Friday, August 31, 2012

Some of the things I've been thinking about lately

One of the main things I've been thinking about lately is a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre:

"Become aware of the significance of your situation"
 - Jean-Paul Sartre

It's complicated, my situation.  It's not as straight forward as it could be spun, or spun is the wrong word, but the significance of my situation regarding my home, actually my house now, in terms of the wider social situation in Ireland at the moment, could be viewed as straightforward. 

I can't afford to live there, I can't afford to sell it, I'd still owe about €100,000, at least.  

So that's part of the significance of my situation right now, in the wider social context of contemporary Ireland. 

It's part of it, but it's not all of it.  At a glance, that's all true.  And it is true.  But it's not that simple, although with the downsizing complete, it's getting simpler every day.  
I bought my house in 2000, the millennium year, and I bought through fear.  That's the primary reason I bought the house.  Fear.  It seems bizarre now, given the downsizing and only holding onto a rucksack of stuff, how could I have felt I needed to own a house full of things in order to be secure, how can that be the truth?  But it was, it was the truth, then.  I was afraid.  I was afraid of The Life and I was afraid of having no where to go, no where to go where I'd feel safe and secure.  

But this whole process is more about what I value, what I hold important, what is meaningful to me, how I choose to live The Life, the one life I have and how I need to be in the world right now.  I went to college when I was 26, I left a 'permanent pensionble' job in the health services to go and study Theatre and Sociology, to go and do what I always wanted to do, and had always been doing on a part time basis.  I took a risk and I left and I have never regretted it.  It was the beginning of me consciously becoming who I am.  It was an amazing experience in learning who I am and what I do and what I may become.  
So the reality of the whole house thing for me is a trade off, it's letting go of a false promise, letting go of an idea of needing something to be secure in the world, needing walls, needing a safe place..."I was aiming for a different life" I was aiming for that life because I was not aware that I had other options, I was not conscious of the infinite (almost) possibilities of how to live this life.  I was afraid.  I was scared of total freedom.  I am happier now than I have ever been before, doing what I love, what I was meant to do, learning and developing my practice and my understanding.  The fact of this is for me that I can't have a house to live in and live the life I want to live at the same time.  And it's not a sacrifice, its a gift.  To become who I am.  To choose to downsize my life and do what I love to do rather than gamble on needing something when I'm 80 that is prohibiting me living my life right now, in the here and now.  For some reason I felt guilty for a while about this.  I felt like it was unfair that I had this mortgage that I can't afford to pay any more because I choose to go to college and do what I want to do.  I felt guilty about reneging on that commitment to the world.  It's weird writing that but that's how I felt.  Like I didn't deserve to be happy, joyous and free.  Which is ridiculous, because I believe that everybody has the right to be happy.  Each of the Downsize notes ends with 

"Wishing you Love and Abundance and Joy"

and that's what I wish for everyone, so why not me too?  Why the guilt?  It's ingrained, it's in the blood of the Irish I think, the fixation with the land, surviving, striving, fighting to hold on to things, fighting to get things back, anger, fear of loosing, injustice, fear of letting go, fear of being free, forgetting that we already are.  We are free.  We have always been free in our soul, listening to the soul of the world, listening to the soul of the country right now is tough, we're suffering, we're facing things we haven't looked at head on, we're remembering who we are, and we're adjusting, the practicalities are tough, for a huge number of people, we've lost things, we've lost faith, but I have a sense that it was misplaced faith, a giving over of our power to a Church that fucked us over from the beginning, that kept us small and burdened and working for some one else all the time.  And I think we have a different sort of faith that we've always held inside us, our old pagan ways of understanding The Natural, understanding The Universe.  

I felt like I hadn't the right to change my life, I felt like I was obliged to keep going as I was, pushing through.
That's not the truth.  I have got a choice.  
I have a right to choose how to live my life.  
We all do.  And I think we're remembering that now.
I think we're remembering that.
And I am very grateful for that.

"...there is always a choice, no matter how small, there is always a choice..."
- Jean-Paul Sartre

I've been thinking about change, obviously, this is a huge change for me, and it's pretty radical in the context of my life so far.  This is probably the biggest physical shift in how I live The Life that I've ever chosen and experienced.  And it has ramifications and ripples not just in my life but in the lives of those around me, particularly those closest to me.  I've had some very interesting chats with people about this process, inevitably this process reflects and resonates in the lives of other people, it's a natural thing to compare or view things from one's own perspective, so in the downsizing people I've talked to inevitably think about their own possessions, and what they couldn't bare to part with, and also what they've accumulated and what actually could go.  
For me, the gifting saved me!  If that hadn't have come into being I'm not sure how I would have done this, or even if I'd have been able to.  The gifting made it all easier, and the gifting took on a life of it's own too.  It became a ritual of it's own, and a whole other process, with each gift a little note of the downsizing needed to be written to explain the process and then, it became important to gift to a lot of people, and each note had to be written, becoming not only significant for the gifting but to say things about why they were getting this particular gift and also saying things that I needed to say, expressing my feelings in writing to friends and family, letting them know they are important to me and a lot of thanks too, for being there for me, for sharing in The Life so far, and that clarified what's important to me in The Life, The Love!  Always The Love, love is the answer to all the questions!  So it's been emotional! 'It's been real' as they say in America! And it's been a beautiful process for me overall, because of the gifting.

There was a couple of freak outs too, not major ones, but like mild panic attacks where my hands shook telling my friend earlier this week all in one go what I was doing!!! And moments of walking around my house repeatedly from room to room just looking at it, and moving stuff around, piles and bags and bringing things from one place to another and carrying bags into charity shops and getting confused about objects and who was to get them and confusing myself with stuff everywhere!

I forensically went through my life.  My life so far.  Going back to the beginning, looking through everything and assessing its value to me, and whether it was historical or current, and then deciding what to do with it.  It's been fairly intense really, now that I write about it! But also, quite joyful and beautiful.  

I have no regret.  I have a sensation that this is absolutely the right thing for me, though I can't prove it and I don't know what will happen next.  I'm Trusting The Universe again, fully and completely.  I'd lost that sensation for a while there, I was getting confused and afraid and caught up in too many questions and imaginings and basically an existential crisis, again! But today I have that sensation back.  The Universe always provides, always.  That's my experience, and I'm very grateful for it.  

Everyday I walk into The Unknown towards The Universe

This is a fact, and it's a fact that's easier to live with if I'm aware of it, if I'm conscious of the limited control I have over The Life and what happens.  If I live with that awareness that all things are temporary and I can't control everything then it's easier to be, to be here and now, in the moment.  This is all I have.  And it's enough.

I came across a hand written page of this link below, 'The Personal Legend' that I had written during the preparations for In My Bed last year.  It really helped me, it helped me to understand that I had to move forward into myself, I had to become who I am without fear and without guilt, and without shame.  It helped me to understand the process of letting go and becoming.  Becoming is one of my favorite concepts, becoming and potential, therein lies all the hope I need.  It's helpful.  I found it helpful anyway.

“Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.” 

- Jean-Paul Sartre

And I've been thinking about freedom and what that means, and what are the consequences of becoming totally free, if that's possible, the idea that one can become totally free in The Life fascinates me but it's huge too, it's vast, it's as simple and as complicated as my perception of living.  One of the more head melting moments of the Project Downsize was when I became aware in a really conscious way that I could do anything I wanted.  I had almost infinite choice, I could do this, I could get rid of everything, I could change my circumstances, I could shift my way of living, I could actually change, in a significant way.  I've been changing incrementally for a very long time, always in a way, and I've consciously worked on certain things and changed specific things at different times over the years, but to know in a new way that I could, in fact I am free, to choose The Life I want to live, freaked me out for a while. I got scared, I got terrified at moments.  I got caught up in complexities and possibilities and a plethora of potential.  

"The essential consequence of our earlier remarks is that man being condemned to be free carries the weight of the whole world on his shoulders; he is responsible for the world and for himself as a way of being."  
-Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

It was scary to realize that I could change whatever I wanted, that I could do and go and be whatever I wanted.  That I am responsible for the circumstances of my own life, that I am responsible.  I am not subject to any one else, obviously I am living in community with all the other people on the planet, and I have a responsibility to them as part of that community, but in terms of how I choose to be, how I want and need to live my life, I am free to do and be as I want.  The vastness of the possibilities overwhelmed me for a while, and I was sick too and lying in bed I mulled over many many things, many aspects of my life so far and the choices I'd made and the ramifications of those choices, decisions I made relatively blind, or out of fear.  Decisions that still resonate in my life today.  The most substantial one on a practical level is buying the house. 

Twelve years ago, September 2000, I moved in.  Twelve years.  A complete cycle.  
It's a good time to change.
Here & Now.
Beginning again x

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