Posts tagged objects
Objects & Attachment: True to Form
John Baldessari, True to Form (from Goya Series), 1997

John Baldessari, True to Form (from Goya Series), 1997

Part of why I’m drawn to objects is because we can count on them.  They’re reliable.  We don’t have to wonder what mood they’ll be in or how they’ll receive us.  We get to receive them.   This is why they can help us to ground so well - because they aren’t projecting anything onto us.  Whatever you’re getting from an object has to do with you, and if it’s not “you,” it’s your conditioning, societal programming, etc.  We can let go of the attachment of the object being a symbol of identity or status, and instead, simply true to form.  We can focus on the lines, the texture, the material and see it for what it is - an inanimate object. Letting go of attachment does not translate to detaching from warmth. It’s about detaching from the needing. We are whole as we are, and we don’t need any person, place, thing, or object to complete us. So when we let an object be true to form, without a story of how it should fill us, we leave room for us to be true to form as well.  That’s why this series is focused on attachment.  I’s about letting go - of how we think things should be, should look, should feel.  

We often assign meaning to the experiences we go through.  This is a very human thing to do and can sometimes help us to make connections in our lives in order to grow.  However, if we attach to the meaning,  we can miss the reality in front of us.  So we can find meaning in our experiences while simultaneously honoring them in the most stripped, literal way.  Because when we let go (of our agendas, motives, dreams), we see things as they are.   For instance, you can feel an intense connection with another person and then realize that the relationship has no place to go.  Perhaps the other person does not honor the connection, or perhaps they simply are not showing up in an honest way.  You don’t have to denounce the connection.  You can still honor it.  You can hold space for it.  So long as you realize that you don’t need it.  So if it doesn’t pan out the way you hoped, or if the other person doesn’t show up in a healthy way,  you can let go of the person, the story.  But the connection remains - it will always exist.  

By letting go of the stories and expectations of our objects, we are actually strengthening our connection to them.  We are seeing them in their purity, and in this space we can see ourselves more clearly.  We can honor ourselves as we are.  In a physical sense, we can honor the shape of our bodies, the curves and crevices and marks (just as we do with our objects), and then we can honor ourselves in the metaphysical sense - in our wholeness.  When we go to the metaphysical without first grounding in reality, we can get ourselves in spaces of delusion and fantasy, where things become skewed.  The point of going into the metaphysical is to be in our truth, where sometimes things just are without logical explanation or evidence.  When we enter this place while grounded in the present, we can access our inner knowing without the noise of confusion.  

So when we work with our objects, we can rely on their concrete nature.  This structure is what actually helps us to live with more ease and fluidity.  We can be here, now.  Free of our stories and past experiences.  Free of what others may think of us.  We forget about all of that.  We can be present.


If you’re looking for personalized guidance and/or to dive deeper into the work, feel free to contact me or to book a private session.

In Process: A Poem
in process_Paige Geffen_Object and Us

It is with my cup of tea that I take an inward breath before exhaling

It is while pouring the hot water that I experience the welcomed warmth of steam enveloping my face

It is how putting pen to paper transforms stagnation into fluidity.  

Our objects help us to be in process

They allow us to work with our hands

To find beauty in the mundane and meditation in the minutia.  

Our objects enable us to touch, to feel, to be in our bodies

The sensual experience of sliding a ring against the soft skin of a finger, 

of intertwining legs in warm linen sheets, 

of touching lips to the smooth ceramic surface of a mug

This is in process.


In process there are no shoulds or should nots

only inhales and exhales

even through the hardships

the heartbreaks

the messiness

the misunderstandings

In process there is breath

and therefore, breadth.

In process we experience

the small moments that teach us 

the presence of being alive 

and being alive does not always feel the way we want it to 

as it can be heart wrenching, unkind, gruesome, and painful

but in the presence of whatever arises, we come back to the essence of truth -

Objects are inanimate without us

home is inherently within us 

bring them inward 

to guide yourself home 

as even here, you are

in process.

Stripped: Leaving Room for Messiness
Paige Geffen_object and us

I was speaking with a dear friend recently about messiness in life.  I’m using the word messiness here to refer to events that happen that feel alarming, jarring, and maybe even terrifying.  The things that shake us up.   Perhaps you’ve experienced a recurring issue, theme, or symbol in your life, in which you’ve felt fed up with, tired of, angry about - as though you can’t take it any longer.  I’m trying to unsubscribe from the belief that when this happens, it’s because I’m not “getting” something or shifting something.  Yes, I believe that the messiness happens to crack us open.  That it can ultimately be a blessing because it leads us to deeper learning.  But despite all of my best efforts, I cannot control or advance that learning.  People have said things to me like: “you’re attracting this from your mind, and you have to do the work to shift it.”  I think that’s bullshit.  What I do believe is that there are events we go through in order to help our souls to grow.  What I’ve been learning (and what I also struggle with) is that in my eagerness to learn and to grow, no matter what I do, I cannot speed up the process in order to rid my life of the messiness.  I’m learning that if something becomes recurring, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not doing the work fast enough or deep enough.  During our conversation, my friend told me to accept that life is not on my timeline.  She's right.  It just is.  It doesn’t have to feel great or even okay.  It just is.  What’s happening is what’s happening, and no matter how many meditations we do or journal entries we write or deep issues into our childhood we crack open - we cannot govern what’s happening.  What occurs on the material plane is not a reflection of our insides.  

Perhaps sometimes we have to learn something over and over and over again.  And maybe it’s not because we haven’t learned from it the first time around.  Maybe it’s because we are being asked to learn more, to go deeper.  I am not interested in surface work.  I want to go to the depths.  The work of Object & Us is not about curating a perfect room or a perfect home or a perfect life.  It’s about grounding, even in the midst of groundlessness.  It’s about coming home to ourselves, so that our external world has no bearing on who we feel we are.  

I don’t care how ugly you feel your house is, or if you even have a house.  I didn’t have one for nearly a year, and I still don’t have a “permanent" space.  When I was frustrated about this and told my friend that I wanted to finally sign a year lease and ground in one place, she told me that I can do that in my sleep.  That what I’m going through is not because I’m not doing self work, it’s because I am.  That I can help people with my sessions and workshops and writing more deeply because I’m getting schooled on this shit.

This work is not going to help you to make your life prettier or more appealing.  It’s going to help you to ground despite how ugly it may be.  A really nice side effect of doing the work will be that you learn to better understand your own likes and preferences so that you can create a space you love.  And this is helpful not because of how attractive the space may be, but because the space will help you to operate in a more intentional way.  It will support your journey to living with mindfulness.  So I encourage you to leave room for messiness in your home.  Not so that you neglect your space or become careless, but so that you can leave room for messiness in your life.  Controlling your environment to the extent that there’s no room for fluidity will only keep you from your own freedom.  There’s room for you to be you - in all of your majesty and in all of your messiness.  I promise.

Below are some easy, simple rituals that will help you ground in the midst of groundlessness no matter who you are or where you are:

MORNING DRINK

Whether you’re filling your cup/mug with lemon water, tea, or coffee, study the cup/mug while you’re filling it with your drink of choice.  Connect with it - notice the texture and take note of how you feel in your body while doing this.  When you sit to have your drink, do a stream of consciousness journal entry. 

AFTERNOON EARTHING

Take off your shoes and plant your feet on the earth.  Connect with your breath and breathe in the earth energy through your feet up into your body.  You can also do this throughout the day - even if you are indoors and cannot take your shoes off - at your desk, work table, or in your car.

NIGHTLY SHUT OFF

Turn your phone on airplane mode an hour before you'd like to go to bed.  That way, in the morning you can keep your phone on airplane mode until after your morning ritual is completed.  Lay on your bed at night and feel the sheets/comforter.  Run your hands over the fabric.  Allow the fabric touching your skin to awaken the senses in your body.  You can then rest, close your eyes, and take some time to just be.  It doesn't have to be a formal "meditation," but rather literally a place to rest your head.  You can take mental stock of what you're grateful for, or write it down.  Whatever feels the most natural.  If you don’t have a bed, you can practice this wherever you are sleeping.

Stripped: Craving Space
Paige Geffen_Object and Us

I feel trapped.  Stifled.  Suffocated.  I need space.

This is a theme for me.  One that I have been consciously exploring in the last two years, and as of late, it feels like this need is only getting stronger and louder.  It’s pretty obvious that no one person (other than myself) or object can give me this space.  Perhaps a larger home would (I’m in 300 sq ft with another person and a dog).  Perhaps.  Yet this need for space has depth.  So much depth.  When I close my eyes I often see myself swimming with dolphins in the deep sea or walking in the open desert.  My subconscious is taking me to vast, expansive places.  Places that are unknown, elusive, and even otherworldly.

These visions help me to access the spaciousness within, while my physical world may not be as roomy at the moment.  I spent nearly a year of my life in fight-or-flight mode, and while I’m so thankful to be out of that state, my body is still holding onto some of the trauma (which I’m actively working on releasing), and the areas in which I’m seeking expansion in my life are remaining stagnant (or seemingly so).  For instance, we moved into the moldy place after identifying that we needed some more physical space than we had in our tiny Echo Park cottage - to have alone time, to create, to rest, etc.  We eventually ended up in an even tinier all-one-room cottage.  Thankfully, we now live in nature, amongst the trees.  But you can probably gauge why the feeling of suffocation comes up regarding this situation - I left the tiny Echo Park cottage for more space, learned and grew so much in that insanely difficult time, and then ended up in the “same” situation I was trying to expand from in the first place.  But I can create a bit of space simply by not attaching to that meaning.  By knowing internally that I’m not in the same place I was a year and a half ago.  That I’ve learned so much.  That it might not all be crystal clear, but I’m listening.  I’m tuning in.

It’s frustrating to do self work and to have incredible epiphanies and realizations and connections and to then watch your life stay stagnant.  But this is where I get deterred from being in the unknown (which is actually a place of spaciousness, like the ocean) - by trying to “figure it out.”  By trying to attach to some kind of understanding of the situation or the need.  Yet truly, the only thing that works is to let it breathe.  To allow it to be there without having to understand.  To trust that everything will be revealed in due course.  And if I’m not “getting something” it’s not because I’m not doing the work - because I am.  I cannot force myself to accelerate faster.  All I can do is show up for myself.  And in that showing up, I’m being asked to go into the depths of feeling stuck and suffocated to learn and extract more from it than I can currently fathom. 

Part of this process for me involved clearing out all most of my possessions.  This allowed me to open up the space to even hear this voice.  To heed to its calling.  Because so much of my attachment to the “what if’s” relating to those items was released as soon as I let them go.  And this letting go has allowed me to be where I am.  To stay in the simplicity of each moment.  To release my yearning and needing for things outside of myself.  To detach from old stories and ways of being.  The more physical space I cleared, the more metaphysical space became available for me to dive into.  This may not be the case for everyone.  This work is so individualistic (depending on the truth of your internal needs).  But whatever the need, the physical and metaphysical are connected.  When we are only exploring one realm, we are missing parts of the whole.  If we go straight to the metaphysical without looking at the concrete, we lose connection from the earthliness of grounding in reality.  If we only go into the physical, we lose the magic and the message of what’s trying to come through and help us to grow.  

I’ve been connecting these two worlds by utilizing my objects to create space for myself, through rituals.  Here are a couple of examples:

MORNING TONIC

I listen to soothing music, heat up water or mylk, and then gather my spices and adaptogens.  The process - of waiting for the kettle to steam, stirring everything together with the tiny wooden spoon, slowly sipping, and enjoying time with myself - is an intimate one.  It allows me to slow down and stay present at the start of my day.  You can read more of this here.

GETTING DRESSED

I ask my body what it needs.  Does my body need ease and movement (something open and free like a linen jumpsuit) or structure (something more containing like denim)?  This simple question opens me up to the truth of what my body needs, so that I can respond with receptiveness.  

These tiny acts create space, because being in touch with the truth and in tune with my needs always does.  When I go about life in autopilot - fight-or-flight, or going through the motions - where’s the room for me?  It’s really about peeling the layers in order to have more compassion, not more understanding or knowing.   To lay bare, to become more raw.  It is in this rawness that I have no choice but to surrender.  To let go.  To need nothing but the space between myself and a universe I may never understand.  

If you feel called to learn more and to dive into this work, explore booking a session.  Feel free to email me with any questions.