Showing up

Just Show Up. Many disciplines chant this phrase. I have heard it in yoga, meditation, writing, art, even in marathon training. Persistence, it seems, is the magic ingredient in transformation. Whether the work is transforming your body, your mind, your soul, or your work, the advice is often the same.

Showing up is powerful. There is humility in showing up. Showing up tames the wildness of the ego that says to stay in bed, forget, wimp out. The part that is afraid to change wants us to stay hidden, small. Ultimately, the challenge pulls us out of our hiding spaces. We show up because we crave transformation.

A Buddhist concept that has helped me is “make one decision”. Rather than making a decision everyday whether to write or run or create or sit, make one decision. Make the decision once and move forward. Then it is never a question if you will, the answer is always yes, you already chose, you can skip straight to the activity. This “one decision” process is further reinforced by asking the question “Do you want to achieve your goal?”. If yes, then you show up. If no, then you let your self off the hook, don’t look back, and find a new hobby/work. No need to punish, just make a new choice and be happy.

Showing up takes the pressure off. You don’t have to be brilliant, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be there. I often set myself up to win. I make the showing up easy. I define showing up as doing the activity for 5 minutes. Five minutes is short enough that it seems doable, easy, not a huge investment. Five minutes is long enough that it breaks through the resistance and inertia. After 5 minutes if I really don’t want to be there, then I go on to something else with a feeling of satisfaction that I kept my promise to myself and a knowing that I will return the next day. Most of the time, 5 minutes quickly turns into 50 minutes, or sometimes 5 hours. The flexibility, that after my 5 minutes I can do something else, quiets my rebellious nature and allows my life and reactive work to flow organically through me.

Just show up.

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