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Post-carrying Day 6

I spent some time with people i haven't been able to see much lately because of being so busy with our house painting job. I had the day off today though and so caught up with some folks and some more errands.

One person I spent a bit of time with was the friend who'd talked negatively about the chair with other people. She readily admitted today that she completely couldn't understand what the Chair was about and thought it was stupid. My response was, "Well, you could always ask me for more of an explanation." Silence. So I gave her my one line, "I am on the cusp of some enormous life choices right now (she knows what these are) and I just had to do something powerful to confront my fears so the decisions aren't made from Fear." Pause. "And it's changed my life." Pause. Then she said, "Well good, I'm glad, cause I thought it was just stupid." I let it go.

Before we'd gotten together, I'd decided I wasn't going to even bring up the FCP with her. I decided to just forgive her for the gossip and move on. Her friendship is more important than my hurt feelings. And, I'd just know it about her that I need to have clear boundaries. So I wasn't really bothered by this conversation. I sort of watched it, as quite a lot of our time together, from sort of an observer perspective. It was interesting, I saw that I have indeed changed quite a lot from the FCP. I am far more clear and far more distinctly me. Solid. This was always a friendship in which I'd felt like the little sister. Not anymore. As a matter of fact, I feel far more clearly distinct from my relationships all around. This feels enlarging. And it feels good.

Wow, I just said it feels good to feel BIG! Holycow...this will take some reflection but for now I prefer to just live in this moment and enjoy the new comfort with BIGNESS. Wow!

Post-carrying Day 5


One day at a time... 


Woke early today after a dream about a couple of identical twins from my early adulthood. They actually brought to light for me my intense buried Fear of identical twins. I think I dreamt of them because I am feeling a bit afraid that someone close to me is deceiving me. I did a lot of work years ago to understand the twin Fear and it really is a deception Fear. The Fear that someone presenting themself to you as they are then turning around one day and they are not the person you thought they were. 


It stems from my mom looking SO much like her sister when they were younger (they are years apart in age) that when we would visit grandma and grandpa, if mom and dad wanted to go out they would silently slip out when her sister was there and we kids were all securely playing knowing our mom was still there. One time I remember being upset by something my siblings did and running crying to my "mom" only to find upon closer review that it was my aunt who's lap I'd thrown myself into. 


As a parent of several children, I could understand my mom wanting time away and too I can understand how nice it would be to just slip away rather than have half a dozen hands clawing at your pantyhose trying to keep you close. But this story also reminded me as a parent to be careful of what made parenting "easier" for me, because seen from the child, it may do a little damage.


For now,... for NOW, this story reminds me that deception sometimes happens. People try to protect themselves through deception. It doesn't mean my world will collapse or is collapsing. It doesn't mean my security is gone. My true and core security resides within; and I know that person. 


Ooo, just occurred to me -- is the dream about ME deceiving MYSELF? Hmmmmm...I just said "I know that person" inside me. I guess a therapist could make a Jungian case for me dreaming about deceiving myself. I don't think so, though it is always good to check in with that. I do have some concerns about my life and choices right now but it is the one day at a time that I think is helping me see the NOW and myself within NOW as it/I is/am.


The Fear Chair is still in the car. Perhaps I will bring it in at night again.

Post-carrying Day 4


Today was the first day it felt odd that I still blog about Fear after carrying the Chair is past. I mean, it is still in my car but not always on my back or mind. I AM aware of Fear triggers and that is good.


It is also Sunday, beginning a week for which I have set myself a gigantic personal task which is littered with Fear triggers. That has been hard. This week will be hard. I strive to stay in the moment until it is time to follow through with the task. Then in that moment I will feel what there is to feel. And move forward. It's not until later in the week, so, that's a bit of a challenge. BUT, the Fear Chair Project has also shown me quite a lot about my support system. And I intend to utilize the gift tthis week of those I can count on.


Remembering my tools for handling Fear...

Post-carrying Day 3


So, Fear of just letting go and painting wildly has come up  twice today. I feel SOOOOooooooo (breath) ooooooooo... boxed in by my old definitions of myself and/or my old definitions of what makes a good painter. I - just - struggle with edgy. It's not that I can't do it. I think my first two paintings from the 30:30 challenge were/are pretty edgy and I love them. Everything I've done since has been pretty safe or just to get the thing done. Well, I have purposefully tried new techniques or polished some observation skills, etc. The big BUT however is: BUT, they are not free, I was not free painting them. I was standing or sitting in my prescribed little space painting prescribed little paintings. Oh, the "Old Wounds" that was edgy and I love it. I painted that in 15 minutes after painting on someone's house for 9.5 hours with only 4.5 hours of sleep the night before. I didn't have the energy to expect anything or even try to do anything. I just did it. 


So, edgy IS in me but I am afraid of losing something of myself by letting her out. I am afraid of losing what? Well, my identity really. I've developed a certain style through the years with this confined artist in me. I am afraid she will be lost if I move to a more open approach. And, I don't know what the new style would be. There are so many people out there painting like they paint, am I going to pick one of those styles? I don't want to. I want my own, but how could there be yet another style for me? AND, one that is unique to the world?


Perhaps I should start with where I am. 


I am a representational painter who likes to create unique connections in my paintings. I dabble in impressionism but am rather representational and can't seem to not want to do that in some form. How do I turn this to edgy? Well, some of my older paintings WERE actually edgy in the subjects I connected in the paintings. Hmmm. What's wrong with that?


Maybe my real Fear is that I am doing it "wrong." That I should be following a more modern and popular form of expression in my painting. Hmmm


Both are probably true. I AM afraid of letting go and painting wildly. And, I AM afraid I am doing painting "wrong."


I should print and post this infront of my pallette. It would do me good to let go of some old definitions all around...

Post carrying Day 2


So, the chair came in the car with me to the tire store, fabric store, bank and to the grocery store. It was definitely an easier day of errands but I miss talking with people about the Chair, Fear, whatever comes up because of the Chair. I still practice as much as possible, looking at the people around me as I enter spaces or walk through them. I think this is a good practice and am grateful to the FCP for it. It is SO easy to just go about ones business, looking to where one is going, focused on the next task or the specific line of business and never look at people's faces. Also, I was sure to compliment people when I noticed something significant about what they wore or how well they seemed to be parenting, etc... We all need all the positive energy we can get. I am pleased to no longer feel hesitant out of Fear to just drop a quick compliment or to stay and chat a bit if someone seems to want to do so.


The day did start out shaky though. Last night's self-bashing left me feeling just how it was supposed to, small and insignificant. Sort of a hangover really. This has been a terrible practice all my life that I am very glad to see for what it is. I read today that when negativity or conflict become an issue, it is vital to examine them, get to know what they are about so they lose their power. I am hopeful that last night's revelation that my self-bashing has always been to return me to my invisible state will help me understand it better next time I say something or do something very visibly "stupid." My hope is to eventually recognize the behavior so well that it changes and eventually is clearly not needed anymore. In other words, my intent is to unburden myself of the Fear of visibility EVEN when I do/say something publicly "stupid." 


The other piece of the "hangover," though was a bit more complex. I wrote a bit a few days ago about feeling as if the FCP was becoming a bit dangerous. I wrote this morning in my pages that the Chair has become such a complete metaphor that the metaphor takes on a life of its own in a manner of speaking. That is, it (the Chair) carries more of my Fear than I am conscious of. And, there's a lot of deep dark stuff from the past buried for good reason in my unconscious. I assume I am not unusual in this. Otherwise we wouldn't have nightmares, phobias we can't explain, common fearful images that seem to creep out the collective group to their very bones. Yesterday evening's embarrassing moment followed by my self-bashing tapped into the deep dark stuff that has risen to much less deep levels because I chose to create the metaphor of the Chair. The self-bashing is a habit I have carried on as long as I can remember; and the reasons behind it have gone completely unknown to me for 5 decades. That's deep-dark stuff... When I first awoke, I felt a mess inside. So I am very grateful I wasn't finished sleeping and had the time. I put in one of my daughter's old kid's movies to draw my attention out of myself and was able to sleep long enough to feel truly rested and so upon waking, was able to see what I needed to do to address the Fear that was at the root of my turmoil. Then I did it. And all was well.


But I am remaining very aware of the power of this metaphor I created. For a while it will take some vigilance and a great amount of self-love to strengthen me to carry the metaphor. Much more courage and strength than it took to carry the chair. 

Post Day 1


It was a bit odd not carrying the chair today. It IS in the car and came up to the studio with me this evening (I painted the underside of the seat. See the 30 in 30 challenge on my page. It's my "Day 18" painting.)

Had some good conversations about it. Realized I really am finished carrying it. But had a challenge to the lessons...


I went to a networking gathering for people involved in the arts and artists. Someone asked me about the Chair. She'd known about the Project and wondered why I wasn't carrying it. After explaning that it had become such a powerful metaphor for Fear that it began to anchor me to my Fears about the past and about the future, she asked "which do you find you are more burdened by, the past or future." I didn't really have a clear answer. In the moment, I don't feel burdened by either and I stated this. I was so new to my realization that to then put myself into moments of Fear about past choices or Fear about the future was beyond me. I fumbled a bit and then we were interrupted. This fumble was later exacerbated by my making a thoughtless comment upon saying "goodbye" to this same person. 


I drove the 20 miles home wrestling with my inner critic who so very much wanted to make me suffer for being a buffoon. Wow. I got home. Painted the underside of my Fear Chair with a huge rose and rewrote the word "Love" there. Then wrestled my inner critic some more until I finally asked myself "What am I afraid of that I so readily beat myself up for this?" I talked with my husband about this. He listened patiently as I wandered my path of thoughts until I saw the Fear. I was very visible tonight. Not hugely but certainly more so than I have been recently. And in my visiibility, I blundered. I made some mistakes. So, first there was the vulnerability of visibility, which was fine but hey, I am still very new off the Fear Chair. Then, I fumbled in the presence of someone I admire. But not only that, I risked dissappointing them. THAT is a big trigger for my Fear of abandonment. If I show myself to be dissappointing, I will be deemed unnworthy of further attention. That's the root Fear.


So why beat myself up? Because it pummels me. It makes me small again. Invisible. Beats me down actually. I used to use this one a lot in earlier days but never really understood that it was actually a tool  I for some reason learned to use to make me feel safe when I felt too visible. Wow. Like a tiger being whipped back up on its tiny platform after it stretched out and let out a roar at the wrong time, I put myself back in my place so to speak so that I wouldn't be sent out of the circus. 


Ok. So I am still afraid of dissappointing people. I am still afraid of abandonment.  I am still vulnerable in my visibility.


This reminds me to write just a bit about something I posted a week or so ago. It was my encounter with the woman who is Budhist who said she was asked once if she could have a super power what would it be and she answered "invisibility." I mentioned the John Hodges story for "This American Life," in which he asked people this same question but it was between "flight" and "invisibility." I recall a good percentage of people chose invisibility. I wondered about that tonight. At the networking function, I saw others seeming to shrink at times or fade in moments where visibility may have been challenging for them. I mean we all were there so visibility must be SOMEWHAT comfortable for all of us. And I think it was/is. But I also saw that everyone has moments when they say something "wrong," or "too much," where there is just a moment's hesitancy, or a very slight physical pulling back, or even a longer actual verbal apology. I think perhaps we all have times when we wish we could take back our visibility.


I don't know what the Fears are driving others' retreats from visibility but it IS good for me to see that we all do it. And it is good to know at very long last why I do it and how I do it.


I am no longer carrying the Fear Chair but it will forever be a metaphor for me. Too it is a permanent tool by which to draw out my Fear so it can set on the Chair while I examine it. This is I think why it was very wise of me from the beginning to paint "Love," on it somewhere, because Love IS the antidote for Fear and if the Chair can hold all my Fear/s, it damned well better be reinforced with a strong antidote as well. The two are inextricably related for me now.


Perhaps, if one believes Roosevelt, that "All we have to Fear is Fear itself," though I am maybe still afraid of many things because of the Chair Project, I am not-so-much afraid of Fear. I am finding Love is FAR more powerful. And so, again tonight I am feeling grateful.



Day 51


Carried the chair around town this morning running errands. Felt weighed down by it in a new way. IT felt more burdensome than what it represented. I just continued on my errands, came home with it. Worked for a few hours on a component that could be taken to the shop from the job. Wrote some during a break. Wrote some important stuff. Stuff that I've not allowed myself to be clear on until now. I've been afraid. Until now. Well, I am still afraid, but I realize writing it and facing it and making clear decisions about it all is far less scary to me now than going on as I have been,...avoiding the issues.


So, later in the day, I went with my husband to the lumber yard and to order up some gravel for a job at a landscape supply; and we stopped for dinner at Chipotle then for a cup of decaf. I left the chair in the car. Very purposefully, I didn't carry the chair. This felt a bit odd but mostly just felt right. I don't know if I am done all-together with carrying the chair; but it seems last night's breakthrough was significant. The Chair was beginning to be an anchor to my Fear. It was beginning to anchor me to the past and to furture projections. Maybe tomorrow it will feel different, but for now, it feels as if the Chair needs to stay in the house when I'm home and in the car when I go places. It still is a significant metaphor to keep me aware of when I am letting Fear decide life for me. in other words, I don't think I am entirely done with it. But I need to loosen it's ties between metaphor and the real Fears. I need to lighten my load, for today anyway, for sure. 


This FCP has surprised me. First, that I actually have done it! Then, I am surprised by the depth of this difficulty right now. This sense that I must be careful lest I drown in my own cure for Fear. I recall the multiple times in life that it has occurred to me that what saves us, that is, how we save ourselves as children from whatever big sad or pain we endure as children (my belief is that EVERYONE has a BIG sad as children that we somehow deal with through life), whatever we do to survive childhood will ultimately kill us as adults if we don't learn how to stop doing it. That is, our coping mechanisms that worked as children will work against us growing as adults. So, this Fear Chair was a necessary tool to understand how my Fear works and perhaps even how I work in response to Fear. But, if I hold onto the Chair when I have learned all I can from it, there is a chance it will do damage. So, when we need to move on, if we don't move on, we go backwards (or sideways) is basically what I am saying.




For tonight, I am pondering what needs to be painted on the Chair next. I toyed with some designs in paint tonight. I think tomorrow the underside of the Chair will finally be painted. It has always contained the word "Love;" which has most everyday been a beautiful reminder to love myself through the Fear. Now I see it deserves an image too.


Then I will get in touch with somewhere to donate it when it is time for it to move on for good.


I am not finished writing about Fear, if anyone is still out there reading. (BTW my website guru says the site doesn't have comments capability for blogs, so, if you want to message me, the site has a link to my FB page or contact info. for e-mail.) And, who knows, the Fear Chair may still go with me beyond my car sometimes. Certainly it will be on hand in the car if I feel myself slipping into Fear-based living again.



Wow. Day 50


So, got some sleep. 10 hours to be exact. Painted on the house again today but was stopped by the blessed, if interrupting rain. Today would have been the finish day but, but oh well, there ya go. Total of .25 inches since the beginning of July. We needed the rain more than I needed to meet the deadline. The client will be fine. Is fine.


So again, I was thinking about these dangerous waters I am treading in, or thought so last night in my depleted state. And, yes, that's pretty much it. I am feeling the danger of drowning in all the past decisions that have been coming up in my psyche the past week or so. The decisions I made based on Fear. Yikes. The past. I am swimming in the past. This is NOT where I want to be. So, do I let go of the chair and the past will also be let go of? After 50 days, am I ready to stop carrying the thing around? In many ways, yes, undoubtably. Then, in bursts a friend all pissed and outraged about this " g.d. f-ing rain!" and I have a flashback and respond to the fear that it brings up for me. This is never a good place from which to respond to rage in another person. It didn't go well. Could definitely have been worse, but it didn't go well. 


So, again and again,... I need to figure out how to let go of the past Fear and Fears. Perhaps THAT's what I carry around that is more of a burden than Fear itself. The residual Fear of the past. Hmmmm. I am thinking that perhaps is more to the point. Because, really, I am pretty courageous and strong in many ways. I carry a Chair around everywhere for godsake. But, what I am perhaps REALLY burdened by is the Fear I still carry based on past fear-based decisions or simply fear-based experiences. So my Fear Chair is more of a Past Chair in many ways. Hmmmm...


It's still a Fear Chair though, I do actually still hold myself back from doing what I need to do in life because of Fear. But I need to be aware of this component of my Fear. A HUGE portion of the Fear that holds me back really IS based on my inability to let go of the past. I suppose, in a way, all Fear is either past-based or future based. When I am able to live in the NOW, even in more challenging situations, Fear is just not part of the experience. When I am able to focus on being present, I think I could just sit in the chair in my imagination (or literally). When I am stuck in the past or future projecting, I'd say I am carrying it around. 


This is a good exercise. I think I will work on imagining and perhaps sitting in the chair (only) when I am living in the present. And at other times, the burden of carrying the chair will be the burden of carrying my past or Fears about the future. THEN, perhaps, one day I will be able to set it aside and move on from it.


I feel as if I have finally nailed down just what the chair is for me. I think now I have a sense of what it will look like when I am finished with the FCP. Whew.... only 50 days to figure out why I am doing this. lol. sheesh.