• Nancy Collins

Lessons from Whoville

Recently my son and I went to Universal Studios for the day—gotta love living in Southern California with all the opportunities to have fun year round. At this time of year part of the theme park is transformed in to Whoville—that infamous fictional city from Dr. Seuss Fame. I love Whoville—we loved reading Horton Hears a Who when the kids were little, and of course this time of year it’s all about The Grinch—that mean old—whatever-he-is that tried to steal Christmas. It’s a magical place, with a magical story, and I couldn’t help but think about some lessons we can all learn from Whoville.


A lot of people that struggle with needing help getting and staying organized have things that are tying them down. And as I work with them to free them with more space and time in their lives, I gently learn that their hearts are cluttered with the past—lots and lots of memories, some good, others not so good, that cause them to hold on to items well past their initial reason for acquiring them in the first place. Often my friends and clients have items that weren’t even theirs to begin with-they’ve acquired them from their parents, aunts/uncles that have passed on, their kids have grown and left items behind, or even roommates and friends of theirs have “donated” things to them (translated: THEY don’t want to deal with those items either). They hang on to these things from a lot of different perspectives: guilt, uncertainty what to do with them, love for the people that left the items behind, and sometimes so much frustration that they become overwhelmed, angry and actually kind of…well…Grinch-like.

So this holiday season I thought we could ALL take a lesson from Whoville. Things about whoville to ponder:


It’s so easy to get wrapped up—almost obsessed sometimes—with finding that perfect gift to give to someone special—we love them, we want them to be happy, we want to see that look on their face on Christmas morning…and I think we would all agree that the true meaning of Christmas is so much more, but the TV screams at us that if we truly want them to love us back we need to buy them the ________ (fill in the blank). The Grinch’s heart was too small because no one took the chance to get to know him—remember in the movie how much STUFF he had in that lair? Even his dog couldn’t find a place to sit. Hearts grow big when TIME is spent, not money.


When I work with people who have a lot of disorganization in their spaces, we discover that inevitably someone in their life is nagging them to “get this stuff out of here”, which makes them angry or sad in addition to being overwhelmed. It’s just more baggage than just their “stuff” and they are paralyzed with feelings of hurt and anger at that person. Maybe they feel deep down inside that person is right. Or maybe they think that person doesn’t understand… But Little Cindy Lou Who looked past the hurt and anger in the Grinch’s heart and went the extra mile to reach out. Now, admittedly she is a fictional character and in real life this can be a little more difficult—we all have people in our lives that are Grinch-like and we don’t want to get to know them better we just want them to leave us be, and in truth we would love to pretend they aren’t there…but they are. I’m not suggesting that we all run out and hug the nearest person that angers us most…but perhaps a simple “good morning”, or even a smile might just make US feel better. I find it very hard to move forward when I feel I have the need to be right. Sometimes it’s easier just to not work so hard to be right—and just come alongside that person in a small way.


I’m not asking for the city truck to pull up and empty your garage or storage unit for free—I’m saying that EVERYONE has too much baggage, whether it’s physical items like too much in your garage, a desk that you can’t even see any more, closets that are overflowing, or a life that is too cluttered with emotional thoughts and frustrations. A lot of times the two go hand in hand. The people of Whoville loved and cared for each other—when someone needed help with carrying a heavy package or shoveling snow, they pitched in. And no one felt self-conscious about it they just accepted the help with a thank you. Even the Grinch softened when Whoville reached out to him. Others need to be needed to, and it’s ok to ask for help.

As we head toward 2020, let’s all take the time to think about going the extra mile for someone who might have struggles you don’t even know. It’s easy to do this is December whe new all have to fuzzy feelings of warmth and good cheer…but what about helping someone clear their garage or storage unit in July in 85 degree heat…what about then?

Think a little harder, love a little deeper, not just this time of year, but all year round. I bet you know someone who needs a little more Cindy Lou Who in their life and less Grinch.

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