Thursday, June 11, 2015
Not too long ago Clint Eastwood experienced what he likely felt was unjustified derision when he gave a speech that involved him speaking to an empty chair.
A number of years ago I was invited to contemplate an empty chair in a different context. I was a student of Naropa University at the time. Matthew Fox, a well known theologian, teacher and writer, asked a group of students to consider an empty chair in a classroom. I was among those students. I don’t really remember any of his exact words now. What I do remember was the gist of his words. He invited us to contemplate all those who were not filling what were instead empty seats because of whatever circumstances prevented them from doing so. In a sense he was inviting us to consider the hardship, challenges and obstacles so many people face each and every day. Despite wondrous intentions to the contrary not everyone experiences the gift of equal opportunity.
I have been thinking of the metaphor of that empty chair as I near the two year anniversary of my unexpected diagnosis of PTSD as well as my subsequent anniversary of beginning this blog. I have filled many seats throughout my life thus far. I have overcome a number of obstacles to participate in ways that I otherwise would not have. My journey has sometimes been arduous. My journey has sometimes been lonely. And my journey has sometimes seemed exceedingly not worthwhile. But I have journeyed nonetheless.
Tonight, while meeting with my therapist, I focused on the particular theme of the sadness I have carried throughout much of my life. This companion has been with me much of my life. I am grateful to say that my sadness is a less burdensome companion as of late. Two years of therapy has earned me this reward among others. I spoke about this aspect of my life with my therapist and inquired what was a healthy expectation to have regarding my future. Will I always carry some measure of sadness more than I wish to? Will all my sadness ever fully disappear? Will it…heal? I didn’t phrase my question exactly as I have written here. But this is a topic that occupies a space within my mind. I don’t always give the question a lot of conscious attention. But it resides in my heart and mind nonetheless.
As I undertook the journey of renewed self-inquiry and healing these last two years I hoped to eventually begin more seriously asking myself what I wish to do with what remains of my life. I have now reached the point where I am beginning to consciously and thoughtfully do that on a daily basis. What seats do I wish to fill in my future? Where and how do I wish to show up?
As we near the longest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere I find myself feeling prepared to actively and deeply engage in the process of building a future for myself. I have been creating a new foundation for myself the last two years. Now that the foundation is established it’s time to build something beautiful upon it.