In a world of quick fixes we often neglect to look below the surface, bypassing our opportunity to heal what calls to be healed
Have you ever started a project that didn’t exactly go as planned — where you found yourself midstream and there was no turning back, no putting the pieces back together? In those moments we are usually left with two choices: Either throw up our hands and walk away, or roll up our sleeves and dig deeper.
Believe it or not, this is exactly what an old living room chair recently taught me. I kid you not.
So here’s the deal. I own some beautiful, old, quality pieces of furniture that have traveled through many lives, city apartments, relationships, and ups and downs with me. Oh, if that furniture could talk, the stories it could tell! It’s the kind of stuff you simply don’t replace easily and besides, I come from ‘stock’ that was taught to value, care and fix things, not disregard and replace. So here I sit in the great conundrum.
Why the conundrum you ask? Well, much of the furniture also represented my ‘old life’ and a bunch of stuff I’d rather leave in the past.
Besides it probably dragged some of the old energy along with it. Sometimes I see them as elegant pieces and other times as lingering residue. It depends upon the day. Some days I just roll my eyes and lament how much my taste has changed over the years. But that’s a whole other story.
Regardless, I’m practical and had plenty of other things to think about this past decade and a half, so I made it all work — new house, new life, new relationship, new paint…we’ll deal with the old furniture. Well, that’s been 15 years now!
The cushions started to sag, the fabric frayed, and a certain puppy who shall remain nameless gnawed away at the legs. And I ignored it all for as long as possible…until it truly wasn’t ignorable any longer! Let’s just say that there was nothing elegant left. Restore or replace? Neither would be an inexpensive proposition. For some reason, I really couldn’t decide because in a way, it opened a Pandora’s Box. If I replaced one thing, I’d need to replace everything otherwise nothing would really ‘go together’. Listen to me…sounding like an interior decorator! Ha.
But it was true, so I played mental ping pong trying to decide what to do. Finally one day, I just bit the bullet and declared that I wanted to restore the leather club chairs (well at least the fabric cushions, not the structure). We picked a bold, fantastic fabric that didn’t necessarily go with anything, but we didn’t care. It was the start of our new décor. It represented us now.
Here’s where things got tricky. Off the chairs went as we excitedly awaited their beautification and return. While they were in the hands of skilled artisan, we requested that everything be spruced up; the springs, the filler, etc.
Oh boy. Be careful what you wish for, as they say.
Then the call came. Apparently, when the old the leather on the structure of the chair was opened up to reveal the interior…it began to crumble. It was worn and dried out more than we realized. It couldn’t be reassembled. Now, not only would we need new interior parts and expensive fabric — we needed new leather. But we were stuck. We couldn’t stop or make a different decision. The fabric was already purchased and lying there in a large roll in all of its glory. We went into the workshop to assess the situation.
I just sighed thinking how there really is no getting around our inner work, be it mechanical or spiritual. The fabric was really a Band Aid for a much bigger problem. Oh how often we do that to ourselves in the self-care department. Think how many times that fell to the bottom of your to-do list as you were pulled in a million other directions — family, work, household chores, holidays, pandemics. You get the picture.
Sometimes we just have go deep.
Sometimes we can get by with a meditation here and there, a yoga class once in a while, some nature, a green juice — and sometimes, we need to surrender to the calling of ourselves — and let go…of things, tasks, agendas, and the myth of being all to everyone.
And yes, it may require more time, more nurturing, more kindness, more compassion than expected, but just as with the chairs that will return restored — it will be worth it a million times over.
So here we find ourselves in the midst of the holiday flurry. Though it is likely a paired down version to some degree for all, we are still being pulled. There are still stressors (perhaps even new ones). Despite my promise to indulge in less — less consumerism, less chaos, less consumption of things that don’t feed me, less materialism and commitments — some of it still prevails. Despite my promise to not worry about the future, some worries float about.
But here’s the thing about worries: Worries are misguided prayers.
We don’t want to shun them, pretend they aren’t there — but we don’t want to give them the steering wheel either. Worries can shine the light upon what we desire, but it requires transforming the fear into faith — replacing the vulnerability with wishes.
These are challenging times and God knows 2020 took us for a ride dear ones, but it also showered us with gifts, admittedly, some in strange wrapping. We have all likely made discoveries about ourselves, perhaps even declared things we will no longer tolerate or are willing go back to. The bottom line is that nothing is truly ever set in stone. Life is a ride through vulnerability and challenges, but it is also a glorious journey of discovery.
What are you discovering?
What have you uncovered?
What are you done with and are ready to leave behind?
More importantly, what are you calling forth in it’s place?
I write this to you on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of sunlight on the calendar. The ground is covered in a blanket of snow outside my home office window. The woods look like a picturesque Christmas card. It is quiet — I breathe in this moment of stillness. Today when I started to write this at my desk before the sun rose in the early morning, I could barely make out the mountains in the background in the dim light. As I typed away, a tiny little bird came and chirped at me. Literally, as if saying, Good Morning! Glad to see you in your happy place…writing. This isn’t the first time this has happened. It actually happens quite often with my little friend. I like to think it’s my Dad saying hello.
In the quiet, we hear, see and experience life differently.
Our surroundings even take on new meaning. We notice things. We allow ourselves to feel things and connect to hidden parts — not just the things that show on the exterior. We make conscious choices. And yes, my old chair got me thinking about surface layer fixes vs. bigger ones. It got me thinking about priorities and tomorrows…and the ‘right heres’, the moments we find ourselves within at any given point.
As we stand upon the precipice of a New Year (a welcomed one at that) — I’d go out on a limb and say that our resolutions should be as much of a departure to what they normally are, as this crazy year has been. What if we each quietly engaged with ourselves and took a look at the whole of us? What if we didn’t gloss over feelings, wounds, hurts, vulnerabilities? What if instead we recognized that just like the inner workings of my living room chair — just because we don’t see its cry for help, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need our attention.
You can reupholster, but you can’t hide!
Yes, that silly chair sitting in disrepair all alone in a workshop made me take pause and shared its wisdom with me. There are so many wondrous things sprinkled about your life signaling to you. Are you ready to see them? Are you ready to follow your own intuition and reclaim your greatest gift…YOU? I sure hope so precious one. Your Best Self is waiting to be embraced in all her/his glory! Blessings dear community.
What’s calling you a little deeper below the surface? What reupholstering could you use in your life? Please leave a comment below — I’d love to hear more!