The Shed Project is an 8-week project where participants are challenged to, well, Shed! Bindu proposes losing 10 pounds of body weight (if so desired and appropriate for your situation) and up to 1/4 of all of your material possessions. Bindu has already mentioned that she plans to get down to 3 backpacks and 1 box. (I will declare right now that I will get no where near that! With 2 kids, a husband, a dog, and a serious stash of art supplies, those would have to be some seriously HUGE backpacks and a box the size of a storage shed.)
Within hours of becoming aware of this project, my perceptions are changing. I talked to hubby (who has tentatively agreed to do this with me!!) about what exactly we could let go. We mentioned a few things...perhaps some books, old electronics. But once I got started thinking, I didn't want to stop. Just how far can I go?
It is here that my truth lies. And it is underneath all of this stuff - my books, my boxes of "memory" items, my fears - that I exist.
I realized this evening that it is behind all of this that I have hidden, at least for several years if not for most of my life. I am honestly afraid to claim I am anything. (I started to type "anything other than....." but couldn't think how to finish it. I am afraid to claim I am anything. That is the basic truth.)
I am afraid to say I am a yoga teacher, even though I completed training. What if someone asks me about an injury and how to do a pose around it? What if I honestly don't know? Will they think I'm a fake? I'll certainly feel like one.
I am afraid to say I am an artist (photographer, painter, poet, etc.). The faces I make aren't symmetrical. I haven't sold a single thing, never been in a gallery, never even had formal training. Right now I am surrounded by painted papers, sketch books filled with detailed drawings, and journals filled with mixed-media art and pages of poetic writing. But why in the world would anyone buy that when there are other artists out there doing what I'm doing...only more realistic or more stylized or more detailed or blah blah blah.
I am afraid to claim I am anything because I am aware that I do not have all of the answers...if, indeed, any at all. (Wiser people than I have said that the wiser we get, the fewer answers we realize we have. Try telling that to my fear gremlins.) I can hide behind these books - hide from others and from myself - claiming that I am "learning" or that I'll have this group of books here for when I am ready to learn that particular topic that interests me. I can hide behind the hundreds of blogs I follow, honestly believing in the beauty and talent of EACH and every one of the bloggers, claiming that I'm still exploring what's out there. I can hide behind all of the stuff I have gathered over the years and be inspired until the day I take my last breath. But inspiration is nothing without action.
Logic, my old, well-worn security blanket, tells me to keep learning. To learn how to start a business, to surround myself with books and wise people, to bookmark as many sites as I can to reference, to hold onto those old letters and emails and cards and everything that reminds me of some memory. Logic tells me I need these things, that I'll regret not having them. That I will be empty without them.
Ironically, it is in the process of letting all of this go that I discover how full (over-full) I actually am. I am the wave in the ocean, desperately collecting driftwood and seashells and anything anyone throws into the water around me in the hopes that it will define me, make me more than I am. If I would just let it go I could flow into the vast beauty that I already am.
I ran across an old journal the other day while in the process of de-cluttering. It was filled with fascinating quotes - written by ME - deep quotes, soulful writing, poetic phrases that I would praise someone else for if I ran across them today. Something sparked at that point...just a thought....that I already am that person. I can start to release these books that tell me how to create or discover that person in 7 easy steps. Apparently, I'm already there.
I have discovered more of myself and my dreams than I ever thought possible through BIG (Fearless Painting), Connie's workshop. (Http://dirtyfootprintsworkshops.com) My breathing becomes quicker and more shallow as the anxiety increases when I think about who I will discover if I can keep the courage to follow through with The Shed Project.
So many of you out there are already taking steps of your own on this path. Connie, Jingle, Victoria, Kathy, Melita, my fellow tribe members in BIG, and oh-so-many others (who I'd like to name but would spend all night on the computer!) who have taken a step by putting a part of themselves out there, creating something they normally wouldn't, delving into a course to follow their dreams, sharing a video for the first time, living their beliefs, ...taking one step at a time and realizing that life is so much more than a paycheck.
I honor EACH and EVERY one of you - whether I named you above or not, whether I chat with you regularly or not, whether I've ever even met you. You are already a beautiful person. I hope that you can take whatever steps you feel ready - feel called - to take in joining Bindu, myself, and most certainly many others, in shedding what you no longer need, shedding that which no longer supports your truth.
Perhaps together we can discover how beautiful we all truly, truly are.
Care to get a jump-start? Can you list one thing below that you'll get rid of (in a responsible manner, of course!) in the next 24 hours? Perhaps a book? An expired jar of spices (yeah, I've got them too)? A grudge? A tear (or several)?
Much love to you.