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Day 17

Two people asked today, "how long do you think you'll be carrying the chair?" "I dunno,...a year maybe....?" Got a wide-eyed chuckle out of them both...In seriousness. I don't know....


Got together with my friend, (she gave permission to use her name) Carol, with whom I meet weekly to talk life, art, the universe and everything. I was reminded during our conversation of what we'd been talking about two weeks ago (17 days to be exact) when she reminded me of the woman with the anger chair. We'd been discussing times in our lives when we felt most alive and what might be missing from our lives now that could pehaps foster that heightened-living feeling again and what perhaps was blocking us from just doing it. Just living to the extreme. 


So talking about this again today it occurred to me the Fear Chair Project is beginning to feel like a step in the right direction. We talked then about how when people initially see "Fear" painted on the chair or hear about the Project or even read about it on FB, there are often responses to the negativity that the word conjures. I myself, as you may or may not have read in this blog, have wrestled with the negative aura that seems to surround the concept if not word. But as we spoke, it was so clear to both Carol and I that this is not at all a negative Project and it actually DOES fit very well with my practice of the Law of Attraction and positive living.


The FCP is about clarifying what Fear is for me, how I react to Fear and how I desire to respond to Fear. It isn't about conquering anything. As I've said before, Fear can be helpful. It's saved my life on occasion I am certain of that and at times I DIDN'T heed it, I was often saved by shear luck or quick-ass thinking, strong will to survive and shear luck combined. Fear may be the second primal emotion but it is not the opposite of Love. It can lead one in that direction but seeing and understanding my Fear actually is a journey of Love. The FCP is about knowing and loving myself, seeing myself and being seen, even the scary stuff.


As the honeymoon with my chair concludes, I am noticing hauling the chair around is only the catalyst. It's how I relate to myself and others about the chair that seems to be where things happen. I went grocery shopping with it today. I also found a FABULOUS hanging planter. It looked TOO cool atop the chair in the cart. In the cereal isle a woman exclaimed, "WOW, where can I get that?" "Which one, the plant or the chair?" I asked. "Both!" She was excited to hear the plants were just out front but looked dissappointed to hear the chair was mine and I had brought it. No further questions asked and no explanation given. "Well they're both just wonderful." She said walking away. 


Later, as Carol and I closed down the coffeeshop, we weren't done talking, so we walked for half an hour around the college campus in town. I carried my chair on my back through the gathering orientation attendees and officials. The only question was from a young man registering new voters. No, my status is up-to-date, I assured him. Thank you. A few times I thought about carrying the chair but mostly I was engrossed in our conversations about what wealth is -- that someone with tons of money can be the poorest man if he is unsatisfied with what he has. He believes he hasn't enough therefore he hasn't enough. While the man with little or no money can be wealthy beyond imagining if he is happy. He believes he is rich, therefore he is. I think therefore I am; or perhaps, I think I am, therefore I am.


Gratefully tonight I think I feel mmost alive.



Day 16 of the Fear Chair Project and I begain again in judgement of myself. I found myself this morning wishing that I'd just posted the photo and left it at that. The post seemed incomplete - inarticulate and sketchy. I just read it tonight and decided to leave it as is. There is truth in it and that is enough. 


Last night I mentioned it is getting more difficult emotionally to carry the chair because, compared to all the non-chair-bearing citizens, I seem to be burdened very visibly by fear. Beyond that superficial self-judgement though, I've been struggling to with the fact that I decided just weeks prior to the start of this project that it is time to explore and develop a disciplined approach to what is popularly called "the Law of Attraction," basically purposefully creating my life by chosing to focus on what I want to co-create with the universe/God/Source. So,... why did this Fear Chair Project come up NOW? How does this fit in with positive thinking and asking for what I need?


It's not just a rhetorical question. I really don't know. It may have something to do with clarity. I've been reading a book that explains the physics of why the Law of Attraction works and the way it works. And the book explains that the universe deals in clarity not ambiguity and so when we are clear we are more aligned with the way the universe works. I don't think I've ever really been clear about my Fear. I've had "fearS" and I know I am "much-afraid,' often in facing life. But really, what AM I afraid of? And at base, WHY?


Today I noticed something. Whenever I bring my chair into some establishment and someone says "nice chair," or some such compliment, I always answer, "thanks, it's for a project I'm working on," or "thanks, I have to take it everywhere with me." I heard myself answer someone today like that and I walked away realizing this is a buffer. That woman didn't ask for any explanation. It's my way of normalizing the fact that there is a painted chair in our midst that doesn't really make sense. And I brought it. So I feel uncomfortable just letting it just BE there. Realizing this, I decided to change. So, I went out to dinner with my husband for our anniversary tonight (14 years!) and a couple people complimented the chair. "Thank you," I said.


How to explain how excruciating and exquisit this change feels... It IS clarifying. So it does feel like something clicks with the way to be in life. Yet, it strips away a buffer, an ancient protection I've used to keep myself feeling valid when someone notices me. When someone sees me. God, this is SO much about being visible for me. Just - being - seen...

Just thought I'd post an updated photo of the chair. Last night I painted "the water table" rising up the legs and lapping at the seat. Oh, and a tiny spider. Spider has to be there somewhere...


Yesterday was a real turning point. Carrying the chair is getting physically easier and it is easier to bring into places (today I carried it in my arms through Home Depot and came out with a gallon of Bondo and sandpaper on the seat) but emotionally it's becoming more of a challenge. I'm reading a lot of posts on FB and hearing a lot of people talking about Fear all of a sudden and I have to ask, why am I doing this? This is SO focusing everyone's attention on the fact that I am STILL burdened by fear. Nobody else is carrying a chair around! So why don't I just let it go? Stop carrying the chair and live life? It's tempting but it's just not time yet. It's humbling. This is very humbling. Perhaps that is part of why it's not time to stop. In a way perhaps I am being brought to my knees in humility as an alternative to being brought to my knees by fear. Hmm...


I will say too the chair connects me with people as much as it seems to keep people steering clear. Everyday I talk with at least a couple people who tell me something of their own life with Fear. Perhaps more people carry internal chairs than I like to think when I get all judgy of myself.

a.m. post:  


I went to bed last night feeling very visible. Exposed. This seems to have resulted in a turbulent sleep cut short by and full of nightmares. I awoke a couple times with adrenaline coursing through my systems. Among the fears drummed up were misgivings about the roadtrip our daughter was leaving on with a few of her friends at 5:45 a.m. Not a good start to any day.


I wrote my three morning pages as usual and explored first of all the questions brought up by the Jim Carey speech I listened to last night. I found myself wondering, oddly after last night's fitful dreams, if perhaps it's time to put the chair down. I wondered if I "should" need to do this Fear Chair Experiment. Why should I? Other people seem to not need to. What's wrong with me? Nothing, I just have to stop carrying the chair! I wondered if I am focusing too much on the fear and not enough on the leaping or the love and if perhaps the burden of the chair isn't more burden than the fear. 


Then I stopped "talking" for a moment and became reaquainted with the residual stress left in my body from being awoken by what sounded like a yowl (whether it was the neighbor's dog we are sitting or my own nightmare I don't know). I realized the "water table" of fear rose significantly in the night. I felt and can still feel it so frighteningly close to the surface that I wrote simply "the chair stays."


So this morning I even took the chair on the walk with the dogs. 2 weeks has strengthened my arms enough to do this now, so I feel I must. Walking in the early morning light I saw my shadow with the chair for the first time. And I felt sorry for this burden. Sorry that I have to carry a chair. Sorry that I already carry the burden of Fear. Perhaps a little compassion for myself is growing out of this. Perhaps it is about time.


p.m. post:


Painted the rising "water table" of fear onto the legs of the chair. The dark waters are arising and splashing just beneath the chair's seat. Feels pretty powerful.


VERY glad I didn't chuck the whole thing this morning though, wow did I ever feel like doing so. Also glad I blogged. It helped me hang in there. I brought the chair to work and a woman asked about it. I told her what I am doing and why and she was moved to tears at my burden. It was incredible. I told her her compassion is beautiful. She then talked just a bit about her own Fear struggles.


Fear can lead one through life until one day (hopefully) there is an awakening and one realizes she's lost herself. This has happened to me before and I aim to avoid the same realization again on my deathbed. The Chair is big. It's odd. And it's a bit risky. But at this point I am very grateful to feel it is right with the universe. I need to remember the gratitude, the rightness of the moment and the blatant cooperation of the universe from the very beginning. And live in the moment. The moment is always alright.

Day 13 Fear Chair experiment


Someone shared a video compilation that included excerpts from Jim Carey's commencement address. He spoke about Fear and Love, Faith and Hope. That we only have two choices Fear or Love. That Faith looks different than Hope: Hope walks through the fire while Faith leaps over it. 


First reflection about the Fear Chair experiment related to these thoughts: I am SO grateful every time I pick up the Fear chair and see the underside of the seat where I long ago painted "Love." I knew from the beginning there are two choices and while I am carrying a Fear Chair I want always to know what the other choice is. This has been very empowering and self-encouraging along the way.


Second reflection: Am I walking through the fire by carrying the chair or am I leaping over the fire? Initially I feel walking through it but it is not because of hope. So I rethink the question. Is carrying the chair a walking through the fear or a leap over them? I think it is a walking through. This is a bit dissappointing really. I would love to simply leap. I've leaped in life before with fabulous results. But I've leaped before with devastating results. My life right now actually has a LOT of leaping going on in it (I can't go into details) and I think that is why I am also needing something to steady things. So, I guess my answer is that I leap in my life and with the chair, I walk through. 


Again, I guess I'd say, yes leaping is important but we will never get rid of fear. We will ALWAYS have two choices (love or fear). There is no escaping, nor do I think we'd want to escape entirely either one. For, isn't it in this that we have Free Will? That which makes us most human? The fact of the choice. So I guess, realizing my very human state, I guess I will continue to practice leaping and for now will do so with a Fear Chair hanging on my back. For now the chair helps me clarify my choices in the moment and understand the pattern of my choices through time that led me to this moment. 


Someday I will not need the chair. And, lighter (much lighter) just watch me leap!

Today I had my second conversation with someone who found herself wondering what her chair would represent. I think it might be a good idea for people to give this thought. What IS the base emotion that seems to block you most? Yesterday my friend pondered "anger." Today one of my sisters thought perhaps guilt. "of course it might have to be a pull-out couch instead of a chair!" We both laughed. If i think about carrying a chair with "guilt" on it, yes, for me too, it would have to be a mighty big chair, or perhaps a sofa. Guilt is a big one.


But, thinking further, I'd say my guilt is there because of fear. Fear as a child of an angry god or angry, dissappointed parents. Fear as an adult that I won't be accepted for who I am, AS I am. Or worse, that I am not worthy of being loved and accepted. Self doubt. I've noticed actually that guilt is waning through this adventure, as is self doubt. I don't expect to be free of them any time soon but I find myself becoming stronger in the face of messages (external or internal) that would cause doubt.


What I struggle with to a greater extent today though is visibility. This is enormous for me. I haven't any problem speaking in public or interviewing, setting up a website, etc... but afterward, I sit iin my skin and feel VERY uncomfortable at the exposure. Brene' Browne I believe calls it her "visibility hangover." Good phrase. Growing up I spent enormous energy striving to be invisable in a large family. Yet my strong personality couldn't help but burst onto scenes. So I have a lot of experience with visibility hangovers. This chair (let alone this blog) is very challenging. The chair is VERY bright and colorful in large part because for me fear is not dark but big and loud and out-of-control color. Fear has a big personality.


Here's one visibility challenge, sometimes I wonder if people think I am trying to advertise and sell the chair. I try to just let that go. Another visibility challenge, do people see me as crazy for carrying a chair around? Gotta let that go too. Hmmm.... a lot of fear around what others might think....


Day 11

It feels SO good to really be blogging about this rather than simply writing and HOPING someday I'll have the courage to start! The chair really has helped me begin to face fears that have stifled me. It is much easier now to see that as it happens and to choose to not let it happen. 


I met with my friend today(how does one handle people's names in blogs? I suppose I could ask her. I will. For now, she is my friend I meet with weekly to talk with of life and art). She had to tell me something difficult about how I was sort of insinuating myself into a project of hers in which she is partnering with one of my sisters. It was hard to hear. I became defensive immediately and pushed back a bit, trying to explain myself but in the end (we are both very strong-willed) I finally saw there was no benefit to my fighting or even my defense. I began listening. And ultimately I appologized but without self-deprication. My friend was very understanding of the dynamics in large families and she was right, we tend to step into eachother's lives and business without even knowing it often-times. That hard bit of news resolved, we moved on to talk about the Fear chair that had been sitting beside me. This was her first encounter with it though she knew I was embarked on this journey.


I explained some of what has been happening these days. How the universe seems to have been very in favor of the project. How I've approached painting the chair. What my psyche has been doing in response to it. It was good to share with her. She so often brings me to deeper understanding if not deeper questions that lead to deeper understanding. A couple of points that stand out as significant to me: first, explaining why the chair is so colorful was good for me. My friend explained that the woman who wrote about her "Anger" chair had only big black "Anger" written on the chair. This image came to me as I thought about how to create the "Fear chair" but it was quickly understood to not fit. When I first moved to Oregon 27 years ago I realized I had a paralizing fear of color. I found a little old nun to tutor me for about six months in color. It was a slow process through the years but I am extremely comfortable with color now. Yet I understand this fear was long-standing and very influencial in my life for many years and I suspect there are residual effects to this day that remain shrouded for me. So my chair is painted VERY colorfully. And while I paint on it nearly every day, I listen to what happens inside me and I listen to what needs to be painted next, the images and the colors onto the chair. And sometimes it IS scary still. And I must say carrying a wildly colorful chair has its challenges too. 


Oh, second point that stood out with my friend was that when I described to her the massive object presented in my psyche, the one my therapist suggested might represent all the decisions made based in fear, I again felt the tightening in my throat and pain in my stomach and this time I began shaking a bit as if overwelmed by the enormity of the prospect. I need to continue exploring this. My friend pointed out the mass is due to the cumulative weight of those choices. We talked too of the "water table" I wrote about earlier. The "Water table" is more the collective fear but the individual fears ("S") are what burble to the surface. This experiment is more about the collective fear and about the mass of fear-based living than about conquering individual fears. That is why the toothpick whittling doesn't fit.


Today's greatest challenge with the Fear chair was hearing people talk about what I might do with the chair after this experiment. I joined in of course because it was all fun and silliness, but too I sensed a discomfort within me that I went away trying to understand.  I have no clue how long this chair will be with me or how it will look through time or how I will know when I am finished with it. I simply cannot project ANY outcomes to this adventure. Projecting seems tonight to be fear-based behavior, born out of a discomfort with not having a planned product. I don't need to analize it beyond that. Analysis is also often fear-based for me.  So I will let it go and go to sleep.




 A week ago today I started an adventure in Fear Aquaintance. I've been writing about it every day but have only now gotten beyond the fear that blocked me from starting a blog.  And LOOK! It's got me blogging! I've included past entries for background to this experiment....



Day 10


Yesterday someone posted on my facebook page that it would be fun to cut a little piece out of the chair every time I did something fearlessly and in the end have a toothpick perhaps left. I can see where this is coming from and it does at first glance seem a fun idea but too something in it rubbed me wrong. It seemed a simple and almost trite interpretation of what this experiment is about and certainly doesn’t match the resulting experiences I am having with the chair. When I first heard the story of the woman who carried an anger chair I knew she didn’t get rid of anger once and for all. That wasn’t the point. But she didn’t carry it around with her anymore as a pervasive burden that influenced and even dictated her every move.

Fear is thought to be a bad thing in our culture. A weakness. A negative. And perhaps it is, usually. But I can think of multiple examples of when fear is a healthy response, a tool we use to stay safe, healthy, even happy. When it seems a stranger is in the house, fear causes one to call 911, get out, or arm up whichever a person might choose. Fear made me realize when two people died on the mountain I was about to climb that maybe I might want to not climb such technical mountains anymore while I had a young daughter to raise.

The fear chair isn’t the embodiment of my fears or fear in the way that cutting it up would “cure” me of fear. It is the embodiment of what I have chosen throughout life because of fear. It is the burden of my fearful choices that I carry around. So, while I AM far more conscious of choices now and whether and how fear influences them, it is the pattern of my history as well as my present I wish to know. The “why” and “how” of fear is as important to me as the “fact” of fear. Eventually  I wish to free myself not from fear but from a way of being in this world.

Could I do that by cutting up the chair everytime I face and conquer a fear? Maybe. And I could see the woman who suggested it doing this and it totally working for her. But for me it is a different metaphor I am after. Not a cutting up of individual fears but an exploration of my general fearful posture in life. Eventually understanding it and even forgiving it. Forgiving myself for carrying fear, for choosing it and then no longer choosing to carry it in the same way or even at all but simply allowing it to come when necessary and, knowing it well, I will be able to recognize when it can work for me and when I don’t need that tool.



Day 9


Yesterday was a very tough day. Though the fear chair played a big part early in the day, the focus of the difficulties had to do with my life in general.

First, about the chair; I had a therapy appointment at which I described this massive dark (with some light shapes) suspended object that has made itself present in my psyche the past few days. I described it as my therapist patiently listened. I ended by saying I haven’t any clue what it might symbolize but it IS obviously enormous. She responded, perhaps it’s every choice you’ve made out of fear.  Bowled over, I was. Holycow, how clearly correct an assessment this was! I sat speechless for the second time in a week with the depth and breadth of a notion just put before me that strikes sudden and sharply at a core truth hidden from me. Of course this is the mass of weighty decisions ive made, all based in fear! Wow…What do I DO with it now?

The rest of the day, after taking the chair grocery shopping, I spent at home, trying to fulfill a volunteer obligation that just was not working. Much is going on in my life that I cannot divulge here but it is related to why it was the right time to take up the fear chair. These goings on are huge and weighty and I have fear wrapped up in them. Decisions must be made everyday to face the fear and fears just to carry on with what is happening in my life. Much is out of my control. But my response IS within my control and so I realized last week it is time to become more conscious of the role fear plays in how I DO respond to the circumstances of my present life. The decisions before me are massive and I don’t want fear to be in control of the outcomes. So I have the chair.

I really was quite lost yesterday and to a lesser degree today. I puttered around the house. Painted. Worked on my fiber art projects. What I need to do is get this blog up and running, or my website. THAT is what is infront of me which I CAN do but fear doing. SO tomorrow!



Day 7


Relatively uneventful fear chair day. I went to work in PDX again. Stopped for coffee. Had to drop off the pressure washer. Had hands full and wasn’t there long so didn’t bring in the chair. I don’t like not bringing in the chair. It feels false.

I painted the word “fear” in more places than on the seat today. I think it was too subtle. Too safe. I also painted some faces and ivy on the chair back. It’s fun to paint again. The chair allows me to paint like process painting – without planning or judgement but for fun. It doesn’t have to make sense. Though the faces I painted do look a bit scary and fitting.

Tonight I told my husband something it was scary to say. I started with “I love you.” Time will tell how it was received but I am glad to have said it. It needed saying.



Day 6


Chair stayed in the studio with me as I finished piecing and then pinning the prayer flag “wisdom” for my “serenity prayer series.” This afternoon we all went to the dog park and then Mike and I and the chair went on a date to the Willamette Shakespeare Company performance of “12th Night” at Montinore Vineyards. The hottest day of the year today. Would rather have not had to carry a heavy oak chair around; but there we are… people for the most part don’t acknowledge the chair but for an occasional “wow,” at it’s brightness and unexpected presence I assume.  Also, I do feel the physical strength in my arms increasing from this adventure.

The mass of whatever in me that I described a couple days ago is still a thing. I am not certain what it is but I am noticing too it seems definitely related to fear. Since it’s presence in my psyche, I notice too a real sense of increased distance from my fear. Like I am somewhat more of an observer of my fears than a victim or even subject of them. And I am definitely not certain what to do about the mass within me. I do have therapy this week. We will unravel this there I assume.

My fear/s is/are much more complex than I thought. Perhaps this is the case for everyone, I don’t know. There have been certain fears I’ve been well aware of through my life and then with this experiment, I’ve noticed other, less obvious fears that none-the-less were likely influencing me for a long time. Some are nameable, others less solid. But what has me surprised is this mass. This enormous entity within me that seems to be a weight though it is suspended in my visual image of it. It has enormous heft and it is dark yet multicolored. It seems also to have been with me since the beginning of time. Ancient. And it has influenced my life as if it had magnetic poles. Perhaps that is actually why it is suspended. Who knows. Or like the pull of the moon upon the oceans. Again a suspended object. Hmmm. Time will tell. I look forward to discussing this with my therapist. For now I am baffled.



Day 5

I painted the chair a bit this morning in preparation for taking it into Portland again for work. It’s a Saturday but we have a new job to start and we’d like to get going on it. So I let it dry in the sun for an hour before we left. Fortunately in this case it is warm and so the chair was ready. The chari also went with to starbucks again and this time waited in line for the restroom as well. I got a couple photos.

A couple thoughts today. I noticed on the job today that I took a couple risks again that I otherwise might have let slide and let Mike take care of because of my size. But I stepped up and tackled them. Later I mentioned to Nan that I think having the chair around makes me more courageous. She said she’d noticed this yesterday as well and wondered if I saw it. Cool.

The other thought, as I talked with Nan about the whole chair adventure, I realized how much I see other people’s fears separate from me because of the chair. I mean, their reactions ARE to MY having a chair in odd places but because the thing they are reacting to in (or around or with) me is SO clear, so obvious, I can see that the reactions are clearly to do with them. Because the chair is so obviously the difference between myself and others, too, I therefore can see much better the WIDE variety of responses to me.

Yesterday I saw a man in Starbucks who has Downsyndrome. I stood there and realized my chair was a false difference. People live with varying conditions that make them stand out from the “norm.” I have created one in carrying a chair everywhere. This causes two thoughts in me, first, I wonder am I a poser? Do I need to create some condition to stand out so I can experience something others have no choice but to experience on a daily basis? And, is this an asshole move?

My second thought is that I realize it’s no big deal to carry a chair everywhere, hell, some people have to SIT in a chair everywhere they go. So it gives me courage to do something that is unusual because other’s put up with it every day.

But I do find myself wondering too why I NEED to do this. What’s the big deal? Other people deal with their fears without having to carry a ten pound dining chair around that screams “FEAR” at people. Why don’t I just buck up? Why don’t I just woman up? Grow a pair? Whatever? Why don’t I just do it? I guess these questions tempt me to stop the experiment.  Leave the chair at home and say “I did it! I carried the chair of fear until I could face things and move forward courageously and without hesitation.” Then I realize I am still not officially blogging and don’t have my website up. I still haven’t visited a gallery with my artwork. There is still much that I fear in the world. So the chair stays for now.

This afternoon, after work, I spent a couple hours painting on it again. I think I am finally finished with the seat. It ended in an interesting place. Now to tackle the arched back. I have some ideas.
Challenging ideas. Scary. Sigh. Tomorrow.



Day four


Had the day off. Went into Portland. Stopped at a starbucks. A bit of grocery shopping. All with the chair. No one really seemed to notice or let me know they noticed with the exception of an employee at Winco. A gentleman around mid to late 50s. walked past, “Nice chair! Did you make that?” I looked at the chair nestled in the grocery cart. “Well, I bought the chair but I did paint it.”

I think my chair brings out other people’s fears too. Like that perhaps I am a crazy person and they should stay clear. Or fear that this woman has brought something that makes totally NO sense in this context TO this context and (I) don’t know how to respond? Do (I) let her know I see the chair? Do I pretend it doesn’t exist? Do I acknowledge it but also say “what the &(^* is THAT doing HERE?!” These are things I would think if I saw someone with an orange and yellow chair in their shopping cart, or in line at Starbucks, or at the hardware store. I’d be afraid of the unusual. The unlikely. The non-sense of it. And afraid I would respond wrong. Whatever that means.

There is one place I didn’t take the chari today, so I admit I would not deserve to sit in the chair even if I needed to today. I didn’t take it into Costco. We are not members of Costco, we just get our prescriptions there. But even when we were card-carriers, I never felt like I fit in, which is why we are no longer members. So I was intimidated by Costco into not bringing the chair in. Also, my daughter had just divulged some very personal news and we’d had an intense conversation and I needed a bit of insulation. So it was the right choice for the time but next time the chair goes in.



Today the chair and I went out together. Yesterday I was sick and so we stayed in but by evening I felt well enough to prime it. I asked my sweetie to help with the priming however, still a bit tired from lack of sleep and yuck. Got it primed and headed for bed only to awaken 5.5 hours later completely unable to sleep. I wrote my pages, played a couple games, read and finaly gave up at 5:30 and headed up to the studio in my pjs to paint a quick first coat of color on the chair for the big day.

I had a porch to clean in preparation for caulking so headed in to Portland with the chair. It was scary thinking I may have to stop somewhere to pick up materials or something and of course, committed to this, I’d have to bring in the chair. I called a couple friends for moral support.

Then I got the call from Mike. Would I please pick up some screening at the hardware store for another job. Ok.

So my first solo public appearance with the chair was a hardware store. It was the sort that you take a number and wait with all the contractors. I noticed I am apparently taking up space with my chair and was asked to move it (politely) a couple of times. Honestly, I took up less space than some of those men who didn’t have accompanying chairs. I found this interesting. And filed it in the back of my brain while I tried extremely hard to understand the man who, upon seeing me set the chair down to take a number, brushed past and pointed at the seat (which has “Fear” painted on it) and said “No Fear” then continued to talk auctioneer-style but hardly above a whisper to me about his own awakening, Jesus, the five houses, and I have no idea what else but from time to time he’d cross himself and say a word I understood to which I’d respond, “wow.” Or something, anything,… He talked non-stop until my number was called. A nice man. Clean. Handsome even. Nice, not-scary eyes. But blessed number!

The man who waited on me by contrast was utterly unresponsive to anything I said except the thing I needed him to fetch for me. I quickly saw a woman carrying a brightly painted chair with the word “Fear” painted on it into a hardware store might be as suspect as a man who talks nonstop about his awakening.  I kept the attempts to converse or make light to a minimum. It was kind of fun knowing what it was about me that the other person thought was kooky. Usually I’m oblivious.

Upon reflection, it is interesting to think people might be afraid of me. I’d heard in high school a boy confided in my best friend that he was afraid of me. That perplexed me for years. I still don’t really know why he would have said that, I was a timid nerdy party-poser. Now I have a chair with “Fear” painted on it. There are layers to why that might be frightening. And frankly, this thought is a bit scary to me. I suppose this is why someone might hesitate to undertake this adventure. It’s why I didn’t when I first heard the story about the woman and her “anger chair.” But this time something shifted so powerfully deeply within me there was no question to saying yes to the project. I need to come to terms with chronic and debilitating fear and for some reason now is the time to risk more to do so.

Relatively uneventful rest of the day except I did remember I had to stop at the bank on the way home. So, yup, chair went to the bank. Then I think I was feeling cocky, I called my daughter to see if she wanted to bring her dog and meet-up at the dog park.  She would be half an hour so that’s when I decided I can sometimes sit on the chair.  If I feel I deserve it, that is, if I feel I have not let fear burden me. Then I can sit on it. I think I did ok today. The dog park was a walk so to speak in the park. The solid oak chair is quite heavy but I am figuring out how best to carry it and I feel the strengthening already. In my arms and in my-self.

Then it was home to paint the chair a bit again. It physically, like me, is a work in progress.



A friend and I have been getting together weekly for the past several years. She’s a writer, I am a painter. She is twenty years my senior. I am 51. Our chats used to last an hour and a half, then two and now three hours pass by without either of us checking the time. We get together to talk art and life and everything, from in-between to off the page.

Today was the usual digging deep into the darkness of our human experience peppered with self-examination leading to self-discoveries. We always laugh a lot, sometimes cry, but always feel, always LIVE fully in our times together.

As three hours approached, we were about to be kicked out of the café at closing time. C reminded me of a story she’d told me long ago that was now apropos to the theme of the conversation. She remembered reading a story about a woman who purchased and carried around a chair with “anger” painted all over it. She took it to work, in elevators, shopping, everywhere. It was a reminder of the anger she was in fact carrying and the burden that anger had become. She had to explain the chair to a lot of people which meant she had to explain the anger. She carried it around until she no longer needed to carry it. The chair left. The anger left.

The first time I’d heard this story, it struck me as significant; but I was not ready to hear it. This time I heard it to my core. I was ready. Something began to shift within me that I could not verbally express at the time. We talked about how that happens sometimes. We talked until I was able to verbalize the shift. My chair is not anger. It is fear. Fear is, has always, always been my burden. We talked about this. About how anger is really a form of fear and fear a form of anger. How, the two primal emotions, from which all others evolve are fear and love. Negative feelings from fear. Positive feelings from love. We parted as the café was closing. C had shopping to do, I had an appointment in the next town.

As I drove to my appointment, I realized my clock was 5 minutes fast. I would have time for a quick run into the thrift store. I needed, I need a chair. It is time I deal with fear on a cellular level. The time is right. It’s a frightening venture in just the right way to make something in my soul and psyche stand up and take notice. I could grow from this they say in unison.

So, using my best “law of attraction” -as -explained –through- quantum -physics – (read “Happy Pocketful of Money) voice, I told the Universe I need a chair. I thanked the Universe for the chair - it is wooden - that awaits me at the thrift store. I visualized the chair and as I pulled up to the store, I visualized myself walking out with my chair. And it would cost, how much money do I have with me? It would cost seven dollars. Thank you for the chair I will find that costs seven dollars. I walked into the store with only one thought - the chair was in the store. I walked to the rear of the store, and saw a dining room set with four chairs. Only a short pause at this- turned the corner and there at the end of the aisle were two wooden chairs, just as I’d pictured but more. I chuckled, hopefully silently. Silly abundant universe! Walking up to the pair, I glanced as I reached for my chair and saw it would cost me $6.99 to walk out the door with it. I smiled and picked it up thinking two things. “Thank you!” and “Did it HAVE to be THIS heavy?” I stood in line smiling. I’ve never felt so pleased to hand over my money. The Universe and I had done this; and the money was part of the collaboration.

As I walked to my car again conscious of my appointment it occurred to me the first place I would be taking my “burden of fear” chair would be to a couple’s therapy appointment with my husband. The Universe and I laughed again. How apropos.

Things I have already learned from my “fear chair”:

                I do have to take it into restrooms with me but it makes a great purse holder while I pee

                No one else gets to put anything on my “fear chair.” It’s my fear. It’s my chair. Boundaries about my chair, about my fear.  More on this later I am sure…

                I will not sit on the chair. Fear has had me sitting far too often, far too long.