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post-chair carrying day 40


Really needing a bit of time to process my journey. Just had a very intense two weeks. Still suffering a bit from jet lag; but more, I think, my soul is suffering from instensity-lag. Not feeling Fear. Feeling vague impressions of Love and gratitude but also just not caught up with myself. Of course when I write this, a tiny nudge of Fear enters my consciousness. Fear that something is "wrong" about this; but only a nudge. Then I pour Love upon it and I am able to relax and allow. I simply cannot write too much right now. Too much ambiguity, too much vagueness, too much tiredness. I will be here waiting for me to return from the flights across the country and all the intensity of my time on the East Coast. And, when my soul and mind are again present, I will write.


Breathing for now...

post-chair carrying day 36


Sometimes I cannot believe I carried that chair around for 50+ days. This is only day 36 after putting it down and it seems like forever ago. 


Back to the "love is a helluva lot of work," "life is a helluva lot of work," thoughts... Yes, it is all a helluva lot of work. And, yes, it is all worth it. I look back on my life. I've done a wide variety of things I never in my life thought I would do. I've HAD to do a wide variety of things I never thought I'd have to do. I'd wager we all can look back on our lives and make similar assessments. There are things I would rather not have done or experienced. But they happened. And they made me who I am today. And today will build upon the past to create my tomorrow. It is all worth it. 


So, how to look at how I affected others in this light? I have also done things that have hurt people. I haven't intended to hurt people, well, most of the time. I am sure there were times when I sunk into my Fear so deeply that I probably felt some malice. Hate to admit it, but it likely is true. So, is THAT worth it?



Well, I suppose those people I've hurt, whether intentionally or unintentionally will have to answer that question for themselves. Whether encountering me in whatever circumstances was worth the pain they may have felt is theirs to decide. So, how about my perspective? Hurting people is never a "worthy" option, under any circumstances, let me be very clear about that. Except, I suppose in self-defense. But otherwise, it is something I AM very sorry I did and I have had to work hard to forgive myself for the lapses into Fear that left me feeling justified or desperate enough to inflict pain. And I am hopeful of forgivenes from others as well. 


Beyond this, I cannot think about it. I used to be the queen of beating myself up over the past. It's taken years to learn to be kinder to myself, to forgive myself. And, actually the Fear Chair Project seemed to be the final step in my recovery from self-abuse over the past. As a result of learning how to better carry Fear, and Love, I realize that, sure those times I hurt others are very unfortunate, and they are in the past. They are not anything I can or need to carry anymore. Just like all of the past. The best thing I can learn from the past is how to let it go. The most important lesson is to live NOW. That is the lesson that makes even unfortunate events worthy, that they can be let go and I can move on from them. For, holding onto the past is what dooms me to continue to live in the Fear that created the unfortunate events. 


It is said that a history forgotten is destined to be repeated. This is also true. So, I am by NO means saying I forget my past. I know from where I have come. It is in the remembering that I can feel the deepest gratitude that I am now where I am and NOT in the past. I just must not hang the past around my neck. My past is not my now. It is the work of getting here from there that is worth it. It is the learning, the growth, the pain of seeing that I can sometimes be a monster and can learn to be better that is worth it. It is the pain of looking clearly at every inch of what needs forgiving and even at every speck of horribleness I may have inflicted and admitting responsiblity then diligently learning to forgive and move forward that is worth it.  It is even the pain of realizing that the people I may have hurt may not forgive me, OR may not even think I am important enough to feel hurt by that humbles me, humanizes me. This pain fully faced and felt, makes me grateful to feel humble and fully humanand THAT is worth it.


I cannot be fully ALIVE, fully LIVING my life if I am only facing beautiful and pretty things, memories, images of myself. It is in the acknowledgement and acceptance of my own ugliness and painful past that I can choose to set that down. Loving myself is a helluva lot of work. And it's worth it.

post-carrying day 34


"Luv is a helluva lot of work" 


When I was young my mother learned how to silkscreen. Her first job was to make felt banners with that saying on it. We kids helped by taking each finished piece to various surfaces, counters, couches, chairs, beds... Every surface we kids had used for safe in our games of "Lava." It was a two color poster, so the image evolved. And the house was covered twice. We all felt very important helping mom with such a big job. I believe 150 were made. And we all giggled that we got to say a semblance of a swear word infront of our mother.


One of my sisters has kept one of those banners all these years. Tonight she said, "being human is a helluva lot of work." A true twist on a truth. So often it just feels as if life could beat us. This "mountain" I keep talking about is littered with ridges and outcroppings and crevasses (to name a few) that just aren't visble until they are right infront of you. In other words, embarking upon the journey is one decision. Remaining on the climb is many decisions. At the outset we encounter our Fear confront it and move forward through it. As we continue, Fear leaves little and large reminders along the way that we are mere mortals. And this can be daunting at best, overwelming at medium and paralizing at worse. 


I don't really have any wisdom about this, it is just something that came up tonight. That life is a helluva lot of work. Again though I guess I recall the words, "but it's worth it!" And THAT is the wisdom. 


This week supporting my daughter as she goes through a complex passage and supporting other loved ones as well, I have felt a lot of Fear and a lot of Love but mostly what I have experienced is the worthiness of this journey. Love is a helluva lot of worth it! lol

post-carrying day 33


It's been difficult to write lately because I am so much immersed in complexities involving loved ones, yet I must protect their privacy. Suffice it to say though that every day is riddled with opportunities and encounters with Fear and Love both. 


Tonight I feel overwelmed. Each day I have worked diligently to listen to my own needs and taken care of myself as well as support those I love. Today I got a pedicure. Something I do perhaps once every 3 to 5 years. But I am in a strange city and am busy and distracted from the body maintenance; and my feet hurt. So a good soak, massage and nail clipping was nice. But I think the intensity of what I am doing to help and support my loved ones is requiring me to make choices to take very good care of myself which is new for me. So the self-care IS necessary; but it too is in a way taxing on me in that it is new behavior for me. 


Remember my struggles with being BIG, or being VISIBLE? Well, at this time in life I am finding that I simply MUST be very visible, very big -- to myself. If I don't pay very good attention to my needs, the people depending upon me will not have me. I will not have me, for I would be sick or tired to the point of depletion. It is a VERY tumultuous time in my life and in lives around me. It is a time of climbing great mountains in the midst of tumult. Every step is important. Every need is heightened. 


I am honored to be with these wonderful people on important treks in their lives. I am honored to be climbing beside them. I am grateful I have climbed mountains before (metaphoric and actual) to support me and remind me what is important on such journeys. 


Today I learned to step into the BIGness. Even perhaps to play with it a bit. I learned that if I breathe and just move forward, taking care of myself while caring for others is more a dance up the mountain than a slog. This is important. I had fun today taking care of myself. I had fun being visible. And it took not a bit from those I loved while I did so. Ultimately, my joy, my replenished self made me a better listener, a more human companion, a more joyful giver. My Fear of being big does create anxiety in me. This is true. So, perhaps, in the end, caring for myself earlier in the day makes me better able to handle the fall-out, the resulting anxiety. Yes, Loving myself makes me better able to Love myself....  :)

Post-carrying day 31


"Little Fear Chair/Little Love Chair" (see photo below). I decided to paint "Love" topside on the little totem chair. "Fear" is painted on the underside this time. My reasoning is that I have been exploring Fear quite a lot. The powerful nature of Fear, how and where Fear lurks, how it infiltrates our/my lives/life in so many ways. I thought it might be good to begin to turn my attention to Love. Not that Love has been out of the picture. It's been there all along as I investigate Fear. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten as far with Fear as I have. Believe me, this is deeply true. 


I found myself relaying to a loved one again today how the FCP helped me learn to dissociate in my relationships. She was concerned that I am taking on too much right now (had my blog from three days ago been saved, you would know more about this, sigh) with loved ones who are struggling and/or at crossroads in their lives and are turning to me. It has been intense. I have three loved ones in these positons right now. And tonight I am tired. But very soon I will do what I do when tired, I will go to sleep. 

The FCP created such a space between myself and others' reactions to my Fear/s (and my chair) that this space has remained a part of how I love people now. Because I no longer Fear their lives, their reactions, their actions, their needs becoming my own problem, my own --  period; I can listen to them, I can love them, I can BE WITH them in times of tumult and not take it all on. Even when the processing gets exhaustingly intense. And when I reach a limit, it is time to take care of my needs too. I eat. I rest. I write. I art.


In the lost blog entry, I likened their situations to being at the foot of their own mountains. I could not be their guide for they each need to find their own path. I could not DO the climb for them either, they have much to learn and it isn't my job. I could not even be their pack mule, for they need to find their own tools and supplies for their journeys. But, the FCP and the work I've been doing with Fear since has allowed me not only to see all of this clearly, but I can also see that what i CAN do is BE present with them. For I have a mountain to climb as well and perhaps being with them at this poignant time for all of them at once is part of my mountain. So I had better know what to pack in my own bag. I had better be certain to take rest when I need it. To eat when I need nurishment. To listen and to BE with them but also most importantly, to listen and BE with my self or I won't be around to BE with them!


This is all very humbling. I feel extremely human. Extremely limited to this aging body and brain. And I am extremely grateful for the energy my mind and soul bring to the task, yet every day, and most moments, I am listening for the presence and support that God/Universe/Source of Life offers. My Loved ones face immense mountains. My own mountain is enourmous. I could be overwelmed if I forget to move one step at a time. If I forget my focus in dealing with Fear. It must be on one step at a time. Each moment. And it must be a step taken in Love. Love for myself, Love for those beside me, Love for the journey and even for the effort itself. 


I am not a Christian but I hear/read/remember things Jesus is reported to have said and many quotes I do Love. "It will not be easy; but it WILL be worth it." Sounds good to me. One day at a time.


Thanks mom for the reminder!


post-carrying day 30


Shit! I just discovered my really long post from last night is lost! I must have just closed out without saving it!!! It was a hard one to write too. And I was happy with it. ... So sad....


I had a painting teacher who always reminded us that we must be willing and able to "kill our darlings." Well, even unintentionally I guess. Sigh....


As my sister said, I must have needed to write it but it must have needed to not be posted. Sigh....


Will try again later... will try to remember to save.... oddly the post was all about helping loved ones as they face their mountains while insuring that I remember my own tools and self care.... it was about struggling with not being able to save people I love from pain and adversity.... ha ha,... then I didn't "Save" the blog,... god that's dripping with irony... lol

Post carrying Day 28


Missed last night because I had to get up at 3 a.m. to drive to the airport and catch a string of flights (ok, two) that took me to Atlanta and a 4 hour drive to Savannah. It is now 11:22 p.m. and I actually woke up at 2:30 on my own and so am thoroughly exhausted. Had a day filled with mindful encounters with Fear and with Love. And in the word of a ticket checker in PDX, my day was "MAGNIFICENT!" (he said it all caps too actually and with a glorious smile)


I have seen the daughter and am ready to sleep. Will write more tomorrow. I promise...

Post-carrying Day 26


Flying out day after tomorrow to see my daughter. She's having a pretty rough time while also working hard at art school. She's an only child, so no siblings to turn to. She's many states away, so her local support system is other college students and lets be honest, college students are and have to be wrapped up in their own lives. So, no consistent support system. She's doing great but hit a rough time. So I'll go for a week. See if I can help her find stability or at least support her efforts to do so. And just be there. Just be present. Someone who loves her always.


But first, tomorrow I'm stopping by my hairdresser for a dye job. Just to lighten things up a bit, I'm going with teal and purple highlights. Always been curious about this. Why not now? A little levity...  


Today I was mindful of my encounters with people, strangers and acquaintences. Noticing again when Fear took me back a step from connecting. Then stepping forward again, letting people into the circle I create out of Fear. Looking them in the eyes when we spoke, no matter for how long or short a time span. It was wonderful. I found myself saying frequently to myself as I went on my way, "people are beautiful." 


Mindful encounters with strangers result in feeling as if all the world contains is friends.