lovely people, with such brilliant management and with
home and through that home create the life you were such lovely furniture!
meant to live. You may connect and resonate with the
spiritual themes throughout the book, or you may not. Welcome home!
But either way, the tools and concepts I present are func-
tional, timely, and quite simply, powerful. Life changing, Love
in fact. They worked for me, for friends, colleagues and Kirsten Steno
many clients. And they will work for you.

7
I also enjoy working with BoConcept, because they represent
every step of the home cycle. Here you have a wonderful ex-
ample of "Boy, Girl, plus Baby" in the home of the designer
Karim Rashid, who lives in New York. This room and garden is
colorful, creative and fun to look at. It must be fun to live in! He
has won many prestigious design awards (as you can see on his
website www.karimrashid.com) and this year, 2013, he received
the Red Dot Award for BoConcept with his design, Ottawa
Collection.

8
9
Get to know
Kirsten Steno
In Denmark, her country of origin, where Dan- tions, including BoConcept and their interior decorat-
ish Design has been part of her life for more than 30 ors and sales personnel, to offer a more authentic ap-
years, Kirsten is known for her empathetic approach to proach to satisfying their customers.
interior design. She always focuses on the hearts desires After her bout with cancer, and reading many bril-
of her client, aiming to uncover the feelings behind the liant self-help books, she decided to become a life coach,
thoughts that keep them from living a fulfilling life in a herself. She is a now a certified Martha Beck Life Coach
happy home. who combines her teachings with interior design. As the
After going through her fair share of catalytic life only global House-Coach, she decided to write a book
events, she published her first self-help book on interior of the same name. By using modern technology, she
design, Home with a Heart in 2008. It became very pop- now helps clients all over the world; via phone, laptop or
ular, in part due to the shock of the worldwide Regres- I-pad she pays her clients a visit and helps them create
sion. Many people were hit hard and still feel lost with better homes and lives for themselves, whether alone,
regard to home and family. Kirstens great gift to her cli- with partners and/or children.
ents is her wealth of shortcuts and tools to lead them Kirsten will be delivering Trend Talks with
home to a life filled with Love Peace and Harmony. Her BoConcept all over the world and spreading the good
clients may have little money or a great deal either way, news of House-Coaching. People everywhere need
Kirstens ideas are always very creative! to know they can come Home to where they live, and
Over the last 20 years, she helped decorate more Home to themselves!
than 1,800 homes, offices, hotels, companies and cot- Next on her agenda is the publication of a spiritual
tages all over Europe in her heartfelt manner! She has self-help book that will benefit churches worldwide. For
owned her own interior design furniture shop and her more information, read about Pay It Forward Home
Heart to Heart sales techniques help many corpora- Ministries on her website: www.house-coach.com.

10
11
Anne Lamott

To love yourself as you are


is a miracle, and to seek your-
self is to have found yourself,
for now. And now is all we
have, and love is who we are.

Kirsten Steno

To love home as it is
is a miracle, and to seek home
is to have found home, for now
and now is all we have,
and love is what home is.
12
Lorena Siminovich
The Power
Of Home
Its all about love! I understood this a long time ago in my heart but couldnt name it, until I read this poem and
replaced the concept of You with Home:

Therefore, if you make a choice to accept that Have you experienced the power of Home?
wherever you live right now is Home and to accept that Wherever there is Love, Peace and Harmony within the
whoever you are in this moment is You and love both, four walls we inhabit, that home becomes a power sta-
you find the pearls of Love, Peace and Harmony (some- tion. Your batteries recharge when you enter your front
thing of a mantra in this book!). You have indeed found door. You long for home when youve been away for too
a true miracle. long. Your life and work life outside your home can be
stimulating and rewarding, but often interacting with
Do you want to change your life situation? Begin by other people can be draining. Life inside your four walls
changing your home! with small children and a spouse can be draining, too,
Do you want to change your home situation? Begin by but thats another story. (Ill address this common issue
changing your attitudes! later in the chapter entitled, Boy, Girl, Plus Baby, where
there is such a profound need to create a Sanctuary at
After decorating countless homes over the last Home).
20 years, I now know this solution inevitably works When a life crisis hits, a tired, confused and heart-
both ways. This explains why we humans have for cen- broken soul always longs for comfort and a safe place to
turies changed our interior decor, bought cushions and hide. Home, in the truest and best sense of the concept,
paintings, and moved furniture around! People often means comfort and safety.
rearrange furniture, plants and paintings when theyre What if for many years you used your home to dis-
restless and feel the need for change. The truth is, they play an image of success? You started a family, it grew
really long to move forward, or grow inwardly. I regularly and then bam, suddenly nothing felt right or good any-
experience those yearnings. How about you? more! Divorce? Move? New job? New furniture yeah...

13
But stop! How about defining what makes you feel
happy, warm and joyful? What are the life core values in
your home? What are the life core values for your life? I
have a hunch I know what they are, because deep down
Home is You.
inside all humans yearn for the same things. I will share
this with you in every chapter of this book. When you
The Power of
know your personal answers to these questions and the Home is your own
answers are reflected in your home, then your soul will
settle and heal. Your life will change for the better I power. Home-
guarantee it!
If the place you live is not the place you love, and sick actually
being there feels like an itchy woolen sweater or like be-
ing naked and transparent, then, my dear reader, you
means You-Sick!
are Homesick-at-Home. And existing without a lovely,
peaceful and soul-restoring home is exhausting and When you play with the interiors of your home,
painful! you play hide-and-seek with your own personality. You
I know how terrible that is and how hard it is to test what makes you happy. You display what is mean-
be alienated from your own soul. Ive been there myself: ingful to you and you give yourself this gift: Love equals
divorced, a single mom, poor and living in an ugly, ex- Safe Self-Expression. Children only play when they feel
pensive, rented apartment. At that time I was decorat- safe; some need very little from the outside world to feel
ing homes for wealthy clients, trying to give them what I safe and others need a great deal. This behavior contin-
thought I couldnt give myself. I didnt realize I too could ues through adolescence and into adulthood. Even as
have the same feelings of Love, Peace, and Harmony grown-ups most of us are only able to be creative when
even without having the right house, or their income. I were safe, and in order to feel safe, we all have different
just needed to search within to discover what made me needs. This is always very apparent in the way we dec-
happy, what soothed my soul, and what comforted me. orate our homes. Some people require a lot of things
And then to surround myself with a few well-chosen around them to feel safe and comfortable, while others
pieces of furniture, accessories and colors to continue to need very little. So a hoarder and a minimalistic person
soothe myself. Every day. are both longing for safety.
I realized I was sick and tired of being an ordin- If you have forgotten how to be joyful and play-
ary interior designer! At the end of the majority of my ful, it will show in your home. A prime example is a de-
meetings with wealthy clients, my patience ran out and cor style I call Shades of Grey, employing a very strict
I wanted to smack them hard with their expensive cush- and minimalistic mix of decors and furniture. Ive seen
ions, when they couldnt decide on a lamp, a dining chair a thousand homes like that and feel it is a tragedy of our
or a color. Today I know better and they have my com- time. We work far too much; we are stuck behind the
passion. computer and stuck to the belief that work is hard and
I think God showed me how shallow we can all be. no fun.
For decades we have practiced home decoration in a ma- Some of my clients even share the feeling that
terialistic and image-driven way. I began to understand taking care of a home and family is an ongoing night-
and experience empathy for these poor rich women. mare. Women have always felt they are supposed to be
Underneath the demanding behavior was real unhappi- good at creating lovely, peaceful and comfortable homes
ness, real need, real longing. They too are often just help- for their families. Yet I have helped many female clients
less souls looking for Love, Peace, and Harmony in their who did not know how to nest. At dinner parties they
lives. They have lost themselves and are desperately seek- would rather sit with the boys talking business, finance
ing Home. Now I take the time to listen, until I uncover or politics than ooh and ah over decor, baking, or
the limiting thoughts which cause them such pain. I can crafts. They dont get the whole Martha Stewart thing and
help all people, rich or poor or in between, as a House- feel like outcasts. I have orchestrated many anonymous
Coach, and the changes they make in their homes will fixes for these clients!
inevitably change their lives. The ultimate Decorator and Creator is God! Ima-
gine how much fun He had, and still has, designing each

14
human, plant and animal using thousands of colors, tex- comfy bathrobe or dressing gown you wear at home
tures and forms. I am awe-struck when I contemplate when you are relaxed. Let me be your house-coat for a
Gods creativity in the design of our home, Planet Earth. while. You can wrap yourself in this book! You will find
Just look at the color scheme on a beach or in a rose inspirational stories and ideas for you to follow, to help
garden! you change your life and your home, perhaps after a life
Out of pure love and joy He has given each of us crisis or to help prevent one.
unique DNA a trademark, if you will. And with this You will find chapters that call to your own
physical DNA, I truly believe we also have been given heart. But you will also find chapters that may refer to
emotional DNA, a GPS system to help us find Gods plan someone you know and love so spread the good news!
for our lives. Living out our true destiny we find what we The plan is to learn as much as you can about
all eventually strive for: Love, Peace, and Harmony. yourself while you live in your temporary home,
Honor His creation. Give yourself that special home which in the end, all homes are! Our home is to us what
full of loving energy, no matter the building, the loca- the cocoon is to a butterfly: a safe place to evolve into
tion, and no matter if you have little money or plenty! the astonishing creatures we were all meant to become.
Give yourself that special attention and love, no matter My heart is bleeding for those I cannot help,
how you look or what your social status might be right where Home is the park they sleep in and the bed is
now. Try one wall covered with photos and quotes that a bench. Those whose interior design fits into a shop-
feed your soul and make you happy. It can so often do ping cart or trolley. I am donating a percentage of the
the trick! Dive into the creation of a Pathfinder Vision profits of this book to church communities who can do
Board (see the Tool box at the end of the book) and what I cannot do for them: provide a physical shelter
you may follow Gods GPS coordinates to find your ma- and a loving community!
gical life. I know. This was my personal experience, and Now is the time for us to understand the import-
that of many of my clients. ance and the power of creating a home where our souls
I am merely an interior decorator among thou- can be restored. Then we can play our part in the res-
sands, who saw the light. I had lost my identity, my toration of the ultimate Home, Mother Earth. Let us
home, and almost lost my sanity! Read the chapter on heal the world, one person, one thought, one room at
my spiritual journey (on my website) and you will un- a time.
derstand why I had to go through this process. I believe
it was in order to Pay it Forward, to be able to help Now is the perfect time to begin
you, or someone you know who is suffering at home. Now is all we have...
Read on and I will share with you what I have
learned through this process. You too will soon be
viewing the world from a safe and contented state
of mind and a love-filled heart. You will be living in
a home which radiates comfort and peace. From this
safe place you will receive the strength to face everyday
challenges and attract the life you were meant to live.
When living out the purpose of your life, being
content with who You are, you become a role model
to others. In fact, coming home to yourself is the
greatest gift you can ever give the world. Lets teach the
next generation that table-setting is less important than
table conversations, good food, wine and candles. Lets
finally and forever understand that cushions on a sofa
are meant to be there for comfort! They can be pleasur-
able, soft in texture, and bring joy to a living room with
their colors and patterns. Cushions are not supposed to
stand in a row like soldiers in some cushion battalion
telling people to back off!
Im sure you all know what a house-coat is: a

15
if you don't like
where you are, then
change it.
you are not a tree
16
When Do You
Need a
House-Coach
in Your
Life?
You can be the TV Star of your own make-over habitats, gardens, furniture and colors. And Nate Berkus
show. What Carson does for women in Carson City, does the same in Oprahs productions with the lucky
and what Trinny and Susanna do for men and women home owners. These people tear up as they describe a life
all over the world is show them how to view themselves tumbled out of control.
with compassionate eyes. They help them dissolve those But a House-Coach knows what is lurking be-
thoughts that kill their self-esteem. A happy Cinder- hind a cluttered home, a cluttered life, and that loss
ella gains or regains lost confidence with new hair and of control! It is those hidden troubling pieces that
clothes. The experts help her to enhance the beautiful need to be addressed.
aspects of her human body and hide the less attractive Here are common scenarios do any of these
bits! In TV shows such as Extreme Makeover, designers resonate with you?
like Tye and his team perform similar magic with new

17
Combining Homes? yourself happy and finding ways to play more with your
Living with someone else can be a real challenge. playmate both in and outside home. There may be no
Boy meets girl, and opposites attract. One is nostalgic need to dump the partner when you think everything
and cant let go, while the other takes to secretly throw- has been said and done. The two of you can fall in love
ing stuff away. The arguing begins: about money, space in again. But it requires that you re-invent yourself and fall
the cupboards and closets, and the sharing of domestic in love with yourself for the first time, or all over again!
tasks. Whos doing what too often? There is an overflow- We can use your home to get there!
ing inbox drawer or bowl... A whole house can become
one giant inbox!
Everyone has been there at some point. I have too,
I assure you.
Let me in. To help you before its too late! To-
gether well figure out what is really important for each
of you. Then you will be ready to start a family, and then
youll behave like a grown up and love will be strong and
flexible. Youll need that. Its about being honest with
yourself, finding a way back to what you can do to make

18
Young Family? You need to learn how to set healthy boundaries,
Having a young family with small children and and get smart, when it comes to tidying a home. Home has
endless, unfinished tasks can be daunting. You started become a battlefield, where the war can only end if both
out as Romeo and Juliet, with a small nest, and perhaps parties satisfy their underlying interests in the mediation
there was a wedding. It was all marvelous! Then the pic- process. This resembles Israel/Palestine, with two coun-
ture evolved to include a child and a house with a garden tries trying to dominate the same territory! And the result
that needed some re-modeling. Time raced past. When is guerilla warfare.
both careers took off, you had only completed 50% of all You begin to wonder if divorce and moving would
you had planned. And now you are facing half-finished solve it all. So many go that route, so why not you? There is
projects wherever you turn! You thought it would never no love in your heart when you look at your partner. There
happen to you! is no love when you drive home and see your house. There
Maybe it feels even worse than that to you. Maybe is no love when you look in the mirror. Theres no time for
after years of marriage it is not only the unfinished pro- fun anymore, you envy your own kids, and suddenly resent-
jects that plague you. Maybe the house and the spouse, ment rules your life.
as well, are only 50% of want you wanted. And the worst Let me in. I will give you the tools that will replace
of it? You feel that you are only 50% of what you thought the blame game with fun and love at home and in your
youd be! Are you fighting all the time? Do your constant lives! One of my adapted tools is called Get the Damn
topics revolve around what needs to be changed in your Things Done, which helps you give up the lonely fight and
home, in your life, in your kids and your partners life? ask friends and family for help. It is described more fully
You are not embracing your mutual imperfec- later in the book and summarized in the Tool box at the
tions and this is sadly mirrored in your home. Kids end.
vividly colored toys are scattered everywhere, as a regular
reminder that they have so much more space and receive
so much more attention than the adults.

Here is an intentional grown-up home. There is room for kids


to play, but with a plan to keep you sane as parents and lovers,
instead of the kids taking over every single room of the home!
They can play in the rooms, but with the right storage furniture it
can be easy to tidy up before dinner, when its grown-up time.

19
Divorced? meltdown you are completely dissolving in the cocoon.
And on your own again? No matter what is coming Yes, it is painful and feels like forever when you are in it.
at you (and this is your choice!) you can learn through But when this first period of meltdown has passed,
pain or peace. If the territorial fight was never resolved you can breathe again and youre ready to Dare to Dream.
and it came to war, ending your marriage, then love and Your minds eye starts seeing images of the life you are
your daily life has gone. It feels terrible. about to create. Youre becoming a new person, and youll
And it is painful to choose a living space out of develop traits and interests your old self didnt have. You
need with a soul that absolutely refuses to settle in. Just as may feel compelled to change your hairstyle or ward-
I did, many of my clients live with un-packed cardboard robe, or redecorate your living space. Re-forming your
boxes for months, even years, marked only with a pen to life, like anything new, complex, and important, inevit-
show what is stored in them. Often single parents never ably brings up problems you didnt expect. Thats why, to
seem to have the energy to do simple tasks like installing make our dreams come true, you often need the ingenu-
lamps, so they live in darkness a metaphor for their ity of Thomas Edison and the tenacity of a pit bull. But in
state of mind. this stage, even if youve tested some of your dreams and
Let me in: Let me help you turn on the light in failed, youre willing to fight for your freedom.
your mind, in your heart and in your home. The good Then in the third phase of metamorphosis, you
news is if you stop resisting the process, you will be a emerge as the New Unique You, a butterfly, beautiful and
caterpillar in a cocoon with the chance to morph into a strong! Ill be with you, cheering you on, helping you to
beautiful butterfly. It is a true metamorphosis: The But- love yourself and have hope for your future, as you learn
terfly Metaphor! to live up to your fullest potential in the present.
Whenever major change happens in your life, What to Do? Enjoy! Youve just negotiated a scary
(falling in love, breaking up, getting or losing a job, hav- and dramatic transformation, and you deserve to savor
ing children or emptying the nest, etc.) you go through your new identity. Spend time every day focusing on
several stages as you recover. The first horrible phase feels gratitude for your success.
like dying; you feel you have lost your identity, you dont And fair warning: Know that another Change is
know where you fit anymore. In this phase of complete just around the bend

We never know how long temporary is? Refusing to unpack


and install yourself is understandable, when you didn't want to
leave the former home in the first place! Imagine yourself on
a journey and these are your suitcases...coming to a nice hotel
and unpacking your clothes in the closets and drawers instead
of living out of the suitcase (moving boxes). You're staying for a
month at least, so make this transition as comfortable for yourself
as possible.

20
Single Parent in a Temporary Home? in groups, too. (For more info, see the Tool Box at the
Single parents in temporary homes handle unique end of the book).
challenges: shared kids rooms, a sense of the transit- One day, youll find true love in yourself and
ory for all involved, confusion, and too much newness! thus attract another partner. When the moving truck is
So, how do you find compassion with heart in these standing outside your empty apartment, you will close
situations? I have been a single parent for many years, and lock the door for the last time and hear your kids
and through readers of my Danish book and my global yelling joyfully for you to hurry up. With a grateful
House-Coaching via Skype, I have met countless single tear youll whisper a thank you for the immeasurable
parents dealing with these issues. An unpleasant feel- teachings this place gave you and your kids.... I know I
ing of being unsettled is the main problem, because the did!
single parent doesnt want to stay in this life. Does this
apply to you? This attitude influences your living space.
Perhaps your kids live in divided rooms, such as
inhabiting a corner in a big messy all-purpose room.
Often teenagers sleep on a sofa, carrying their belong-
ings in a sports bag, never really unpacking. Why
bother? they cry. I call them Modern Nomads and
I pray they will heal their broken hearts and be able to
form real homes as adults.
Let me in. I will help you realize that the few
Give yourself the
nights your children spend with you must be filled with gift of a bedroom,
Love, Peace and Harmony. And fun! My tools offer which will become
great ways to spend time and ideas on which to focus a recharger for your
instead of remaining stuck in the past. For example, its soul Look, now
a good idea to ask friends and family for help; try the even the cat wants
Get the Damn Things Done tool. It works beautifully to sleep here.

21
Patchwork Family or LAT? recognize their old home in bits and pieces, and vice
Are you in a Patchwork Family or LAT (Liv- versa. This prevents one family group from feeling they
ing Apart Together) situation? A Patchwork Family is have moved into another familys home. (For a helpful
best described as a new family made up from pieces of example of the 40 + 40 + 20 tool see the chapter called
divorced families. Like a Patchwork Quilt! Living Apart Our Story).
Together (LAT) is the same as Patchwork: you are in a I know all the arguments in the whole your kids
committed and intimate relationship, but you reside in versus mine issue that occur during the long nights of
different homes. battles. It is essential to negotiate; it is vital to find the
So, when your days of being a single or a single underlying interests of all parties.
parent draw to an end because youve found a new love Let me in. In this Patchwork Family/LAT situ-
in your life, often all you long to do is merge. But, youre ation, it is very helpful to grant your beloved a private
not alone and it may not be so easy. The new love comes space of his own in your home. And ask for the same in
with a package: your/his/hers children. With a new love his house. Privacy and feeling at home even in the other
the new-found hope of having Family Life again, is home is absolutely essential to peace of mind. Another
heaven on earth. At first. helpful idea is to create a loving familys Pathfinder Vis-
But after a while you may start disagreeing on the ion Board. (See the Tool box at the end of the book).
rules: bringing up the kids, how to handle money, how On this board you will place all your common goals as
to decorate your home, etc. half of a family might have a couple, as a family, and make sure you add the goals
moved in with half of another family, in their home. This for your kids. Get them involved so they feel part of the
is the Patchwork Family scenario. Wow, possible danger: plan and the dream! I know how powerfully it works; my
Before long, the newcomers can feel like guests in the husband and I did it and Ive witnessed miracles for my
house. There is now an elephant in the room; no one clients many, many times!
talks about it, but those who become homeless at home
are miserable.
Let me in. Start with tools like my 40 + 40 + 20 One small family merged with another in their home. So, new
tool, which teaches decorating a home, with fairness to house rules must be set for everyone, including those who lived
all. Sounds simple, but this guideline can save untold there in the first place. More people means more clothes, shoes,
angst! 40% of the furniture and decor is his and 40% is schoolbags and sports bags. Find creative ways to store things
hers, and they buy 20% together. In this way every child in the hallways that work for everyone. If you dont, the tidy
and adult from one part of the Patchwork Family can parties will soon get annoyed with the not-so-tidy parties!

22
Young-at-Heart? and watched TV in silence with your partner. You, as a
Empty Nesters may just be the new middle age. couple, have so much to offer the world and each other!
They certainly are the Young-at-Heart! When you And it will be such a blessing for your kids to
wave back at your beloved child as he heads off after the come home and visit you as adults when your home is
moving truck, you are torn between the tears of loss and full of life and love. We encouraged all three of our kids,
of joy. The last one from your loving nest is embarking once graduated, to go off and explore the world, to meet
on his lifes adventure it is lovely for him! For you, new people and fully discover their true selves.
Mom and Dad, its always bittersweet. Its the ending of Let me help you shake up your home and give
a huge part of your life, and before you can see this as a away the items that no longer make you happy. Then
beginning to a new adventure, you need to allow yourself mix it up with new furniture and accessories as you did
time to grieve. (Yes, we are back to the Meltdown phase when you were younger. Home Sweet Home equals Life
of our butterfly metamorphosis.) Remember the lovely Sweet Life!
times, remember the clutter and the fights, remember it
all and sob on your son or daughters bed. Sob alone, sob
together, and someday soon youll be whistling in the liv-
ing room enjoying the new freedom.
Let me in. I can lead you both to the excitement
of this new miraculous middle age, a time in your life
where you can truly be Young-at-Heart. In this won-
derful time of your life, you can rediscover old dreams. My beloved adopted sister Helga took her biker drivers li-
Remember the time when you were turtledoves? For cence at the age of 50 and she has crossed many countries with
years those lovebirds may have been lost, hiding un- her husband and several young at heart bikers with their travel
derneath the sofa cushions, in all the years you knitted agency Dream & Bike Tours.

23
Just Moved and Lost Yourself? Let me in. Well reduce the sense of risk and make
Did you move and felt lost in the process? How it safe to settle in and spend a little money or give your
many times have you moved in your life? Twice, five excess away. This is a huge opportunity to discover Es-
times, ten times? Have you stopped counting? I have! Its sential Home. Like a white canvas, you add the colors
always life-changing, whether you moved up from a and textures that please you, which feed your soul. Then
nice house to a better or bigger one, or because a new job one day you dont feel the need to add anything more
would improve your life and it entailed a move to a new or subtract anything! It is perfect; you feel it in your
home in a new city. heart. Welcome Home!
Perhaps you are only OK, not thrilled, with the While there is not a complete chapter devoted to
move or with the new home. To your own surprise, you your situation, Just Moved and Lost Yourself, there are
might find yourself unable to pick out cushions for your several tools to help you: Get the Damn Things Done, the
sofa, or lamps or pictures, not to mention wall colors Love-Hate Vision Board, and youll find some great ad-
or furniture. This is because suddenly in your mind so vice on how to downsize playfully with the 7-3 Downs-
much is at risk. Are you afraid to spend money on some- izing tool, in My Story. All of these tools are described
thing you may regret later? Does it feel as if you cant even in much more detail in later chapters and the Tool box
feel what you like at the moment? Are you overwhelmed at the end.
with choices? What if you pick the wrong one? Some- Another fun tool I use myself to shift the brain
times the fear of making risky choices is transferred to from structured mind to playful mind is music.
an innocent cushion. You may feel stuck in the process of Singing or dancing to disco and salsa can take you into
nesting, which used to been fun years ago. You may look play mode within minutes!
for inspiration in dozens of interior design magazines,
furniture stores or online, but the more you search, the
more confused you get!

Moving can be a thrill if you really wanted to


move on in your life and it can be the opposite
if you don't want to leave home, where you have
felt safe and loved, and because of a life changing
event you are forced to! Either way letting go and
downsizing like I did 7-3 will make the travel
forward much lighter.

24
Home Feels like a Jail? they are chosen from creativity! Your true state of being
When home feels like jail, youre a Desperate is being creative and having fun in life.
Homemaker. If you are compulsive in your cleaning or I do not devote a complete chapter to Home Feels like a
decorating, you may also be also starving yourself from Jail, (Desperate Homemaker), but give a good example
food, sex and joy. Are you stuffing yourself with food and in the chapter entitled Boy, Girl, Plus Baby. Try the
stuffing you home with things to numb your feelings? very effective Get the Damn Things Done tool, described
Could you be looking for love outside yourself? The there and in the Tool box at the end of the book.
truth here: you are desperately seeking yourself.
Are you afraid of dust? As a child, were you never
allowed to go out and play until your room was tidy? If
this is the case, then dust prevents you from playing in
your life and you become a prisoner.
Let me in. I can set you free from your mental
dungeons! I have done it with hundreds of clients. You
cannot change what you do not realize or understand.
But once you do, change is easy and inevitable! Embrace
your home and yourself in turtle steps; tiny moves for-
ward will take you to your new freedom. I share stories of
a mother who compulsively breaks down her sons LEGO
creation, destroying the creativity of her young designer.
I share true stories of black and white homes, where col-
ors are never added no red, green or blue as it would
provoke panic attacks. You may smile, knowing someone
who suffers from Home Color Disorder, but its a sign
something is blocking joy in their lives. Embrace colors,
Fear of colors equals
Home Color Disorder .
But it can be cured. Life
can be fun again!

25
Home Office Troubles? and oil! Visions and ambitions that once fired them up
When you have to work from home and feel seem impossible to manifest when they are interrupted a
trapped, you're a Desperate Homeworker. You may thousand times a day!
work in a home office out of a dream to become inde- Let me in. Let me help you set boundaries for work
pendent and have huge success. Or it may be out of need, and personal leisure. I'll guide you to trust in yourself
because you can find no job in your neighborhood. Or it and the goals you have set. You'll slay the oppressor in
may be a part time or temporary choice, while you need you and become a better boss, employee and colleague to
to stay in the home to be near your young children. yourself. And in so doing you will be much more fun to
For whatever reason, there is huge potential for be around at home! Your family will enjoy coming home
problems. Procrastination, guilt and shame are often in- again.
volved with Desperate Homeworkers. You may become In recreating your office, well morph it into
both the slave to your own mind and the worst boss a Sanctuary for working. You can start by creating a
you ever had, mentally whipping yourself all day long, Pathfinder Vision Board on an entire wall and begin to
telling yourself how inadequate you are. Or your whole see the magic happen in your life. (See the Pathfinder
house may be at risk of becoming an inbox (mine was for Vision Board chapter). Surround yourself with fur-
years!). Or an innocent object, like a dirty plate, can be niture and colors you love and with happy memories. At
a Transit Key that distracts you and diverts you from almost no cost, but with lots of focus and creativity, you'll
your tasks. be a happy, prosperous Homeworker! Yes, there is a way
I have coached single Moms and Dads all around you and I can fulfill our true life purposes, and Yes, we
the world who try to take of care of kids and work from can do this from home.
home at the same time it is not unlike mixing water

26
Too Much Stuff? Guardians and I know the thoughts and feelings which
And you cant let go? You're a Guardian of lie behind the paper, card boxes and plastic. You have
Things, a hoarder of belongings, if you have boxes and to get to those thoughts and feelings in order to effect
plastic bags all over your home and garage. Perhaps you lasting change.
can't find particular items and it frustrates you daily. Is You have to stop the running sushi of new
this you? I know you may be scared of not having enough things coming into your home. You know how in some
time to go deep. You want to have time to read all the sushi restaurants small plates are put on a small "tread-
books, papers, stories you have been keeping. The truth mill" going around and around and people pick a plate?
is, behind all this stuff you are collecting, lurks the real Its never emptied because the chef continually provides
fear that you will never be able to indulge in the feelings new hot plates. The same is true of de-cluttering. If
behind the memories. I know your life is full of regrets. you don't realize what's going on, you think you sort
I know you may feel you've missed out on opportunities and take out excess stuff, but you keep buying new stuff
and feel it's all too late. Are you afraid what lies behind at a flea market. Seen from the outside it's like a nev-
you was better than what lies ahead of you? er-ending treadmill!
You may have appointed yourself as the one per- I will help you learn to love what is and let go
son in your family who keeps track of beloved ancest- of I have to. Only then can you let go of the excess in
ors, by keeping piles of memories, old furniture, cups your home. You can sort in peace and keep only the
and vases, pictures and old letters. Usually you think a lovely memories that are actually worth remembering!
great deal about what other people might think or do, And there are other great tools: the Sticky-Tags tool
which can be such a heavy burden to carry around. reveals the feelings behind the paper and plastic. Be-
Let me in. I wish to set you free to live your best cause what you do not realize you cannot change! Also
life. We'll divide your entire home into zones and break it is powerful to begin creating a Happy Wall! More
down zones into turtle steps, so you can overcome and about these tools later as well. (See the Tool Box at the
celebrate every tiny step you accomplish along the way end of the book).
to your freedom. I have met many different kinds of

The wonderful energy that Guardians of Things receive from a fresh, clean, cozy room is the boost they need to sort and let go
of excessive hoarding.

27
Boy: Is your name Google?
Girl: NO!! .why??
Boy: Cuz u got everything
I'm searching for :-)
28
Young-Love
Nest:
Boy Meets Girl
Wherever you met each other, whether through the mans situation first. Since moving from his parents
online dating, through friends, at your work place, a home, he might have enjoyed his independence for some
nightclub, etc., you were both on your best behavior, years, living and eating in a shoebox apartment he shared
trying to show the best version of yourself. We all do! with three other buddies. As for the woman, since she
You are mirroring yourself in the other and we all feel left home, she may have studied and partied, living in a
very good about ourselves in times of fresh new love. You shared apartment with a girlfriend. Then, bam, man and
can never predict, though, that the feminine girl in the woman meet its love! Soon they set out to live the lives
black sexy dress may have a home stuffed with 150 pairs theyve seen TV series, such as Friends, How I met
of shoes, like Carrie in Sex and the City. Or that she is Your Mother, etc. The dream of having your own place
a Guardian of Things. Or perhaps she adores her little can be difficult to establish in real life. It often depends
Chihuahua, who licks his backside and then her face! She on income, country and traditions. Money is tight, and
will never part with him, so you may have to part with you may have to get past the expectations of your parents
her! or your culture.
It is a miracle to find true authentic love. And if In terms of any partnership, even corporate rela-
you are fortunate enough to find it, it is truly wonder- tionships, the two people set out with trust and tempor-
ful dreaming and scheming about a common nest. But, ary blindness to the others faults and weaknesses. Love,
you need to be prepared for some surprises. Lets take Peace and Harmony is the headline when any part-

29
Middle East, was the result, which dealt with two parties
wanting to live in the same dominion... Hey, doesnt that
sound familiar? When I work with a young couple, I feel
like the Jimmy Carter, the Hillary Clinton, or the Wil-
liam L. Ury working to achieve fairness by honoring both
parties underlying interests. In their soul, each must feel
the comfort and joy of their shared home.
In a similar fashion, as a Life and House-Coach,
I aim for fairness by asking the new nesting couple (no
matter their age): In your home, what would you love to
have around you and what would you absolutely hate?
They may not be able to answer that question right away,
but when I show them photos of diverse interior styles
they certainly have opinions, likes and dislikes. These re-
actions can then be used to create a visual response to
the questions.
I begin with the men. Now, a masculine Al-
pha-Male might struggle at first to copy and paste from
interior design magazines or find something on the In-
nership is formed, along with hope for a better future. ternet. This task may be well outside of his normal range
The key here, to prevent disappointment and frustration of interests. I know many men feel a bit awkward about
later, is to know each others underlying interest. What the whole nesting thing. He might just wish to leave all
is the motivation in each person? What does each really those decisions to his girlfriend/wife, especially if he feels
want and need? she has been going on and on about it ad nauseum! He
Consider Camp David Accords at home. Dur- wants to wash his hands of it so she will stop talking about
ing the last years as a House-Coach I have been inspired it. And hopefully she will revert back to the lovely girl-
by people who negotiate on a high level, such as Wil- friend or wife he fell in love with from this Homezilla
liam L. Ury, Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of Harvard she morphed into. But she is bursting from her yearning
Universitys Program on Negotiation. I watched him to finally create a nest of (her own) their own. And, fair
at http://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership. The warning, if he doesnt enter the home-making game now,
Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Association at this early stage, hell be forever excluded!
in Chicago and he was brilliant. He told us a story about I explain this concept to the man, using a metaphor
two people wanted to share one orange. An obvious and he can understand. He needs to view me as a personal
easy solution would be to simply chop the orange in half Home-trainer, and I will present a perfect home-fitness
and give each one half an orange. Tada! But if you dig schedule that is right for him. It must be right for his
deeper and ask the two people about their underlying strength, fitness, desires and needs. Together well find
interests, you might come up with another solution. One out what would make his posture improve, what would
may want the peel for use in a cake recipe and the other make him happy with his mirror image, and what
might want to eat the fruit, and discard the peel. So with would be too much for him. This is about finding his un-
a little more investigation, each would have been satis- derlying interests. I have noticed over the years, that men
fied, 100%. But in the first solution the result was 50%! have a hard time answering the question, What do you
The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyp- like? but find it much easier to respond to What do you
tian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minis- dislike?. Therefore, I begin by asking him: What do you
ter Menachem Begin, on the 17th of September, 1978, absolutely hate in a home, what would eventually drive
following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp you to distraction? Once he gets this he tends to fully
David. The two framework agreements were signed at cooperate and tell me what I need to know to help. This is
the White House, and were witnessed by United States like watching a little Labrador puppy when he suddenly
President Jimmy Carter. A Framework for Peace in the learns he can swim its easy and its fun!

30
Both the young man and the young women are Once theyve marked images from magazines or
lovely in their pursuit of happiness, but the women are made a folder on the computer, the couple can each create
always more eager. So when I ask her, I begin with the their own Love-Hate Vision Board. As the young couples
likes question: If you could have the home of your hearts open, they can feel what their dream home and
dreams, what would it look like? What do you love? She dream life will look like. Then something extraordinary
rolls her eyes, moves forward in her chair and can speak happens: they can see right there on paper what they can
reams, glowing with excitement the whole time. This is agree on. From this new perspective they really lighten
like watching the Labrador puppy fetch a stick in the wa- up, even being able to tease and laugh at each others dis-
ter. The young woman knows she can swim, and goes likes. I can easily coach such a lovely couple to help cre-
for it! After that the heart is wide open, and I ask: What ate a wonderful home (life), as can a Home Consultant at
would you hate having inside your home? It takes her BoConcept. This can be planned out and achieved, step
only seconds to answer! by step, as they can afford it, according to their skills and
what practical help they can get from friends and family.
Love-Hate Vision Board
Focusing on their likes and dislikes, each partner collects
images from magazines or online, to create a collage,
which I call the Love-Hate Vision Board.

This is a reflection of the man's desires and fears - the woman's dispalyed on the following page...

i Hate i Love

31
i Love i Hate

It is important everyone understands what ac- Girls and boys continue in their homes to express
cessories are all about. Lets start with a little tutorial: who they are and who they want to become. So after
Men and women need to know what cushions, candle- my long experience decorating peoples homes, here is
holders, vases, photo frames, large flat-screen TV sets my Home-translation, to show you how I believe we
and surround-sound are all about. Girls are brought up express ourselves. I have translated our feelings about
combining colors in their dress style and expressing their clothes and accessories to interiors in a home.
personality through their clothes. Boys today do this
more than they did when I was a teenager, but still to a
lesser degree than girls. But today, as for centuries, our
clothes, glasses, shoes and jewelry express the way we
feel every day. Boys use electronic devises to boost their
masculine ego. This never changes! Acquiring the new-
est Apple Product still gives my husband a thrill and he's
over 50! Driving to our wedding five years ago he played
Led Zeppelin full blast on his massive car stereo while
my choice during the drive to the church was classical
wedding music. Vive La Difference! Boy meets girl

32
Girls:
A sofa
Boys:
A sofa/bed
a little white or black dress jeans and shirt or suit
Cushions Cushions
scarf and belt, to dress up the dress/sofa what cushions? - Leather or fur
Candleholders the Davy Crocket edition
a bracelet or earrings Candleholders
Carpets what candleholders?
shoes Carpets
Picture frames and paintings shoes or boots
hair style and colors Lamps
Lamps Cap or hair gel
Hat or hair-bands etc. TV
TV EGO as BIG as possible
EGO not too big Stereo
Stereo playfulness just more playful and
playfulness louder when they play!
Etc... You get the picture Etc..... much simpler!

Once you know this, its more fun and much easier uses 40% of his furniture and decorative items and 40%
to understand each other and make room for comprom- of hers (or it is 40% his choice in the store and 40% hers
ise, which will be needed all throughout your life as a if they are purchasing many new things). Then the last
couple. 20% is purchased together: items they both love. It is not
When it comes to compromise, my 40 + 40 + only fair, and works like a charm, but both parties feel
20 tool is the formula to achieve fairness. It works at they are settling into Home, with items they are used to
every stage of life, for two people blending belongings or have actively chosen. I have written about this more
and lives. Here is the nutshell of the system: The couple extensively in the chapter entitled Our Story.

from BoConcept catalogue

33
This couple has found a bal-
ance between masculine and
feminine. The neutral colors
chosen for the backdrops of
the rooms provide them a can-
vas on which to add "mood-
fixes," such as a painting and
flowers.
Ottawa Collection, BoConcept
Karim Rashid

34
Q and A from Young-Love Nest: doesnt know how to cope with her irritation in this situ-
ation, nor in others. She suppresses her desire to confront,
Boy meets Girl at my talks and this leads to a pressure-cooker situation. That in turn
I have the least amount of clients in this category, leads to late-night fights or fights in the car on the way home.
partly because few young people know I exist. Or that They must find a harmonious way to solve this tension.
House-Coaching exists! And if they did, I doubt they Now were back to underlying interests. If the young
would think they could afford it. So I rely on the interior girl is left alone to play home sweet home with her boy-
designers at BoConcept to help them; the staff is younger friend (a metaphor for their love life, we all know that by
and can relate more to their challenges and of course now) and she gets recognition for her efforts, shes happy. If
they are in touch with them all the time as they come the mother/mother-in-law sees her son happy in this nesting
into the stores. When I give Trend Talks in various coun- process with his sweetheart and enjoys the creative and fresh
tries, young couples do in fact often approach me with ideas, she will still be part of the nesting process from a
questions, some of which I share with you here: distance and shes happy. If the son/boyfriend/husband has a
Question A: This was a silent question actually, more happy girlfriend or wife, a happy mother and a cozy nest to
of a cry for help. A very nice young man was there with his come home to, hes happy. And he can breathe a sigh of relief
Young-at-Heart mother and his sweetheart. In the young knowing in the future, when the two lovely women are in the
womans eyes the appeal for help was clear. The mother was same room, there will be peace.
enthusiastic about my talk, and went on and on: how the If they all recognize each others underlying interests,
young couple could inherit some of her former designer fur- desires and motivations and remember to praise each other,
niture and how theyd fit perfectly if Thats when I knew they will be partners instead of opponents, not only in this
the question: How to deal with mothers and mothers-in-law matter, but in all future dealings with each other.
during the first nesting process? Well-meaning as they are,
how do you keep their suggestions... well, just suggestions? Dont ever hold back on praise and recognition.
And how do you deal with declining their help in a nice way? The son tells his mother he thinks his rooms growing up
Answer A: This is another sort of Camp David Ac- were always cozy and he really appreciates everything she
cord, but in this instance one of the parties should not be in did for him at home. Shell be so happy!
this territory at all! Both the mother and the young woman The sweetheart tells her boyfriend she loves him and be-
want the love and attention of the same young man and lieves he could become (or is) a brilliant DIY guy. That
both feel entitled! First we must understand the mother/ more than anything, she would love the two of them to
mother-in-laws side of the problem: She loves her son. She create this love nest together. Hell be so happy!
has tried to decorate his room in the best possible way for Both the boyfriend and his mother tell the young woman
him throughout his childhood and in his teens it was more how wonderful home has become because of her ideas and
a battle than fun. But because she loves to make him happy simply because shes living in it. This First-Time-Nester
and the process of nesting itself makes her happy, she sees will be so happy!
her advice as an act of love. She is still Young-at-Heart and The young couple politely request that the mother/mother-
remembers with such joy the time of her first nesting. Now in-law call first, to see if she could drop off home-made
her home is done, and shes itching to have a new life. Sub- food and visit for a bit. She gives them heartfelt praise on
consciously she may be living theirs to some degree. She how lovely everything looks and how well she things the
gives her kind advice to the young couple, forgetting there process is coming along. Everyone will be happy!
are truly times she needs to back off.
Better for her to offer her advice if theyd like it, but I actually connected and bonded a bit with this
to tell them if they want to go ahead on their own, she has mother, explaining all of the above concepts to her. She un-
full confidence in their capability to make nesting and dec- derstood this advice, coming from someone her age and
orative decisions on their own. Then his mothers ideas may also perhaps because she was a wee bit impressed by my
seem good ones, once they are optional! talk and saw me as the expert. The young couple smiled
Next we seek to understand the daughter-in-law/ at each other and at me and you could feel the air getting
sweetheart. She has yearned to nest for a long time and fi- lighter between them. The relief was palpable! In fairness, it
nally found the right mate. She has countless ideas of her probably took some time to achieve the perfect Camp David
own. She loves her boyfriend/husband, no doubt, but works Accord, but they knew the underlying interests of all three
hard to hide the fact she feels his mother can be a pain. She needed to be honored.

35
Question B: A young couple had moved into their exact width of the bed. Use a neutral cover and colored
first two-room apartment and needed advice how to cushions. Create a Happy Wall with photos of the two of
make room for: a small place to study, a place to sleep, you, and happy memories and quotes on love and rela-
to entertain, to cook and to relax. They just couldnt see tionship, and place it near the bed. This will remind you
how all of this could be possible in such a tiny space. again and again of that important Why Us? Create a
We drew an amateur drawing on a piece of paper and I Pathfinder Vision Board for your future goals and hang
showed them how. it near the desk or under a writing pad made of Plexiglas.
Answer B: Bedroom and office is a good match. (See the Tool box at the end of the book).
You use the office during day time and the bedroom The other room can become a joint living room/
at night rarely simultaneously. Where theres a window dining room with a sofa and a BoConcept table.
place a small narrow desk in front of it or nearby. Be sure
to have a good chair and good lightning (either hanging Get more ideas at:
down from the ceiling or a work lamp on the desk). En- http://www.pinterest.com
joy the view and the day light. Use the walls for storage. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com
Mix with cube-shaped wooden and colored bookshelves Google Images: Use a little feature called Visually Sim-
or plain shelves. ilar Images.
Make a headboard for the bed by using colored
fabric or wallpaper on a board from floor to ceiling in
order to create a room in the room. Or create a col-
lage of old LP covers get creative! Make sure its the

36
37
Question C: to paint this wall orange! Perhaps she just saw an orange
Young woman: I want to paint a wall in the living wall in a magazine and it made her go Oooh, in a good
room orange "terracotta" and he said yes, but we never way! (Instinctive responses are very powerful in the fe-
get around doing it. Im tired of waiting, almost begging male nesting process.)
him. Why doesnt he want to do it, when he knows it will A little side thought: Orange has many meanings
make me happy? mentally and spiritually, and in this case she was out of
Young man: I do want to make her happy, but I balance. Maybe she is a bit manipulative or feeling cold
cannot see the point in painting that wall or understand or tense and instinctively knew she needed the color or-
why it means so much to her! Im happy with things as ange. Check out this website: http://www.gemstonegifts.
they are right now... com/colors/orange.htm to find new color/life balance.
The young man heard something else. When a guy
Answer C: What a girl/woman says and what a hears about painting and he has gone through the process
boy/man hears are not always the same. She says: Id like seen at his parents home, he thinks: Ill be doing 70%

38
of the work (carrying furniture, taping the panels and job, and 30% yours, and I am fine with the white wall
floors, covering the floors and doors with plastic, cleans- right now! And he can go on to describe the tasks as
ing the paint roll and the brushes when were done). She listed above and what is involved for him in the painting
will only have to do 30% and its her idea, not mine! She process.
thinks its 50/50, but its not. He is probably right! She needs to reply: What if I bought the paint,
This is why he procrastinates: this color change you and I carried the furniture, I taped, I covered with
has nothing to do with his underlying interests. He just plastic and I cleaned up while you brought back in the
wants the nesting process to be over and done with, so he furniture ... Would this feel like 30/70 for you, and be
can finally relax and enjoy normal life again. He needs an more fair, because the idea initially was mine? Oh, and I
end destination, while she is on a constant journey! think the color will make me easier to be around, so for
Solve the Problem: She can ask, Honey, what do you its a win-win situation!
you think when I say I want to paint an orange wall? He falls for it... Now his underlying interest is
He needs to reply, honestly, I think the task is 70% my again to make her happy!

39
Phyllis Diller

Cleaning your house while


your kids are still growing up
is like shoveling the walk
before it stops snowing.
40
Boy, Girl, Plus
Baby
How to stay sane and still love
your partner, life and home
We have talked about Boy meeting Girl, with all the food somewhere in the house and forgot all about it.
the joy and fun and challenge this entails. So, the next Our lovely bedroom was transformed: we had a baby bed
obvious step? A baby. And suddenly everything changes. next to ours and our pretty cover and bed cushions were
For better or worse Life coaching and House-Coach- crammed into a corner on the floor. The whole room was
ing can help! a continuous mess for over a year. There was little time or
When my first husband and I had our first (and energy for romance and we forgot all about that, too! A
only) baby we were 30. Little did we know (although we wee baby boy took over our warm, beautiful bedroom
did read a lot of books) that lack of sleep (two hours at and our lives!
a time for three months) would cause such mental dis- As for the living room during our sons first year,
tress and disorder. We were crazed. Add the fact our it morphed into a playground: a little swing chair, a huge
baby screamed most of the time he was awake and the basket overflowing with cuddly animal toys, brightly-
consequences were apparent in our home, as well. In colored plastic games and figures and blocks And of
every single room youd find a cotton diaper, a pacifier course, the constant adult mess and food leftovers. We
and some leftover food. We were living like zombies; we were completely overwhelmed by this baby.
tried to eat something but forgot that we did. Or we left Our lives were out of balance and we needed to set

41
When the home becomes
one big in box and children
have toys lying around in every
single room in the home 24/7,
the kids have taken up too
much space in your life/home.
You can never love them too
much, but there must be bal-
ance in a home. Lovers with
children need to remain lovers
with children, not worn-out
adults with manipulating chil-
dren who act out. Sadly, where
there is imbalance, divorce
may be lurking

them right again, for us as a couple but also for our son! home moms for several years. But other, brilliant women
Happily I saw it then many of my clients dont see I know with two children and a half-decorated home are
it for many years, if ever. This may be because new babies now feeling deprived, waiting to tap into their skills and
follow the first one and the mess just becomes the norm. talents. Some are even depressed. All of this is painfully
I reclaimed my life after nine months of insanity and apparent to the former lover/husband. And of course he,
handed my baby over to a lovely daycare, where he was in her eyes, turns into the man who took the biggest
surrounded by love and other babies for six hours every piece of the life-pie and becomes the bad guy she re-
weekday. I started jogging, got a haircut, and took any part sents. However, there is no bad guy; there is only a lovely
time job I could get. I grabbed temp secretarial work for smart girl who said yes to a dream. Out of love. She
awhile and then ended up delivering school milk, com- couldnt know it might hold regret in the future.
forting the worried teachers who cried, The kids are out Young women like these often become Desperate
of control! It was not my chosen career path, but it got me Housewives (like the popular TV Series). I know and
out of the house! As for all the plans I had for our home? have coached many women who want to work inside and
I was shocked to realize I had done none of them dur- outside of their home, want to travel, be important, inter-
ing that year I was a stay-at-home-mom. Nothing zero, act with other exciting people, be part of something bigger
zilch, nada. But once I was working outside the home than themselves And have four kids and a wonderful,
again, energy flooded in. That and the bliss of picking up a fulfilling marriage! Can you say Superwoman Complex?
happy, stimulated baby meant my life returned to balance. Desperate House-Men or Superman Com-
plex. Hmmm Do these terms even exist? No, but they
Desperate Homemakers? should! In these times young fathers struggle with their
The moms of today have dreams of their own, and frustrated partners and their own complex world, where
watching them drown one by one in domestic tasks and they are equally responsible for the children and the home
parenting is never easy. Its often Mom who sets aside her tasks. This will absolutely, definitively show in their home.
career plans while the kids are young. This is supposed Seen with the eyes of a House-Coach, they both
to be only for a few years, but it so often stretches in- need to find balance between fun and obligation both
terminably. Starting or re-establishing a career at 40 is at home and at work. And stop attempting to do the im-
an up-hill battle! Many women are thrilled to be stay-at- possible! Here is an analogy: Think about little kids work-

42
ing out a game where little pigs in different shapes (square, Things Done tool.
triangle, circle, star etc.) need to be tucked into matching As you read this, and fill out the Get the Damn Things
shaped holes. Even a very young child quickly finds out Done form, keep these questions in your mind:
he is supposed to find the right fit! He doesnt sit around
for hours banging a square against a round hole. No, he
reflects and tries other holes until the little pig finds it What is draining
proper hole. This is balance.
When I started House-Coaching, I never thought
my nervous system
of preventing a divorce! I have swept up the shattered glass every day as I walk
of so many broken dreams, fixing what could be fixed. It through my home?
fills my heart to know that perhaps via this book with its
tips and tools, I may be somehow instrumental in saving a What will it take
marriage and a family.
So, onwards to the tools! First let me say I am a little older
for me to relax and
than those of you reading this with young families my enjoy life in this
son is 20 and just finishing college. But I learned the hard home?
way how to compromise and find balance, in home and
in life. For the complete story see the chapter called Our Who can help me or
Story where you will see the mistakes I made because
I didnt know better! Now I do, and Ive coached many us?
young families. Ill share with you some of their stories The Get the Damn Things Done form:
and you will see how the tools helped them find their Typically young families live in unfinished homes
way back to lovely, peaceful and soul-restoring lives and which are often too small. Jobs are postponed for lack
homes. of money, time or energy. At some point the unfinished
The first tool to use is the powerful Get the Damn tasks become overwhelming and even the smallest item

43
can trigger huge frustration. You know the ones I mean: friends and lovers again!
the most-used drawer in the kitchen will not close prop- And heres the real gut buster: You ask for help!
erly or the broken water thermostat doles out boiling or No, no, now dont think: If I ask for help, I need to help
icy water every morning. It seems impossible to get back in return, and I dont even have the energy for this home
to the feeling state of love and excitement you both felt or my life in general, let alone find time to go help my
when you first bought or rented the place. sister, etc., etc. Go for it, and be honest. One day your
I have used my Get the Damn Things Done tool home and life will be in blissful balance again, and I can
countless times with clients, to great effect. And even with assure you, youll even want to repay you friends and sis-
one lovely colleague at BoConcept! We talked one day ter! But for now, no, you cant and thats just fine.
over coffee, discussing my book, but then we moved on
to her life, her marriage, and I found myself sharing this Then you put it all in a form, like this one in the
tool with her. Within two hours of open, heartfelt conver- form you see:
sation, she moved from I give up I wonder if a divorce
is the only way out of this misery? into realizing Home is
You. Thats right, we are back to that wonderful concept: The tasks that
Home is You. The fact that she was not becoming who need to be done
she was meant to be was perfectly reflected in the state of
her unfinished home. She was homesick-at-home and
this was very obvious to her husband. She wanted him to
Who could do them
change, when she could change and he would naturally
follow. She got goose bumps on her arms as she under-
Three dates they
stood this. She worked with the tool, and I can assure you, can pick from
only few months after, her life changed positively in every
way. And the wonderful
Its very simple: First, you and your partner go to done box
separate areas of the house, or perhaps to your cars, but
somewhere where you can be completely alone. Then re- The call might sound like this: Hey Marc,
cord on your cell phone or other recording device all the ummm... This is quite an unusual call. You see, Britt and
things that bother you. Let yourself become a tired nine- I need help to get our home in order, and there is just
year-old and list every single detail you can think of. No so much stress about it for us and the girls. We got the
one will hear you be sure you are alone. inspiration from a book about House-Coaching, where
Here are some examples: She: I am sick and tired theres a tool to ask for help. We put you in the form to
of the fact that the entrance light is burned outit is not mount some smoke alarms and it might take you one to
safe without light there! We need lamps outside I can two hours. Would you mind helping us one of these three
never find the keyhole at night. He: I am sick and tired upcoming weekends, on a Saturday afternoon? Well
of hearing about the damn lamps! Im not good at elec- barbecue and get some beer in, and other friends will be
trical work and will never be I wish we could just call there too. Going to try to make a party of it What do
someone! Who do we know could help us? you think? Wed really appreciate your help, because we
He/she: I dont like the look of that mold spot on noticed at your home, things are in order. Oh, man, wed
the corner wall, it might mean big trouble outside; it may love to live like that too... And I notice youre really good
be a broken sewer... and could end up being expensive? at stuff like this.
Couldnt we just call someone to give us an estimate? She/ I have never heard of anyone saying no to a request
he: I hate the shoes lying around with no system to keep for help from friends, family, neighbors or sports buddies
them tidy. She: Why are the smoke alarms not mounted when its a limited task, on a given day. And a beer and
yet? The damn things have been lying around here for six a laugh thrown in! If three weekends arent enough and
months! He: Why is it always me? money is an issue, you can prioritize the ones that cost the
Im sure you get the picture, and you know it from least and start saving for the rest. This can be done three to
your own home! Once its all recorded, listen back to it four times during six months and before you know it, you
with an open heart and promise yourself you wont fight feel like youve signed a peace treaty with yourself, your
anymore. This is Romeo and Juliet wanting to become home and your spouse.

44
45
Get 'the damn' things done - Problems to be solved

Saturday 15/12
Saturday 8/12
Saturday 1/12
Name
Laundry room
Mount Laundry basket Dad x
Mount Smoke alarm John x
Mount Shelves & Hooks Dad x
Paint wall blue Mum x
Kitchen
Clear out cabinets Anne + Mum x
Move lamp back above dining table John x
Paint wall behind stove Mum x
Create a collage wall Anne x
Mount shelves for cookbooks Dad x
Living room
Mount Loudspeakers Tom x
Paint walls Mum x
Assemble cupboard Dad x
Frame Photo's + mount. Dad x
Install lamps John x
Mount Smoke alarm John x
Buy new cushions/accessories Anne + Mum x
Clear out kids toys - mostly into their rooms Mum x
Adults living in their childrens home: this needs were completely cluttered, and it ticked Ann-Mari off every
to be turned around! single day. There was no room for Ann-Mari, herself, and it
Here is another example. Ann-Mari and Peter are showed in the home. There was no room for Peter either, so
parents of two boys and a girl, a lovely family I met last we needed to find Sanctuaries for both of them.
summer. They sent me photos of their home and I could We set aside a creative spot for Ann-Mari in the
see they were adults living in their childrens home. They bedroom and a small desk in the living room area for Peter.
had filled the house with furniture with no other thought We carried on in this fashion, sorting their whole home
than practicality: the couches were just something to sit into zones. It took them four months, all the while still liv-
on if not sitting on the floor. And the bookcases were ing their busy lives. We talked about the tip of the iceberg
there to display childrens books and their art pieces from phenomenon. This is where everything looks okay on the
school. The living room was a childrens playroom. outside, but underneath (and behind closed doors) it is
Their ongoing challenge was to try to find space chaos. I taught them how to sort with the 7-3 Downsizing
and live an orderly life with two young boys and a hus- tool, and it was a huge job. But so worth it! The energy that
band playing soccer in the living room, plus a little prin- comes from knowing there is order behind cabinet doors
cess ruling the kitchen with her huge play area. All cabin- and that you will be able to easily find things, is blissful. But
ets in every room, including the entrance/laundry room, on the other hand, the results are not visible.

46
The greatest fun is decorating the parts of your The before and after photos tell the story! When
home that you see all the time: The visible tip of the ice- we photographed the home, the eldest son, a creative
berg! So, the next step was to send them off to BoConcept eleven-year-old exclaimed: Now I see this is a home
to find a sofa, a dining table set and some accessories. where adults live, too. This was an unprompted com-
The much-loved old dining table, inherited from an an- ment we never told him this was the point of the whole
cestor, was shortened and used as a new coffee table. In home makeover.
the dining room the rather cold, steel cabinet with glass
doors was taken down (Im so proud of them, they dared
to follow this advice) and moved into the desk area for
storage of porcelain, games and private papers. Instead,
a warm, oak cabinet went in its place and they created
a Happy Wall above it, with home-made art and family
photos. The kids will have fun; its easy to change out new
photos or paintings. Wonderful! There was now warmth
and life in the room. See the following pages.

Before

After Before

47
To style
or not
to style
When a BoConcept interior decorator comes
by you only need to buy flowers for yourself and feel
you are part of the nesting process. Its always easier
for outside decorators to dress up your home. They
are able to work within your comfort zone and push
slightly beyond!

48
49
This young mans main interest is soc-
cer/football, so his Father made this goal
for him. He painted ordinary planks with red
and white and passed nylon cord through
small metal rings, creating the net of the
goal. With office clips this creative goal
turned into a Happy Wall for the boy at
little to no cost!

50
Manic Mother: a Jail House Anecdote: freely with his Lego. And I used to go to the beach with
And yet another example: As an interior designer, him to collect stones. Then suddenly I knew: she couldnt
some years before becoming a House-Coach, I was called buy anything for the walls, because those items would
to a newly built home, where the Lady of the House, sens- have colors and disorganized patterns that would make
ing the need for HELP in any form, asked me for advice her go nuts! I knew she was a case for a professional psy-
on buying wall art (framed posters or paintings, etc.). chologist. Could I tell her this? And could I find a way to
One morning while her children were in kindergarten make life a little easier on the boys? I had to try.
and preschool she showed me her house. It was impec- Do you know the Opera House in Sydney, and
cable, sterile, and all in black and white. This was fairly that a Danish architect designed it?I asked her.
unusual for the styles of that particular period, when Oh, yes, I know, Utzon. She nodded.
vivid colors were back in fashion again. She showed me I continued, trying not to sound hesitant, but I
her eldest sons room, where Lego Duplo was sorted; the was not sure how this idea was going to land: I think
four colors were carefully sorted into boxes, and there maybe your boys are born designers in some form and
were no toys lying around anywhere on the floor! just maybe, by not allowing them to be disorganized
Wow, I exclaimed. Does he really sort his Lego by de-building their Lego creations, you could be rob-
in colors? bing the world of their greatness. I looked at her with
Er um no, thats me, she replied, glancing as much compassion as I could, and touched her hand
down at the boxes. She actually wrung her hands (until gently. I could see in her eyes that she was not leaping to
that moment I wondered if this were simply a literary the defensive, so I carried on. I pointed out to the wooden
expression). He builds with them all day, and when hes doorstop. You know, these are the boundaries you need
asleep, I can separate the colors and you know, organize to learn how to respect. You need professional help, my
them again Her voice trailed off so I could barely hear dear; this is not the way life is supposed to feel in your
her. home. Home is safe, home is love, home is soul-restor-
I was speechless (which happens rarely, trust me)! ing. This was the moment would she throw me out on
Then we went to the bedroom of her younger boy and my ear, or listen?
I was met with a similar sight: The Lego blocks were all Actually, she burst into tears, and I knew no one
tidy and the room looked spotless. It was a little hard to had ever spoken to her kindly, and with wisdom, in
imagine a small boy ever playing in this room. this way. I referred her to a very good friend of mine,
Ohhh, hes so disorganized! she exclaimed, as Marie, who is an excellent psychologist. I can only help
she pointed to the window. healthy people begin to achieve their greatest potential in
Not sure what she meant, I asked, Help me out their life and in their homes and I am very aware when
here wheres the disorder? someone needs to see a psychotherapist or psychologist.
There! Her voice was harsh. Look, the three Now, do you feel better? Its always good to com-
stones in the window, he keeps dragging stones and sand pare ourselves to someone worse off. It makes us grateful
into the house and I cant stand it! and compassionate, at the same time. Do you feel like the
I felt pain in my gut, like someone kicked me, hard. any of the people in my examples? Are you ready to start
I spent eight long years praying to have children before the process of change? If so Get the Damn Things Done
my son finally arrived and then I loved to watch him play in your own life!

51
Game over

52
My own Story
Finding the Cure
for Homesickness
I will tell you a little of my own story, in the hopes It appeared to the world that I was successful; I
that that it may inspire you to find your way home to had an image to maintain! But in my everyday life, in
yourself. And perhaps you may take some comfort in actuality I was a poor, struggling, single mother, eating
knowing others have felt the same as you. You are not very little, wearing second-hand clothes, and renting out
alone! my basement to students. I lived like this for a couple of
After eight years of trying to start a family with years, becoming increasingly desperate and somewhere
my first husband, we finally were thrilled to welcome down the line forgot all about making myself happy. Ex-
our lovely son Nikolai. We lived a small-town life in a cept when I decorated my home; this brought me happi-
small 1947 townhouse. We enjoyed renovating houses ness. Now I know: I nurtured my (home) soul!
and combined creativity with hard work... using the I met a few princes, kissed them, and bingo,
very little money we had. Like many other couples, our they promptly turned into frogs. But it was not long un-
love turned into friendship, so after exactly twelve and til I met a lovely, charismatic business man: Mr. Eisby.
a half years of marriage we decided to divorce. We par- He was a part-time dad and CEO of his own company. I
ted as friends and have stayed dear friends ever since. I thought a man who can do both must be amazing. After
kept our little townhouse and continued to run my own dating for a year and Living Together Apart (LAT), we
interior design shop, with eight employees to feed, a made what could have been a wise (but in the end fatal)
small child to provide for, and no child support of any decision: I should sell my home and move into his. The
kind (I gave to my ex; he needed it more than I). potential bonuses: half the rent, less expenses, more

53
time together, and time to look for a lovely new home buy a new home for us all, with space for all my belong-
of our own. So, I tore up my soul and my sons soul, sold ings or I was gone!
my beloved home and moved into his, which to me was I thought missing my things was the reason I
very unfamiliar and unattractive both in exterior design was so lost and fragile. Now I know: I could not find my-
and in the atmosphere of the rooms. self in the role, because I had given up myself. By not
I brought with me my most loved possessions, but being my authentic self with everyone, I forced everyone
they looked odd in his living room; we were combining to be someone they werent, either. It was an incredible
Shabby Chic with Contemporary Modern. And my son masquerade, for which no one had ever prepared us! If I
was unhappy that his entire room had to be cramped into had enjoyed my life inside myself, I could have lived any-
a smaller room. I sold my shop, let go of my staff and where with anyone. All I really had to do was focus on
went solo. I rented an expensive office, which I decorated the things that worked in my life, instead of what didnt...
with my beloved left-over furniture and stored the rest but I didnt know how!
of my life companions in a barn on a farm. I confess We finally found a very beautiful (expensive)
to being something of a hoarder at that time in my life! house and moved into what we both thought and hoped
I tried to make our home look nice, and I tried was our dream house. It certainly looked like it, as we
hard to become a Bonus Mother to his kids... but, the gazed on photos of our home displayed in Danish in-
truth is, it turned into a nightmare. After two years in terior design Magazines. Our Dream Home was fea-
agony and many quarrels over finding another home, I tured in eight-page articles! But sadly it turned out to be
was suffering from a new malady for me: being Home- a new fresh nightmare, because we were creating the bad
sick-at-Home. For the first time in my life. This painful dreams, not the house! Karma haunted me, because I re-
longing made me behave like a teenager looking for my fused to learn the lessons, and like a child, I chose the
soul/home. I gave my sweetheart an ultimatum: Agree to role of the victim.

A beautiful library
decorated in Country
Style with attention
to the smallest de-
tails. I had fun in the
process playing and
pretending I lived in
Southern England. But
I was unhappy in my
private and working
life and it showed in
the home. It was tidy
for the magazine pho-
tographer, but most
days it was cluttered

54
We lived in this beautiful house for only a year,
fighting constantly over your kids and my kid, with
harsh, painful words like: you dont understand/love
me. We were endlessly at odds over finances, friends,
family, housework, his successful career while mine was
in ruins (due in great part to the depression that fol-
lowed being Homesick-at-Home for years). You name
it, we struggled with it. Then we gave up. We were both
so completely unaware of the real issues, our own im-
maturities and our emotional scars and damage. Like so
many couples, we used each other to try and fix the pains
that had scarred our souls. We tried to rebuild a broken
dream of Family 1. It was doomed from the start!
Frank and his two teenagers moved out. We
couldnt easily sell the big house, so Nikolai and I had
to live there alone. During the first year and a half, I
showed the house to potential buyers more than 50
times and 1500 people viewed the house on the inter-
net! I imagined them saying, I just have to see the house
that a well-known designer wants to leave!
Finally, after selling the damn thing, I was able to
move into a small apartment near my sons school and
near his father. It was in fact half the size of my former
home, and I still had a barn-full of stuff that I had not
seen in more than a year. So, I needed to invent a system
I could count on to successfully downsize my belong-
ings so they would fit in half the space!
And here it is! My first House-Coaching tool for
people who need to move and lose excessive weight
without pain or fear of letting go:

7-3 Downsizing tool


There are two basic ideas to ponder as you use
this tool:

Can I live without this item? (Keep your


feeling antenna open what things can you
simply not live without?)
Who would be happy to receive this free
gift? Who needs it? How good would it feel
to give this to them?
55
Now, heres how it is done. Out of 7 pieces of fur- linquish that dream, that of having another child. It was
niture, in random order, I picked 3 of them to keep. I never really about the clothes or the toys. I realized it was
picked 7 books on each shelf and kept 3 of them My too late for me and that realization put me directly and
mind started to get it very fast. It became easy to look at painfully into mental meltdown. I called a young (and
7 things at a time, keeping 3 of them as life companions, poor) couple that I knew were expecting a child. I told
and saying thank you and goodbye to the remaining 4. them not to mind me, sitting on the floor sobbing and
The choices were made in my heart. rocking when they came to pick up 7 boxes of really good
For example, from my basement I hauled up 7 quality clothes and baby toys! It was so hard, but I had to
boxes crammed with sentimental hopes, dreams, and let go. And it is odd: when I think about it today I cant
memories, such as a 35-year-old Barbie and other dolls. even remember what I threw out or gave away!
Plus clothes, schoolbooks, 1st grade memorabilia, baby I know now I dont have to keep 20 of my be-
stuff from my sons birth right up to his schooldays, old loved Grandmothers belongings! I only really need the
books (memories of beloved Aunt Emmy), clothes of a memory in my heart and maybe two lovely items to
potential smaller body size (in completely insane fashion make me happy.
I was hoping to become the skinny teenage size 0 again I chose, through this whole downsizing period,
at 43 years old). And oh yes, old love letters proof that not to sell anything, but to give it all away with love, even
I was once loved. I was tough with myself. I decided, though I could have used the money. Because doing so
firmly, that I could only keep what would fit into 3 boxes. made me feel rich. The joy on the faces of those who re-
(Yikes.) So I placed 3 empty boxes opposite the 7 filled ceived these things made it all so worth it. I still remem-
ones. ber their smiling eyes, but not what they received!
There they were: 10 boxes on my lawn, and I dived
in. I started sorting, with my girly heart open and my
adult mind coaching the fear away. I started with 7 old
schoolbooks, kept 3 favorite ones, and put them in the
empty boxes. Of 7 pieces of baby clothes I decided to
keep 0 (thereby beginning to let go of a deeply held goal:
another child). This way, keeping none of the 7 baby
clothes, I had made a bargain with myself, and I could
keep 7 books instead! You see the system? If you choose
7-5 in one category, you have to go 7-1 in another, and
doing this in boxes makes it tough, because there is lim-
ited space!
What really got to me was giving away my sons
things from his toddler days. I was forced to really re-
Play it till you make it This is my first attempt and the front
cover of my first book: An apartment in Small-ville Denmark
turned into a wooden cottage in USA, just to get the feel and
the fix of being somewhere else for my yearning soul. And
it worked.

Make the place


you work
the place you love
56
Play It Till You Make It: to us. I hung my favorite pictures on my side and my
Being with the estate agent in the new apartment I sons favorites on his side. In the evenings and af-
felt numb, really! But we took it, because it was close to ternoons we enjoyed sitting together doing homework
my sons school and his fathers apartment. My son liked and working or painting and reading. Voila: My first
it immediately because of the carpets on the floor. But Play-It-Till-You-Make-It home evolved out of love,
I hated them they made my Shabby Chic furniture creativity and spontaneously.
look like Shabby Shit! We needed to share the only I started a new interior decorating business
bedroom, but he was 11, so in order to respect the new from this home office. I soon found clients again and
privacy of his adolescence, we took turns sleeping in the gave it my best effort. But I didnt really like my life
bed or on the sofa. as a single mother and was exhausted and experien-
My sons memory today, at 20 years old, is that cing body aches and pains. I know now this was the
it was cozy and calm being with me alone there. I result of my negative outlook. I felt dark and miser-
wanted to live in an American-style wooden house, able, feeling a sense of lack instead of abundance and
so when I found old wooden floor boards at a gar- gratitude for all that I had! Right there at that hor-
age sale, I instinctively bought them. I transported rible place we all know as Rock Bottom, God found
them to our parking lot and painted them one by one me on the floor, sobbing against the heater just as
and had a friend place them on the wall. In our new Elisabeth did in Eat, Pray Love. I had heard of people
American Cottage I made a shared playroom/office, becoming spiritual overnight and this really is what
with two IKEA table supporters, IKEA bookshelves happened to me. In fact, I changed my whole outlook
and some mature table tops from an old factory near on life within a few days!

57
Writers
Over the next three years God showed me, pebble
after pebble, the way to my new life. He taught me that
every home I lived in was my classroom and I was to
absorb and learn new things about myself and become a
spiritual teacher! He healed me from the inside out with
retreat in
france
daily miracles. And the final outcome of this detox was:
I learned how to create lovely, peaceful and soul-restor-
ing homes no matter where I was so I could pay it
forward to you!
I had made an agreement with myself that The The apartment we moved into was even smaller.
Carpet Home would only be temporary, and that I would But it was much cozier and the neighborhood was beau-
move again when I found something with more "charm." tiful, although our apartment was the ugliest building on
This I did, one year later. Can you imagine? Four moves the street! It was a typical temporary home or Divorce
in three years! Thank you to all my dear friends and fam- Barrack, as I loved to call it. It consisted of a small liv-
ily, who always came to help me! And a big thank you to ing room connected to what was supposed to be a din-
Nikolai for being so patient and helpful! ing room, one master bedroom, a tiny bathroom with
washing machine/dryer, a small worn out kitchen, and
an even smaller storage room than the apartment we had
left (in the basement).
I was on a continuous Cardboard Box Diet trying
to lose excessive weight, sorting, throwing out/giving to
charity, downsizing my belongings. It felt like a diet; just as
tough to go through and just as wonderful to complete. In-
stead of skinny jeans, I needed to fit into my storage room!
Fewer distractions on the outside meant I could
grow up on the inside. I began to play. The place I was
happiest during my holidays was Provence. So, my inner
playful self, who began trusting in me again, told me she
wanted to go to the South of France and restore her soul.
Off course, I had to give myself that mood-fix and find a
way to play. I re-found the basic joy of nesting using very
little money but all my creativity and my bare hands. Soon
it felt like we lived in a French B & B! I knew what my heart
told me and I could vividly see the images in my minds
eye from happy holidays in France. And I had my com-
puter for reference. I wanted to play, and bring it all to life
for us!
I loved old French houses in those luscious pale
colors, set off by the vivid shades of the flowers on their
balconies. I found photographs of shutters in soft green,
soft blue and pale gray, and more of cream-colored stone
houses with white windows and pale rose-painted shut-
ters. Gorgeous I bought paint in those colors and star-
ted painting my grandmothers old bookcases and 25
shelves. All over the apartment I felt free and happy paint-
ing to Edith Piaf and other French artists! Lydia, an artist
and dear friend of mine, decorated pieces of boards I had
painted and on them wrote these French words: Edu-
cation desprit (Soul Education), Decoration (Interior
Design), Voyages (Travels), Fleur de jardin (Garden

58
Flowers). I had a tiny but beautiful library! I gave my son
the master bedroom, to allow him the best possible space
to play with friends, retreat to do home-work and to sleep.
I was single I just needed sleep! I hung a lovely painted
sign right outside the front door of the apartment, on the
first floor: It read: LAuberge dEspoir, which means Inn
Of Hope, and indeed it was!
We lived there for two and a half years, and Nikolai
has since shared with me that hell never forget the cozy
hours. He remembers the apartment with great joy. We
didnt lose anything! On the contrary, we gained a new and
better life together. And I gained new insights on almost
everything in my life. I was different; my view of my life
was different. I could still have been depressed, hated my
life, seen the lack, but now I only saw and appreciated the
good in my life. This attitude and the display of this at-
titude in our home led me to the happy and fulfilled life
for which I was destined. And it changed my sons outlook
on life forever.

I had the following needs: A cozy corner to seek inspiration, a place to work (I couldnt afford an office anywhere), a spiritual
sanctuary to pray and meditate, a cozy bed to read and sleep in, a dining area to entertain my few and dear friends. All of these
needs were met by making small zones in one room: The window corner became my Sanctuary. Here I read my spiritual books
and wrote my first Danish book, Home with a Heart while looking out at the Perfect Families living all around me. I tried to bless
them instead of feeling jealousy. This was not easy on my darkest days.

59
In the small living room Nikolai and I often ate our
meals in front of the TV (mounted on a fake wall to hide
the cables, which I had designed myself). This actually
turned out to be a good way for us to be together without
talking much. He was now 12 years old, closed for re-
construction by the forces of nature. This was probably
not the educationally correct procedure, but it worked
for us! In the sofa we also read many Harry Potter book-
s...Ah, come on Mom... just 10 more pages!

60
He loved his own room and these photos have been an inspir-
ation to many Danish readers. This is how to create a warm and
personal room for a teen with little money and effort!

This little home was the source of great learning design. It was created for all those people struggling with
and growth for me. I learned the whole Pay It Forward a life-changing even who felt Homesick-at-Home. Filled
Home Edition concept here: I baked buns for neighbors, with practical ideas yet low costs, the book was very pop-
performed services for the elders in the neighborhood ular and changed my life! Today, six years later, I under-
and helped other single parents find new ways of com- stand that my moving provoked necessary life-changes
ing Home after a divorce! I worked whenever I had the and those life changes made me move. And even more
energy. importantly, I came to realize this powerful truth:
My income increased as I finally found worth
in my own work. So much joy had conquered my fear
in many ways and I started writing down what I had
learned about House-Coaching. I wrote the book Home
Home is You
with a Heart, the first Danish self-help book on interior Home is Love
61
Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home

Divorce isnt such a tragedy.


A tragedys staying in an
unhappy marriage, teach-
ing your children the wrong
things about love.
Nobody ever died of divorce.
62
KRPHDJDLQRUPRYLQJLQWRJHWKHUIRUVLQJOHVDQGIXVLRQIDPLOLHV.LUVWHQ6WHQR

The
Coming home again af
Ho
Challenges
Kirsten Steno
of the
Single Parent:
How to Ease the Way!
According to the United States Census Bureau, is the cat will never sit on a cold stove, either. The cat
there are approximately 13.6 million single parents in just wont sit on stoves, because every time it sees a stove
the United States today caring for more than 21 million it sees a painful failure! He thinks to himself, Danger
children. Being a single parent is a common and difficult danger! I tried that and it didnt work, or Ill never get
challenge in our busy world. Having struggled through it hurt like that again.
myself and worked with so many people weighed down We are the same. We get burned, and then we can
by responsibility, I am thrilled to offer tools which effect- turn our backs on the possibility of new wonderful love!
ively lessen the overload most single parents are endur- And life can pass us by. You think to yourself, I have
ing. learned the hard way. My marriage, my childhood or
Mark Twain once said: If a cat sits on a hot stove, all kinds of hardship formed me into who I am today.
the cat will never sit on a hot stove again. The problem Painful, perhaps, but nevertheless true. In reality, all the

63
hardships you endure are a gift to your growth, if you ship and the move seems like a heart-felt decision, you
choose it! Like rats in a laboratory, you learn both from still abhor this unsettled situation and long for a happy,
electric shock warnings and from sugar water rewards. peaceful home and family life. The truth is the move
Happiness is not a feeling, it is a state of mind we can resulted from a broken heart, no matter whose decision
choose. This is a huge concept, so worth repeating: Hap- it was, and the joy you remember feeling in your past
piness is not a feeling, it is a state of mind we can choose. moves is nowhere to be found. What you feel and how
I am not saying it is always easily achieved; it does take you view your circumstances will decide how long you
effort and a firm decision. stay in a state of meltdown following any catalytic event
But its always an option every single minute in your life.
of every single day. I know, because after my marriage These events hit all of us in various ways through-
broke up I cried my eyes out and suffered for way too out our lives; what is important is how we overcome
long, until I finally detached from my pain and began them! Right now youve probably lost yourself in the
to take care of myself. And crying is tiring! No one can move. This is the time when you need a good life coach to
easily stop crying if theyre exhausted, so try this: Decide help you get through this meltdown, fast. You also need
right now that you are going to cry less. Decide to feel someone to help you get installed in your new home.
less hurt, to feel less angry, right now, this minute. It is Let me in. Id love to help you understand the
powerful when you make up your mind to it. You can metamorphosis process which occurs, when you are in
learn from your past and then turn your back on it its transition. Because you are only capable of changing that
over! Now begin to taking care of yourself in this new which you fully understand.
life as a single parent in this new temporary Home. Right Moving a home and half a family is almost as
now start looking ahead! Make room for a new love in stressful as becoming seriously ill. You, as a single parent,
your life: Yourself! need to be set free from too many expectations. You need
OK, here is the scenario: The moving company to know that what is going on in your home affects your
left days ago, the kids may have started in a new school, whole life, including your inner life, the soul. It takes
old friends may not be available, your parents are too old time! Give it time.
and your siblings too simply far away. What now? Surely It takes time to heal a wound, and you are truly
people always try their best to organize the move ahead wounded. But with the right care you will heal! I have
of time, but you just cannot plan for the mess, the chaos, survived the pain you have been going through, too,
and the fatigue that awaits you. You walk through rooms more than once, and stepped forward to a greater life,
gazing at mountains of stacked, marked cardboard with help from great mentors. I know that no one can
boxes You begin to cut them open without having the create a lovely, soul-restoring nest when being im-
vaguest idea where to put everything. Its awful. Even if mensely fatigued...
it was you that wanted out of the marriage or relation-

64
The Butterfly Metaphor:
I use The Butterfly Metaphor to help my clients understand that they need to undergo three stages of trans-
formation to achieve the life they were meant to live. I encourage them to replace fear with love and trust. It sounds
strange, but we can in fact be both caterpillar and butterfly at the same time in various areas of our life (e.g. When
you a have just been fired but are newly in love, or in a lovely home, etc.)
Just like the butterfly transforms and dies to its former self, you too, after a catalytic life event, must let go of who
you were. Like the butterfly, you have an opportunity to become your truly awesome self!
Id like to thank others for their inspiration: Martha Beck describes her version of the human metamorphosis on
her website http://marthabeck.com/2003/01/growing-wings-the-power-of-change/ and Marianne Williamson has
written the wonderful book The Gift of Change (HarperCollins Publishers).

1. Meltdown: Put the oxygen mask on


This is the moment when a life shock hits us yourself before putting
right in the gut and life will never be the same again: it on your children
A: Without notice, youre called to your new
young boss office where he explains, curtly, why To return to your adult, rational, happy self and
you are fired. At the age of 56 you know there is no behavior, you need to take time to recover.
immediate chance of being employed again, even Here are some suggestions:
though you feel Young-at-Heart. Get someone to help by babysitting your child/children,
B: In the midst of writing this book, my son, who had leaving you chunks of free time to just breathe deep or
been sick for six months, was called a wimp until I brought him sleep.
to a private hospital and a brilliant neurologist found the cause: Eat well every day: fresh vegetable and salad, organic
a brain tumor. This meltdown completely changed not only his meats or fresh fish.
life but mine. We were only able to cope with the challenges by Take a multi-vitamin and extra Vitamin C you need
focusing on love and gratitude. more nutrients to handle the stress and the shock. And yet
C: Your loved one stands in the kitchen door, like a this is often the time people ignore their own needs!
thousand times before. But now you feel in your gut something Drink plenty of lukewarm boiled water with lemon as a
is wrong. You just know from the look in his/her eyes; sorry, detox.
but there is a new love. You watch your loved one pack and Walk in nature, feeling the presence of Divinity, of the
leave. Source of everything, that power that is greater than you.
D: Talking on the cell phone, or turning around to I recommend you watch as little TV as possible, and then
make the kids stop fighting, and bam, you didnt see the car only indulge in TV shows about people overcoming lifes
hurtling towards you. Or worse, hurtling towards the child that obstacles. Only feel-good emails may enter your inbox
just leapt out into the street chasing a puppy. and be replied to. Delete all the others. This is some of the
You know from your own life what a meltdown feels best advice I ever got! You are choosing to feel good, not
like and you know friends and family whove experienced the wallow in misery.
same. This is the stage where you hide to the world and cre- And before sleeping, read at least ten minutes in one of the
ate a mental chrysalis. In here you need to accept that this is books I recommend, such as:
not only a bad thing but a chance to create the life for which
youve secretly been yearning. Allow the mental pain, which Martha Beck: Finding Your Own North Star
comes in waves, to flow over you without getting drowned by John Maxwell: Failing Forward, Turning Mistakes into
it. Eventually the pain will lessen, the waves will get smaller and Stepping Stones
youll catch your vital deep breath again. Reach within for clar- Deepak Chopra: The Path to Love, Spiritual Strategies for
ity, strength, forgiveness, love, peace and harmony you need Healing
it to get to the next stage: Rhonda Byrnes: The Magic (The Secret)

65
You can buy them second-hand (such as I did on Start writing a Gratitude Journal. I did this and
Amazon.com) or borrow them from the library. When it did speed up my healing. Find 10 things to be grate-
sleep finally takes over your wounds are healing. Its ful for; its a powerful gymnastic exercise for your brain,
natures own rhythm. causing it to shift and produce new positive neurons.
Trouble sleeping? Oh, this is so common after peri- Even Oprah says so... and you know if Oprah says so!
ods of stress. And you need good quality sleep to help re- Tell your kids and your concerned family and friends
store your mind, body and soul. Here are a few suggestions: that its going to take a while, that youll need every prac-
Maintain regular hours; even if you are not sleepy, wind tical bit of help you can get. Tell them you know it will all
down to get ready for bed at a normal time. Do something turn out well for all of you, but they must to be patient with
relaxing and peaceful for an hour before bed, like rest in a you. Your soul is rehabilitating! And dont worry if you find
warm bath, or read one of the books I recommend. And do yourself wondering around in the middle of the night, hold-
so in as low light as you can research has shown reduced ing two candlesticks and you are clueless where to put
light prepares our systems for sleep. Do not play video them It is not Alzheimers, its just Temporary Moving
games before bed or watch violent movies! Eat something Disorder. At that moment, imagine me in front of you, like
light and carbohydrate-based, like a bit of yogurt or a few a cop in front of a desperate, exhausted junk-addict. I hold
crackers, but do not eat heavily. That is not conducive to out my hands to show you I am not armed or dangerous. I
good sleep. And be wary of alcohol! You may think it relaxes say to you, gently but firmly: Put them down. I approach
you, but in actual fact it has a rebound stimulating effect you not to handcuff you but to hug you lovingly and tell
an hour or two after you have fallen asleep, and then you you to go to bed and rest. Soon youll have more energy.
may lie awake for ages! Try Valerian (the herb) or Calms
(homeopathic Passion Flower and others) for relaxation. Or
try two milligrams of melatonin half an hour before bed-
time to tell your body it is time to sleep.
OK, now it is morning, you have slept well (I hope!)
and you feel the urge to get on with sorting out this mess!
For the first few days, let boxes be boxes. Only unpack what
you absolutely need to prepare food and get dressed. Make
a pile of boxes in one corner of your new home; youll get
to unpack them when the time is right! Make sure you all
have a comfortable bed to sleep in and each room main-
tains an even temperature. Get the basics working in your
kitchen, so you can nourish and comfort yourself and your
children. It is vital for this metamorphosis, that You, yes You
begin caring for yourself, as You would care for someone
you love dearly, then youll soon be able to take better care
of your children. In this phase youll have to compromise.
Love them and feed them thats all, theyll live and survive
this better if you are strong and healthy!
This is my grattitude journal

Oprah
The single greatest thing you can do to
change your life today would be to start being
grateful for what you have right now.
And the more grateful youare,
the more you get.
66
2. Morph into the New You: Ask yourself these questions:
Dare to Dream What now?
Make the place you live the place youll These general questions can lead you to:
love. A: How can I find others in my age group, and
Most of us live with a longing for an- how can we support and help each other? Where do I
other life (home) or at least improvements. I find Hero Stories of people who lost their job at my
used to believe you could never decorate your- age, did not hide, but used the storm to surge ahead?
self out of mental pain, but in fact you can. When youre How can I make a home office to dream and scheme
rested, comfortable with the thought of living in a Tem- while I am looking for my right life?
porary Life and Home, grateful for the small blessings Can I take any job and stop being ambitious in
in life and patient with yourself in the process, then its corporate life? Can I shift focus and become a blessing
time to Dare to Dream. Youre going on an adventure, to the ones I love in my private life?
to make your best life happen within these walls! This is B: My son morphed in more than a physical way.
your cocoon from which you will emerge as the beautiful Dr. Brains of all kinds showed him deep respect,
butterfly you were meant to be. And, as an extra bonus, knowing he had plowed through his final college exams
youll be an excellent role model for your children. Youll and even taught his peers with a huge tumor in his brain.
be showing them how to overcome lifes obstacles and to Hes no longer thought of as a wimp hes Simba, The
be grateful for life itself. Lion King! Undergoing this trauma in his young life
Now, the present moment is the perfect time for is giving him the courage to seek bold new adventures
you to steer towards your new life, and certainly the dir- in his future!
ection you are steering towards should always feel like C: Once you have stopped hating, crying, and
joy and freedom. Can you remember what that felt like? grieving, you change your perception. You and you alone
hold the key to forgiveness and love, and this op e ns
doors to a bright future for everyone involved. You need
who else have gone to care for yourself and let go of poisonous feelings. In
through this and your anger and hurt you may want to kill others, but the
survived? poison you take will kill you instead of your target
so let go!
What can I do with Look for inspiration from other heroes and
heroines that survived traumas and life changes; look
the life/home thats for those that became colorful, unique butterflies soar-
mine now? ing in the sun, like the caterpillar could never imagine!
Car accidents, brain tumors, job losses, divorces, etc.,
What is still making never seem to be part of a bigger plan but they will be,
if you begin to be present in the moment, be grateful for
me happy? what you still have, and receive what you are given with
grace. Life/God is teaching you a lesson, so study, read
What could bring me articles, read books, and watch inspirational movies of
hope in the midst of survivors. In the Tool box you will find the Pathfinder
this misery? Vision Board which will help you set the coordinates to
find your Unique Magical Life.

67
3. Emerge as the New Step 1: This is deep practice of the Loving What
Is concept. Take photographs of every room and every
Unique You: corner. Pretend you are photographing someone elses
In nature, after only 10 to 14 mess in a magazine or on TV. Then describe in writing
days as a chrysalis, the butterfly is what you see on every photo. Youre stating the facts here.
ready to emerge. Humans often need For example, I see boxes, furniture, and other items
somewhat longer! How long depends on the bigger which belong in a bedroom. I see a chair which belongs
plan and your willingness to learn and grow. in a dining room, cushions for a sofa, a flower stand for a
When the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, its garden (even if you do not have a garden anymore!), and
wings are small and wet, and he cannot yet fly. The but- storage shelves for an office, etc. When you have named
terfly must pump fluids from its abdomen through veins the corners of every room and the items in them, they are
in its wings, which causes the wings to expand to their registered for later use.
full size. You too must pump all your thoughts of hope,
love, faith and joy into your wings, before you are ready Step 2: The next step is called Adopting. This
to fly. Next, the wings must dry and the butterfly must consists of choosing furniture and decorations with love.
exercise its flight muscles, and you must as well! You will First you divide your home, and even parts of the rooms,
try and fail, but then you try again and suddenly youll into zones. What is the purpose of that zone; what will
see your life from a completely new perspective. Like the you do in that portion of the room? Before choosing any
butterfly on its virgin flight! furniture, decorative elements or colors it is vital to know
Its a miracle; the gift in its shabby wrapping was WHAT you want to do in your home zones... like prepar-
the chance to become who we really are. We realize, from ation before a real adoption. Then decide where each item
practice, that we are bigger than our problems. We now fits based on what its purpose is in your life.
know our immense potential, and we welcome the op-
portunity to become a blessing to ourselves and to oth- Step 3: Sort, play and give away! Grab every box
ers. As we change the world around us changes with us. and piece of furniture which you have registered and place
Youre a butterfly ready to emerge, ready to come them in the zone they would best belong. There might
home. be too much and then you have to downsize using my
My mission is to help you on your mission! So, 7-3 Downsizing tool (read the My Story chapter if you
heres my personal House-Coach gift to you: Four Steps havent yet or see the Tool box at the end of the book). Put
to Help Your Home Emerge as a Butterfly. some of the items you have no room for but cannot let
go of, such as your grandmothers rocking chair, in foster
care with a sister or friend, or store them in a storage fa-
cility. It is better to live with less. Better to be surrounded
by items that really matter to you than to cram as much as
possible into a smaller home. If you have gained weight,
you wear loose clothes, not tight ones! Let your new
home be airy and spacious you can always bring more
in within the next few months if you still want to. This is
a Temporary Home. The emphasis, here, is on the word
Home not on Temporary. Make it comfortable and store
the excess stuff safely or just give it away!
Begin placing items with the easiest pieces first: bed
or sofa. Where would you instinctively like to rest your
soul? Its best to face the door, where you can see whos
coming in and with a wall against your back. If its a living
room, you can place the sofa in the middle of the room
and a desk or console table behind it, just to be sure your
back is covered. This is an ancient concept and philo-
sophy, from the days when we lived in caves and by nature
we still respond well to this kind of safety.

68
Step 4: Place all other furniture in the right zones. color tones which make you feel happy, in accents such
Be playful on paper at first. Use music while you sort and as cushions, paintings, posters, books, vases and candles.
move things to open up your heart to your natural-born Or try just one wall with color (for pictures), or a square
nester. Sort paintings and pictures and if you need it, get with wallpaper behind the sofa.
help from someone whos good at hanging pictures (we all
know someone). Then place lamps. Consider asking for Welcome Home! The butterfly has emerged, ready
help here, too, for the wiring. Place your decorative pieces to fly and live the life it was destined to live! This is really
and remember all the time to keep a joyful and playful about the journey and not the destination, though that
spirit and to reward yourself when you have completed is sweet too! But the vitally important aspect of all this is
nesting a zone. to feel at home in every zone of your home, to have ad-
Colors are the icing of the cake. The ones that re- opted each and every item with love and to know youre
peat themselves on your Pathfinder Vision Board are the safe even in this tiny shoebox of a home. Its wonderful to
ones to choose. be back Home. And from here, youll one day move on
to another, perhaps bigger nest, where you will be able
to bring the rest of the furniture family in storage or
foster care.
This is the time when you acknowledge lifes mir-
70-30% color tool: acles, both great and small. You are beginning to appre-
ciate each days tiny blessings, but more deeply, you are
70% of these will be neutral colors, which are grateful beyond measure for the newfound love and joy
black, white, brown, grey, white, beige, wooden material. in your heart.
30% will be of your favorite color scheme. (Interestingly, And be aware: if or when another meltdown hits
in my work in the Scandinavian countries, this tends to you, after another catalytic life event, youll know what it
be 80/20%. The warmer the climate, the higher the per- takes to go through all the stages. And you will know that
centage of bright colors!) There could be images at the you can do it!
beach, such as green and blue/turquoise. There might be Now that you are fully recharged, its time to help
images of Miami or Haiti with brighter colors. Add the your children through the exact same process:

69
single father with an eight-year-old son, who was trudging
Childrens rooms: back and forth from either parent, every other weekend.
A Soul Recharger. Our goal was to transform his 80-nights-a-year room at
Dads into a comfortable and fun haven. Since the son and
This is vital no matter how small a room or father were both avid soccer fans, we decorated an entire
how young the child. Childrens lives are the fu- bedroom wall with images of the sons favorite team. Also,
ture of us all. since he loved Harry Potter, we covered a used office chair
Most teenagers and today also young children with a Hogwarts cape his Grandmother had made. We
know how vital it is to know where the charger for their topped the whole thing with some of his favorite Lego and
cell phone is located. No energy equals no contact with old, much-loved teddies.
the outer world, and this would be catastrophic! A room It took only two weekends to create this with the
without energy has the same effect: no recharging of the help of friends and family, but it meant the world to the
soul. Being deprived of energy for long will eventually boy. And it soothed some of his fathers guilt! The son then
make them Homesick-at-Home. They will be restless, not wanted his friends to come home to both of his homes!
unlike a dog that turns round and round before resting and And the father/son relationship remained close.
finally settling down.
For shared kids, those who have two homes, this
is even more important. They often need doubles of many
things. Please make them feel cared for and let them know
you understand how hard it is for them to have two places
in which to nest. Get another key to a bicycle, extra school
supplies, chargers, etc, in both places. No adult would ever
agree to live on their terms, but we give them no choice.
This is why their rooms are extremely important even if
they only spend only a quarter of their lives in them. It must
always be lovely and soul-restoring to visit each parent. If
they always look forward to open arms and lovely rooms,
theyll more easily survive the life of a modern nomad.
To create a room that recharges their soul, ask what
their interests are and decorate from there. I once helped a

70
Even small children, down to the age of three, grin, and he showed us a vibrant pattern: a lime-green
know what they like. Another client of mine was a newly background and a big pink birthday cake in the center
divorced father who had moved into a tiny apartment with multi-colored candles.
with sloped ceilings. Forced to act fast to find somewhere, I love this! he exclaimed. He was bursting with
anywhere, this was available and cheap, both important joy but the father was not too pleased with the little boys
considerations in a newly divorced situation. The fathers choice. I suspected it was simply too girly. His father
sister called me in to rescue him, since he had absolutely kept looking through the patterns and discovered one
no idea how to make his little son comfortable, or how to with little blue and red cars on a green background.
soothe him, in this new un-home-like home. Look, cars, you love cars! Nice try, I thought to
Although it had only one small bedroom, the myself. But his son instantly scrolled back to the birthday
father had decided it would be for his small son, and we cake.
set out to decorate it. I brought fabrics from Designers No, I want this! His face clouded over a little, and
Guild for children, as they are always a hit with kids! As as his father looked up at me in despair, for help, I knew I
the little fellow scrolled through the myriad patterns and needed a compromise!
colors he stopped suddenly. His face lit up with a huge I smiled encouragement at both these strong per-
sonalities, and said, Look, I can make blinds of the Happy
Birthday pattern that roll up during the day and down at
night and then you paint a green wall near his bed, and
Ill make multi-color cushions with the car pattern for the
bed Hows that?
We made a deal and then the happy little boy could
wake up to the sight of Happy Birthday every morning
on the blinds and feel again the joy he felt when he first
saw that lovely cake.
This teenage girl got stuck with the left-over furniture from her parents and
old bedroom curtains from the 80s. This room was not a Heart and Soul Re-
charger. We got to work, all together, on a makeover, full of intent and design
and creativity, with her tastes and needs in mind. Her father worked with her to
design and create a new desk from MDF (medium dense fiber) and when we
were done, the young girl blossomed.

71
Kirsten Steno: House-coach

Myth: You need to find the right


kind of house and perfect
location before you can settle
into a home, where you'll then
feel Love, Peace & Harmony.
Reality: You need to feel Love,
Peace & Harmony inside yourself,
then you can make anywhere you
live a powerful home and live a
powerful life.
72
Our Story
A Patchwork
Family
A Patchwork Family, one of the most common liv- The day my book Home with a Heart was released,
ing arrangements in todays world, is simply a new family I picked up Frank at the airport, as he had been in the
made up from pieces of divorced families. Simply may not USA for a few weeks. He accompanied me to the pub-
be the right word for it, because it is anything but simple. It lisher where they had saved us the thrill of opening the
consists of pieces of families trying to adjust, find comfort, very first box and viewing the very first book! Frank and
and fit with pieces of other families. No situation needs I and the publishers raised our glasses of beer in a happy
House-Coaching any more than this one. It is full of po- toast. What a moment! It was especially poignant and
tential pitfalls: arguments about money, bedrooms, how to heart-warming for me; I was literally launching into a
bring up the kids, how to decorate, and on and on. It is all new chapter in my own life this chapter!
so new, and somehow we go into it believing it will all be A while later, after we waved good-bye to my pub-
peachy and easy. When it isnt, we dont know how to cope. lishers and left the building, Frank stopped and turned to
How I wish House-Coaching existed to help Frank face me. He gently grasped my hand and looked into my
and me and the kids when we went through it! We could eyes as if for the very first time, suggesting we walk down
have saved two years of pain and struggle to the lovely church in Copenhagen where Crown Prince
Our story may help you. You may relate, and you Frederic had married Crown Princess Mary. He thought
will find tools that will save you some of the angst we en- it was the perfect place to light candles for my book. It
dured. was a brilliant idea! We slowly walked up the aisle and

73
kneeled to pray in front of the famous figure of Jesus, Inspired by Marianne Williamsons insights of
created by the Danish sculptor, Thorvaldsen. love and spirituality, we had learned why so many facets
Deep in our prayer of gratitude Frank spoke softly. of our lives had not worked before this point. We had
Will you marry me? The words hung sweetly in the air, learned that those difficulties stemmed from the parts of
and in my heart. And just seconds before he had spoken ourselves we had not yet integrated. So, where we didnt
those words, I had vividly heard in my mind the words, yet accept ourselves, we attracted the lack of acceptance
Will you...? So, I instinctively knew this was the mo- in each other. Where we hadnt dealt with our shadows,
ment. After our series of trials, tribulations, and relation- we manifested shadowy situations. Broken parts in me
ship hiccups, we were finally ready. So without a shadow encountered broken parts in him. You can only change
of doubt, I answered, Yes! what you realize and accept in your heart.
Over an unforgettable dinner, where I gave him We decided to re- write our love story and began
his personal copy of our book, with a heartfelt dedica- by re-decorating our new home.
tion, we decided to move in together again! This time
it would be on a whole new basis. We were much wiser, I had written in my diary in 2008, I must let go
having gone through the process of forgiveness. This of my independence and the possibility of running back
really means a willingness to see the light in someones to my turtle shield/home whenever things get tough!
soul, even when their personality harbors darkness. And I knew they would, and this had been my answer in the
all our personalities harbor darkness. Living in forgive- past.
ness not only frees us, but also frees others from the The day I said yes to moving my son and me into
weight of our condemnation. a new life and home, again, with Frank and his kids, was

74
an even bigger challenge than the last time. That was be- this room for years! And voila: her room became my
cause this home his childhood home was not ours. It sons new room.
was theirs, like our first Waterloo years ago. Oh, my, I My son had to sacrifice the big room he was used
can tell you there was a lot of fear involved! Would his- to and also give up what I liked to call our ego time
tory repeat itself? together, in order to get a family life with more action.
(Be sure to check out the Camp David Accord de- But he loved it! So it worked out beautifully, for all of us.
scription in the chapter, Young-Love Nest: Boy Meets So, now everyone had a room... or not? Frank had
Girl. You will find it helpful!). the garage with all his tools, his motorcycle and his car.
Frank hadnt insisted we stay in this childhood But where was mine? Typically for most moms, we make
home, he just thought it was fun as a temporary home. sure our kids get a room, if possible, and our room be-
He thought it was fun to be a story in my book and comes the bedroom or worse, the kitchen. But we sorely
loved how we redesigned most of it together for later need a refuge in times of those trials and tribulations!
sale. Although his heart was not in it, he felt it would be This is hugely important in order to survive and thrive
good for his kids. Their mothers life choices (as well as as a mother, a bonus mother and a lover. Ill address
our earlier ones) meant theyd already overcome several this further in the chapter entitled, The Challenges of
moves. This was a safe place to them. They had known it the Patchwork Family; You Can Make the Quilt Work!
all their lives and they certainly deserved to finally stay in
a Home for a few more years!
Frank and I planned to live in it as a Temporary
Home, just for a couple of years. The world wide regres-
sion had hit us in Denmark too, so we chose to make the 40 + 40 + 20 Tool:
best of the house, have fun with the process until times
got better. sound familiar? In order to avoid moving in with Frank, or he and
We had some finagling to do. There was simply not his kids moving in with us, I came up with a system: the
enough physical room for two adults and two teenagers idea of using 40% of his furniture and decorative items
and one young man. Happily this young man (Franks and 40% of mine. Then we would buy the last 20% to-
oldest son was 20 at that time) volunteered to move into gether. This seemed to spell perfect fairness. And indeed
a studio nearby. It was a perfect solution for all of us, be- it worked like a charm! Both of our souls, and the souls
cause this allowed Franks daughter to move into the big of our children, were given a fair chance of settling in to
basement room, where his son used to stay. She wanted Home, with items they were used to and loved. I let go of
many of my Shabby Chic items and furniture and Frank
let go of many Phillip Stark pieces, stainless steel clocks
and wine bottle displays, etc.

A former very masculine garage (with motorcycle) met a


new feminine energy (cushions). I had to let go of most of
my beloved French Shabby Chic and he had to let go of his
French Modern design in order to fulfill the requirements of the
40/40/20 tool in our new home.

75
Finding a
theme At first Frank and I agreed on finding a theme. We
brainstormed ideas, sometimes over a restaurant meal
with lots of red wine. Now let me warn you right off the
bat about wine! It seems and feels very serious to both of
you when youre a little drunk, so when youre talking to
a Homesick-at-Home person its best to be careful with
alcohol! Sometimes wed chat and throw ideas around
while we snuggled in bed in the late evening after love-
making (women love to talk then!). Or sometimes wed
have a good chat/brainstorm on a Sunday morning with
breakfast in bed, or sometimes while walking along the
beaches nearby.
After

On these pages you can see how Frank lived


with his kids in the before shots, before his
home became our new Patchwork Home.

Before

Before

76
After

Before

This "Retro Dining Set" was moved to another part of the


living room. Instead his fathers desk became the new dining
table. Frank added his Danish Design chairs.
Panel curtains were created from hand-printed silk mixed
with IKEA rice-paper panels.

This seventies house had old worn-out windows. I con-


vinced Frank he could only sell the house if he made two new
terraces and exchanged the windows. Little did I know then
Id be the one enjoying them! I am grateful that every morning
when the sun shines, I am able to do my yoga meditation on
After the warm eastbound wooden terrace surrounded by flowers.

77
On a trip to New York later that year, we were Global Living:
thrilled to discover an interior design language we both Since we couldnt agree on a typical interior style,
could understand. This was at one of the gorgeous New we decided to play Global Living. We chose the coun-
York BoConcept stores. I was stunned to find a Dan- tries in which we both had felt the most Love, Peace and
ish Store in New York and certainly had no idea at the Harmony and where we had had most joyful fun and ro-
time that I would be working with them at a later date! mantic memories:
I liked the way the dark furniture, pale sofas and warm - One end of the living room: Our condo in New York
bright color tones in accessories made sense to my kind - The opposite end: Our sea cottage on Long Island
of decorating: It translated to 70% neutrals (Peace and - Our mutual home work place (copying the cover idea
Harmony) and 30% colors (Love!). Theres our mantra from my first book):
again Love, Peace and Harmony! - Our hip office somewhere in California
So, what we could agree on from our underlying - Our dining room: A restaurant in Paris
interests? Here is the essence of what we both loved and - Our kitchen: Our countryside cottage in Cornwall, in
still do: England
- Our bedroom: The French Bed and Breakfast
- Happy Ending: Our Patchwork Home!

In our new home its not 40 + 40 + 20 in every


country, but overall, it is. In the chapter My Story you
can see what my home looked like before. Then if you
compare the images of our new Patchwork Home, you
will recognize many items from our former homes.

Travel around the world


Enjoying work which aligns with our
desire to live our Lifes Purpose
Entertainment of all kind: Theater,
concerts, cinema for the two of us or
with the kids
Having guests for casual dinner
Crashing on the sofa, spooning in
front of the TV
Finding a sea cottage (We found it in
2012!)
Keeping cost for decorating low in
order to stimulate our creativity
Always honoring this concept: To
want and appreciate what we have
and take what were given with grace.

78
New carpet, new cushions (These can be turned over to reveal
a completely different look: on one side they are just plain, no
flowers. Sometimes, when it feels too feminine for Frank, he just
turns them! The Roman curtains and new photo frames with
lovely pictures = A Happy Wall = 20%

New York
30% mine, 50% his, 20% new: My two sofas with new white
linen covers and my lamps = 30%. His 50% = 2 old coffee
tables with one leg taken off (Franks design). His drawers re-
designed with modern aluminum legs, and his TV and surround
sound (it is more often men who bring this element into the new
home).

79
Long Island

50% mine, 20% his, 30% new. My chairs and


coffee table (now even lower as a display table),
my book shelves from IKEA, my white wooden
lamps and my sisters old kitchen floors mounted
on the wall. His 20% consisted of books and his
mothers drawing books. A new fireplace and
photo frames including real life souvenirs from our
Long Island travels = 30%

80
Paris

20% mine, 50% his, 30% new. My dining table and black painted top and two chairs = 20%. His bookshelves re-designed and a drawer
re-designed, his mothers white porcelain, his wine glasses and wine, and his lamps = 50%. The new white cupboard, photo frames, and
a chalkboard of painted chipboard = 30% new.

81
Hip Office

40% mine, 40% his, 20% new


(copying the front cover idea of my
first book). My tables and book cab-
inets, my MAC = 40%. His chairs
and top from his bedroom table, his
MAC = 40%. New lamps, frames
and travel memories = 20%

82
Cornwall UK
30% mine, 30% his, 40% new: My Shabby Chic porcelain, antique pitchers,
my former kitchen fabrics now turned into a roman blind = 30%. His kitchen,
the 40-year-old electrical devices (kept for fun) = 30%. New wallpaper from
Ralph Lauren, new mixer tap and mirrors, new fridge and dishwasher and differ-
ent mugs we had bought on our travels = 40%.

83
South of france

My turn to get 60% (He got


the garage for his car!), 20%
his, 20% new: My curtains,
my dresser, my mirrors, and
my old table with my pots on
the terrace. His bed = 20%.
New wallpaper and cushions
(Designers Guild), new photo
frames for our Pathfinder Vis-
ion Board = photo collages of
Love Peace and Harmony. Plus
Joy!

84
You can copy this system easily, but sometimes wouldnt have disturbed me at all. There would have
fairness can become a challenge, when one of you has been no beeping alert and I could have easily asked
little in the way of possessions. If this is the situation, try him to turn down the TV or shut his mouth while eat-
it another way, by remembering two key questions: ing! But somehow you just cant do that with a Bonus
child! Sorry, but thats just how it is! She too felt my aura
What soothes my but fearlessly stayed and claimed her place well done,
Sweetheart!!
soul, and fits my
nature? Post Script: Frank and I and my son Nikolai still
live here in our Temporary Home, five years after my
What if anything little family merged with his. Nikolai will leave us soon,
were possible? the final of our three butterflies! We have both been will-
ing to compromise, not buying a bigger, smarter, more
(Examples: Living on a boat or in nature, such as in a beautiful house or beginning to build our dream house.
cabin in the woods). This beautiful life we share and the joy of writing this
Here is how it worked for one of my male clients: book for you are much more important and valuable to
He went directly from a broken marriage into a new rela- me.
tionship. Staying in a hotel for six months, he stored his We travel a lot alone, together and with our three
few belongings at a friends house. He only contributed a grown kids. We work a lot, but it is very fulfilling and
large leather sofa and a flat screen TV to the new living does not feel like work to us, because we are living our
situation. So to keep the balance, he bought more than deepest passions. I have given up the office downtown.
his new partner to come up with his 40%. And she had Now I can write in my French office (my sons former
to downsize her belongings to get down to her 40%. room) or at the public library with a fantastic view for
Then they had fun buying the remaining 20% together! free.
When our grown children are home to stay with
A Room of My Own: us, we enjoy being a Patchwork Family at its best. Its so
Our bedroom turned into my Asylum. Every funny: we used to be the talk of the town, when we broke
parent should aim to have it we need this! It needs to up and sold our huge home. Now we have become role
be somewhere lovely where you can close the door and models to others who have lost so much in the recession,
just breathe. to those who thought an ugly house would not suit their
Mine looked and felt like my former home (the personalities or image. If comfort and prestige were our
French B & B), so when I needed to find my soul, I re- highest aims, we would have missed out on the full lives
treated to the bedroom. I placed fresh flowers in my fa- we live today.
vorite old French vases, lit candles, listened to soft music We now know for sure that life is full of conflicts.
and read a good self-help book. Or I dove deep into my- And whether we pass or fail these tests, they can be wel-
self with meditation and yoga on a soft blanket on the comed! Ours gave (and still give) us enlightenment and
terrace, when the weather would allow it. Although I of- new life lessons. It can truly be a challenge to try to blend
ten entered my Asylum frustrated and exhausted from and fit two lives into one. Considering those complex-
work or Patchwork Family life, I always came out in Zen ities, you may agree our souls integrity is tested, and
Mode. I was ready to give more of myself to the three sometimes even our sanity!
peeping chicks who wanted food and attention, or in Frank and I often pray in the morning or at night
other words, my love. before sleeping, or after our occasional, trivial arguments,
I retreated to my Asylum when my bonus-daugh- and this always propels us safely back to our LOVE cen-
ter surfaced from her Dungeon room in the basement. ter. May you also find Love, Peace and Harmony in your
She watched her favorite TV show in the living room, sat own Patchwork Family! Take good care of each other.
on my sofa while chatting on Facebook on her laptop, And remember: as well as being beautiful and perfect
texting her friends and eating a favorite snack all at the individually, woven together with love and patience you
same time! Her aura or essence filled the whole room. combine to create a comforting quilt a true piece of
Because she wasnt mine, I felt the need to leave my artwork.
place at the desk. Had this been my own son, his aura In the next chapter I will share with you tips and

85
from BoConcept catalogue

86
How to be
a Happy
Patchwork
Family:
Give all the patches
a fair chance!
More and more, the term Patchwork Family held both negative and positive repercussions. I could
has come to mean a family in which at least one parent no longer run home to my own place when we argued.
brings a child from a previous relationship. The Patch- My words would fail me and tears threatened to give me
work Family is the fastest growing form of family, world- away as soft. I had to stay in the midst of the war zone,
wide, and as you might expect, putting the patchwork and being a highly sensitive person I found it very diffi-
together successfully can sometimes prove a delicate cult. In fact it was awful. But I finally grew up. I learned
process. They are in need of support and encouragement, from it, as I created our little Sanctuary in the bedroom
and great tools, from a House-Coach! and used it to calm down through meditation and sleep.
Creating a Sanctuary of Love, Peace and Har- All parents, but particularly Patchwork Parents, need to
mony: Once you have finished moving yourself and all have a Sanctuary in their home to stay sane.
your belongings into the new common home, its won- The problems of everyday life will come sneaking
derful it is everything youve been dreaming of! You up on you as the passion and romance recede a little.
are finally part of a family again. In the first months your And at that time you need to be ready. Remember the
relationship consists of passion, fun, joy. You feel so alive words of the stewardess on the plane: Always put on the
and everything feels easy. Its like sailing, with all the bliss oxygen mask yourself before helping your children. This
and challenges of finding balance on a rolling sea. works too in a new Patchwork Home. Begin with your
For me personally, there was an unforeseen issue which new bedroom and create oxygen for your souls.

87
www.TheHomeFactory.dk.
This couple has a very special
touch for interior design and
they love traveling to Thailand: It
shows in their home and in their
lives. They use this Sanctuary to
find peace alone and together
when the world outside home
has taken up too much of their
Love, Peace and Harmony en-
ergy. And it works like a charm!
It is just like having a cell phone
charger We all know how im-
portant that is!

Heres an idea: copy a favorite hotel or Bed & Break- The new common nest and how to live the best
fast room or copy what you can agree on from making life in it:
your Love-Hate Vision Board. Surround yourself with a The rooms look odd at first. Now, this process
few beloved items from your former home 40 + 40 + 20 requires a type of Camp David Accord on the highest
(for the How To on this, see the Our Story chapter level (for more information see the chapter Young-Love
and the Tool box at the end of the book). Always create Nest: Boy Meets Girl). All the countries (in this case the
a Happy Wall! You can make a collage of photos and love adults and children) want part of the same territory and
notes framed on the bedroom wall opposite or above - need to put their heart into it and feel safe again. Mov-
the bed, to remind you both why you hang in through this ing is hard on everyone and it takes time for the soul to
process on the not-so-fun days! find rest. The longer the process, the more homesick and
Take turns using the bedroom/sanctuary. Rest, fragile you all become. Your love life changes, your chil-
meditate to music, or pray for help and guidance. Light a drens lives change radically, your parent roles change,
tea light candle on a shelf, as if creating a mini-altar. your home-life changes... Who wouldnt feel emotionally
Read a good book to keep your mind off the world stripped after a while and need a place to rest and recu-
outside this room. perate?
Dont ever argue in this room. Instead, go for a walk When it comes to finding the underlying in-
or a run, when you need to let out your frustrations. Only terests of everyone in a new home, I have found it very
enter the Sanctuary to reconcile and rest, when youre at important to display a sign which asks: Who lives
peace again. The energy of Love, Peace and Harmony you here? at the entrance. This is actually more of a state-
infuse into this room will be a vital part of sustaining you ment than for decoration.
as a loving couple and keeping sane individuals sane! It is
the oxygen on which everyone in the house depends.

88
Martha Beck, in her book Finding Your Way ted that you are following the hot track to the trail of
in a Wild New World, presents the metaphor of hot your right life.
tracks. We can find the way back to our true selves
(homes) by following hot tracks similar to those an
animal leaves behind. I found my way home by fol-
lowing the hot tracks of love, peace and joy. When you
feel something in your gut, you go in the direction it
points. The same applies if you are an LAT (Living
Apart Together); when you see pictures of yourself or
your kids in the home you dont live in, but visit often,
they act as hot tracks. We are part of this family, the
images say, and you feel more at home, more comfor-

Hallway: Who lives here? Show hot tracks in images on the


walls mixed with a small shelf displaying personal memories
(these are shoe cabinets). Your welcome to home should be a
lovely entry, not an attack on your emotional peace of mind.
Avoid clutter from school bags, sports bags, toys, work and ex-
cessive amount of clothes hanging from hooks. Avoid tons of
shoes on the floor. Build in storage behind sliding mirror doors.
We survived in our home of four or five people by keeping near
only what we needed for that season. The rest was tucked away
in old suitcases in a basement storage room.

89
Patchwork Parent challenges: behavior often turns into nasty fights, where your part-
Im sure you will agree it would be cruel to give ner brings up all the faults of your own children, who
an unsolvable puzzle to a math professor. He might try were not even involved this time! I know this the hard
for many years to solve it, being driven by the will to way, trust me.
succeed. It may be the same with Patchwork Parenting! In the beginning it feels like two very different jig-
I wish I'd known what I know now; it would have set us saw puzzles: one with all green grass and one with all
all free from guilt and would have more quickly ended blue sea and bits of houses and boats. Nothing seems to
many silent cold war moments. It's an illusion that you fit; there is just no satisfying click from finding the per-
can love and be loved by someone you haven't chosen fect match. You know straight away when you have to
or known all your life, but with whom youll have to live press hard, or try to force that jigsaw piece into an almost
every other week or weekend. You never have time to fit... you sigh, put it down and hunt for another. STOP!
tune into or bond with this person, but are always trying Play another game, drop the struggle for a perfect out-
to be nice to each other, because happy faces are required! come, and create a new art work of the mismatch like
A Patchwork Parent usually has trouble with the a quilt! At first glance all the different pieces of cloth do
little prince and princesses" of the opposite parent not fit well together. But when it all is pieced together
there is just so much competition for love and attention. by a creative mind, it looks appealing and even creates
Pointing out their sometimes spoiled and manipulative patterns you didnt see before.

90
Author unknown

I didn't give you the gift of life,


But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other Is like a
dream come true!
No, I didn't give you the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.
91
Living Apart Together, LAT can get their Exes to coordinate accordingly. This is Hell
The challenges of two homes. on Earth and can involve a high level of warfare if the Ex
Love goes where attention flows. Where there is is hurt or angry. Often the case.
neglect in a relationship or marriage, people can leap Next phase: Let's say a year goes by like this: You
into a new affair or relationship in a moment of passion. have two Christmas Eves, one for real and the other a
And pay the consequences later. I call this the Com- fake, because usually you take turns having the kids
pany Christmas Party Syndrome: temptation fuelled by for Christmas and other holidays. The new Patchwork
loneliness, laughter and wine! Now, Im not saying every Family has spent a short vacation together and the kids
LAT relationship begins with adultery, but certainly have been introduced to Bonus-Grandparents and Bo-
plenty do. It just happens; neither was paying attention. nus-Siblings.
Although married to someone else, they fell in love at The love affair is still hot; the long days apart fire
work, at the fitness centre, or wherever. You know the up intensity for every other weekend. But restlessness
drill. inevitably sets in as they both live in half-finished, tem-
Then when it becomes impossible to resist or porary homes. They get tired of packing and looking in
live any longer with the lies and the longing, they fess the fridge trying to figure out what to bring and what to
up' to their original partners. And their home life falls throw out in advance. Tired of living out of a duffel bag.
to pieces. Whether leaving voluntarily or thrown out, This is the high cost of a new love affair. Losing
they both need to find a small Temporary Home. The the comfort of the former home is hard, but nothing
new lovers always hope one day soon to find a new like the longing of a parent to be with his kids on an
common home of their own with your kids and my everyday basis. Keeping up the heat in any relationship
kids and maybe even have our kids. is a challenge, but in the case of LATs its even worse!
Here are the new love logistics: If either or both They suffer from homesickness; they cant seem to settle
of the lovers have children, the new single parents often in. The place they are living just does not feel like home.
alternate weekends or weeks. For example, they spend
every other weekend with their kids and the alternate Having a "Love Sanctuary" in the bedroom can save your
weekends with their new love. That is of course, IF they (home) life on some challenging days!

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They feel like they are in a vacuum a Home Vacuum! to remind you every day.
Millions all over the world feel this way right now. Set dates (and keep them) to go on romantic getaways
They may have been unhappy in their former relation- and agree always to leave all home/life troubles behind.
ship for years, sometimes, and choosing this step has Create a Pathfinder Vision Board setting the GPS co-
been very hard for them, knowing the ramifications of ordinates for your Ideal Life. First do this individually
the decision and the consequences to everyone around and then create a compromise together. Include action
them. But their partner may have been very hard to live steps. This is to give you direction and focus in the
with, or the two may have been very badly suited. midst of a Temporary Life.
Are you a homesick LAT? Or know and love Talk to kids about your plans and include their Ideal
someone who is? Well, I can certainly help ease the Life, whenever possible.
pain and find solutions that work as well as possible. Make the kids rooms personal to them, even if it's only
As a House-Coach for Patchwork Families, living to- 80 nights a year.
gether or apart, I can tell you this homesickness is very Find some money to make your Temporary Life and
delicate and needs some thought wiggling. Temporary Home the best it can be. I know it's ex-
pensive, keeping up with two homes. But if you look
Here's a House-Coaching forward to how you want your future home to look,
help summary: you can work towards it by creating bits of it now, in
A love sanctuary in each home: As mentioned above, this temporary home. Accordingly to this plan you can
use the bedroom at each home to create a Love Sanctu- decorate separately, surrounding yourself with lovely
ary to be re-infused with good vibrations at any time. furniture and accessories that are part of the combined
Create a Happy Wall visible from the bed, to remind future picture with Love, Peace & Harmony!
you both WHY you are together. In each home make You never know how long temporary will be, but we do
the best of what you have, and buy new things together know:
such as furniture and accessories from travels: Use
color tones you both like and make a Love-Hate Vision Finding home
for now is a
Board to make it clear what you can agree on.
In your new home, show in your hallway Who Are
We, and if LAT then in both homes! Leave a hot track
miracle, and to
seek home is
to have found
home, for now.
Now is all we
have and love is
what home is.
For inspiration on interior design ideas and happy images to
print for your Happy Wall: go to www.pinterest.com - remember
to set the alarm or you'll be lost for hours!

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94
Welcome
Home

95
I 0121
William Dempster Hoard

Happiness doesn't depend


on what we have, but it does
depend on how we feel toward
what we have.
We can be happy with little and
miserable with much.
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The Guardians
of Things
You have all heard of hoarders; I call them the those potential treasures in their garage, basement or
Guardians of Things. Or you may wonder deep inside if living room. Those with powerful feelings behind the
you are one. Do you save things, finding it hard to throw potential treasures are always looking for Love, Peace
them away? Do you have piles of stuff you rarely look and Harmony. They are often intelligent, well-educated,
through in your home, in your garage, your attic or your creative people who see potential joy everywhere:
basement? You feel sure this stuff has value and you cant teachers, librarians, and others in public service work,
get rid of it? Yet I bet months or even years go by and you where "filing and saving" is important. These are the
do not use any of it. Registration Guardians of Things, and it shows all over
House-Coaching is very helpful for the Guardians their home. Sometimes they stuff things on their com-
of Things, the hoarders. And many of us are, to some puter too, saving every e-mail they have ever received.
degree! We may be addicted shopaholics or collectors A friend of mine has appointed herself to the position
of things that are fixes for memories. I have met S, M, of Family Registrar of her family, keeping track of old
L to XL to XXXL over the years and they (we) share family photos, exam papers, jugs and fishing poles, etc.
the same traits. Sometimes the more extreme cases of This, she explains, is so she will never forget her origin.
hoarding do need a psychotherapist or psychologist, but Why? For whom? No one including herself really knows
many simply need to understand what they are doing, in why, but my hunch is she'd rather live in the past than
order to release this behavior. the present.
Understanding the concept of Guardian of Things The Collecting Guardians of Things are extreme
begins by uncovering the persons feelings behind all hoarders, e.g., they will hold on to 5,000 different (very

97
important!) cans or pens or lighters. You may shake your The female version saves cabinets full of useless
head, but they're just old-fashioned hunters who get a fix Tupperware bowls; a lid has been lost years ago and they
for every trophy they can mount and display. This can hold on to the hope they will find a lost lid somewhere
become an obsession true compulsive behavior and in the home or at a yard sale. Or she may store fabrics for
it's not so much fun after a couple of years; their homes quilts, teabag paper covers for art pieces (in Scandinavia)
and lives suffer. True addicts are driven by a sick soul or broken bowls she can glue together. The headline
and I can't help them. I refer them to specialists and pray here is: Too Good to Throw Away. My mom is one; her
for them and their co-dependent family members. The excuse is she was a teenager at the times of WWII and
(Obsessive Compulsive Foundation is a good resource.) nothing would be thrown away. History can repeat itself:
The Fix & Repair Guardians of Things are hoarders this decade of financial decline has provoked millions to
who, for the most part, seek fast money and a fix like a become Fix & Repair Guardians of Things.
junkie. These men or women at one time found a seem- The Emotionally Starved Guardians of Things and
ingly worthless object, fixed it, and sold it at a profit. the Poor Guardians of Things will never get to the bot-
And oh, my, the kick of adrenalin and the boost to their tom of their mess by themselves, because they simply
broken ego can morph them into addicts for life! Al- can't see the volume of it! To them it looks different than
though they seldom are able to pull this off twice, they it does to us. Nowadays these people are the subject of
collect and store everything everywhere and believe "one TV reality shows all over Europe and USA and famous
day soon my life will be so different." This form of hoard- experts try to help them in various ways. If they don't un-
ing is in reality "permission to play." derstand why they hoard, their lives and homes becomes
like the running sushi I mentioned earlier. (Japanese
restaurants often have platters of sushi turning for the
view of the customer. A few pieces are taken off, a few
are added back on, and it never runs dry!) This analogy
works well for these types of hoarders. Small things go
in and small things go out; they believe they are sort-
ing, all the time, but in reality nothing changes. Items
of all kinds add value to their broken egos, and they
need years of therapy to start loving themselves, to get
clean from their dirty pain. This is the term coined
by Steven Hayes, the noted psychologist and founder of
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for those
painful stories we tell ourselves, those that are rooted in
our minds, in our imaginations. Often they carry great
shame and I long to set them all free! Then they can take
pride in overcoming the obstacle, and go on to become
the Angels that help other hoarders. Pay It Forward!
Then there are the Shabby Chic Guardians of
Things, those who were born in the wrong time and
place, e.g., those who feel more at home in France 50
years ago than in Kolding or Connecticut today... Yes,
I bear those genes too. So does my dear friend Lydia,
whose home is still pink, purple, pale blue and pale green
with Shabby Chic decor all over. This even includes her
husband, sitting on a linen upholstered sofa wearing a
purple linen shirt, drinking coffee out of a worn flower
cup. :-) (Love you!).
At my talks I stand with my hand across my heart
and say: My name is Kirsten and I am an anonymous
Guardian of Things. I haven't bought any Shabby Shit
item or been to any flea market for five years." They laugh

98
with me, not at me! What the hell is the comfort and joy Too good to throw out is the mantra of a Guardian of Things.
from an old broken jug? It is not the jug. It is France, it is This guy may have started out as a treasure hunter and found
the lovely holidays, it is the memory of where I bought something he considered valuable! He earned money on other
them. They become members of my family. It is the ro- people's trash. The adrenalin kick he got out of that has turned
mantic sensation and feeling one gets from a beloved old him into a junk addict. You may think this hoarding stuff is in-
movie, it is the illusion that life was better then. We were sane, and to a certain degree you are right. I know this has
nothing to do with collecting "ball pen art" or "fixing things" (like
not as busy, not as rushed, we did not have to overcome
the broken telescope or the exercise bike), this has to do with
so much at work, but could nest in peace. Eternal ro- potential joy and recognition/love. Helping this man go back in
mantics are always potential Guardians of Things these time to find where he was broken will show the path to letting
hoarders sometimes decide to run a B & B to cram in as go and living a more balanced life. Sometimes this takes deep
much as possible in every available room of their home. I counseling or psychotherapy.
have been cured. To see how, read the My Story chapter;
I used the 7-3 Downsizing tool and woke up to reality!
So, are youre a Guardian of Things, one of these len and his Getting Things Done site, which has saved
types of hoarder? Or do you know someone you think many lives. There are many brilliant resources out there.
is? Where to begin, where to get help? In the USA there And the tools I use may help. I have worked with many
is a foundation called NAPO, The National Association so-called disorganized people in my career as an in-
of Professional Organizers. (Google it in your own terior designer and later as a House-Coach, in person
country). Hoarders has now become the internation- and via Skype worldwide. I am going to share the stories
ally accepted term for being disorganized and clinging of a few small and medium-sized Guardians of Things
to what you believe is important stuff. There is also the so you can see how House-Coaching helped them un-
website of Office Hoarders, where colleges take photos derstand what they were doing. And overcome it. And
of their hoarding coworkers. Also, check out Dave Al- move on to find their new life!

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Guardian of Things
Work Space Chaos: Susan's Story:
Look at this office. What do you think it's like to She hired me to decorate her store, but when I saw her of-
come in here every morning, turn on the computer and fice, I really wanted to help her find a balanced life. Gener-
see a cluttered monitor background and an overwhelm- ally, when people are no longer working out of joy and pride
ing inbox, with 100-300 to-do-mails? How do you find but out of fear and stress, it can look rather disorganized.
anything? The bulletin board is meant to be used as a But, oh my God, this office was way beyond disorder, this
reminder system in your work life. But when it looks like was cliffhanging!
this, chaos has descended. The desk is in the same situ- I decided on a bold shot: I sat down with her over cof-
ation. fee and told her about my years of burn-out. I told her of my
So, what happened here? Susan used to be a success- divorce, the sickness, and the hell I went through. I predicted
ful kitchen-sales person, doing very well in a time when she might be on that descending path, and begged her to let
people stood in line to buy kitchens. A perfectionist, it was me help her. To my surprise she agreed.
hard to find anyone as dedicated to work as she was. She Soon after this she took two days of holiday so I
managed to be promoted to manager of the store even while could dive in. So, where to start? In TV shows like Extreme
handling the demands of two kids and struggling with a Makeover I always find myself wondering what they do
rocky marriage. She admitted to being touchy and sensitive with the old stuff with all that old clutter! No one seems
at home because she was so overwhelmed by the weight of to care once the bus has moved on, so I thought I'd do the
everything in her life. And she wasnt sleeping well. She told same. I tried out the Ostrich-Tool for the first time it was
me she never found the needed time and focus to be able to fabulous! I came in the morning, occupied her office, took
finish promised offers, calls, or email. She just couldnt bring down everything on the board, and packed it in one folder
herself to say, I really wish I could help you, but I'm sorry, writing Board on it. Then I took everything from her desk
it's not possible for the moment. She did not dare. But she yes, writing Desk on it. Then each drawer, and each shelf,
longed to hang a sign on her office door which proclaimed putting all the contents in moving boxes and stacking them
Closed due to overwhelming work tasks. against one wall in a storage room. Voila: one day's work.

100
Then the next day I cleaned the office, bought new overflowing drawers was in the To Read category, such as
flowers and joy-filled accessories, and hung photos of her articles she was interested in.
beloved family and inspirational quotes about what life is Many smart women in business are Information
really about: Love, Peace and Harmony. This is a type of Guardians of Things, and many life coach trainees are Self-
Feng Shui and intuitively it has the same origin: clear- Help Article Guardians. (I fit in that category; I save art-
ing the space for new energy to pour in. This creates a icles on my computer from Oprah, Martha Beck, etc. and
more peaceful place from which to cope with challenges. never get around to reading them). Over time, Susan had
But when Susan came back in to work, she was collected so many wonderful articles that the drawers of
stunned. Terrified. And she could have killed me on the the desk were jam-packed. I knew if she hadn't found the
spot! I had created the horror of her worst nightmares. time to read them yet (some were over a year old) she just
Where were all her notes and papers and how was she going wasnt going to! They were not urgent, not essential for her
to find anything? It was a shock to her, and normally I would quality of life right now. So we kept some, but a great many
prepare a person for this harsh treatment. But this stressed went in the trash! Was there fear lurking behind this habit
woman couldn't have coped with the option of agreeing or of Susans? Absolutely. Self-doubt made her keep articles as
disagreeing with my procedure. I knew she'd refuse, so in a creative deposit, so she could copy those ideas if and when
order to help her, I just gambled, took charge, and made the she hit a mental blank working with a future client. What a
decision toabruptly take away what she couldn't let go of, limiting thought! But it haunted her.
wouldnt let go of. Stephen Covey presented a very helpful system of
This is how a friend of mine dealt with her four-year- organization in his renowned book, 7 Habits of Highly Ef-
old who would not give up her pacifier. The mother hurled fective People. This involves separating items into four cat-
it one day into the burning fire of the living room stove, egories: urgent and important, not urgent and important,
muttering, She may miss it for a minute, but shell get over urgent and not important, and not urgent and not import-
it. She had seen other parents trying to manipulate their ant. We dealt with the papers in Susans cabinet in much
children for years into giving their pacifier to Santa Claus the same way. They were mostly documentation of her
or in some other fashion being persuaded to part with it. successes from the past: emails with congratulations on her
My friends way worked. After a bit of initial shock and loss, promotion, thank yous from her clients, etc. Here was fear
the little four-year-old forgot about it, never asked about it again; she never truly believed she'd be good enough to be-
again! Call it tough love or being cruel to be kind. But it come the manager of the store, so she needed proof. Once
works, and sometimes, whether dealing with a grown-up or she understood this, we planted in her mind this mantra: "I
a child, this is what you have to do. deserve this job because I am damn good. I'll continue to be
I sat down with Susan in this newly clean office creative, I was born to be creative, I never need to copy or
and explained that this room was now like a cell phone keep proofs of my past successes." Then she could let go of
charger; it now gave her energy, instead of sapping her piles of paper with a smile!
strength. I assured her we were going to sort through all And I can still hear her huge sigh of relief... a letting
the notes and papers and mail that she was afraid had go. Like giving birth and handing the baby to the nurse.
vanished, and that with a good system, everything would What was left? Books she liked, the potential joy of
work much more efficiently. And I explained that she the best of her To Read articles, and the list of To Dos on the
needed help to say No to others and Yes to herself, if she bulletin board where she could physically cross things off,
wanted to survive her future. something you cannot do in a computer document. Delet-
We opened her computer, printed out every single ing a line on the computer does not give you a kick, while
mail in the To Do folder, went to the storage and took the checking one off with a pen and a flourish brings relief and
first box, entitled Desk and made four paper piles. Then a brighter outlook!
we made an old-fashioned spreadsheet-style To Do list. At In turtle steps Susan recovered and has completely
the end of the day, we put only this list on the bulletin board. forgiven me for kicking her in the gut with my Let's pre-
Like the tool Get the Damn Things Done (see more in the tend it's a clean office, ostrich kind of office-coaching for
chapter Boy, Girl, Plus Baby and the Tool box at the end small hoarders. Google images of organized offices and
of the book) we added a column following the task, nam- see all the inspiration you can get including the work of
ing who could help with what and when. There's always a Peter Walch!
way out of hell if you ask for help! Almost everything in the

101
Making the place you work into a place you love is easy.
What makes you happy? What makes you creative? What
makes you feel energized? Surround yourself with the answers.
Find inspirational quotes, images of mentors, love notes and
visible proof of I was born to do this! It is guaranteed to make
your work better and have a balanced work/private life.

FROM BOCONCEPT'S CATALOGUE

102
How Guardian of Things can let go of
their past and trust in a bright future:
Home Office and Life Chaos:
Christine's Story:
I first met Christine when enquiring among Dust covered everything, and the cigarette
friends and family for a good web designer. My brother smoke had permeated the furniture and even dulled
had met her and highly recommended her work. He the walls and furnishings. On an old desk lived her
also shared with me that when he visited her home, MAC computers and right next to them was an ash-
he thought, "Oh, if only Kirsten could come here and tray filled with cigarette butts. Her spare bedroom was
help." So, it seemed a perfect match; we could exchange a storage facility: heaping towers of cardboard boxes
services as well. piled up against one wall, and stacks of clothes piled
We arranged a time for me to visit her in her up on a small table, looking like they might topple to
little cottage in a small town by the sea. Walking up the the floor at any moment. Framed pictures were stacked
front path I was jumped on by Christines two dogs: a against a wall. Because she lived in this environment
huge black-haired male Newfoundland and a smaller every day, I knew she really didnt smell or see the
female sheep dog. They were both beside themselves problems. She was desensitized. I have learned that
with excitement, barking continuously. Christine for the mind to survive it just shuts down. Guardians
hollered at them to keep quiet, as most of us do, with of Things, from the lightest to the most severe cases,
no real effect! I liked her immediately: her lovely eyes, rarely see the mess. They believe it is just the way it
her kind spirit, and the glow and aura of love I could is, they are doing the best they can, and nothing can
see around her. change it.
Inside the cottage, though, I was hit by the smell We sat down over a coffee to chat. I could sense
of dogs and cigarettes, and found it a little hard to she felt safe with me. So I touched her arm gently,
breathe in that atmosphere. I asked her to show me and braved a pretty direct question: "Tell me what
her home and tell me the areas that bothered her, the happened? How did you, with your education, with in-
areas she felt needed help. She guided me around in a tellectual books, antiques and art pieces, end up here,
little house-tour, making excuses the whole time. She like this? Her eyes filled with tears, but she knew I
was trying to explain why the floor, the sofas well wanted to help her, that I was not sitting in judgment.
everything, really was covered in dog hair. She liked She began to relay her story, filled with all of its "dirty
her belongings, her beautiful objects of art, paint- pain." So this was her interpretation of the life she
ings, and many books. There were heart-shaped items, had lived, strongly influenced and colored by her own
angels, antique puppet-theater, all dying to be liber- emotional pain. Sometimes we need help to see it from
ated from dust, looked at and loved again. Just like another persons point of view.
Christine. Christine had owned a successful commercial
She confessed she had been fighting financial and agency and enjoyed the distinction of being one of
work-related problems for some time, and it was neces- the first web designers in the country. This success-
sary for her to focus on just surviving. Therefore, she ful past included a lovely house near Copenhagen and
reasoned, she had little energy left over for homemak- wonderful parents and friends. She looked great and
ing. I fully understood; I had been there myself. She her- possessed a wealth of style, talent, and self-confidence.
self did not look very healthy; her skin was grey from Looking for love, she met and married a charming
smoking and her hair was thin and colorless. She con- man who lived on the other side of the country. The
fessed she had reluctantly let go of her usual pride in her thrilling magnet of home and family prompted her to
appearance, and this was visible in her home, too. In fact, leave the house she loved and the successful life she
only the dogs looked great, because they got all the love knew, to leap into this adventure. They moved into a
and attention! lovely house near the sea and at the start, it was all

103
After

blissful. Before
Then everything went wrong. I will spare you with
the details, but in the end she lost everything, including
her health. When they divorced, she took the rest of her
savings and bought the little cottage, where I met her,
retreating even further into "Nowhere Land." Not unlike
a wounded animal, she hid, with just her two dogs for
company. She desperately needed to try to heal from her
mental wounds and physical health issues, the result of
prolonged stress and misery.
Unfortunately, she had hooked up with a small
advertising company who paid her late, and poorly. She
bravely refused to abandon the independent life style
her own company afforded her and the sense of free-
dom it gave her. And of course there was the benefit of
working from home with the dogs.
As we talked, I asked her to share with me her
thoughts and beliefs around the biggest issue: her stems from our reptilian brain. The reptilian brain is
money problems. As it turned out (and this is true for described best as the emotional brain, by Dr. Jill Bolte
many of us) the two big stumbling blocks were fear and Taylor, in her book, My Stroke of Insight. For our pure
shame. survival, this part of our brain is vital and has served us
What drives these emotions that plague us? since mankinds cave-dwelling days. It looks for dangers
Truth is, we all have a nasty little voice inside us, which everywhere and pumps out the fight or flight response.

104
However, in our modern world where we are not often
chased by tigers, the reptilian brain continues to find
or even create things to worry about: our kids, the eco- Here are the top 10 fears
nomy, the mortgage, promotion, etc. So it is import- most commonly heard
ant that we learn to notice our thoughts, and stop them from the 3-F Voice,
cold when they are generated by unreasonable fears. We in random order:
can free ourselves from this pressure.
Inspired by Martha Becks concept of the Inner
Lizard, in her book, Steering by Starlight, I began to 1) Fear of losing your loved ones.
take notice the fears generated by my own version of 2) Fear of never having enough money, always
this, which I call the 3-F Voice, the 3 Fs for Fight- being in debt and depending on charity
Flight-Freeze!" For that is what happens; those terrify- from others. This includes shame and guilt
ing thoughts are not from our own mind, but from the from what you see as your poor handling
voice that drives us to either fight, flight, or to freeze. of money, with the subsequent fear, "It will
Christine, too, I explained, was listening to her never change."
3-F Voice. I asked if she would be willing to recognize 3) Fear of losing your home.
it, tell me what animal it is, name it, and then try to 4) Fear of never getting over the past hurt of
mentally calm it down. And never again be intimidated being different," the feeling that you are
by its fear-mongering. an outsider in the family, or in the social
Christine laughed at the idea but agreed to play along. group at school or at work. You may be
"Well, when I close my eyes and listen, I see a long, scared your low self-esteem will drive you
slithering snake with tiny eyes and I hear a small, all your life.
squeaky voice. But she can also roar, I realize. I think 5) Fear of parents or ex-husbands predictions
her name is Susie. coming true: "You will never amount to
Ok, good, I exclaimed. Then I suggested she grab anything," "you'll never find work," "you'll
her pad and jot down Susie's 3-F Fears. Christine chewed always be fat," etc. You may fear you will be
on her lip for a moment while she thought about this, controlled forever by a defensive determin-
then she started to write. Turned out, Christine's main ation to prove them wrong.
fears were all very similar to mine and to those of other 6) Fear of never having peace of mind, fear of
clients. And probably to yours, too! So, I suggest you call always living a stressful life.
upon your own 3-F Voice, name him or her, then write 7) Fear that God is only in our imagination.
your own list of fears. It is very enlightening! Fear there is no grace, no love from any
Divine figure, no hope, no heaven, no Nir-
What scares me the vana!
most to lose? 8) Fear of dying from cancer, heart attack, or
brain tumor, before we are able to live the
What am I afraid of lives we dream of.
9) Fear that we will never truly love someone
becoming or not and no one can ever truly love us, or fear
becoming? of compromising: What if the one is right
around the corner? Fear of finally loving
and then losing.
Here are the two key questions to remember: 10) Fear of aging, losing our beauty and sex
I felt Christines fears as I knew it from my own appeal.
life, when I was a poor single mother. And I knew the
similarities from coaching other single middle-aged
Guardians of Things over the years. Many of them ex-
pressed amazing creativity and ability to love (but sadly
this is often with regard to pets and the "wrong men").
Many shared faith in Angels, God, or New Age religions.

105
Most were overweight, enjoying some kind of stimuli: to- something you always wanted to experience: fall in love,
bacco, wine or food. And all of them had difficulty sort- get married, move to another new town. You gambled
ing, organizing, or giving things away. They all collected your savings And you feel you lost it all. Christine
what to them could be potential joy or guilt, but to us just opened her eyes. She looked stricken.
looks like junk: stacks of paper, heaps of cardboard and I touched her arm gently and smiled. Its okay,
plastic boxes, and piles of unidentifiable items! Christine, listen. So, now, I am there, with a few other
Christine was no exception. Learning that she con- people, on the other side of the shore, and we have all
sulted Angel cards (someone had just recently given me experienced the same terrible stuck situation. We all
a set by Doreen Virtue), I started there. We did a reading know that the seaweed is to blame. Life itself is risky. We
with the cards which fortunately were all good signs for all know you need help to get unstuck! We cut away the
her! As I worked with the cards, a perfect example came seaweed that binds you, bring you safely to shore, and
to me. I said, "Let me tell you a metaphor story. The An- wrap you in a house-coat All is good, you are safe, you
gels just sent it to me for you. She nodded eagerly, leaned survived
back into her chair and drew on her cigarette. I could Christines face was relaxed; she had closed her
clearly see new hope and a new spark of life in her eyes. eyes again. She looked tired, but there was a peace on her
"Close your eyes, please, Christine. Now, imagine face that had not been there before. After a few moments,
yourself standing at the edge of a beautiful lake on a hot I continued. Its crunch time, my dear. You can choose:
summer's day. You have always wanted to swim naked Either we take you back to where your clothes are, and
in the water wanted to know how it feels You look you go on where you left off, with your life the way you
around carefully, sure that no one's nearby, and so you lived it. Or you get new clothes here (new insight on your
feel quite safe, even bold. You slip off your clothes, step life's purpose) and I help you walk a new path. Chart a
into the water and oh, my, it feels just like you dreamed new course.
it would! You swim a few lengths, and then you roll over Christine looked at me with the beginnings of
on your back and gaze up at the perfect, iridescent, sky hope and determination accompanying the tears in her
above you. You revel in the feeling of the cool water em- eyes. Oh, thank you, she whispered. Then the fear came
brace back..."Oh, but how? And I can't pay you or buy any-
I stopped to give Christine a chance to assimilate thing!" I replied, quickly, No problem you can make
this wonderful sensation, then carried on. Then, sud- my webpage instead. Two new friends helping each other
denly your feet are tangled up in seaweed or something out!
you cant see. Oh, no! What is that? It scares you! It pulls "We started the "untangling" process in her
you down, and now you're fighting not to drown, wav- home and in her life. Everything needed to come out of
ing your hands above water You are pulled down again her cottage one room at a time. With a little coach-
under the water. You fight your way up again, but there ing and new-found confidence, she found the courage
is that endless pulling at your feet, at your ankles You to ask for help. We found local friends who helped us
are terrified! You are about to give up, when you feel you haul everything out of the living room. We made a cozy
have no fight left. Youre exhausted Its hopeless. corner in the kitchen and stacked boxes in her garage,
I left a beat or two. Just then you spot some so we could clean the whole room from scratch, empty.
people at the shore standing beside your clothes. They Time for a do over! We arranged for a cousin to help
holler, Swim back! Just swim back! (What they really her strip the floors and varnish them. I got her the paint,
mean is, Pull yourself together, damn it!), but they and she took on the huge task of painting everything in
don't know, they cant know, that you cant though you the living room: the ceiling, the walls, the windows and
desperately want to! I left another short pause, while the stairs to the upper floor all by herself. Touching
Christine reached for a tissue. Even through her closed the walls with her own hands gave her the feeling of be-
eyes I could see a tear creeping through her lashes, and ing connected to her home again. This process is vital to
trickling down her cheek. become one with the new you. This is the equivalent of
I said, You are in this drastic situation because your new home. And besides, being creative is such good
you dared to try out a new adventure, but it just didn't medicine for the soul.
turn out the way you hoped. And now you blame your- She had little money for new furniture, so decided
self you are full of guilt and shame. You say to yourself to simply buy new covers for the IKEA sofas and floor
over and over, Why on earth did I do that? You dared try blankets for the dogs. Now this was a major challenge for

106
her: to set new boundaries for the Newfoundland and surrounded by love! It provided a nurturing room for her
the sheepdog. She took comfort in their company on the soul, and once done she found the energy to move on to
sofa at night, but I suggested it was not good for her to sit the other rooms.
in furniture covered in dog hair. And not so nice for her After a break of couple of months, we took on the
future guests either! It's hard for single people without small shed in her back yard. It was formerly a garage,
children; their pets become their children, and in return where things could have been stored while continu-
they receive the comfort and unconditional love they ing the whole house-cleaning. But this building was
long for. completely crowded too, crammed to the rafters with
I styled the new living room with her freshly paraphernalia and detritus of her past business. There
cleaned art pieces and other beautiful life companions were three once-expensive printers that needed repair.
those memories, those happy memories she had chosen Realistically, I told her, it was now much cheaper to buy
to keep for life! She made flower bouquets with the roses new ones. She remembered the great expense and held
from her garden and the living room started to look like on to the feeling of being a successful business woman,
something out of a magazine. It was amazing the effect which unfortunately created a slightly irrational attach-
this one room had on Christine. It was living proof she ment to these printers. I coached her to let go. How? The
could live beautifully, in a clean and cozy environment answer lay in her understanding the "why" behind it all.

Using Sticky-Tags to name feelings behind the stuff.


Those who are Guardians of Things have at least three feelings which they attach to their "stuff."
They are:
3) "Painful memories."
1) "It might be worth something. This is stuff like old tax papers, unpaid
This can be a broken item or some originally invoices, other kind of papers relating
expensive item. Perhaps it came from a yard to debt, old love letters from painful
or garage sale, was found in a dumpster or relationships, clothes from a skinnier
was handed down from friends. (I call this version of yourself, or pictures of that
Pass the Turkey). You see it as possible cash, period, when you felt beautiful. But now
possible opportunities, or possible fun. I asked her to put all of this is painful to look at because it all reminds you
pink Sticky-Tags on all these items which matched this of failure. I asked Christine to put blue Sticky-Tags on
feeling state. Stuff marked with pink Sticky-Tags is often items matching this feeling state. Blue is shame and guilt
unsellable, outdated or too broken to be worth repair. from the past, and we don't need that in our bright fu-
Coming to understand, through life coaching, that she ture!
was safe, and that life was still full of Love, Peace and Through life coaching you can understand that
Harmony finally made Christine able to let go of things just lifting the boxes, carrying them out to the car, dump-
she no longer needed. ing them in a dumpster and driving home, adds up to the
right thing to do! You will feel lighter, and freer. And on
2) Feel Good Memories. your way home, you say out loud, I forgive myself I am
These are items which remind you of free of any guilt and shame of my past.
former happy events or people you loved
and were loved by. In Christine's case it
was all of these: her father, her former
successful life and her home. I asked her
to put yellow Sticky-Tags on items matching this feel-
ing state. Yellow stuff (with yellow Sticky-Tags) must
be downsized with the 7-3 Downsizing tool. We're not
erasing memories, just letting go of too many things and
keeping the lovely memories in our heart.

107
Question the thoughts behind the stuff. work situation and the physical state of her body. This
In Christine's case, I showed her the photographs phase was all about losing former pride and self-esteem
I had taken of her home office and her garage, exposing and was certainly the most difficult part for Christine. To
all the piles of stuff which surrounded her (suffocated own a house and a car were minimum requirements to
her!). I told her: "If you let go of all that is broken with the her, even if the bank owned both and wanted to take them
Pink Sticky-Tags, then let go of all the Blue Sticky-Tags away from her! We talked about selling the house, mov-
which represent "bad memories and guilt," and return ing back to her own area, where she knew people and had
the things you are guarding for others Well, then, my family. She collected photos of beautiful small houses in
dear, whats left is much easier. All you need to do is sort that home area, and I helped her place them on her new
through the good memories and what can bring you po- Pathfinder Vision Board. (See the Tool box at the end of
tential joy. You use the 7-3 Downsizing tool, and you're the book). She added images and work ideas of a bright
good!" She agreed, and we set a date (her birthday!) for future, angel cards with positive predictions, and pictures
her friends and I to come and help her physically get rid of how she intended to look at the end of the process. Her
of things and take them to the city dump. board expressed a world and life full of happiness and
That Saturday in Easter, her friends and I started love. She was resetting the GPS for her future life!
taking all the stuff marked with blue and pink Sticky-Tags She needed to see and believe in the vision of her
out of Christines shed. She was in charge of coffee and new life and to see that this would be so much better than
cake and to be available for sorting questions. We took remaining "hidden away!" She needed to believe again in
charge for her, and that is very important. Someone im- a life where she was at home and safe, looking and feel-
movable but still sensitive has to be in charge (you don't ing good, enjoying her work, and being with people she
negotiate with a dentist; when a tooth has to go, you have loved, who loved her in return. She envisioned living a
to trust him or her through the whole painful process). life replete with travel and enjoying a successful career
We stacked a pile of broken printers, other office ma- helping others be visible in their best way online. Even
chinery, broken furniture, old paint, piles of papers, etc. in these troubled times her house was sold within six
and emptied the whole shed in six hours. It disappeared months.
in three trailer-runs. Before we left, Christine went with She moved back to her area of origin, renting a
me and said "goodbye" and "thank you" to the things that nice apartment which we decorated into a "Home with
once had served her well. And she let go of the thought a Heart." She reconnected with old friends, lost weight,
that there was any potential money, new business oppor- dyed her hair, bought new glasses She looked great! She
tunities or possible creative fun attached to them. still does. Her vision board today feels organic and alive
and is often renewed. She has a new job and still owns
Postscript: It took us seven months to get through her own company. She's still not quite where she wants
the whole house. We broke the whole thing down to to be, but thank God she's not where she used to be. Now
turtle steps. During the process, I came once a month she knows it's all about enjoying the journey without too
and we kept e-mail contact, to follow up on the tasks she much luggage!
needed to do. She really did well most of the time; there I know behind every so-called tragedy there is al-
were only a few times she was at the brink of giving up. It ways a bigger purpose for our lives. Once we learn to find
is the hardest thing in the world to sort out your life and solutions for our own lives and believe in our own great-
"space-clear" a home, while you're drained from work ness, we're qualified by life to help others see their own
and struggling to survive at the same time. It truly is. greatness. And thus we become a blessing to the world!
The ultimate phase was to solve the debt issues, her

108
Every one of us is unique. And our
"stuff" is unique to each of us and
its meaning is very personal. When
you ask yourself the questions in
this chapter and look at YOUR life,
at the clutter in your home, your
office or on your computer, I sin-
cerely hope the truth will set you
free to move on to the life you long
for. The loneliness, homesickness
and brokenness that often lie be-
hind the mess can be healed by
reaching out to yourself with com-
passion. And to others with an open
mind and heart!

109
At mid-age I loved reading the book EAT PRAY LOVE and
wanted to follow in the footsteps of Elisabeth Gilbert. So I had
my own palm reading by her mentor, Ketut Liyer, in Bali. (We
found him, not easily, on our honeymoon!) Later we went to Rome
where we ate wonderful meals and enjoyed life. After such indul-
gence I had to spend a month in India detoxing. It's never too late
to follow a hunch and JUST DO IT when you say: "I wish I could
do like Elisabeth. We did: WISH - PLAN - GO!

110
Young at heart
= YAH
The YAHs make up a large percentage of my cli- pursued.
ents, and they sure benefit from House-Coaching! In my Nowadays we age better and live much longer
experience, they are most apt to be open, ready, and to than our ancestors did. We hope to combine the enthu-
willingly grab the concepts and run with them! Perhaps siasm of youth with the wisdom of age and experience.
this is because they understand and long for Life, Peace At this stage of life we cry, If only I knew when I was
and Harmony. 22 what I know now and had that young strong body!
BoConcept and many other furniture stores have I could have achieved more and experienced life more
always aimed at the 25 to 35-year-old urban age group intensely." (Though that is just another limiting thought).
the settlers. But today, the furniture worlds fastest grow- So, although this stage of your lives can be a time of
ing clientele worldwide are the ones re-settling in their meltdown, in actual fact there is a golden opportunity to
lives and in their homes past 45. They have money, they morph from a caterpillar to a butterfly once again.
have time, and they are ready to make any changes neces- Both the men and the women of the Young-at-Heart
sary to live their lives to the fullest. They refuse to settle (YAH) are wiser and more demanding when it comes to
for less in life and continue to follow their lifes passions. nesting but keep their playfulness much longer than ever
This shows in their homes, in what they wear and in what before. The wise know and appreciate that happiness is not
they do! They have money and want to spend it on that a state of mind, it is a choice. We decide what we want to get
which gives them balance, freedom, and fun in life. Great out of life. We know it is never too late for Tango lessons, to
changes occur at this time: kids leave home, homes are learn to sail, or to travel all over the world. It is never too late
changed or downsized, new and wonderful dreams are to buy a holiday home somewhere in another country or

111
in a part of your own country youve always wanted to live. be able to spend his money. He said this was the biggest
My dear friend and adopted sister Helga ob- life change for him. Suddenly he wanted to live for more
tained her drivers license for a motorcycle when she than accumulating money, he wanted to live in the now
was 50 years old. Her husband has a travel agency, www. and surround himself with LOVE. He had taken my talk
dream-bike.dk (if you check out this website youll en- to heart, and was now committed to making the place
joy the photo's of YAH living life to their dreams You he lived into the place he loved.
can just feel the happiness!). Helga and her husband help His invitation to attend the Trend Talk had been
hundreds of happy Young-at-Heart men and women ex- issued by the YAH owners of the store who thought he'd
plore countries like the USA, Vietnam, The Baltic's, Ger- be the only old guest that evening. Now he felt com-
many, Scotland and New Zealand. They have a ball and fortable being surrounded by other YAHs. all of whom
the youngsters on these trips are 40-plus. were enjoying the timeless design of BoConcept and a
At my Trend Talks, many of BoConcepts parti- lovely evening. He ended up signing on for a visit by a
cipants are closer to 50 than to 30. And I find I have been BoConcept Interior decorator to maximize his current
setting an example of what the YAH group is all about! home! Who could have known?
Many Trend Talk attendees have told me they thought
no one at 50 would launch a whole new career, be as pas- The Age of Miracles:
sionate about life as I am and still be interested in fashion I went to Florida with my husband to begin writ-
and design. I am always planning new worldwide travels ing this book. We were surrounded by YAHs in every
and I love texting my husband. They figure I must be town we went. This is the state in America where the
younger! YAHs come to stay/retire and enjoy the warmth of the
At a recent Trend Talk in the UK there were relat- sun from fall to spring. And some live there all year.
ively few couples in their 20s, 30s, and 40s; most were in They love: jogging, golfing, entertaining, shopping and
their 50s and 60s. This is becoming more and more com- Yes, nesting, big time. Many have plenty of money! At
mon! The oldest attendees were a man and woman who mid-age you may have saved, lived prudently to live well
were at least 75. This YAH husband won an Imola Chair in your senior years, or have made a lot of money from
(all attendees at a Trend Talk enter a competition to win business. Or maybe you inherited! No matter, how you
this gorgeous modern chair). How ironic. The whole came to money in Florida is not important!
urban living concept of BoConcept is aimed at the young On the flip side we also met many of the unfortu-
clientele aged 25-35 and was never intended or designed nate ones that had lost all their savings in the Regression
for the older, Young-at-Heart crowd! Everyone laughed and drove taxis or worked as waiters. Or there was the
light heartedly at the BoConcept folks, the winners fam- 65-year-old cashier woman who held on to her crutches
ily, and even the older gentleman. And he laughed too! while packing my suntan lotion at Wal-Mart. We en-
One of the points in my talks is with regard to countered several similar people. As I said to my hus-
our longevity: we live longer than we use to. It may not band, they only work because they have no other option
be 120 years, but we seem to expand time and life itself to sustain life. In my country that would never happen;
from the age of approximately 45 to 65. And we strive welfare and elder care come from paying enormous taxes
to get more out of every moment. After this particular all Danes hate this until we get older and start benefit-
talk a mid-aged man approached me. Since he had just ting from it!
turned 65 (and you couldn't tell whether he was 55 or All over the world we have low-scale and upscale
65) and still had a lot of plans, he suggested I expand that YAHs. The financial level itself is not important to have a
age group even further and up a bit! He had calculated good home and a happy life, in my experience. Attitude
that no matter how long he might live, he would never is everything. But I can always spot a persons mood, and

112
113
Love of
Design
114
Viggo Mlholm, son of one of the founders
of BoConcept, served as its President for many
successful years. Last year, as he turned 60, he
passed the CEO torch of responsibility to a new
leader and is now the Chairman of the Executive
Board of BoConcept Holding A/S.

He and his wife are both Young-at-Heart, as


you can see in their home, which exemplifies the
wonderful Danish coziness we call "hygge." The
cushions, candles, flowers and art pieces tell of
their joy of life! And a elegant sense of timeless-
ness is shown in the design from BoConcept and
other Danish top designer furniture.

No one in their 20s, looking at these pho-


tos, would guess that a so called "middle-aged"
couple live here, because YAH are now com-
pletely unpredictable in their lifestyle choices and
in their homes. Their fine-tuned skills create the
best of life and it shows in their home!

115
Wonderfull
Copenhagen

116
An American/Danish YAH-couple living in Ame
rica for 40 years had a life long dream of spending
their summers in Denmark. They bought an apart-
ment in Copenhagen and asked me to decorate it as
homy as possible. We met virtually via Face Time,
and I sent collages and sketches to help them visual-
ize their dream. 80% is BoConcept furniture and ac-
cessories, 10% are Second Hand Retro Scandinavian
Classics (lamps and ceramics) the rest is IKEA
(poster frames, forrest photo on canvas in bedroom
and guest room cushions). One wall is yellow so you
can see the white color as contrast if all walls were
white it would just be a backdrop not a bright
color.

117
An empty soul-less room can
morph into a soul-restoring room,
once you know the answers to
"What makes you happy?". My cli-
ents answered, "playing in the
forest as a child," so we created a
forest retreat.

118
An empty kitchen is transformed into into a warm, welcoming
room. A Danish fishing boat (Retro Poster), a retro lamp "Doo-
Wop" (Louis Poulsen) and old milk bottles full of flowers remind
of happy childhood memories.

119
Inhabit Yourself: have gone. Let it reflect who you really are: your tastes,
Turn on the Lights in Your Rooms. your joys, your memories, your colors, your sense of
beauty. Then you connect to it, you are fed by it, and
In Florida I went to Bookstore in the Grove comforted by it.
(BookstoreintheGrove.com) in Miami to enjoy their

Your
famous coffee and cake. I moseyed around happily, see-
ing which books spoke to me. I always do that; I love to
go into book stores, wander around where my soul tells

home is
me to. I just watch with a soft look and an open heart
to see which new adventure calls to me. Looking for
Martha Beck's books, I discovered they were sold out,
then bam, there it was: The Age of Miracles by Mari-
anne Williamson. I bought it immediately knowing this
truly
You
would be a heart opener. As a Danish reader I didn't
know her at all, but I remembered the parting words of
my dear friend Connie from Tampa, Florida, where I
had stayed to write. My husband arrived to take me on
a two-week Florida tour in a convertible (very YAH!)
and as we were leaving, Connie called out, I'll send you Adopting your home and life
a poem by Marianne Williamson. You'll love her! She falling in love once more!
did, and it made an impression on me. So I was thrilled
to happen upon this wonderful book. I have many clients in the YAH category. They
As I dived into The Age of Miracles, I started fold- are restless and eager to find new Love, Peace and Har-
ing the corners of pages I wished to remember. Then I mony in their lives. They have moved furniture around
underlined, and highlighted, and then I added Sticky- for a couple of years, tried new hairstyles, lost weight,
Tags all through it. I had to read it twice that week! had affairs or shifted jobs to find new joy in life. You can
On our vacation my husband and I read passages and probably list many more examples from your life or from
laughed and discussed the new age of all possibilities. your YAH parents or friends. When some YAH meets on
And it set me free as a mid-aged woman. I loved her way the golf course or after Zumba classes the conversation
of describing what happens when our children leave for both men and women is often about selling, moving
and we are left alone or with each other. Understanding or re-building the old home. (Yes, I know you get it by
and really believing there are still so many opportunit- now: Home equals Me).
ies in life changed many of our limiting thoughts about I have helped many couples move from a worn-
our own aging. out home which no longer fulfills or reflects them, into a
To quote from her book Once we've realized new vibrant apartment or modern home. I recommend
that life is not as fabulous in some of the ways we keeping 50% of the former furniture and accessories so
thought it was, we also realize it's even more fabulous you are not getting rid of everything from the past. After
in ways we could never have known We can forgive all, your life up till now has formed you into your new
ourselves for the past, that wasn't all it should have magnificent being. The next step is to downsize 25%,
been and commit to a future that is all that it can and which means giving away items with love to someone in
should be now that we've finally grown up You need, and then adding 25% new furniture and accessor-
feel at last like you inhabit yourself. You finally went ies. This will create perfect new harmony and yet will still
into all the rooms, turned the lights on and settled feel like a safe home sweet home.
in. Together, the YAH couple and I make an afford-
The new You longs to march into every room and able and achievable plan to adopt every single room with
turn the lights on in your life. You can make it real by love. This may be because theyve sold the old home and
using your current home; you must adopt every single moved to a new one. Or it may be that we re-create their
room of your home all over, and make it yours. This old home into something they'd want to buy on the spot!
applies whether you stay in the home where you had We use many of the tools from the former chapters
your kids or move to something smaller after the kids (summarized in the Tool Box at the end of the book):

120
BEST TOOLS FOR A

"YAH HOME & LIFE"
1. We find the underlying interests. This is the mid-age
second chance to feel part of the Young-Love Nest:
Boy Meets Girl stage! They create Love-Hate Vis-
ion Boards using these questions: What makes your
heart sing? and What suffocates you? My goal is to
make them fall in love with their home, themselves,
and each other all over again and to go on to live their
lives to their fullest potential.
2. Then we fill in a Get the Damn Things Done form
(more in the Boy, Girl, Plus Baby chapter) and begin
asking for help. Theyll need volunteer help from their
friends and family and may need to pay some for car-
penters and painters, etc., as well.
3. Downsizing Tools: Then they sort every room with
the 7-3 Downsizing tool. (See "My Story" chapter and
the Tool Box at the end of the book).
4. Pathfinder Vision Board: I love the moment when
the light bulb goes off for my clients and they really
understand this huge concept: all rooms in the home
are a metaphor for our inner lives. They finally really
do realize and dare to believe in a new start in life by
creating this collage. It is a heartwarming moment for
me to see their newfound enthusiasm! (In the next
chapter, Pathfinder Vision Board you will find a full
description of this tool).

Just as Feng Shui dictates, these lovely, newly


adopted rooms will give its residents energy in return.
The desired life changes will happen simultaneously by
divine intervention: We adopt ourselves and each other
with love and acceptance; authentic boy meets authentic
girl and they either fall in love again or they can let go of
a relationship that has fulfilled its divine purpose. Let-
ting go, from a sense of peace, makes room for new love
and opens the door to friendship between old lovers. It is
then much easier for children, family and friends to deal
with. When we fulfill the divine law of love: Love thy
neighbor as thyself (thyself is thy home!) we receive
love and grace in return.

121
Martha Beck: Life Coach

If your life is cloudy and


you're far, far off course,
you may have to go on faith
for a while, but eventually
you'll learn that every time
you trust your internal nav-
igation system, you end up
closer to your right life.
122
Pathfinder
Vision Board
A Pathfinder Vision Board can act as a compass doubt the only way back to true happiness is living with
and continual reminder to help you walk away from past people we love around us, in surroundings that embody
pain and create a new life filled with true happiness. or reflect love and peace, and remaining in harmony with
From more than 20 years of coaching and decor- life's own rhythm. An authentic life filled with Love, Peace
ating homes, I know that most of my clients focus their and Harmony!
entire adult lives on creating "success," in both their work The first step in this process is to identify and write
status and their private homes. They strive to own a beau- down experiences and memories by noticing and ac-
tifully designed house, expensive furniture and art, and of knowledging the feelings in your body and soul, NOT the
course to create the perfect family. Naturally, the rest of thoughts from your mind. I will give you an example of
us, viewing them from the outside, believe they must be how it works for me. When I remember painful situations
happy and often set out to copy their life styles! in my life, those memories cause a negative feeling in my
They look successful, they seem happy and often body, and are graded between 0 to -10. The positive re-
they are. But working behind the scenes of countless sponses I feel in my body and soul remembering happy
homes, I witnessed these same people lose their jobs, their events in my life are marked in increasing fashion, from
homes and sometimes their family. And I learned without 0 to +10.

123
The negative spiral: Going from 0 to -10 -6 would be a very memorable day, or time in my life,
where I would feel SO bad that I had to tell someone. I
0 would be an ordinary, forgettable day: Grey cloudy would tell my best friend, my Life Coach! Maybe Id find
weather, no body pain, my appearance is as usual, out my husband was having an affair, or my largest client
leftovers in the fridge for lunch. Id answer e-mails all day who owed me six months of fees would declare bank-
long, procrastinating urgent work in a new creative way. ruptcy! Or my son could tell me he wanted to drop out
Id eat dinner with very little conversation with my fam- of college to become a professional computer gamer. My
ily, watch a movie I'd seen three times before and go to MAC could break down, with 80% of my new book in
bed after kissing my tired husband on the chin. it, no backup, and Id be unable to restore any of eight
months work.
-2 would be a forgettable day too, only a bit worse:
Maybe a toothache from a cavity, muscle pain in the neck -8 would be a truly terrible day or time of my life, where
from bad posture, no good leftovers in the fridge, just I would react from the fight-or-flight response. I would
some mashed, tired salad. Incoming e-mails about bills I need help from my family and best friends just to keep
would need to take care of, my husband tired after work, me breathing and living from moment to moment. This
no conversation at dinner, nothing on TV, hed fall asleep happened recently when my dear son was diagnosed with
on the sofa, and finally Id walk the dog in the rain at a brain tumor and it turned out to be cancer. My closest
midnight! family and dearest friends were my closest allies during
those hard times, on days of panic and deep sorrow.
-4 would be a memorable day, or time in my life, where
I would feel really bad. Maybe we would wake up and -10 I would learn I was dying, or I would have to let go
continue a late night discussion about "fairness" (we both of loved ones before I was ready. This is the worst thing
know there is no such thing!) on topics like domestic you can imagine in life: the painful death of losing life or
work, money issues or family issues. I might oversleep, love; it could only be worse if you have no faith at all in
not hear the alarm clock and then be late for an import- God or an afterlife.
ant meeting! This would be a day of stress and worry, the
kind you would want to tell a good friend or your Life
Coach about, if they asked, "How are you feeling today?"

This tool is inspired by Martha Beck's "Body Compass" tool

124
Now I'll share the positive: lost the 10 pounds of "baby fat" at an Indian retreat and
feel 10 years younger (tried it!). I would have found the
You need to move back to the 0 setting in your right doctor for my son's treatment. I'd be able to give
mind, so shake your body as you let go of the past and all to a charity organization because I had sold many books
fears. Breathe deeply. When you're calm again, move on to (working on it). I would be spiritually blessed and speak-
the wonderful part: the "Happy Positive Climb" is ahead! ing publicly to people who break free before my very
eyes! I would be overwhelmed by love for my loved ones
+2 would be a forgettable but nice day. The sun would as they surprise me with love gifts on a day other than my
come out, my husband and I would wake up to find we birthday!
are wrapped around each other in a sweet place of com-
fort and love. I'd have a "good hair day" and put on a nice +8 Was actually the day when my first book was pub-
dress. I would shop and buy new shoes. Id walk in nature lished in Denmark. And on the same day my husband
with my happy chocolate retriever, and would notice the Frank proposed to me. Another +8 day, of course, was our
roses in the garden and the butterflies. Id get something wedding day, when my then 17-year-old son Nikolai gave
done at work and we would have my dear 86-year-old me away. Another was the time, many years ago, when I
mother over for dinner, play cards or watch a funny movie felt God enter my heart, heal my pain and set me free to
in the evening. love again. He took me up on his shoulders so I could see
my life from a higher perspective! A powerful +8 day was
+4 would be a memorable day or time in my life: I the day my son survived his brain surgery. The brilliant
would wake up feeling in love and happy, maybe with my surgeon removed the entire tumor giving superb odds for
husband in some great B&B in Key West or the South of his complete recovery. It is a true miracle.
France. I'd get some sun, write all day, we'd make beautiful
love in the afternoon, and enjoy great food and wine in +10 Was the day I "died to self " and gave birth to my
the evening. Then wed lie in bed watching a movie like son. From that day forward, I became second. It will be
"I AM" and feel the "Oneness" of human love. Id read the day I die in peace with Jesus coming to take me home,
e-mails of gratitude from readers. And I would be grateful with angels promising to take care of my loved ones for
that God works miracles in my life as a result of my work me. It will be the day I die painlessly and peacefully of old
with people. age, in my sleep. And it could also be a day where I "die to
self " from deep creative meditation or in deep gratitude
+6 would be a particularly memorable day or time in for my life. Being and breathing LOVE is +10.
my life I'd have to share with my loved ones, best friends,
my Life Coach and certainly on Facebook! I would have So, now its your turn.

It's OK to start out with a great


deal or with very little; it will grow
or simplify. Look at my Pathfinder
Vision Board. it is an organic
breathing board; the images that
cause you to feel +2 to +10 will
change over time, as your dreams
come true!

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What are the Crafting a Pathfinder Vision Board on a wall!
You don't have to display images of the dark side"
"minus and plus on the vision board; we all know what's there. We just
days or times in your need to set our GPS for the future life we want and we just
life? Starting out chart that course. The destination is how we visualize our
life, how we think it will look, and this includes our home!
with a 0, what would Opposite is the picture of my own vision board.
that look like? Looking at the images and quotes on the mornings I take
the essential time to do my yoga always brings my feeling
states from +2 to +8.
When did you die to self? (+10) When did you Your homework is to find photos and images: of
stop to think and only felt love and peace? Have you ex- role models doing the work you want to do, pictures of
perienced a time better than great lovemaking, better what makes you happy, articles with images of travel, or
than winning the lottery, better than being young and pictures of couples in love (if you're alone and want to at-
handsome? The truth is: dying to self is love. Cutting the tract that Heavenly Match!). If in a relationship, perhaps
umbilical cord at the birth of your children or holding choose a picture of the two of you when you were newly
your newborn baby. Speaking one kind or funny word to in love, to attract that state of mind once again. As well as
make others smile is love, too. your own photographs, you can find wonderful images on
When we actively pursuit joy in our lives and trust I-stock and dating ads.
the feelings and sensations in our bodies, they will always In your bedroom or home office, or on the inside
tell us the truth. We can trust them. They will always show of closet doors, start by pinning a piece of string to mark
us what actions will lead us nearer to (or further from) the Pathfinder Life Line and place the numbers 0 to
Love, Peace and Harmony. For this is what all human be- +10 with sticky tags.
ings seek, after all, in our homes and in our lives. Next put up the images you have found, and in-
Here is the trick that helps you stay on a joyful path stantly you'll feel the feelings of hope and joy this wall
full of hot tracks, a concrete way to manage the negative promises you. Going from rock bottom in your mind to
markers that happen to us all: Love, Peace and Harmony is the hardest part. The rest is
-2 feelings can be balanced out by doing +2 things just taking action steps according to your desires And
such as buying new shoes or enjoying a lovely walk with the future life you were meant to live will FIND YOU!
your dog.
-4 feelings can be balanced out by +4, such as visit-
ing people you love.
-6 feelings can be improved by +6, such as planning
a wonderful holiday or reveling in a day at a spa.
-8 feelings can be balanced out by +8, such as med-
itating on the good things in life. I suggested you visualize
being with the love of your life, traveling with him/her to
lovely places, being with your family around a Christmas
tree. Feeling free to love yourself and forgive yourself for
past mistakes. Visualizing every step of the creation of a
new lovely home, feeling the comfort of it, and entertain-
ing and socializing in it.
-10 feelings can be eased by praying for God to
enter your heart and heal your body and soul. You can
let love for others become your focus and priority in both
work and private life. This would utterly balance out the
fear of inevitable death, loss, or grief. Seeing death as a
passing of the soul to a new adventure will eventually
make death seem less terminal.

126
Lao-tzu,

A journey of a
thousand miles
begins with a single step.
Most of my dreams have come true and your In planning your day focus on how you can let
dreams are about to come true. This is because when we "this little light of mine" shine as brightly as possible.
are focused on what makes us feel happy, we align our Gaze at your vision board every morning as you perform
behavior. We really can begin to live in the range, on the yoga or meditate in front of it. I have done it for years
scale, from -4 to +6, which is the level of happiness we now and it feeds my soul! Go on, find back to the hot
absolutely can aim for and achieve in everyday life. tracks in your life and you'll find the animal spirit in you,
Sometimes during the day, when we meditate, sing the lovely gazelle, or the beautiful leopard, or panther
a lullaby, paint, pray or make love, we reach the top of the you were born to be.
scale and feel grateful for the Love, Peace and Harmony Consider taking a picture of your Pathfinder Vis-
that is already in our lives. When we truly believe that ion Board to use as the background on your desktop or
the dreams and desires on our Pathfinder Vision Board laptop, and perhaps even your phone. You will have a
the DNA of our life! will come rightfully to us at the constant reminder to be happy and grateful!
right time, then we live in trust instead of fear. We begin
to attract real love and surrender completely to life it-
self.

Lorena Siminovich

127
Thank You
There is no way I could have journeyed from a so scared and exhausted that I fell to my knees, praying
broken home, with a single mother, to where I am today, with dear friends for miracles. They all came true. I had,
without the awesome writers who inspired me to be the without knowing, trained for this Triathlon by faithfully
very best version of my true self. I am sincerely grateful keeping my gratitude journal and my Pathfinder Vision
for your words and I realize, with humility, that I am on Board. My determined optimism and faith rubbed off on
a life-long path of learning and growing. Nikolai, his Dad, Frank, plus all the wonderful doctors
I dedicate this book to my dear son, Nikolai, who and nurses and other scared parents we encountered.
during the writing of this book suffered a terrifying and So it does work! I successfully practiced what I
painful illness. For six months we couldn't receive a preach." This is good news, and a relief to me, but oh, my,
diagnosis, locally. When finally diagnosed by an Angel I would rather not have been so supremely tested.
Neurologist at a private hospital, it turned out he had, Dear Nikolai: Your amazing inner strength and
against all odds, completed his International Baccalaur- optimistic outlook has cured you! You went from "wimp"
eate degree with a malign tumor deep in his brain. We to "Simba, the Lion King" and I am eternally grateful you
spent months in the hospital; I wrote, while he under- are alive and well today.
went treatment. And recovered! Thank you, dearest Frank, dearest Mom, my
We practiced gratitude in our hearts, as best we dearest soul-sisters and friends who held me up in hard
could under the stress, but I confess there were days I was times and always supported me and my family.

128
These wonderful books, countless audiobooks and articles have inspired me and changed my outlook on life forever
- THANK YOU - each and everyone !!

At BoConcept, I'd especially like to thank Bitten, To you, dear Reader: May your life and home be
for her endlessly helpful, competent spirit and the fun a soul oasis, where you too can grow and learn and be-
she brought to the project. Also my thanks to Torben and come a blessing to yourself and your loved ones. May
Kenneth, who offered me this huge opportunity to write you be blessed with good friends and family who will
a book on House-Coaching. They witnessed firsthand help you with practical needs and shower you with love
what House-Coaching can do to create heart-to-heart and empathy when you need it most. Remember, never
connection between customers and BC Interior Decor- be afraid to ask for help and let people really see you:
ators. And thank you to all the lovely people I met at every aspect of lovely you as you transform from cater-
BoConcept world-wide, who welcomed me and my mes- pillar to butterfly. May you be truly happy and prosper-
sage with open hearts and minds. ous in your work and in your life!
Thank you to my brilliant editor, Diana Soloman.
Youd managed to morph my Danish-English text into Gratefully yours,
lovely lyrics and added your own special music, which
obviously you were born to do! Kirsten Steno

129
RESOURCE: Tool Box
1) Vision Boards: Pathfinder Vision Board, Love-Hate 5) 40 + 40 + 20 tool: The rule for combining belongings:
Vision Board, Happy Wall: visual reminders and decor- your stuff, your partners stuff, and new stuff!
ative in themselves! 6) 70-30% tool: Design rule- 70% neutral colors and 30%
2) Get the Damned Things Done tool: When you just bright colors.
cant do it all. 7) 3-F Voice tool: The 3 Fs are for Fight-Flight-Freeze!"
3) 7-3 Downsizing tool: An invaluable method to sort For that is what happens; those terrifying thoughts are
and be rid of stuff! not from our own mind, but from the voice that drives
4) Sticky-Tags tool: How to sort items. us to either fight, flight, or to freeze.

1) Pathfinder Vision Board, Happy Wall, and Love- This tool is so powerful I devoted an entire chapter to
Hate Vision Board: These are magical tools to help you it, near the end of the book. See the chapter entitled
visualize your dreams and stay on course to fulfill them! Pathfinder Vision Board, and Christines story in the
It is fun and easy. Guardians of Things chapter for an example of its use.
Pathfinder Vision Board: During the creation The Love-Hate Vision Board: This is very sim-
and use of the Pathfinder Vision Board there is often a ilar, but each partner in a couple focuses on the things
moment when a client will begin to listen to her hearts each loves and hates in their living environment: colors,
desire, and find the hot track to her best life. Once she styles, room sizes, decor, etc. In this way they can com-
proclaims YES! as she looks at images that trigger deep pare likes and dislikes and see where they coincide. The
longing or a memory of great happiness, she begins to rest of the process of creating the board is the same as for
believe in a new start in life. The Pathfinder Vision Board the Pathfinder Vision Board. There is a good example in
can be for you personally only, for you as a couple or for the Boy meets Girl chapter.
the future of a whole family. You will collect images and The Happy Wall: is just that! Created in a similar
quotes that make you happy. Dont think about it, dream way to the other Vision Boards, the Happy Wall is a col-
and follow your heart! There is no right or wrong way lage board of joyful memories, photos and love notes. It
to do this, just your way. Take pictures in stores, cut pic- can be framed on the bedroom wall opposite the bed,
tures from magazines or scan the internet for images that to remind you both why you stay in this marriage, rela-
touch you, move you, be they places, looks, art, furniture, tionship, or family living situation. It can be a wall in the
a dream career, hobby or passion. Glue or pin the photos living room or a wall in a children's room. (See how in
onto your vision board wall in a hierarchy of 10 lines. Our Story and in the Boy, Girl, Plus Baby chapters).
0-2 of these lines are where you place images of what you I have used them countless times with clients, and
quite like to do, 4-6 what makes you happy, 6-8 what you in my own family I have a photo of my first vision board
absolutely LOVE to do and 8-10 what allows you to let go in my French B&B apartment. I have redone my vision
of your ego and experience a blissful state of Love, Peace board many times over the years as my dreams have
& Harmony... singing, sailing, art, gardening, building come true; they are magical tools!
something, running?

130
3) 7-3 Downsizing tool: Sorting and clearing out stuff seven photographs taken on the same day, you choose
can be very hard and I came up with a useful tool that three as lovely memories, and throw away four. Youll
works every time! As you plow through all the items find it gets easier after you have tried it once or twice. It
you wish to sort, focus on two key questions, Can I live will become easy to look at seven things at a time, choos-
without this item? and Who could I give this item to? ing three to keep, while saying thanks and goodbye to
Then separate your belongings in this way: out of seven the remaining four. There is a good description and ex-
pieces of furniture, for example, you chose three of them ample from my own experience in the chapter entitled
to keep. Of seven books, you choose to keep three. Of My Own Story.

4) Sticky-Tags: This is a wonderful method to help you a good memory of former happy events or of people you
separate and sort items of all kinds. (See Christines loved, use a yellow Sticky Tag. You cant keep all this stuff
story in the Guardians of Things chapter for a really either; these must be downsized with the 7-3 Downsiz-
good description and example of the Sticky-Tags tool). ing tool. We're not erasing memories, just letting go of
To summarize, you will use different colors of too many things.
Sticky-Tags (Post-It Notes from 3M is a name brand of Then there are the items which bring up pain-
these small squares of paper with a sticky edge) to place ful memories; use blue Sticky Tags on these. This is
on your items. Say you look at an item and think, "It might paraphernalia like old tax papers, old love letters from
be worth something, but it is broken, handed down, or painful relationships, clothes from a skinnier version of
from a garage sale with a piece missing. Plunk down a yourself, etc. These may remind you of failure. Use blue
pink Sticky-Tag on it you cant save all this stuff! Sticky Tags on these items and get rid of this stuff. lt is all
If you look at another item and get a good feeling from from the past; let it go.

5) 40 + 40 + 20 tool: The rule for combining belongings: family (such as a Patchwork Family) can recognize their
your stuff, your partners stuff, and new stuff! This tool "old home" in some of the items. This helps to keep one
teaches decorating a home, with fairness to all. Sounds part of the family group from feeling theyvemoved into
simple, but this guideline can save heartache. 40% of the another family's home. For a helpful example of the 40 +
furniture and decor is his and 40% is hers, and they buy 40 + 20 tool see the chapter called Our Story.
20% together. In this way every member of one part of a

6) 70-30% tool: This tool helps you with color choices: choose soft greens and glues and browns. Add the bright
70% of these will be neutral colors, which are black, color tones which make you feel happy, in accents such
white, brown, grey, white, beige, wooden material. 30% as cushions, paintings, posters, books, vases and candles.
will be of your favorite color scheme. (This varies slightly (See the chapter entitled The Challenges of the Single
for the Scandinavian countries, where it tends to be Parent: How to Ease the Way! in the Emerge as the
80/20%. In warmer climates the percentage of bright col- New You section.
ors is higher!) There could be nature colors; you might

7) 3-F Voice tool: The 3 Fs are for Fight-Flight-Freeze!" that protects us, but terrifies us as well! Our fears are
For that is what happens; those terrifying thoughts are usually very similar; the most common are fear of losing
not from our own mind, but from the voice that drives your loved ones, fear about money, fear of losing your
us to either fight, flight, or to freeze. home, fear of being different, fear of cancer, or of dy-
ing etc. See the chapter, Guardian of Things, and read
To summarize, we need to look at our limiting thoughts, Christine's story, for a very good example of how this
because they stem from the 3-F Voice, the nasty little tool works. Then write your own list of fears. It is very
voice of our reptilian brain, that ancient part of our brain enlightening!

131
Get 'the damn' things done - Problems to be solved

Done
Name
2) Get the Damn Things Done: This tool helps you give up the lonely fight and ask friends and family for help. Sometimes you just cant do
everything, and people do love to help! There is a good example in the Boy, Girl, Plus Baby chapter, in the Desperate Homemakers section. You
can copy this form here.
Fill it in and you are on your way to getting those things done!

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Want to change how you feel about your life?
Begin by changing your home!
Newly single and camping where you live? Divorced, recovering and have little heart for
creating a beautiful home? happy in a relationship, but trying to figure out the compromise
of living together? Newly married, each with kids, and cant seem to make that living situation
work? When a life crisis hits, a tired, confused or broken heart always longs for comfort and
a safe place to hide... in other words, HOME!
Weve all experienced the power of home.
Wherever there is Love, Peace and Harmony within our four walls, that home becomes a
power station. your batteries recharge when you walk in your door. our home is to us what
the cocoon is to a butterfly: a safe place to evolve into the astonishing creatures we were meant
to be.
In House Coach, Kirsten steno offers simple, easy-to-follow steps
from her Interior Design and life Coaching tools.
youll be inspired to change your home and change your life! and the real-life client stories in
this unique self-help book will warm your heart and give you first-hand examples of her powerful
system.

a martha Beck-trained life coach and highly experienced interior Designer, kirsten steno has
decorated more than 1,800 homes over the last 20 years. as she fine-tuned her methods, she ex-
perienced the joy of helping people find their way home to themselves.
try the wonderful ideas in House Coach
and enjoy the miracles that take place in your life! ISBN 978-87-989129-9-6