Just Show Up. 

My spiritual journey began eight and a half years ago. In that time I have heard several teachers share this guidance; Just show up.  Tomorrow I have a cermony that I will be attending. It will be sacred and beautiful, but it will also be very difficult at times. Tomorrow I will show up.

I took this guidance literally, of course. I tried my best to do so. Invariably I was always glad I did. So much of the time when I showed up I was transformed, emotions were transmuted, and I left high and bold. This happened whether I went to classes or ceremonies or song practices. I knew that showing up was the not only beneficial, but healing.

However, the reality for me, with turmoil and stress and anger in my life, especially before I realized that I was empathic, was that showing up was hard. Even when I knew that it would be worth it, the challenge of showing up was, and sometimes still is, insurmountable. There were times that I found any possible reason to stay home. And there were times that I freely admit to lacking any convincing argument to stay home and yet I did. I viewed every single one of these times as failures. I failed to just show up. That’s all I had to do. It didn’t matter that I had no tobacco to gift or that I hadn’t done my homework. The one thing I had to do was just to go and be present. No one ever would make me feel bad about lack of preparation.  So what the fuck was my problem?? I was a fucking failure. The worst kind, too. I couldn’t even show up to fail. I did it when I was hiding.

Learning that I am an Empath changed me. It helped me to understand why all those antidepressants never worked and just gave me a long, flaccid list of side effects. It helped me to understand my craving for space. And it actually changed how I view this guidance of “Just show up.”  The truth is that “Just show up” isn’t just about spiritual events or classes. Just show up is about life itself; my life. Your life.

Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus is all about the question of suicide (Go read the myth if you haven’t, it’s a fascinating tale and metaphor for our lives). Now I’m not going to get into moral statements on suicide or the bog of emotions that come with navigating the issue. I do believe, however, that the question of suicide IS the question of whether or not to show up. I’ve wrestled with that question and I’ve experienced a loved one make their permanent choice. I don’t fault them for it. And every day when I open my eyes for the first time in the morning I understand that I am choosing to show up. That, beloved reader, is power.  Perhaps the challenge is to recognize it as such.  The absence of a decision does not mean you aren’t walking your path, and not choosing a permanent end does indeed mean that you are choosing to show up, yet again, to whatever the day brings.

Guilt still creeps in to my life when I bail on something.  It’s understandable and maybe even expected. I am eventually able to refocus my gaze to that choice that I make daily. I choose to show up. I do my best to recognize that everyone that I meet is making that same choice. I love them for it.


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