Tuesday, December 12

Shelves & Tables

I put a lot of effort into “working on myself” which to many is a silly statement –kinda corny too. I see that, but it’s accurate. By working on myself I am working on life getting easier. On my being more flexible. On my growth and my success at this being human thing. I have good bad examples of people who don’t work on themselves, and man, I’m not going to choose that route for myself. I also have one really amazing example of somoene who has been working on themselves for over 20 years. I see the difference; it’s worth doing.

I’ve experienced the difference of not doing self-work, and doing it and its actually necessary now. I’m not going to swim in anything shitty whether it’s my doing or anyone else’s.

So… this idea of shelves and tables is one of the tools I use toward finding life easier. For dealing with issues that arise and being able to move forward. Which is why I should share it.

I will start with the table.

When I have something I’m spending a lot of time thinking about, or need to make a decision on, I find it most useful to take this thing (whatever it is) and imagine setting it on a table in front of me. Whether it’s an emotion, a situation, a friendship… anything. I use the table as a way to extract myself from it, take a step back, and look at it from all sides as an outsider. (This is only hard if you’ve never done it before. So it DOES get easier.) One of the reasons this is so helpful is that it’s kind-of like a friend coming to you with an issue, not being attached to it means you have clearer perspective. You have good advice for friends and when you “set it on the table” you too can have good advice for yourself. I find it also helpful to finally see my underlying feelings. The stuff I’m denying, or the stuff I think I’m only slightly feeling. Setting it on the table gives me the opportunity to be very honest with myself without it hurting. This is especially helpful to me because I always want to be sensible. Putting something on the table helps me be as sensible as I possibly can be and even admit difficult things to myself.

I am forever saying “lets set it down and look at it” This is the setting it down thing. It’s the most useful tool out there for self-work.

The second tool is the shelf. This is almost the same idea as the table -as I’m removing something from myself. But instead of the goal to be the ability to look at it, the goal is to allow myself to walk away from it for a time. Thing is, we get so attached to ideas and feelings and situations, it becomes impossible at times to throw things in the garbage… so just putting it on the shelf is like giving your mind a small vacation. You know it’s not gone, you know where it is and you can go back to the shelf anytime to pick it up. Yes, a benefit is being able to see it clearer, as with the table, but you can see it clearer and still be walking away. The table is used for examining and self reflection while essentially problem solving. The shelf is the freedom from that.

If any of this sounds difficult, because being honest with yourself can be a very difficult thing for some, try starting with a notebook. One you have no intention of anyone ever reading. It's just yours, it's a safe, and all the things you put in it can be seen as a shelf or a table. Even both. Writing in a notebook is often the sanity I need to just stop playing something in my mind over and over. And sometimes, it's the vehicle to clarity. Removing anything from my mind and applying it to paper forces me to find the words to do so, and that is how I often end up understanding myself. And THAT is how I move on.

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