Today I wrote ‘show up’ on the mirror in my bedroom.
It’s where I write the meaningful things. The things I want to remember. The things I’m trying to learn.
This is one of the latter.
By ‘show up’ I mean be present. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing…be all there. Not 20% or 50% or 75% (while you’re contemplating how to cook tonight’s mackerel dinner and whether you can do it in the slow-cooker and whether your child will give you enough time in the kitchen to chop up the veggies or….see, there I go). But 100%…or as close to it as you can get.
The way you are when you’re doing something you love, or learning something cool and new (like juggling or riding a bike) or when you’re experiencing some physical ecstacy…or agony.
This is something I need to work on. My head is a hundred places at once and it’s often a conscious effort to breeeeathe slowly and consciously, bring myself back into the room, back into my body, fully back in to this moment.
It’s one of the things I hoped motherhood would magically change in me. It didn’t. While I hear other mums struggling with a lost identity, I was somehow left disappointed with how very unchanged I was!
Being present takes work for me I find. Well there are two parts to it.
One is realising I need to make an effort to be present – to show up – because it takes consciousness. And we live in a largely unconscious world where it’s easy to slip into an unconscious lifestyle (days lost to tv and Facebook anyone?).
The other is that it’s worth investigating where I’m not present, where I show up the least…and why. Is it somewhere where there is fear/insecurity getting in the way? Is it because I’m doing something I don’t really want to be doing? Is it because I’m trying to tackle something before I’m actually ready for it?
Actually it takes consciousness, presence, showing up, to be in the space to ask these questions in the first place.
This is important to me because:
…when I’m writing I want to be all there.
…when I’m with my daughter I want to be all there.
…when I’m having some me-time I want to be all there.
…when I’m going through challenges and tough times I want to be all there.
And through all of the above massive growth and insights come, but often only if I’m alert/awake/present enough to meet them.
This applies to grief and healing as well of course.
Showing up in your grief (whatever that experience looks like with all it’s endless possibilities of thoughts and feelings) means really being able to go through whatever you need to, without hiding from it for years (as so many do while it quietly runs your life in the background), and allowing things to travel through you, rather than unlearnt lessons and unexpressed emotions needing to get stuck until they’re paid attention to.
And you absolutely must show up in your healing – it’s not a passive activity in my experience. And showing up in your healing is what allows you to show up in other parts of your life. We’ve all met people so stuck and lost and at home in their grief that it has become all they are.
To show up in the early, often emotional and overwhelming, part of grief doesn’t need to be hard or complicated (and you likely don’t have the capacity anyway). Simply sitting with paper or a journal, inviting feelings in and writing them down does this. Stepping away from distraction to have an honest look at some of what is coming up for you. You can do this for a minute – it doesn’t need to be drawn out and difficult. Work gently with yourself with what you’re capable of doing.
To show up in healing, allow the possibility to exist firstly. Imagine it, think how light that must feel, want it, create space for it.
Wherever you are, whatever you are going through…show up for it.
Show up for yourself.