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 

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.

 

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.

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. 
TarotWorks
She’s NEAT

Neatness With A Cause

cgjung02%20(1)Along with Joseph Campbell, one of my favorite thinkers of the 20th century is Carl Jung. Not only did Dr. Jung live a long life in the public eye, he was very prolific in documenting his thoughts, theories, and world views. This proliferation of ideas has made Carl Jung one of the most oft-quoted figures in recent history.

One of my favorite quotes attributed to ol’ Carl is, “Meaning makes a great many things bearable.” Keep this thought in mind as you read on.

In the minds of many, the thought of de-cluttering a living space is equivalent to having a voluntary root canal. But I am quite sure that if some greater meaning was applied to the process — other than guilt, peer pressure, or that funky smell the origin of which cannot be specifically located — the project could actually become enjoyable.

Here’s the challenge:

There are two weeks left in the month of January. Between now and the end of the month your mission is to fill one large plastic garbage bag with items culled from your home. These items will be donated to the charity of your choice: a homeless shelter, a foster home, a “dress for success” organization, your church’s outreach program, after school teen projects, whatever cause touches your particular heart.

And there’s the KEY: What touches your heart? How can your unused/extra/outworn and gently-loved items serve another person? How can creating some order in your life improve the life of another?

One purpose: Attaching meaning to an unpleasant task.

Two weeks.

One bag.

Do something for yourself. Do something for another person in the process.

Let me know how you made out, and if creating meaning actually did make your de-cluttering project more bearable.

 

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini created She’s NEAT with an understanding of 2 simple truths:
1. Being organized is not a trait that comes naturally to everyone. 
2. Neat is beautiful.
Visit the She’s NEAT site and LIKE us on Facebook!

Tips For Keeping Your “Neat” Resolution

Fireworks ShowSo…. Did you make a New Year’s resolution to be more organized in 2013?

How’s that going so far?

If you’re having trouble staying on track, here are a few suggestions for how to be successful in that resolution all year long:

1.  Use something you love as a focal point in the room. If it’s your office, maybe you have an antique desk that you treasure; if it’s a living room maybe it’s that one-of-a-kind coffee table or bookcase; maybe your bedroom has a pair of lamps that are to die for.  A space http://shesneat.comthat holds a positive emotional charge is more likely to stay neat, clean, and organized.

2.  If you bring something new into the space, take something else away…either put it into storage or take it to the Goodwill.  This tactic — especially important for closet spaces –keeps stuff from piling up.

3. Recognize your de-cluttering efforts as socially responsible and/or eco-friendly. For instance, isn’t there someone who would benefit from those sweaters you never wear? Wouldn’t someone love to read those books that have sat on your shelf for 2 years? What “good deed” can you do with the money you can make from selling some of the unused stuff treducereuserecyclehat is clogging up your basement or attic?

De-cluttering can make you feel good about yourself and can help someone else feel good in the process.

And Remember: When you clear out your office space, be sure to recycle the paper that has piled up rather than just tossing it into the trash. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle is a key phrase in the neatness game.

De-cluttering can make you feel good about yourself and help someone else in the process.  And the emotional reward from the de-cluttering process goes a long way in maintaining good “neat” habits.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini began She’s NEAT with two basic principles: Being Organized Does Not Come Naturally to Everyone and Neat is Beautiful.  

Visit She’s NEAT to see some photos of the work! It’s pretty cool what a little organization can do!

Being Organized: It’s Not That Simple

She's NEAT Personal OrganizationI’ve been much too busy these past few weeks to post a blog. Sleeping late, eating cookies, and watching pro football has been taking up most of my time and energy. But I did complete a few projects as owner/founder of the new business She’s NEAT, and have a few thoughts to share about that.

Over the last 20-something years as a Tarot reader, we worked alongside the metaphysical maxim that whatever is happening in the inner planes is reflected in the outer planes: that what we believe determines what we experience, and that our thoughts and feelings do not exist only in the intangible float-y places within us but manifest themselves in our physical appearance, the health of our bodies, and our overall sense of safety and security.

Because of the nature of the Tarot reading process, most people would agree that Tarot works “from the inside out.” That is to say, Tarot makes its effects known by making conscious certain experiences and realities, by bringing specific information into our awareness, by putting things in plain sight right out there on the table (pun intended).

To use a metaphor from one of my Tarot video tips, reading the Tarot is like using a straw to draw forth unseen molecules of milk from the bottom of a glass.

Kitchen table:, Voilà, milk!

Tarot table: Voilà, truth!

Whatever you do with that truth is, of course, up to you, but information has nonetheless been provided for your consideration.

Additionally, like a straw resting idly on a table, the Tarot does not do its work in a vacuum. To read Tarot for other people requires “the other” to give permission for the reader to visit their private world, to step into their unseen places and wander ‘round a bit. What an honor and responsibility.

Am I surprised to be observing many of the same dynamics while providing Personal Organization Services through She’s NEAT? Does it startle me to recognize the many ways that the new business is a mirror image of the old? I must admit that it does.

In order for She’s NEAT to “work,” a client gives me permission to visit their home, to “come inside” so to speak; to see their stuff; to observe their messy corners and the places in their life where they are real and imperfect.

Again, an honor and a responsibility. AND an opportunity to change more than one’s physical surroundings. Here it is in a nutshell:She's NEAT mirror http://shesneat.com

The Tarot works from the inside out; She’s NEAT works from the outside in.

One of my first clients said it well when she stated that this work “makes room for what really matters in my life.”

De-cluttering forces us to look at what we’ve allowed to accrue around us. Oftentimes, much of what clogs up our life has not been given direct permission to be there. Busy schedules, old attachments, memories either happy or sad, force of habit, and the power of procrastination fuel the fire. Before we know it we’re knee-deep in “stuff” that no longer serves us in any way whatsoever.

The beauty of de-cluttering is that by taking concrete action to clear one’s physical space, we set the wheels in motion for the inner life to respond in like manner. Clients have reported shifts in their mood, self-esteem, and even in relationships within weeks of taking control of their living environments.

This transformation of the psyche through the mere reorganization of physical space is more amazing to me than the fact that Tarot “works!”

But of course the rearranging of outer environs enables a shift to occur within the inner realms, Newton’s Third Law explains it succinctly: “Every action creates and equal and opposite reaction.”

There you have it. When science and metaphysics concur, truth has been told.

So — take an easy step toward personal growth and fulfillment and de-clutter your life.

I can help with that.

 

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini created She’s NEAT with an understanding of 2 simple truths:She's NEAT logo
1. Being organized is not a trait that comes naturally to everyone. 
2. Neat is beautiful.
Visit the She’s NEAT site and LIKE us on Facebook!

New Blog Topic: She’s NEAT

In addition to musings and ramblings about the world of Tarot, comedy clubs, and yard sales, you’re apt to be seeing some posts here about a new business I’ve got going called She’s NEAT.

I’ve come to understand that not everyone desires — or is able to — be neat … be organized … know where to find things in the house … provide compartments for various types of screwdrivers .. make sure their spices are lined up in alphabetical order.

OK, I don’t do those last two things, but I wish I had a dollar for every time someone remarked on my tidy home and/or my organizational skills. I’ve decided to put this surely-genetic trait to some good use and am offering it up as She’s NEAT: a personal organization service offering practical esthetics for home and office.

The business will provide de-cluttering services, space clearing, furniture placement and rearrangement, closet overhauls,  functionalization of work spaces, and in essence, find ways to create a functional and harmonious environment in which you can go about your business.

It might not be readily apparent, but this new business has a great many similarities to the Tarot work.

A Tarot reading de-clutters the mind. A Tarot reading clears the air of misconceptions; it rearranges and compartmentalizes thoughts, feelings, and plans. A good Tarot reading paves the way for more intentional action and decision-making, and creates space for a more functional and harmonious life.

What I’ve been doing for chakras 3-7 will now also take place in the first and second.

An essential principle of feng shui is that a neat house is a lucky house. In the same way that we can’t  make a good decision when our heart and head is spinning with confusing and sometimes conflicting agendas, we can’t get out of the house in the morning if we can’t find our car keys. Turns out, neatness counts.

I work in the Southern Maine area, but even those of you who live “away” can send along your 2-minute videos! Send me the pics of your chaotic or inefficient spaces and we’ll cook up ways to get your everyday environment working more effectively for you.

Jeanne Fiorini is congenitally neat and organized, as is evident by the She’s NEAT Facebook page and the TarotWorks web site. So much to organize, so little time.

It’s Me … No, It’s You

Some of life’s great truths are, by their very nature, enigmatic …
simple on the surface but complex underneath …
contradictory …
aggravating.

Here’s one I’ve been mulling over lately.

Life Truth #2849: It’s always about you and it’s never about you.

We all are familiar with, and some of us have probably implemented, the classic break-up line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Whether it’s said to simply to soften the blow and whether or not we know it to be true, it is.

How could it be any different? Whose eyeballs do you look through each and every waking minute? Whose skin have you occupied for as many years as you’ve been on this earth? Whose thought patterns and belief systems have been built up inside you, over your entire existence, to such a degree that you believe them to be who you are?

You are the receptor for all the information that is in the universe. You are the satellite dish for all your experiences. Your physical body is the antenna and the mother board for all that surrounds you. And your mind is the computer program processing it all. To add an extra layer of complexity, much of this happens without your conscious permission or awareness.

Of course it’s about you!

And then there’s the opposite yet also-true side of the story: The Other. So many times lately I’ve observed how a person’s reaction to something (a story, a movie, a comment, an experience) says more about them than about the initiator of or the experience itself.

“She hurt my feelings when she said I looked tired.” Do you have expectations about how you need to look? Is being tired something you don’t allow yourself to feel … or show? Do you think the person was being critical of you when she said that? If so, why is that?

Another: “I caught Richard in a lie.” Are you looking for ways that people lie? Why are you so quick to believe someone is lying? Is telling lies something that is familiar to you? Do you think everyone lies?

Maybe this is why one of The Four Agreements is to not take anything personally.

Our reactions are never really about the experience itself, but our perception of that experience. In some ways we could say this is the simple difference between, “Isn’t wintertime wonderful?” and “Winter sucks.” (Those of us who live in the northeastern US have learned that we can’t take the weather personally.)

But on a deeper level, this is the conundrum with which quantum physics confronts us: the proven truth that the observer creates the reality. Without an observer there is no experience.  As “The Oracle” in The Matrix movies says, “That will really bake your noodle.”

As far as I can tell, there’s no resolving the ambiguity of this truth. This particular human quandary makes it essential that each one of us be responsible for our own *&%# as deliberately and intentionally as possible. We all must try our darndest to be honest, centered, present, and authentic.

And, in this computer’s opinion, that’s a lot.

Jeanne Fiorini is a human program navigating the ropes course of existence. Check out the TarotWorks website for tips on how the Tarot can help guide and support you along your personal trapeze act.

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