Tales From The Tarot Table: So Many Assumptions, So Little Time

TarotWorks Tales From The Table http://www.tarotworks.comIt’s been a while since I posted a “Tale From The Tarot.” Not that nothing interesting has happened at the Tarot table, but more that nothing has stood out as an opportunity to make a point.

Something happened in a reading today, though, that brought to the fore a subtle but persistent fact that we all deal with: we humans are prone to making assumptions.

From our early days as children we’re forced to confront — and then adjust — our assumptions about what is natural and true: that the world will always be kind (or cruel); that because mom and dad tell the truth that everyone else does too; that the world is only as large as our personal experience of it.

Today at the Tarot table we confronted the assumption that people will have a similar and shared reaction to a shared experience. This is a particularly painful assumption to withdraw when one’s “experience” involves a relationship.

Today’s line of questioning involved a conversation between the client and her boyfriend. When our client had expressed a desire to see their relationship grow into a larger commitment, he’d stated rather bluntly that, while he enjoyed her company and their time spent together, he wasn’t in love with her and didn’t know if he ever would be.

This came as a surprise to our client, not only this matter-of-fact communication of his non-feelings but the fact that after the pronouncement they spent another four hours together and had quite a lovely time … as if nothing at all distressing had happened.

Not surprisingly, our client was confused. How could words that had hit her so hard make no difference to the tenor of their day (friendly and sociable as always) or to her boyfriend’s mood and attitude toward her? We drew two cards to help clarify the effects that their awkward conversation might have had on him:

 Four of Swords                                  Hermit4 Swords Hermit2

These cards exude a solid, calm, unruffled presence. No change of heart or shift in perception registers on these monochromatic cards.

Whereas our client’s experience of their relationship had gone from multi-colored to gray, her boyfriend’s experience had not changed one iota. His experience of their relationship was the same before, during, and after their talk. The whole exchange was simply an expression of a truth that had left no skid marks on his emotional landscape.

Another assumption bites the dust.

Telling it like it is, that’s the name of the game with the Tarot. Even if you don’t leave the session with the news you wanted to hear, at least you’ll be armed with some truth and clarity.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com

 

 Jeanne Fiorini is available for phone and Skype readings that will bring you truth and clarity and perhaps even a bit of good news! Check it all out at Jeanne’s TarotWorks site: http://www.tarotworks.com

Beauty As The Mother Of Courage

Miss RumphiusOne of my daughter’s favorite books as a child — and one of my favorites to read to her — was Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius. 

While declaring her youthful intentions to see the exotic wonders of the world, a single-minded little girl is advised by her wise grandfather that in addition to accomplishing her goals she must do something “to make the world more beautiful.”

What a lovely Libran sentiment: making the world more beautiful! If someone told you that you must make the world more beautiful today, how would you react … Joyfully? With sheer panic? At a loss for where to begin?

Creating beauty doesn’t require an artistic temperament … Alice Rumphius planted lupines. We each have not only a unique way of creating beauty, but a human compulsion to do so!  A post from Ida Lawrence earlier this spring discusses the notion eloquently:

“A few days ago I tuned in to listen to an interview with trends forecaster Gerald Celente.  The conversation momentarily turned toward the beautiful environment Gerald has created within his office. He quoted a friend, saying, “Beauty is the antidote to fear.” Of course anyone who is mapping economic and social trends in today’s world is going to need courage. He created the office environment intentionally, both because he loves beauty, and because it is transformative – it changes energy, taking us from mind to heart.

The first question for us to consider is, how do we seek out beauty? We seek out beauty however we must! …..

the next question is, what does beauty do for us? It changes our thoughts, and our thoughts change our energy. I’m sure you’ve noticed that certain tones of voice, certain images and certain sounds can put you into a state of fear, anxiety, self pity, aggression and so forth while others can give you comfort, trust in the human heart, a reconnection with spirit, and a subtle energy shift  …

How do we create beauty for ourselves and others? First of all, we don’t have to be fine artists to create beauty. I know She's NEATyou feel the difference when you enter an orderly space, as opposed to a disorderly or cluttered space. You know immediately that someone, some other human being, took the time and used their energy to create order, to place things carefully here and there, to refresh and renew, and that is beautiful . ..

… The dedication of the artist is to their own inner spirit and its connection to the life force: it is an outstanding devotion. We cannot deny that the time we are living in is tumultuous. It requires that we pull something forth from within us, and that we all become the artist, devoted to the renewal of life. Now keep your heart up, and let’s carry on!”

The notion of beauty as the mother of courage is a compelling concept for our times. Alice Rumphius lived in a simpler world yet her grandfather knew the wisdom of it then.  With all the chaos, both natural and man-made, that surrounds us, the need for beauty is greater than ever.

See if you can take some time during this long holiday weekend to create something beautiful. Notice how the change makes you feel calm …  relaxed … more at peace. See if you don’t enjoy your day just a bit more because you have made the world a little more beautiful.

 

 

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com

Being that she’s a quadruple Libran, beauty is an essential nutrient in Jeanne’s daily diet.
If you’d like  assistance creating order in your environment, or need some help refreshing and renewing the physical spaces in your life, She’s NEAT would be happy to help you scatter those seeds of peace and clarity. http://www.shesneat.com

ALSO:: She’s NEAT has a special 20% off for school teachers who could use help deconstructing their classrooms in the next few weeks. A great gift of appreciation for a teacher in your life…FMI visit http:shesneat.com 

10 Tips For A Successful Yard Sale

musical notesIt’s the most wonderful time of the year ... Yard Sale Season!

If you’ve been following this blog for any time at all, you know that between the months of March and November of 2012 my weekly yard sale adventures were chronicled herein as the “Yard Sale Documentation Project.”

That was 33 weeks of very early mornings, many amazing bargains, a few price delusions, some tepid lemonade, and a lot of laughter. There will likely be the occasional blog installment when an amazing deal is scored this season, but a regular accounting during the 2013 season is not to be.

HOWEVER, I’m going to pass along some time-tested tips so that if you are inclined to embark on hosting a sale of your own, you will have some prime information to get you started.

Yes, one friend did say he’d rather have birds peck out his eyeballs than host a yard sale. And sorry to say, I’m not going to come over and help you clean out … unless you hire me as She’s NEAT, then I’m all yours!

Nonetheless, having a sale is a great way to clean out your house, get rid of some “old baggage,” and bring in a little tax-free cash in the Yard Sale Documentation Projectprocess.

Here you go — 10 Tips For A Successful Yard Sale

1. Plan ahead. Give yourself several weeks to clean out, gather your items and other material you’ll need (such as display tables and signage), and then organize and price your goods. Yes, things should be priced. Customers get nervous when it comes to asking about prices; let customers know the ballpark they’re playing in and then get ready to haggle.

2. Watch the weather report. Catch the 10-day forecast for your area and wait for the best weather on any given Saturday.  Saturday is still the preferred day for die-hard yard salers … and the earlier start in the day the better! A 7:00am start time is not unheard of.

3.  Be aware of other events going on that day. Is your home right down the street from an annual open-air art festival, church fair, parade, or other community event? If so, that’s a great day for a sale….. customers are already in your neighborhood! On the other hand, if you know that everyone heads out of town on July 4th weekend  … you should too.

Yard Sale Documentation Project 4. Advertise – Use the newspaper, and Craig’s list too, which has become an important resource for any yard sale event. Yard Sale pros check these listings out in the days prior to any given weekend. Also, don’t forget to work your own contacts: your email lists of friends and family, your social networks, and don’t be afraid to use work/school/local business bulletin boards.

5. Good signage on the day of the sale is a MUST. Even if people have seen your ad on Craig’s list or the newspaper, they can’t buy your stuff if they can’t find you. Put your signs up the night before if possible, and remember to get that permit from the city if your town requires it.  Large bright signs complete with arrows and street address will steer even those customers who had no intention of stopping by your sale right into your driveway.

6. Enlist your neighbors. Nothing says “STOP HERE” like a neighborhood full of yard sales. Even if you can rally a couple of dsc00256homes in your area to host sales on the same day, everyone will fare much better than going solo.

7. Be on time and ready to go. If your sale is scheduled to begin at 8:00, be ready by 7:45. Don’t get caught pulling stuff out of the basement while your sale is supposed to be happening. Nothing deters potential buyers from purchasing Grannies afghan quicker than having it sitting up on the deck under a pile of newspapers.

8. Suggest uses for some items at your sale. Sometimes customers just need a reason to buy something! For instance, place a sign on a used TV– “perfect for kitchen or student room” … or alongside a camera: “Give this to gramma for her weekend visits” … “Once-worn prom dress: Great for kid’s dress up.”

9. Price your items reasonably. Price items at what people will likely pay for them, not for what you think they’re worth. “Yard Sale dollars” are a different currency than “US dollars.” I like to work on the 10% rule: If something is $50 new, I’ll spend around $5 for it at a yard sale. Also, don’t sell anything you really don’t want to sell; nobody will feel good about that transaction. Those are “emotional dollars” and that’s slippery business.

10. Create a happy atmosphere and have fun! People will be glad to spend their money when they feel good about where they are. Light music, some cookies, a box of free give-aways … these things make customers feel welcome and more willing to like you and your stuff!

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com

Jeanne Fiorini will not require a 10% cut of your yard sale proceeds for helping you have the best yard sale ever!  But you can visit the TarotWorks website and/or the She’s NEAT site, that’d be fine.

Lego Land

She's NEAT logoWhile preparing for a presentation to a South Portland “Think Local” meet-up group about my personal organization business She’s NEAT, a factoid appeared on a morning television show which seemed tailor-made for my upcoming talk.

In the context of Earth Day and discussing the small ways by which we all can positively impact the health of our planet, it was pointed out that enough Legos have been manufactured so that 62 pieces are available for every man, woman, and child on the planet.

This is great news for someone with a fledgling de-cluttering service; not so good news for the planet.

Americans are, for the most part, blessed with the problem of TOO MUCH STUFF. We have so much stuff that we’ve become Heavy2inured to all the stuff that is around us. And even if you recognize that you have too much stuff and so are not accumulating MORE stuff, reducing the amount of stuff you already have is another matter.

Our stuff is like those extra 10-15 pounds many of us carry around. We’ve become accustomed to the additional weight and although it would be nice to be trimmer and more fit, it’s way too much work to get that job done.

So we continue to carry the extra stuff, sometimes moving it right along with us as we change houses or apartments, only marginally aware of how it might be holding us back, or at the very least how it may be making things more difficult than need be.

This is where She’s NEAT comes in, with strategies, guidance, motivation, and focus to help live a less-cluttered life of lightness and ease. Just think for a moment how life could be improved with less stuff around you.

Seriously: Give yourself a moment to imagine the space you are sitting in having more space, less junk, and more clarity.

It’s nice, huh?

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com Jeanne Fiorini enjoys the space and aesthetics which orderly environments provide. She’s NEAT can help bring this clarity to your home or office. Visit the She’s NEAT site FMI.

 

It’s Fun To Be Foolish

Steve Martin has no problem whatsoever acting like an idiot.Steve Martin

He once said — to Oprah, if I remember correctly– that it does not bother him when someone says, “Who’s that fool with an arrow sticking out of his head?

In fact, Martin went on to say that he presents himself intentionally to prompt laughter and that it’s irrelevant if the laughter results in the fact that others understand what he is doing or is the result of people thinking he’s a jerk.

I love that about him.

Humor has always held a high position in my personal “hierarchy of needs.” I’d give up a lot of things that hold value for me — art, gardening, a nice car, Ben & Jerry’s ­– as long as I still had a sense of humor. Life is hard, and if you lose your sense of humor it becomes even harder.

This past Saturday I had one of the best experiences EVER:  along with the 8 other people in my class, I presented a stand-up comedy bit at a local theatre. Family, friends, and comedy lovers from the community came out on a beautiful spring day to support those of us who’d worked like dogs over the past seven weeks to dig up the funny bone.

….Out of the Box….
Stretch your Boundaries…
……….Try Something Different…..
…Meet New People….
….  Expand Your Horizons….

Saturday’s performance was all the above and more. Supported by our wonderful teacher Tim Ferrell, the experience created a bond among us that will continue to nourish and inspire me. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

Fun, terrifying, energizing, and did I say fun? Here’s the link to the video, I hope you enjoy it.

On this April Fool’s Day remember that, however it may happen, making someone laugh is just about the best thing you can do for them and for yourself.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini is available for your next meeting, fundraiser, retreat, celebration, or gathering. No joke.

Spring-chronicity

DSC00871A few weeks ago I became a student in a local comedy class. It’s always been a terrifying fantasy of mine to try stand-up, and since I’m turning 60 this year I figured now to be as good a time as any to get on it.

We’re now in week #7 of class, with our “Graduation Show” coming up this Saturday. I am prepared and yes, duly terrified.

Early on in the writing of the material to be presented in the final presentation, I’d included a bit about how much I love and appreciate gardening. Aside from the emotional benefits of playing in the dirt and creating beauty, it is truly amazing how much fruit a single tomato or bean seed can yield.

With this thought in mind, I’d written something like,

“It’s so satisfying to toss a few seeds into the dirt and get results months later. I threw a dozen eggs into the garden last fall and I’m really looking forward to having chickens this spring.”

That bit got ditched — I have much better stuff now for the final show! But, an interesting thing happened today.

It was the first day in the garden since last fall. The garden gate had to be pried loose from the ice pack holding it shut, but once I was in, it was heaven.

Steady March sun warmed me and the earth as I worked to clear a place for the peas. (It’s a personal tradition dating back to childhood to plant peas on Good Friday, whenever on the calendar that day might occur.) Even though snow had to be shoved around, green shoots of onion and strawberry were ready to take off their winter coats.

Although this is the 6th year I’ve tilled this particular garden plot, new and foreign “stuff” still shows up in the dirt. Last year I found an intact glass bottle from a well-established local pharmacy, and there’s always more shards and rocks and marbles and nails that have wiggled their way up, around, and about to the surface of the soil.

GardenChicken

But lordy, look what I found today! The thing is metal, about 2” high, probably from the 50’s or 60’s given the style of painting:

All I can say is, someone has a sense of humor.

 

Jeanne Fiorini loves it when nature conspires to amaze and amuse.

TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com
She’s NEAT http://shesneat.com

Emotional Clutter

afghanIn an old episode of Friends, a snarky boyfriend of Phoebe remarks to Monica, as she crams cookies into her mouth, “They’re just food; they’re not love.”

Ouch. The truth hurts.

Our emotions impact everything we do, whether we’re aware of it or not. Emotions are the force behind what we say, what we value, and what we cling to, whether those things are memories or grudges or granny’s frayed afghan.

Take a look around the room you’re sitting in and see if there are things around you that you don’t really want or need, but that hold some emotional charge for you. Oh yeah, we all have something that fits this description.

The key words in the above sentence are “don’t really want or need.” Emotional charge in itself is not BAD. In fact, a positive emotionally-charged object can energize a space quicker than you can snap your fingers.

But all objects, and especially clutter, have emotional components. Some of these emotions are conscious i.e. “That tea pot collection was my mother’s and I hate to get rid of it even though it’s really not my style.”porcelain

Some emotions are unconscious, i.e. “I’m hanging on to those size 8 clothes because I was happy then” or “I stockpile food in all my closets because I feel so uncertain of the future.”

A Personal Organizer can help with both these emotional components — and a good organizer is aware of both – but the client also needs to take responsibility for change if anything an organizer offers is going to make a permanent impact.

Anyone can clean up a messy space once, but it takes deliberate intention to keep a space clear of items that no longer serve that space. Here are some questions that can help clarify the issue:

  • “Do I keep this item out of guilt or responsibility?”
  • “Does this thing support the person I am NOW?”
  • “Am I finding things I’d forgotten — or didn’t know — I had?”
  • “Is this a useful or necessary item?”
  • “Do I have duplicates (or more) of the same item?”
  • “Does this object bring joy and beauty to my day?”
  • Is this harder process than I thought it would be?

De-cluttering the emotional debris is hard work, even for the most “organized” among us. But doing the work will help clear the path to the next steps in your life, if and when you’re ready.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini can make being organized easier and less painful than you might think.  Visit the She’s Neat website or contact Jeanne at shesneat@myfairpoint.net.

De-Cluttering: Where To Start

Clutter is more than a messy room or a disorganized pocketbook. Clutter can create stress, degrade self-esteem, limit social interactions, and at the very least make everyday tasks more difficult than they need to be.

clutter

New things/people/energy can’t come into our life if there isn’t room enough for them; conversely, by keeping spaces free and open we allow the natural flow of life to enter. This does not mean that we all must get rid of our pretty things, but rather that a sense of space and of order needs to be established.

Sometimes we look at our rooms and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of getting things in order. “Where do I begin?” turns into “I’ll deal with it later.” Later becomes an even bigger obstacle, and ‘round and ‘round we go.

The ideal scenario is that de-cluttering happens every day: something new comes in, something used goes out… things are “put away” after their use … every task begins and ends with a clean slate.

The goal here is that every experience can be managed freely without having to work around unnecessary obstacles and unfinished projects.

Can you imagine getting ready to leave the house in the morning or making a meal at the end of the day without having to move through leftover debris?

The next best solution to the de-clutter-every-day scenario (yes, the ideal is a high bar) is to make a once-monthly pass through the space, on whatever day works best for you: the first Sunday of the month, the 15th of the month, etc.

Setting a “De-cluttering Day” on a seasonal schedule is also an excellent habit to establish. The weekend before bringing out the holiday decorations or the last weekend in June before the summer’s activities begin to roll are great opportunities to clear spaces before hectic schedules ensue.

Here’s a simple starting point to begin de-cluttering: obtain 2 large plastic bags and go through your space(s) putting “throw aways” in one bag and “give aways” in another. Once this pass is accomplished, whatever remains in the space can be filtered through, re-organized, packed up and/or used for a different function somewhere else in the home.

The best-de-cluttering projects do not involve bringing anything new to the space “to fix the problem” unless it increases functionality and/or aesthetics. Most people have plenty of attractive and useful things in their home, it’s the organizer’s job, like Michelangelo with his marble, to release the beautiful forms hidden within.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini can make being organized easier – and more fun – than you might think!  Visit the She’s Neat website or contact Jeanne at shesneat@myfairpoint.net.

“Messy” Isn’t Always Chaotic

She's NEAT logoIn all aspects of life, words and our interpretation of them create a foundation and a system by which we relate to the world.

The work of She’s NEAT is no exception.

Words such as “organized,” “neat,” “messy,” “tidy,” and “disorder” come not only with an emotional charge, but with judgments attached to them as well. It has becoming clear that, not unlike having to describe and then defend working with the Tarot, some of the concepts behind the personal organization work need clarification.

This notion was embodied during a visit with friends yesterday when the conversation rolled around to, ” So how’s She’s NEAT going?”  I caught a furtive glance pass from the wife to the husband as I talked about the joys of de-cluttering; obviously there was a difference of opinion about what constitutes “clutter” and what is considered the normal price of daily activity.

A few minutes later the conversation moved along to another of my favorite things, the opening of yard sale season. (You may be familiar with last season’s Yard Sale Documentation Project.)She's NEAT messy desk

I got spouting about certain things I was NOT going to pay retail price for, since I can get them much cheaper at a yard sale, one such item being a headset for my outdated-but-still-very-much-in-use cordless phone. I saw the wheels moving in the husband’s mind as he rose from his seat and headed into his office. Two minutes later he emerged with an equally-outdated headset.

Perfect!

Yes, someone might consider his office to be messy, but he knew just where to find the thing he was looking for. This man is the owner/creator of an organized mess; this is something with which no personal organizer can or should find fault.

“Messy” is only a problem if it hinders progress, if it makes it difficult to get things done, if it is stress-producing or anxiety-ridden. Clearly that was not the case here, and I’m pretty sure something personal for this guy was vindicated by our little transaction

By the same token: a “neat” space is not necessarily “organized.” I can think of a few kitchens I’ve been in where the counters are bare and no clutter can be seen, but don’t dare open a drawer or cupboard for fear of what chaos might be living within, awaiting any opportunity to leap from an available opening.

You know who you are.

Tarotworks http://www.tarotworks.com blogIt’s not a personal organizer’s job to opine about the state of affairs in another person’s home or office, but to get that space to its place of maximum potential and benefit. Don’t let the words you’ve assigned to those spaces prevent you from living your best life in them: be honest about what’s going on there, and if you need help, ask for it.

And if you don’t need help, it’s OK to feel good about that too.

 

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com

 Jeanne Fiorini is owner/creator of She’s NEAT personal organizational services, based in Portland Maine.

Composing A Life

February Purge DeClutter The February purge continues here at my house.

I’ve long since stopped trying to understand why some things have been saved for as long as they have. Regardless, if it doesn’t strum the heart strings in February 2013, out it goes.

I’ve found old photos which have since been posted on Facebook and are getting some good laughs; there are letters from assorted family members, some poignant and heartfelt while others reflect someone just being silly. Much of this is still save-worthy.

Stashed in a box alongside these mementos was a Xeroxed copy of the introduction to Composing A Life, a book written by Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of anthropologist Margaret Mead.

The book was published in 2001, and I have no recollection of how/why the copy of the introduction came to me, or for what purpose it was saved. But on this – another- snowy Sunday I sat with a cup of coffee and recognized the value of these 11 pages.

The introduction, beautifully written, states the author’s essential observation: the world no longer supports a single, monolithic vision for one’s life. Improvements in health and longevity, technology, economics, and changes in society have forced us move past  “Plan A” and require us to now be able to perceive—and then create — a Plan B, C, D, and beyond.

How do we learn “improvised living,” being flexible in the face of the certainty of change, learning to become creative with “what is” as we cobble together a life of meaning and purpose? Are we even capable of it?  Bateson writes:

            All too often, men and women are like battered wives or abused children. We hold on to the continuity we have, however profoundly it is flawed. If change were less frightening, if the risks did not seen so great, far more could be lived.

           …when you watch people damaged by their dependence on continuity, you wonder about the nature of commitment, about the need for a new and more fluid way to imagine the future.graspinghand

That phrase damaged by their dependence on continuity really struck me. There is an essential “truth for our times” if I ever heard one! And the words are even more relevant today, twelve years after they were originally published.

The world we have invented now forces our hand. We’ve done this to ourselves, via science, technology  and social change, have called it “progress,” and yet we buck at the notion that there is no longer ONE correct path for our life!

It isn’t even about doing it efficiently and gracefully, but about being able to move past the familiar, to improvise rather than play the notes correctly, to think abstractly rather than recite from rote memory, to communicate spontaneously rather than have the “correct answer.”

Like it or not, IMPROV is the name of the game in the future that we’ve accidentally designed for ourselves, so we’d all better get on board.

I know I’m going to be musing on the ways I am damaged by my dependence on continuity.

How about you?

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini is a self-employed Tarot-reading, football-watching, yard sale-ing neat freak comedian who’s just trying to make sense of things. 
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