Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Shed Project

Today, Bindu Wiles ( announced the upcoming launch of The Shed Project (in early September).  I participated in Bindu's 21.5.800 challenge where a large group of people committed to do yoga for 5 days a week and write 800 words a day for 21 days.  Admittedly, my commitment was less-than-stellar, but it did bring a huge amount of awareness not only to my yoga and writing practice but also to the choices I am consciously and unconsciously making.  Bindu's challenge spread wide and far, reaching people of all backgrounds.  I expect  The Shed Project will continue to bring together people aligning with Bindu's wisdom.

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:// 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.  ConnieJingle, 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.


  1. This was beautiful.
    I am always in a state of purging to make way for the better things. Thank you for reminding me to continue the journey.

  2. Thank you so much.

    This project seems really interesting, I'd like to know more about it (what it involves etc)

  3. It all becomes true when we believe and trust ourselves. Doubts go out with The Shed Project....
    You are all those things- proof is in the poetry book of yours I own, proof is in the journals and BIG paintings, but most of all proof is in your heart.
    LOVE you ARTIST!

  4. Wow this is fabulous. I jumped on my computer, uncharacteristically late as I am trying to make some blog magic as I plan to be away from my computer for the next few days (My sweetie is taking us on a surprise Lake Tahoe adventure) and to have your sweet note greeting me and then to have it lead here. Yes I will play. 10 pounds seems right .... I just purged a garage full of stuff but I know there is more... I vision only the most precious and useful items around me.

    Tomorrow I am gifting a really cool jacket that I've moved twice but haven't worn in a decade... my friend Lisa (the one I've mentioned before who is such a great cook) will look great in it and will wear it... On the way to Tahoe I will enroll my sweetie to play along...

    Thank you for the invitation and for thinking of me! (I will link this post to a blog post this weekend and invite some others along for the ride!

    Outrageous joy. Kathy

  5. Ah Lisa, I think we might be kindred spirits! This was like hearing someone talk about me. I am also a registered yoga teacher who is afraid to teach. I'm even afraid to say I'm a yoga teacher in case someone yells "NO you're not. LIAR!!!" I'm also a photographer and a writer who is afraid to call herself either of those things. I have books from floor to ceiling and I keep every memento of everything. I've got an entire shoebox of memories from just one relationship. I'm looking forward to shedding with Bindu too and will send lots of positive vibes in your direction in the belief that you will find your voice, precisely when you are supposed to. xx

  6. very heartfelt and honest.

    i am BIG on decluttering and letting go. i've been working on shedding mind noise over the last year. HUGE difference to my life and creativity.

    ps... you might be interested in:

  7. Thank you for sharing this very deep and true post!

    I definitely understand what you mean about not wanting to claim you are this or that, because what if someone finds our you' impostor?? I know that feeling! :)

    I can confirm with absolute certainty that you are an artist! But the key is believing in these things ourselves. I struggle with it, too.

    I think you will find amazing things as you start letting go of more and more stuff (both physical and not). Earlier this year, we got rid of at least 1/2 of our belongings. It was a ton of work and sometimes really, really hard. Right after that, I read something someone wrote about doing this same thing. Oh, here it is!

    "It is just stuff. It isn't who you are, it isn't a memory, you carry those with you. It is stuff."

    That was big for me! I held on to so much stuff, because I felt like without it I would love experiences, memories, and...who I am! For instance, I realized that I held on to a lot of art and craft supplies because without them, how would I "prove" or "show" I was creative? Wow. Eek!

    Anyway, I could go on! But in short - getting rid of so much (we gave away 1,000 books!) was, in the end, a fantastically freeing experience. I love it!

    I have more to say, but I think this comment is already long enough! :) :) :)

  8. We did it. Well, we were sort of forced to do it due to job losses and no money, but we ended up cutting tons of stuff that we realized that we just don't want back again. We keep things simple. We live in an apartment and we have no off-site storage to speak of. It's just us and whatever fits! LOL! It feels really good, too! Now, my studio is a poor example, I'll be honest, but even that is a lot thinner than it once was!

  9. I'm going to look into the Shed challenge and see if my new hubby would be interested in it. We both want to be healthier, in better shape, and I know I need to get rid of some of the junk that I've accumulated.

    BTW, knowing the answers to all the questions is not what makes you the teacher, guiding others is. And artists don't need formal training, they need the creativity and inspiration that you already have. Giving yourself a title is always hard, but when others can admire you for the things you do, they give you the titles you deserve. Artist is just like Mom, Wife, Teacher, etc.

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  12. Sorry, I made a goofy error and then removed both. So here is what I wanted to say:

    Lots of deep thought invoking reading here. You are amazing, and so gifted. The words you put together - leave me at a loss for words!!

    Like this phrase, "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." Just beautiful writing!

    there!! please forgive my errors.

  13. lovely searching committed blessed Lisa

    you are enough, flawed, self critical, wise, knowledgable,open, timid -all of it ... you are enough

    thankyou for this post

    i wanted to share this with you

  14. you know i get this, i really do ... grabbing onto things as if they will enhance our value, our worth in addition to the whole consumer/consuming mania of our culture. i get it and i support what this project is doing ...

    however ...

    about a year ago i had this epiphany regarding my discomfort around having nice things. we had moved to a bigger house, a nicer house and i was all balled up feeling like it was too much, we didn't need all this ... and then it struck me that i am pretty responsible, pretty mindful about accumulating and the issue was more about self worth. that i didn't believe i deserved nice things in my life.

    so for me, shedding is a tricky thing. i shed too much earlier in my life and right now is about embracing who i am and my BIGness without apologizes. And i know this is not what Bindu intended but i had to share how it hit me.

    i guess i am shedding my compulsion to join another online project. for me, that has come to stand for being part of a group, being accepted, being "with it" and i need to pull back, search within myself and just do the work i am supposed to be doing. what i am seeking isn't outside of me, it is all within.

    (and i wanted to comment on your facebook page, but can't figure out how to comment on a Professional page ... but if you read my Wednesday post, you will see i am feeling the same way you are ... doing too much and needing to just be.)

    as always, you inspired me to dig in deep, to be honest and to feel safe voicing my feelings. love you!

    xo Lis

  15. Woah - such a thought-provoking, authentically real and courageous post! Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa. Every word resonated with my soul - particularly the overwhelming need to collect and hoard as a means of finding value, worth and an identity too. I echo other comments: you ARE enough just as you are, with all the abundant beauty, creativity and profound thoughtfulness you offer so freely to us all.
    Huge hugs and much gratitude too

  16. What an amazing post, Lisa. Thank you for sharing all this beauty with us. So much food for thought. I DO have "pounds" in which to lose. I am not sure where to start - but it will start soon. I know that I can always come here, to your space, and know that you will share something honest and meaningful. Theresa

  17. oh lisa, you are such an amazing lady! we could all stand to let some things that are no longer serving us go for good! i know i definitely could. when you get rid of things that you no longer need it makes what you do have (and love) shine brighter! you are such an inspiration lady! and thank you for the shout out :) love & hugs!!

  18. Lisa, you know what I love about your blog? I am always finding something that I can apply to my life or relate to!

  19. This is such a beautiful post! (Sorry I'm a little late - I was out exploring the wildnerness with a bunch of intrepid women.) I was thinking of joining Bindu's Shed program too, but I have some of the same issues as you with letting go. You've articulated them so beautifully for me. Thanks.