Renee TarantowskiJan 9, 2018

My Manifesto

Today on FB, an old friend commented that he wasn't going to comment to keep our "Facebook Friendship".

I found this interesting.  A Facebook Friendship.  I'd never heard of that and thought it might be similiar to the "Minnesota Nice" concept.  You know, they talk nice to your face but then belittle in hushed and not so hushed tones.  I did not make it up but when someone told me about Minnesota Nice it made complete sense to me--not necessarily the Minnesota part but the two-faced persons that we must deal with.

I posted on how wonderful I though Oprah's speech was.  She was the perfect person to give that speech at this time.  I aspire to write like that and express myself in such a concise and moving way. I felt as if I could have given the speech myself.

Then I get this comment on my feed.

This is my reply.  It is my personal mission, my voice, my manifesto:

Our friendship is rooted in compassion and understanding. You can go ahead and think I'm full of shit--you won't be the only one thinking that. Much of what Oprah said I could have said myself. So if you are righteously "saving" our friendship, don't. This goes for anyone in my feed--unfriend me now!

The rest of my life is going to be about inviting people into a space of love, kindness, compassion and curiosity--without judgement. We are all one and we are all walking each other home. I respect that you may take a different route than I, and I encourage and welcome that same respect.

And so it is.

Until we meet again.

Renee TarantowskiJan 8, 2018

Mindfulness Hangover

Today I wrote, I think, one of my most insightful articles.  

A series of uneventful occurrences brought me to clean, watch and be moved emotionally.  

Here is a snippet:

It’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present. Edie Beale

The Basement Project

If you have been part of my on line life or my in person life you know I’ve been slightly obsessed with cleaning out my basement. We moved nearly 7 years ago and the basement became the place for memories, hopes, dreams, tragedy, lose, projects started, projects finished but homeless, projects in planning — which really amounts too “oh, wouldn’t that be fun to make a table top out of all my broken china!” What was I thinking?

I have started and stopped this project many, many times. Honestly, facing all that the basement represented was too much. Now, after I’ve been in therapy for a year . . . I could face the basement and all the lessons it had to teach me.

The Art of Learning

As a teacher and student, I understand both sides of learning. I’m a better teacher than I am a student . . . or maybe I should say my teacher needs to be a special person. I am teachable but not by just anyone — probably why I was a horrible student in school. Probably why only a few of my closest friends who “speak Renee” can explain things to me in a way that I will receive it. I am so lucky to have them in my life.

When it comes to lessons of life I am self taught. I graduated top of my class in the school of hard knocks and still in the graduate program.

I think of the basement as a huge lesson — not just in cleaning and organizing but in my true field of study: mindfulness.

The art of learning is taking an experience and finding the life lesson with in. The art of teaching is inviting you into my story and upon your departure you are enlightened.

The Final Day of Cleaning

On January 7, 2018 I finished the basement project.

I now have a Mindfulness Hangover. I have touched everything in that basement while asking myself:

  • does this bring me joy?
  • can I buy this again later if I need it?
  • will it bless someone else?
  • do I frigging need another ______?
  • what the hell was I thinking?
  • how do I feel when I’m holding this?

I cried. I was pissed. I went into the bathroom mirror and berated myself for being stupid. I took long deep breaths. I went back into the bathroom and apologized to myself. I loaded boxes, I emptied boxes. I put stuff in the good will box, then took it out, then returned it. I laughed. I was moved to tears when I found a certain photo of my husband guiding my daughter across a cold flowing stream. I was mad at myself for thinking that I could possibly do it all — no longer can I be the keeper of ALL the physical and emotional stuff. I am not a Super Woman.

You can read the whole post on Medium

Renee TarantowskiJan 5, 2018

A Simple Prayer

Beloved, help me see this life through the eyes of an angel. 
Thank you.

Some days are harder than others. In these simple moments of discord, I need a minor adjustment in attitude to see the love in each moment.  

Then, just like that . . . I am love again.  Full.  Wholehearted. 

Beloved, help me see the people who mean the most to me, through the eyes of an angel.  Thank you.  Repeat as often as you needed.

Renee TarantowskiJan 4, 2018

The Basement Project (Day 3)

Is it day 3 of the full force basement project?

 I think so.

I woke up early, had my usual morning routine--including the 30-minute elliptical workout, despite a sore butt and calves.  I did it anyway.  

You know what?  

It was so easy today that I didn't even realize my time was up.  How crazy is that?  Granted, I'm not doing 5-minute miles up Mt. Everest . . . but I've not used the elliptical with any regularity since last spring.  I love being outside and not in the basement.

Especially a basement that is cluttered and unorganized.  

Recently I wrote an article on Medium about grabbing 2018 by the cojones and making it a great year--but I have a few things that are standing in my way.  A few things that are bigger than me.  Like . . . going through everything that I have boxed up in the basement and deciding if I will ever knit that sweater, make that baby scrapbook, sew that quilt and countless other odds and ends.  I thought of them as failures or reminders of the life that I wanted to live but couldn't.  The dread of the going through the stuff has overwhelming for me, the personal disappointment for projects undone and money spent.  

This situation that I have found myself in is not a new one.  In my adult life, I have almost always had a storage unit OR a large part of the house that was used for storage.  

And it isn't until just writing this, as I'm thinking back to . . .  when I began storing my life in boxes. Living out of boxes.  Homeless in my own home.  Uggghh.  At this time, I can't share all the thoughts that just through my mind but one day I will.  Sorting through life, sorting through boxes, deciding what to keep, what to pitch, what to give away AND the most important thing:

Getting rid of what was never mine but somehow I ended up with it.  

Renee TarantowskiJan 3, 2018

The Basement Project

My basement is my own personal museum.

On display, I have hopes and dreams.  In boxes, I hide unfinished projects.  And a lot of other crap.  Stuff that I have no idea how it even came into my house.  What was I thinking?

The basement is the final frontier on a journey to tame the "stuff" wilderness.  Closets, drawers, under beds, even the shelves in the garage have all been cleaned and preened.  

It has taken me a year to go through the entire house, and I can no longer avoid it.  

Today I wrote about Grabbing 2018 by the . . . horns and clearing out the basement is necessary for clearing out the foundation of what is keeping me stuck.  I can't explain it very well, but I'm working on the metaphor and relationship between having a messy basement and having a messy life foundation.

Stick with me . . . I will make sense of it all.

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