1/10/18 Guided Meditation: Showing Up As Yourself
What does it mean to “Show Up?” When we use this phrase in normal conversation, it means that we arrive to something-- an event, a party, an appointment. We said we’d be there, and we followed through. Here we are!
Showing Up in Your Life
What does it mean to show up to your life? For me, it means something similar-- being present, being here. Aren’t we always here? Well, yes, but sometimes we don’t know we’re here. It's like we’re halfway here, lost in our thoughts, five steps ahead of NOW in worry or preparation. So showing up means that we’re fully here in this moment, paying attention.
What We Show & What We Hide
If you’re like me, you may have learned over time that it isn’t always easy to show up AS YOURSELF. Perhaps it doesn’t always feel safe. Am I enough? Will people approve of me?
Most of us do show different aspects of ourselves in different contexts, but what I’m talking about is a little more extreme than that. Maybe you have a job where you feel like you need to show up as a very professional, always-knowledgeable person. Maybe with some of the people in your social circle, you feel you need to show up as a flawless, super hip, and put-together person. Maybe in a relationship, you feel you need to show up as an always-emotionally-balanced and never-wrong person. Whew, this sounds stressful...and maybe it sounds like us, at least sometimes.
For me, much of my growth over the last few years has been in this arena, to explore: Who am I? What does it mean to be me? What do I like, prefer, think, feel, need? And then… What would it be like to be fully me in ALL arenas in my life? What would it look like to show up AS MYSELF, without apology? (I was going to say “without fear,” but then I remembered that fear can and often will be there...and we can show up anyway.)
Showing up as me in all arenas with all of my needs and feelings means being vulnerable, and it means being strong. Yes, it often feels scary. And it also often feels amazing-- as if I’ve broken the chains that trapped me, or crawled out of a box into the sunlight.
What does that actually mean in practice? What does it look like to be fully me?
Often, it means speaking more and letting my words be more honest. I’m not saying that I lied before...but I sugar-coated things. If I thought I should be ok with something, but I wasn’t really ok with something, I pretended that it was fine. (I thought I could just deal with those "not fine" feelings on my own.) This often led to resentment, because somehow people were supposed to know my real feelings?! So showing up as myself means saying real things like, “Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I feel uncomfortable.” “I’m not sure how I feel about that. Let me think.” “I don’t understand. Please tell me more.” “Here’s what my thought process is.” “When you said that, here’s how it made me feel.”
Am I being aggressive? Am I saying, “I gotta be me, take it or leave it!”? Nope. But I am engaging more, and I’m not avoiding conflict like the plague, aiming to please people at all costs.
Recognizing My Needs
Another way that I show up as myself is by recognizing and addressing my needs. As I get to know myself better, I've learned that I need to go to bed early, to meditate daily, and to have quiet when I work, for example. So I make efforts to treat myself as I need to be treated. I go to bed early and get up early. This means that when I hang out with friends in the evening, I leave earlier than I used to. I don’t wait till the party breaks up on its own; my husband and I just say our goodbyes at a time we’ve agreed on. I make time to meditate. I negotiate with my husband for times when there can be quiet in our home-- no noise from TV or music.
Making these efforts to acknowledge and tend to my own needs helps in so many ways. For one thing, it just feels better physically and mentally because I get the sleep and the stillness that I need. Rather than feeling like I'm on the edge of being ok, I feel actually nourished. It also feels much better in that I'm proving to myself that I matter. I matter to myself, and I matter to those around me. I matter enough for my needs to be on the table, rather than hidden in my own head.
In 2018, one of my intentions is to show up right HERE. To write about myself and my thoughts, whether or not I think everyone would like to read them. To commit to live weekly meditations on Facebook even though I still get a little nervous about having my face on video. I feel strongly that each of us has a unique voice, and that's it's worth sharing, so I want to share my voice. Howard Thurman said,
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Meditating, teaching, and writing make me come alive, so here I am, showing up. I'm here.
What About You?
Are there times when it feels unsafe to be fully yourself? What does it look like for you to show up as yourself? I've created some questions to get you thinking and writing about this. These reflection pages make a nice "Saturday morning with coffee" activity. Let me know what you discover!