The Life Organizer:
A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year

by Jennifer Louden


New World Library, 2007. ISBN 1577315545.
Reviewed by Mary Ann Moore
Posted on 05/14/2007

Nonfiction: Life Lessons

I ask myself, why does a woman need a life organizer? What has happened to create a need for us to seek answers through various devices and advice gurus? We've become so goal-oriented we can't even listen to our own intuition. Simply lying on the earth should give us any answers we need, but we're too busy, too stressed, to do even that. So we turn to today's guidance, often in the form of books, to find out how to come home to ourselves.

One of our helpers is Jennifer Louden, also known as "The Comfort Queen." Louden is the author of several books including the bestselling The Women's Comfort Book and is devoted to nurturing women to express their "true creative power." I love books and look to them for inspiration and, frequently, affirmations of what I already know. This one is a heart-based, spirit-directed approach to listening to ourselves.

The Life Organizer is glossy, full of color and original artwork, and is written in Louden's warm, over-the-back-fence, casual style. She doesn't offer advice, but rather, "a collection of possibilities to inspire you in creating your way of participating with life and with your gifts."

Those possibilities are ways to stop and "tune in to what you really want and what you really know." She notes five main steps that make up the life-organizing process: connect, feel, inquire, allow and apply. Louden cautions readers not to focus on the five steps, but rather on your own life experiences, posing questions to assist you in getting in touch with your life experiences.

Besides the main steps to help you "create your optimum life day by day, moment by moment," Louden offers six "life-planning concepts." All of these suggestions grew out of Louden's busy life experiences and the intuitive planner she created for herself, which she shared with her coaching clients and those who attended her workshops and retreats. The results, and the stories of several of those women, are included.

"Shadow Comforts and Time Monsters" is one of Louden's life-planning concepts and refers to those comforts that masquerade as self-care techniques, but in fact drain your energy. For example, chatting on a message board may be energizing, or it may be a tactic to avoid talking to your partner. Among the women Louden has coached are those "whose lives consisted almost entirely of time monsters, because they were too afraid to do what they really wanted to do." Watching TV, spending a month cooking for the holidays, and spending a week decorating your child's classroom may be among your "time monsters." Some discerning questions are helpful to consider. We so often say we don't have time, but if we look at what we're really doing with our time, a light may go on.

I particularly like the chapter on "Creating Your Life Planner." I'm a fan of journals so that's why I probably enjoyed the various approaches women have taken to crafting their own Life Planners. You may write in Louden's book, but if you need more room, a spiral notebook will work just fine. Then you need to place your life planner where you have easy access to it, by your bed, or alongside your date book. One woman constructed her own card deck using the questions throughout the book. She uses the cards as her own divination system, drawing a question card or two on which to reflect. She has decorated them with her own images so she can stare at those images and see what they spark in her.

Thirteen elegantly designed planning sections that include four weeks worth of theme-based questions also include "Stories Along the Way," true stories of women who have used Life Organizing to improve their lives.

Each week, on a two-page spread, there is space for writing your intention. Three circles provide space for completing these phrases: "let go of", "have to" and "could do." Questions, and some possible answers, give impetus to a creative and intentional week.

Although this book is full of possibilities, at the core is its intent is to bring you back to yourself, eliminating what no longer serves the life that you, in your heart of hearts, desire. It looks very organized, but in fact you can approach it in your own non-organized, non-linear way. Using it as a divinatory tool seems a good idea to me. Just open the book and see what tips and stories appear for you today.

Jennifer Louden is a bestselling author, personal coach, radio show contributor, columnist for "Body & Soul Magazine" and creator of learning events and retreats. Louden is married to cinematographer Christopher Mosio, living in a small house on an island in the Pacific Northwest, along with their daughter, Lillian.

You can share a cup of virtual tea with Jen at www.jenniferlouden.com and www.lifeorganizerbook.com.

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