Green organisms respond quickly to small changes in soil, water, sun, and wind. They also respond to other plants and insects by changing their own chemistry. Often this is instantaneous. It is hard to imagine what it would look like for a plant to not show up or be present. They don’t have a choice.
Humans on the other hand have a multitude of ways to not show up. We have the ability to hold our bodies in a certain time and space and yet not be present at all. We daydream and obsess about the past and present. We numb out and ignore sensations in various ways to avoid feeling them. And we also can be partially present, as when we drive somewhere and then on arrival realize we don’t remember anything about the journey.
Showing Up for Others
In addition to what seems like our natural ability to “be anywhere but here” we’ve added a host of electronic gadgets and distractions, making it a huge effort to simply show up for our lives. The mindfulness practice this week is about showing up. I started to write this post about showing up for others and what that might look like on a consistent basis. It would include things like truly listening when others are talking and paying attention to shifts in moods and subtle cues for context. Having empathy for others and acknowledging their joys and sorrows would also be included.
Showing Up for Ourselves
But I realized as I was writing that we often we don’t even show up for ourselves. That has to be a first step. So in focusing on this concept for the week, the idea is to pay attention to the ways we show up for ourselves. We can listen to our internal self-talk. Are we kind? Are we compassionate? How are we feeling? Do we acknowledge our joys and sorrows? Can we be honest with ourselves about what we are thinking and feeling at the deepest level moment to moment? Yes, life is messy and chaotic, but can we practice showing up for ourselves with love and kindness through all of it?
For more information on my weekly focus words, click here.