How do you show up?

I took an intensive week-long course in adventure therapy at the beginning of the month which I absolutely LOVED.  It was an amazing experience and one that changed my life in ways I am sure I will continue to discover as the days pass on.  The class was small – 15 people – and one of the things our instructor was continually asking us to think about is how we “showed up” to group and to class?  How did we show up when we faced a challenging and frustrating problem-solving activity to try to work through together?  How did we show up when we were tired, hungry, and maybe a little dehydrated?  The emphasis was on the fact that we all choose how to show up.  We can choose to be patient and kind and understanding, etc. amidst our frustration or we can choose to be cranky, irritable, and frustrated, etc.  There is always a choice.

Similarly, in A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle poses the question, How do you respond to the Now?  The present moment?  Are you friends with it?  Because the present moment, the Now, is Life.  It is all there is.  When I read this section of the book, I saw that more often than not, I am not friendly with the Now.  I’m probably more often frustrated, bitchy, complaining, etc.  As I read on, he noted that the ego (the root of all negative emotions which is conditioned by our past) usually doesn’t like to focus on the Now.  It prefers the past or the future.  If it does focus on the Now, it treats it in one of three primary ways: a) a means to an ends, b) an obstacle to overcome, or c) an enemy.  Tolle nailed me to the wall on that one.  Frequently, I treat the Now as either a) or b) and think I’m doing well because I’m not treating it as c), though that definitely happens, too some times.  The theme running through all of those is that they are viewpoints that resist or judge the Now or view it only in the context of the past or future.  There is no acceptance.  Being friends with the Now means accepting it unconditionally.  And the amazing and wonderful thing is that when I told myself I was going to consciously choose to be friends with the Now, a lovely feeling of peace and calmness washed over me.  I confess it was short-lived as stressors crept back in and up, and I struggled to choose again.
One of my favorite things about my adventure course was that we began each day by playing songs that meant something to us or that we felt were applicable given the experiences we were having.  One of the songs a classmate of mine brought in was “With my own two hands” by Jack Johnson and Ben Harper from the Curious George soundtrack.  I wasn’t familiar with the song but fell in love with it – it is strongly descriptive of how I want to show up to Life.  I invite you to listen and reflect on how you want to “show up” to Life…

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2 thoughts on “How do you show up?

  1. One of the things that can be so ‘threatening’ about the NOW is that in order to be in it, we simply must be…do you know what I mean? It’s not so much about what we did or who we were. It hasn’t anything to do with what we will be doing, or who we will be. Living in the Now takes a willingness to totally drop all thoughts and judgements about the way things are, so that we can simply embrace it.

    The older I get, the easier it becomes to live in the Now. In fact, it’s where I prefer to live, truthfully. Too much ‘stuff’ is attached to the past. And the future?

    Well…for all I know, the only “future’ I really have is the next breathe.

    Namaste, Aerolin. Peace to you as you continue on your journey 🙂 Looks like a really wonderful adventure.

  2. You bring up some good points, Grace. I think it’s important to recognize that being present is an active state and not a passive or still state. And I’m glad you brought up the point about a lack of judgment because that’s something I’m sitting with. Few people, I think, and fewer who are more conscious than most others would argue with the fact that the world needs healing. And yet, is making that statement a judgment and thus not being present in the Now? I don’t feel that it is, or rather, I feel that there are pieces that I don’t have yet that would help explain it or make it clearer. Some kind of way to balance acknowledging the need for healing without working to heal it and thereby losing sight of the Present or only healing it as a means to an ends. Lots of food for thought! I’d love to hear your perspective (and anyone else’s!) 🙂

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