You'll notice the name of the blog has changed. I am in the process of making cards to give out to folks who ask about the chair so they can check out the blog; and I thought this name might make more sense to find it.
"if you walk with her and do not collapse into her grips or run away from her discomfort, Fear can be a true and intimate friend who leads you into a richer life." This is a quote from a childhood friend of my daughters. The woman is on a year-long retreat/pilgrimage walking through France and Spain. The quote is from her post just before leaving on the flight to Europe. I asked her if I could use it here because it so much speaks to what the Fear Chair Project is. The Chair is the metaphor for Fear. I carry it. I do not collaps into it, I do not pad it or add handles where it rubs my hips or shoulders or hands in great discomfort. My Fear is a beautiful burden. But a burden non-the-less; and someday, my hope is that I will no longer need to carry it.
It feels odd reaching 30 days. A month. In so many ways it feels incomplete. As if I've not learned nearly enough carrying the chair. One would think such an experience would create massive and exciting explosions of change in oneself over a month's time. The changes have been remarkably subtle though; and my sense is they are not deep and lasting changes. Or I'd wake tomorrow and leave the chair home. That may happen. One day at a time after all. But I'm guessing Fear is not finished with me yet.
The few changes I DO see so far are best summed up with the word "opening." There is in me an opening to life that has been closed a long long time. A clenchedness even, that now is relaxing, and allowing me to live as I live, be as I be, say, do, think, listen, all very simply as I be, do, think and listen. There is an openness to living in this moment in my skin that I have only glimpsed before. Now it is a matter of carrying this openness as much as I carry the Chair or the Fear. Every day. One day at a time.
I just read a recent post on FB by the young woman now two weeks into her pilgrimage in France and someone commented, "after doing this you will be able to go anywhere. The first steps are always hard but they will make you stronger." I feel as if the first 30 days carrying Fear/the Chair have been the first steps. I am only beginning to open to this experience. My way in the past in far too many instances and circumstances has always been to skim the surface of understanding and call it good.
I've long lacked the discipline to really stick with something until it is fully absorbed or understood. I think this was due to the fear I have of losing myself. I've done this in relationships, in my education, with jobs, various vices. But I've a couple times dove in and really did lose myself for periods in my life. I think those times only encouraged the fear of doing so again because I was lost to some pretty unhealthy passions. Reflecting on those times though too, I realize the choices I made to dive in were based on fears as well. Not really on passions to live fully and love my life. The only exception was parenthood. That was perhaps the only real choice I've made and just given myself over to it fully living the wild ride. But I carried Fear through out parenting too (see post two days ago). I would add my marriage (second) too to this list. We've got some very unique and challenging circumstances but my commitment to the love of my life is trumping my Fear.
I really do want no longer to hand the wheel over to Fear on this journey through life (perhaps I should be carrying a steering wheel, It'd be lighter. lol). I REALLY do want to walk this, my own pilgrimage I guess. My time in the company of Fear, knowing that Fear is my companion and getting to know and even to love my companion as a part of who I am and as a part of what is the journey through life as a human. And, (back to the chair) the weight of this metaphor, the weight of the journey with the chair and the weight of walking so closely with Fear will make me stronger and will allow me to go anywhere.