Anne Naylor

  • Full Screen
  • Wide Screen
  • Narrow Screen
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size



David Allen - Ready for Anything

If you have ever moved house, you most likely have let go of a lot of stuff you had forgotten you had. Even if you are good at clearing things out, it is amazing how your eyes can miss things. In the 1980’s, I was teaching in seminars and trainings about the value of letting go of things you no longer need. However, when it came to moving house myself, under the stairs in a small forgotten cupboard were all kinds of things I had put there for want of anywhere else to put them at the time.

Moving into a greater experience of wealth is a bit like moving house. I see it as moving consciousness, by which I mean the frame of mind, outlook, perception or perspective through which I am experiencing my life. Wealth is first of all the mental and emotional quality I have within me, which prepares the ground for me to receive outwardly. The foundation, if you will, on which to structure a wealthier experience of living.

Mental, emotional and physical clutter gets in the way of my receiving anything new. One of the hidden items of “clutter” are outstanding commitments and agreements you have made with yourself (most important) and others. In fact, all agreements you make are finally with yourself - the buck always stops with you. The good news about this is that the buck is in your own hands. You are always in charge of your own energy, time and commitments. You are the only one to decide what you do with them, in an ultimate sense.


Anything you have started and not completed will represent clutter in your consciousness. These items also tend to go hidden and are unconsciously draining your energy and possibility for more goodness to come into your life. There is a simple exercise to do which may take only 30 to 45 minutes. It involves scanning every area (home, work and recreation) of your life to bring to mind all the incompletions and outstanding agreements you have. Write them down. Then decide which you are going to complete and when. Compile a new list with due dates beside each one. There may be many items you decide to put on a back burner to incubate - decide when you will review those - and those you decide to throw out or declare complete.

Some items may only take a couple of minutes to handle - phone calls, throwing out magazines, changing a light bulb. The effect of doing this basic clearing is dynamic. Clearing deadwood liberates energy, enthusiasm, selfconfidence, clarity - to name but a few benefits. David Allen in his hugely successful book: Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity goes into this process in much more detail. I highly recommend his website:

In 1982, I received a Future Focus Consultation from David’s then wife, Deborah. It involved creating an in tray of all of my outstanding “deadwood”. I was living in London at the time but did the Consultation in Los Angeles. When Deborah visited a person’s home or office, she would go through every cupboard, drawer and filing cabinet to surface the incompletions. As I was away from home, I was quite relieved I did not have to go through that part!

So I compiled a considerable stack of paper from memory, each sheet with one incompletion written on it together with the next 2 minute action step I needed to take to move it forward to completion. The sheets of paper were sorted into different piles such as home, office, finances, correspondence, recreation, communications, appointments to make and so forth.

When I got back to London, I got busy. The effects were astonishing. I felt so much energy. New ideas were coming to me. I felt more powerful, clear, free and in charge of my life. When it came to throwing things out (such as clothes or household effects) there are a few guidelines worth bearing in mind:

- Throw out only that which is yours to throw - resist the temptation to throw out your spouse’s favourite threadbare sweater, cooking pan or pile of unread journals.

- If you have not used something for a year, it is likely you will not use it again. Let it go. The exception here might be things like Christmas tree lights that are used once a year. You may also have research material which you keep for future use so that has value for you and needs to be kept in a storage place. The point here is that you make a conscious choice about it. Things are not floating around in your psychic space, without a home, and draining your energy.

- Keep only the things around you that give you energy. If you have a painting for example that you no longer really like, let it go. A project that you started but have no intention of finishing - such as a scrapbook, or a piece of sewing or knitting, or some carpentry - consign it to waste. You may have items for which others could have value - you could sell them at a car boot sale, or give them away to a charity shop. Again, it is important to consult with others, at home or in the office, who share the space with you and be mindful that as much as you have become a completer, they may not.



In clearing away physical items, we also liberate the emotions and free the mind. However, we can also address emotional clutter, usually attachments of one sort or another from the past. Typically we tend to carry burdens of guilt, shame, resentment, anger, irritation, frustration, disappointment, misunderstanding and so forth from the past. Emotional burdens may be experienced as tension in the shoulders.

The word “should” often carries an emotional demand of guilt, resentment or shame attached to it. Look for the tension in your shoulders and you may find the emotional clutter you have stored in the form of limiting beliefs about how your life should be, how others should be towards you, what you should be saying or doing. These shoulds crush your spirit, vitality and capacity for enjoying an abundantly wealthy life.

My strong view is that each one of us is innately good, or we could not be alive at all. We each of us carry a vibrant spirit of goodness that sustains us through all kinds of situations. Carrying a battery of shoulds around with us, representing a mixed bag of rules for living, does not make us a “better” person. We are all deep down without exception good. All too often, we have grown up believing that is not so.

One of the most powerful exercises I have experienced for liberating me from the burdens I have been carrying mentally, emotionally and in my unconscious mind is freeform writing. This is dramatically simple, and yet effective. Take a biro and pad of paper and set aside anything from 15 minutes to 2 hours. I usually light a candle which assists me to remember that I am recalling the light of my consciousness out of the darkness of doubts and other negative thoughts and feelings. I make sure that I am undisturbed.

Then I start to write - whatever comes to mind. I let my thoughts flow and I write, sometimes not finishing sentences if a fresh thought shows up. I do not censor anything. The writing may be slow or fast. Emotions may surface - I keep writing through them too. I do not daydream without committing the thought to paper.

At the end of the session I do not re-read anything but tear it up and burn it. There is an exception. You may find some very beautiful thoughts and ideas coming onto the paper. Find a way to put them aside to transfer to another sheet, then burn the original with the rest.

Having done this, I find it useful to take a little time, five to fifteen minutes, to simply sit and observe quietly the thoughts and feelings that are present after the writing exercise. Not to do anything with them but only observe them. My experience with this exercise has been once again a liberation of energy, vitality and ideas. A suggestion is to do this exercise something like three times a week for three months to receive the greatest benefit from it.


One of the greatest areas of my own learning and development has been communication, and at times the lack of it. Feelings of low self-worth, shyness and self-judgment have inhibited me in the past from saying what I needed to say. At one point, when I was studying architecture at Sheffield University, I could not make contact with fellow students. The words would not come. I did not know how to speak. In the architect’s Coffee Bar, I would watch to see how people made simple conversation and I would look on feeling anxious and isolated. I began to become a very good observer of how people connected with each other.

There were many factors contributing to that experience of isolation, fear of being or looking wrong or saying the wrong thing, being some of them. Writing letters and journals became an avenue for me to express what I could not say aloud with others.

I have since learnt that failure to communicate results in more unconscious clutter, and precious energy being drained. What do you need to say that you have not said, and to whom? Are your communications being withheld out of fear, or resentment, or shame? Are you concerned how your communications may be received? It is worth taking some time to reflect, and write down, any incomplete communications you may have yet to make. You might wish to set some time aside to phone, write, email - whatever it takes to move your energy out of the past so that you can advance.

Life changes and things move on. Are there agreements that you have made that you now need to complete? Openness and honesty are disarming. Speaking my truth has always served me.

As I noticed in the Coffee Bar experience, communication is not just the words that were being spoken but the connections being made. I had so much negativity of self-doubt going on in me that that alone was causing me to be isolated. Much later, I learnt that communication, and connection, happens most effectively through the medium of safety and love, not threat (selfimposed or otherwise) and fear.

By cultivating loving, self-acceptance within myself I grew the courage and confidence to speak up for myself. But the former limitation was not without purpose or value. Through it, I have learnt much about making strong connections with people, and have also developed a greater capacity for empathy. I would say that what was an enormous problem for me in the past has actually been a tremendous blessing in disguise. Effective communication continues to be a study that fascinates me, now more than ever, as people of many cultures and nationalities seek to connect and interact.


Not until I entered the process of separation and divorce did I really come to value forgiving, especially forgiving myself. I had a dream that 15th March might be declared International Forgiving Day and be celebrated annually around the world. There is a reason why that date, but that is another story. Forgiving Day is not the only idea that my entrepreneurial spirit came up with that ran its course without coming to fruition. I am sure I am not the first or only divorcee who blamed her- (or him-) self for not having made the marriage work. I had to learn to forgive myself – the hardest one to forgive.

Whether or not the idea was taken up in the world, Forgiving Day was very valuable for me. Each year, on 15th March, I gathered with a group of friends to celebrate the Day. On one occasion 40 of us took over a room of the monastery on the Ile St Honorat just off the coast opposite Cannes. We discussed what forgiving meant for us, how to express forgiving, why forgiving was difficult. Forgiving is a very difficult subject for many people because in this world, we are more oriented towards “getting and spending”, blaming and not on reconciling our conflicts and letting go.

On those 15th March Days, I came to experience forgiving as one of the most profound acts of love I knew. They touched, and I believe healed, me very deeply. Each year, my experience of forgiving expanded, and lasted for days after 15th March. There is a tenderness in the spirit of loving that is nevertheless extraordinarily powerful. Looking for a symbol for Forgiving Day, I choose the violet.

At the time I was living in Tourrettes Sur Loup, a village famed for cultivating violets. Wild violets grew in the land around my home. For one 15th March celebration I gathered bunches of these tiny flowers to put in the house. The scent was extraordinarily beautiful and yet also powerful. The gentle power of the perfume reminded me of the gentle love that is the energy of forgiving, so gentle that it can penetrate the hardest of resistance.

So it is that I know that the loving power of forgiving, especially selfforgiving, can help us to heal, release and let go of the pain of the past. Hurt, doubt, disappointments, misunderstandings will trap us in the past and limit our capacity to expand into the experiences of wealth we now choose for the future.

My understanding is that we must first expand the loving acceptance we have for ourselves, with compassion and kindness, and having done that, extend the loving to others. Here is a simple forgiving exercise you might like to try out. Do not be concerned if it seems too simplistic. It is a start if you are not used to the idea of forgiving. It took me ten years of practice and study to really get what forgiving is about. And I am willing to admit that I have more yet to understand about the power of forgiving and how it can be expressed.

The opening statements below start with forgiving yourself because they assume that you are in fact in charge of your life, not a victim of how life happens for you. Even if this does not feel comfortable, experiment anyway. Complete the statements, either writing them down or saying them to yourself, silently or aloud, spontaneously as often as you can.

I forgive myself for judging myself for .....
I forgive myself for judging myself as ....

When you have completed the exercise, take some deep breaths, imagining as you do that you are taking in the light of greater awareness and becoming more at peace within yourself. Fill yourself with the spirit of your own love, compassion and kindness. The more you can stand up in the loving you have for yourself, the greater and more powerful will be the connection you have with others and the world around you.

The path to greater health, wealth and happiness starts with loving, yourself first and then others. With love comes the trust, confidence and faith that what you seek will find you.


There two ways to look at this saying above. One is that whatever you do have around you, it is important that you want to have it; that your attitude is one of acceptance not resistance. If I am in conflict over my present circumstances, I am not peaceful, open and receptive to anything new coming in.

The other way to look at the saying is that you are more actively choosing what you have. That is to say: you are consciously in agreement and what is more, value what you have because there is purpose for you with it, even though you are working towards a new set of goals and objectives. The gratitude for all that you have now opens the possibility for receiving more.

What if that all you have in the way of material goods, projects, relationships or hobbies were really serving you? That you are not carrying unnecessary baggage of one kind or another? That you are free and following a rewarding, harmonious life, full of goodness and blessings? That you are living expansively in health, wealth and happiness?

What if... ?

Contact Anne

You are invited to get in touch for an initial, no obligation, call to explore how I may assist you.


You are here: Chapter 5