Every day I walk into The Unknown towards The Universe...
|Two bags to Oxfam Book Shop, Parliament Street|
...is the artistic and philosophical starting point for HERE & NOW.
It's easier to do that without a jumble of stuff weighing me down, physically and metaphysically. It's been a process of letting go repeatedly, picking things up, assessing each and every one, did someone give it to me? Why is this object so important to me that I've kept it here, either on display in my house or placed carefully out of sight?
Why is it important to me, why can I not bare to part with it? How am I going to let it go?
|Fringe HQ - new library|
Gifting then becomes really important. And gifting is not just about passing on things that I can't bare to let go into the world. It's about sharing things with people that they will actually use, that they will get joy from but most importantly USE.
|Books, mostly plays, masks & |
resources to Dublin Youth Theatre
Project Downsize is about ABUNDANCE, and there is no waste in Abundance, it means enough for everyone. So, to gift the things that others will use and derive joy from to the people who best suit each one. It requires thought, and then action. Gifting is also about telling the people why I'm gifting a particular object to them and what they mean to me, and a lot of that is private, between me and each person, not that it's a secret, but that it is private.
It amazes me how much stuff I've accumulated over a short period of time, this is a lifestyle adjustment as much as a practical task.
It's a shift in mindset, from things being precious and important to only having things that are useful and necessary for The Life today. It's about letting things go out into the world to be used and enjoyed properly, not sitting in a house in an effort to prove the value of my existence.
|Bag to my brother with Gran's painting|
Proof of a life was largely why I kept these things.
Particularly my ticket stubs and theatre programs. There was a time in my life when I needed to look at the ticket stubs to prove I had a life, that I was having fun, that I was making progress in the social world, that I had been there, that I hadn't missed it, that I had shared time and space with other people, that I existed. I needed to know, I needed to prove this to myself. So I kept every ticket stub, every piece of paper that was significant to me, little notes that people gave me, every card I received, every letter. All to prove my life to myself. I have a ticket stub, I was there, therefore I am....
Without the need to prove it.
I simply am.
HERE & NOW.
|Bag to my uncle including models|
This is not just about material possessions and letting them go. This is about shifting perspectives and a redefining of values. This is about valuing the really important aspects of The Life. People are the only thing I can't replace. I learned that when my friend died. I'd lost people before but when she died, suddenly and 'before her time' it really landed with me that the only thing you can't replace in The Life are people.
Everything else is replaceable, exchangeable, a human being that touched my soul can never be replaced.
And through the process of this downsizing something else really landed with me. Nothing is irreversible except death. Every thing else can be changed, repaired, worked on and made new. Never the same perhaps but everything has the potential for beginning again, except in The Life, death. I don't know what happens after, so I'm only speaking of this life, The Life as I know it now. And I already had an understanding of everything being temporary, but I'm learning it more and more, everything is temporary, nothing lasts forever and that helps with the letting go.
|Bags to my Mother, including |
Brother electric typewriter
The Letting go is never easy. It's not just the object, it's what it signified. It signified me. Me. Not I am.
It was who I was. Each and every item signified an aspect of me. It represented an aspect of my character, a phase of my life, a relationship to another human being, a link to the past, an entanglement of the present, an archive of existence.
But what I am learning is that these things while they resonate all of the above and more probably, are not necessary to The Life lived in The Love.
The Love is the intrinsic value I need to prioritize.
The more I stay in The Love in The Life the better I Am. The more real my relationships are, the more I can contribute in The Life, the more I can be here and now, 'ici et maintenant, I have no future, I have no past, just here and now.'
The more I am here and now, the more real my relating to others is, the more
genuine my relationships, the exchanges with others.
And for me now, that's whats important.
|Random Charity, Grans Chair to my sisters|
And I am learning more and more who I am. Without the need for proof. The proof is in living, living within the uncertainty, The Unknown, because ultimately that is the reality of The Life.
|Random Charity Bags|
In the epilogue of In My Bed I stated "I don't need walls, the security is in my soul". And while I did mean it then, I wasn't quite living it. I was stating it in order to move towards it perhaps. I said a lot of things then, and I still believe, in fact I believe more now, that people need to say their things, I believe that there is a release there, a freedom from the shame of carrying secrets, most of which, most of the things I carried secretly anyway, were not mine, I carried other people's and made it my own, shame works like that I feel.
Internalising the actions of others carrying the darkness, making it part of my story and acting from that place. It's a difficult process to separate out what's mine and what's theirs, but it's worth it. To finally recognize it, what's really mine, and what was never mine and LET IT GO.
LET IT GO.
It's hard partly because it's The Unknown. Who will I be without this stuff I've been carrying? Who will I be if I'm not in the shame? What will I do without it? What excuse will I have then for not being totally free? Movement towards total freedom is always the super objective of The Life now. But there's a fear attached to that, there's fear in having total freedom. And I am learning that through Project Downsize too. If nothing is impossible...what then?!
So, I don't need walls the security is in my soul...Project Downsize is testing the boundaries of this! My boundaries. And it's not quite complete, though in the final phase now.
|Blue boxes to store at my brothers |
& family original artwork
I gifted my books first. I had to. Because in a way I was most attached to them. They represented quite a lot. They signified my intelligence, proved my intelligence! In a way! Books I bought in college, books I bought in London, academic books that I learned to understand, slowly. That opened up new theories or articulated theories I already felt intuitively but gave me a basis for understanding and expanding. Books people gave me marking special events in my life. Books I haven't read yet but wanted to. Books displayed in my house that prove I can read!?!! Not quite! But displayed, comforted me, made me less lonely. Made it possible to live in another world for a while, the world of the writer, a world not my own. Opening up alternatives, teaching me things. And self help books too! Quite a few over the years! For various ailments, mostly emotional, mostly a means to understand things I had no other means to unravel. And each worked in its own way, at a time when I had no other outlet, no other point of contact, isolated in the fear of something too shameful to discuss with a human being. And that's okay, that's what I needed then. And I may need it again!
I gifted the first book individually, a book that had been given to me when I really needed it. 'The Road Less Travelled'. On the street in Rathmines in 1996, when I was really fucked up mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, I met a friend of a friend, I think I'd met her once before, and I don't know what I said to her but she seemed to sense instinctively that I needed to read this book. And she took me up to her little flat off the main road and gifted it to me. And I read it and it helped. And I passed it on a few times, and then one of my best friends bought me another copy to keep for myself. And that's what I gifted, to a very lovely person, with a beautiful soul, who I felt might enjoy it now. That was the first gifting.
|'In My Bed' stuff at my sisters|
I gifted my Artaud books to my Artaud buddy, someone who would value them as much as I...poor Artaud x
And then I sorted the rest into sections, Dublin Youth Theatre, Fringe HQ for the new library, Oxfam book shop, books back to my uncle, books to my good friend, a couple for my sister. And I did it. I gave them all away. I let them all go. Well, I kept a few that I am currently using for this and another project. But other than that, they are gone, out into the world to be used, enjoyed, not wasted sitting on a shelf.
I had every card and letter I received too, gone! To recycling!
I had photographs from forever which I gifted to my Mother, she really likes photographs!
I also had, and still have few bits belonging to other people that need to be returned.
I had bits of paper, scraps of writing from when I was 14 on, some of which I scanned or photographed, then recycled or burned.
I had to burn some things, some things needed to be burned, sometimes a ritual is necessary.
|what's left, not quite in a rucksack yet! |
Then the gifting continued, and continues. I still have some things to gift to people, and bags to go to charity, and two boxes of my notebooks which I need to keep, and my brother is going to mind, and the stuff for 'In My Bed' which I need for future shows, which I will store at my sister's.
I have some shredding of old papers to do next week, and three bags of theatre programmes to bring into ITI for the archive hopefully that I need to deliver next week, then other than the gifting, Project Downsize is complete, and I am left with only what I need to be alive here and now...
So, not quite my life in a rucksack yet, but almost, almost there.