The chair in the corner doesn’t have a name. It doesn’t know the bitter taste of betrayal. It cannot feel the bite of regret. It can hold me. It embraces all it cannot have for itself. Supporting all the weight of me. The heavy, the tangible. Its arms are stable, steadfast and strong. When I am curled up in them I feel protected, enclosed by walls of comfort. These arms are soft and assure me that they mean no harm. They lift me up and settle me down. They are a constant supply of everything I need at any moment I might need it. The chair does not have a reason to feel emotion. The chair does not feel but it does feel for me. Absorbing the heat, the strife, the angst and the grime. I shed my skin in the chair, letting it hold me I am bare and naked. The chair sees me as I am. The chair doesn’t know the way I look outside these 4 walls. It only knows what I release. It only knows the heaviness. The burden, the sighs.
The chair knows disappointment. It recognizes defeat and loneliness. Having provided sweet relief from tears and sweat, the relentless world rubbing salt in fresh open wounds. The chair has developed a pallet for savory things. It yearns only for flavors it knows. It yearns truly for nothing, because the chair cannot yearn. It cannot feel. It cannot state opinion or fact or debate matters of the heart and mind. The chair is unmoving. Understated. Understanding. It encourages me to sink deep into its crevasses, the nooks of the cushions, the friction of the fabric against my skin. The chair pulls me in. Wraps its arms around me and says “Stay a while. I will hold you for as long as you need holding.”
We tend to ignore the sensations that heed our most defining moments.
A subtle sinking of our stomachs, the slight furrow in our brow as we struggle to make sense of the sudden unwelcome sense of unsettlement. That heat that gathers behind our eyes warning of the flood of tears to come, so confidently assuring us there is nothing to be done to keep them at bay. Objects and faces that up to this pivotal point provided normalcy, comfort, security, and even happiness, suddenly feel out of place, as if we are witnessing the light land on them for the first time.
We experience these responses to change time and time again in our lives. The panic floods over us all at once, as if our bodies are rejecting the idea before the mind has a chance to wrap a coherent thought around it. The lump rises up in our throats, the stinging behind our eyes and a very sudden, very strong aversion to the thought of food as our stomachs hit the floor. Even when the change that is in front of us not being forced upon us, the reaction is the same – something new, something unknown to be feared.
When faced with a choice – one that asks us to deviate so suddenly and unexpectedly from where we stand – our stomachs sink, our brows furrow, and we label these sensations as signs of warning. Instinctive and habitual, we gravitate toward these familiar and initial reactions to change, clinging to them as if they are the only emotions we are capable of. Relying wholeheartedly on the instinctive message being sent to our brains, we immediately retreat.
But what if the impending tears and sinking stomachs are instead a sign that something is coming, something great? With rapid change hurling itself in our direction at full speed – what if we choose instead to explore, reflect, inspect, and question what is happening? Reading the signals of response in a context of fear, could mean missing out on the many defining moments that we derive from such experiences. So, rather than deciding that we are bound to meet our impending doom, let’s instead recognize and embrace the moments leading to greatness – no matter how hard our stomachs hit the floor.