Renee Tarantowski

In my next life . . .
or is it just part of my DNA?

As I carefully picked the hosta leaves that were just the right size — I needed the perfect backdrop of green texture that points upward. These particular hydrangeas were picked because they were falling over onto the walk. The Fuschia . . . I have three varieties for the hummingbirds to fill their bellies. The butterflies love them too!



Each chosen for a reason.

As I arranged my harvest, I thought, “in my next life, I want to be a gardener.” Then I thought — I am a gardener. These two ideas just kept bumping around in my brain.

I often say, “in my next life . . .” filling in the blank with a gardener, baker, fiber artist, potter, famous writer, teacher, chef the list goes on and on.

Today something shifted.


What if I have already been all of those things — passed down in my DNA? My grandma was a basket weaver and farmed with my grandpa; my mom loved to read/bake, my dad loved animals and being on the water.

I have a meditation teacher, La Sarmiento, who begins a meditation where we imagine being supported by all those who had come before us and or helped us get to where we are. The first time I totally checked out on the rest of the meditation and was lost in thought about all people — going back in time to places in Michigan with the Ojibway tribe and Poland. From that moment on, when I walk, I often think about those who have walked on that same Earth. Last summer, I slept under the Hemlock trees in the U.P. and thought of all those who took refuge in that same place. So I feel, at times, a profound connection.

As I arranged the flowers, I thought of La.


Who knows how my soul will show up next. I know now that I am blessed to have my DNA swirl with beauty taking forms in so many ways. A deep bow of gratitude.

May we all awaken to the light of our true nature.

Renee TarantowskiFeb 22, 2018

Living Fearlessly

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau


Advance confidently.

Dream.

Live life.

Imagine.

Success.

Unexpected.

Common.

Start with one . . . 

I picked common--my life is common, ordinary and often boring, YET, I choose to dream big, live an amazing life, use my imagination leading to the unexpected. 

As I drop my ego and stop thinking about what life will give me . . . I flip that and wonder what I can give life.  It has made all the difference.


Renee TarantowskiFeb 9, 2018

Finding My Worth

Did you know I write for a publication called Medium?  It's an amazing place for writers and readers!

Finding My Worth is a story that I published on Medium.  It is about the journey that I'm writing about but I think many of us are living.  I am the writer for our story.

Finding my Worth

a lesson in the importance of writing

I had been approved as a Writer for the Publication on Medium called Writer Mom. My first submission was a stretch and was declined. I decided to wait for life to happen . . . for life to give me a great submission and it delivered. The essay weaved motherhood, mindfulness and menopause in a way I had never intended, so we know it is from the Divine. It was a transformation moment where life stops and we have those “before and after” moments.

Thank you Kurt!

An OL friend commented on my most vulnerable post and this was my reply:

The only way to describe it is like this: I was born perfect in the image of the Divine and life kept chipping away at me until I wasn’t recognizable. The last decade I’ve been gathering those bits of me: cleaning, polishing, rubbing off the jagged edges, unknowingly under the watchful eye of the Divine. I’m reborn and ready to get to work. Thank you so much for your support.

Kurt is on my team. Kurt knows my heart. I need more Kurts. Kurt brings out the best in me.

I Discovered My Worth Through Community

I’ve found my self with a hodge podge of people in my life that love and support me. A motley crew that I could not and would not have picked. They have each entered my life in such a random way. Frank McKinley, Jewel Eliese, Dawn Benson Jones, Grammy Dawney Glenn, and of course Kurt.

In this online business world we are told to find our tribe . . . of course I do every thing ass backwards and my tribe has found me.

Maybe, that is how it should be? Rather than looking for love in all the wrong places . . .

maybe we should let love find us.

Maybe, I’m a girl who is loved in a special way by the very people whom help me find each fragment? Once I find a bit of myself then maybe someone else enters my life to help me polish, clean or work on those jagged edges. In this chaos, the Divine has the master plan.

Maybe, this is what love is?

Love is where we all walk each other home.

Renee TarantowskiFeb 7, 2018

The Price of Wisdom

Today this very vulnerable story was published on Writer Mom.  I am ready to be the person I've been growing into.  This is going to be fun!


The Price of Wisdom

And how I paid for it

This ebook. This cookbook. This nemesis that hangs around my neck weighing me down at each step. I’ve started and stopped writing it more times than I can remember. Why?

The Why question is my constant companion since menopause. It isn’t the accusatory why but instead a compassionate curiosity. Why am I doing what I do? Why am I where I am? Each day a never-ending stream of “whys”. Rarely do I find a satisfactory answer.

This time, an answer did come to me and it was about value, wisdom, worthiness.

The Final Draft

As I wrote the final draft of the mini “test” cookbook, I could not help but feel ill. I had my proofreaders lined up, I had begun the Amazon publishing process, I downloaded the software to help me publish a book with beautiful photos that I proudly took myself and now I sat with my words, a red pen, and a bucket in case I threw up.

Why?

Why is this so hard?

Is this worth $2.99? Am I ripping people off? Is this thing that I made worthy?

Bingo.

Is this “thing” worthy?

Thing.

I could not even call it by its name.

It began with a sniffle

Adding to my need to puke, I now felt like someone was sitting on my chest. Then the grip on my throat made it even harder to breath. All of this tightness broke the levee to a flood of tears. Followed my memories, followed by feelings, . . . until everything was a jumble.

This wasn’t a test cookbook this was another way for me to fail and support the idea that I am not worthy. It was another opportunity for those around me to mock my efforts or ignore me.

My head began to fill with all the times that I had failed. Every single failure lived out in slow motion. I’m not sure how long I sat holding my throbbing head crying and gasping for air.

It’s not about a cookbook

I took a shower. A long hot shower and cried more, I cried until the water ran cold. Freezing, I wrapped myself in a towel and laid in my bed under an electric blanket. Water therapy followed by being wrapped naked in warmth. As I write about it vs living it, it makes me think of a womb. Protective, warm, watery, salty and safe.

This sequence of showering and swaddling myself in my bed was not new. Since I was a very little girl I’ve been performing this same ritual.

I circle back to my questions of why?

Before I was even born, I was an accident. My mother reminded me of this often. I lived with being unwanted. I learned early on to follow the directions, no matter how horribly wrong, and become invisible. To not matter. To pretend life was different. To fly under the radar.

Occasionally I foolishly tried to prove I wasn’t an accident, quickly I am reminded that being invisible was more tolerable for everyone. Except me.

I’m almost ready to go back and proof the final draft of my cookbook. I’m almost ready to have my words be worthy. I’m almost ready to not be invisible. I’m almost ready to step into being a writer. I almost believe I’m not a mistake.

Almost. I think I may need another shower . . .

As I stand in this truth and see all of these things at my feet: waiting to be honored, respected, healed, forgiven, I realize that this is not about writing a cookbook. It is about writing from a place of curiosity and compassion for all the women who share this experience.

I am the voice, the writer, the guide for those walking the journey with me. I am no longer invisible, instead, I am worthy.

In the end, I think the cookbook is easily worth $2.99 on Amazon but the wisdom of the journey to 2.99 is priceless.

Renee TarantowskiFeb 5, 2018

How much is too much?

The basement project . . .

 has been a game changer in so many aspects of my life.

Clearing out the old, unwanted, unused, unneeded . . . as I was getting rid of stuff, I was also getting rid of my old habits that were not serving me.  

Through tears . . . sometimes just one and at other times that hysterical ugly cry, the tears were cleansing.  The water that cleans the dishes each night and load after load of clothes . . . my inner water is also cleansing.  

Help from Friends

Many friends have suggested that I read Marie Kondo's book.  So I wrote about it:

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

This is the title of the book my friends keep referencing for me. I thought it was a load of crap but decided to schlep to the library and pick it up. Standing among neatly stacked books, I skimmed a book about achieving a neatly kept house.

The book, was not a complete load of crap, but did not resonate with me. It has worked for my friends but it didn’t work for me and this is why.

How could a single, Japanese woman, living in a tiny apartment offer any advice on how to tidy up. My chef mentor was a Japanese woman — I know how tidy and precise she was and I imagine Marie Kondo (the author) and Tameko Cowen (the chef) had a Japanese mindset that most Americans do not have. Mommason (Tameko) insisted that I do things precisely her way — we worked in a galley kitchen 8 feet by 4 feet. In that tiny space there was no room for anything to be out of place. The walk in cooler adjacent to our work space was much bigger and I would often escape into the frigid cold. Mommason tried her best to teach me the ways of her country but I was too American. She did teach me how to embrace and respect another culture and for that I am grateful.

I am, by nature, a very organized, neat, tidy, person. When I was single living in a tiny apartment, everything had its place. It was a no-brainer. I imagine that both as single women Marie and I would be fast friends. I can also imagine the strain on our relationship as my family grew to six and she wrote a book about my past life with a clean apartment.

Kondo and a Messy Husband

When Marie Kondo did get married, she didn’t have a messy husband. She has a husband who enjoys neat and tidy AND he cooks all the meals. Again, her life and my life are not resonating.

The Kondo Philosophy

This part I like . . . the idea is that you pile up all of your similar belongings, pick up each item, pondering “Does this sparks joy?” If not, express thanks and get rid of it.

Picture this: I load up all of my shirts, some dating back over 30 years from High School and I ask myself do they spark joy. To tackle this job I would need lots and lots of adult beverages! or a match. Why is it so hard? I love the concept but the ringer is I don’t purchase my belongings with this mindset so getting rid of them in this way doesn’t always work.

If we buy something to make us happy . . . our mindset when we get rid of it is that we will be unhappy. We need to change our purchase/buying mindset.

The Other Problem with the Kondo Philosophy

“Does this spark joy?”

This is where Americans get lost. We don’t know what f-ing joy is!!!

We can’t ask a shirt if it brings us joy if we don’t know what makes our hearts sing and our soul dance.

We need to know what joy is. We need to know what a “spark” feels like. We don’t, we are sad, lonely and own way too much shit!! Our joy is buried in the hoard.

Should you Kondo your kids?


Upsplash

The day after my birthday in 2017, the Wall Street Journal published and article by that name. I read it. Finally, Marie Kondo came over to the other side — frigging reality.

“Ms. Kondo says she has realized her method needs a tweak for parents with kids because it is unrealistic.” No shit.

Here is another great quote, “Ms. Kondo says she isn’t the nagging type and values what makes her children joyful. For example, when my daughter is crying, I try to ask her what she wants and fulfill her wishes as much as possible.”

Ok, we all have different parenting styles but just as Marie’s tidying was unrealistic I think her parenting needs a reality check as well. What will bring her daughter joy is stuff that the other kids have!

I did find it interesting that she declined a tour by the WSJ.

Final Thoughts

As we go through life we think we have the answers. Mark Twain has a great quote that says it better than I can:

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

We are all walking each other home . . . Mommason, Me and Marie.

Until we meet again.

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