Unearthed with Paige Geffen: Objects As Tools for Self-Connection
I look to the physical as a bridge to the metaphysical, to help others to access their internal landscapes through their external surroundings. I believe it is of the utmost importance to learn to meet the needs of our individual inner selves, to change the narrative of the collective whole. My broader mission is to shift the societal paradigm from consuming mindlessly to collecting mindfully.
We all grab on for security. It’s a very human thing to do. If we look at our spaces and objects, we find that they make us feel secure. But our physical world doesn’t actually provide us security. Yes, physical things can keep us safe and comfortable - shelter, blankets, etc. But even so, there is no guarantee that our roof won’t collapse or that we won’t feel cold.
Attachment is an illusion. When we let go of attachment - to our identity, to our stuff, to people, to how we feel things should be — we are simply letting go of a false sense of security. What does that leave? The truth. And the truth here is that security is an illusion as well. Everything is constantly in flux, and there is no guarantee that you will stay exactly where you are right now. I can actually promise that you will never be exactly where you are right now again. Even if your current home, relationship, or job does not change, your perspective will. Tomorrow you may wake up in the same bed with the same sheets in your same body, but you will most likely feel differently than you did when you woke up today. What roofs and blankets cannot do is keep us safe and comfortable in our internal world. Only we can do that.
In our attempt to feel secure, we try to control our external environment. But in this place, there is no room for the unknown, for freedom, for magic. We are never actually in control, as we are powerless over other people, places, and situations. So when we let go of the need for security, we let go of control. And when we do this, we may at first feel uneasy or uncomfortable because we are pointing the focus inward. We will continue to feel discomfort until we learn to be totally okay without security. We feel liberated when we realize that security does not lie in anything we can touch or see. It lies within.
In this workshop, we will explore physical space to uncover the expansion that already exists within us. We do this by seeing where we may be projecting and/or seeking identity through the external world so that we can strip these constructs and lay bare our basic needs and desires. We learn to meet these needs on our own, so that our objects no longer serve as symbols of identity, but instead as tools for connection. Our objects become the vessels that support our mission to live with more mindfulness and intention.
We will learn to look at our objects to help us to sit with ourselves. They are the invitations to pause, to quiet the mind, and to get into the physical. Where do you feel insecure? Self-conscious? Uncertain? Look there. What objects give you the illusion of filling these voids or push you to grasp for concrete answers? Tear your relationship down with those objects. Let go of your attachments to them. You don’t have to get rid of them, but instead, form new relationships with them. What can they provide you with when you realize they cannot keep you secure? How can they serve you in navigating the deepest parts of your inner self? If answering this feels heavy, start by activating your senses.
Whatever you’re working with - what does it feel like, smell like? Run your hands over it, take note of the material, shape, and texture. You’ll start to ground into your body, and the physicality will awaken connection with yourself so that you can dive into the innermost depths with some genuine comfort. Merely touching an object while breathing into the body can bring enough awareness to access a wealth of internal wisdom.
The last thing I want is for people to feel that they need to go out and acquire new things to practice this work. You can do this work sitting on the sidewalk with a piece of gravel or walking in nature with a stone from the dirt. The more we recognize that we don’t ‘have’ anything, and the more we see that our profound, personal truth is what guides us, the less we will rely on our stuff and instead shift the focus to rely on our inner selves. If you can learn to allow your cup of tea to help you to pause, to breathe, and to ground into your body, you can learn to do this anywhere with anything (or even absent of that ‘thing’). When you stop to notice the sensation you feel when sliding your favorite ring on your finger or your comfy socks on your feet, you connect to the innate wisdom of your body. The ring and the socks won’t give you power or self-assurance, but the action of connecting to yourself will.
I realize that we typically don’t purchase rings and socks to practice self-connection. I am all for surrounding yourself with beautiful items. Beauty is a driving force in my life. Walking in nature and watching the sunset over the mountains is a prime example of observing and experiencing beauty. Putting on an outfit that makes me feel amazing in my skin is also an example of this. Here is a quote I’ve previously written on my perspective of beauty: “To me, beauty without intention really isn’t beautiful. It feels empty. We can emphasize the marriage of beauty and intention by realizing that they are the same. That beauty comes from mindfulness, from nature, from slowing down, from our hearts. Beauty looks like truth.”
Yes, it’s apparent that we can find beauty in nature and in our beloved objects, but can we also find beauty in disorder? Not so long ago, my life was a complete fucking mess. I was living in tremendous chaos every day. Everything I was experiencing, no matter how messy and no matter how much I hated it, was bringing me closer to my truth. I was being cracked open to look at all of my shadowy parts to embrace them. This work saved me. I learned to ground amid groundlessness. I was able to find beauty in small moments and in overlooked objects.
Most importantly, I was able to find the beauty within myself. To accept me, flaws and all. This is an ongoing process that I am always working on. I am not a perfect ball of sunshine devoid of insecurities. However, I am committed to continuing to tear down conditioning to connect to the roots of who I am. You, too, can do this. Join me this Saturday to learn how.