Showing up is a choice

How do you show up in the world? What’s the energy you bring with you, into that which you are, and that which you do? It’s interesting that, how energy shows up, how the feeling behind the words matter so much, often more than the words themselves.

I stumbled upon a quote by Marianne Williamson the other day about this:

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson is also the lady behind these words (wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela), which you may have seen before:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I am getting to know myself, light and darkness alike, and find it interesting to ponder the way I do show up in the world. When do I let my light shine? When am I immersing myself in my darkness? And what difference does it make for you and the rast of the world, in how I show up, when I come from light versus darkness?

I don’t know. Or rather, I know how it feels within me. I know what the difference is, to me, for when I come from the light vs darkness within me. Now, I actually believe there is a great deal to learn from both those sides of me. Both, by the way, makes it sound like I have one light and one dark side within, when it’s likely millions of sides within me, constituting my light, and my darkness. Constantly shifting, evolving, moving. Sometimes expanding. Sometimes shrinking.

Showing upBut all the time, whether expanding or shrinking, influencing how I show up in the world. And that’s just it. I want to show up, as I am, in any given moment. Nowadays it’s more rare for me to try to pose, put on a show, act as something which I am not. It happens though. And it’s very familiar to me, since it’s something I’ve struggled a lot with.

You see, I used to believe that my worth lay in the fact that you liked me and believed I was knowledgeable. That’s why I pretended to know everything. Putting on a show of being in the know, even when I wasn’t.

Now, less and less. It still happens, probably on a daily basis if I’m being honest. But it’s no longer my default mode, pretending to know. Because really – I don’t. There’s so much I don’t know, and today, that doesn’t frighten me the way it used to. Because that’s what that show was all about. My fear of not being worthy. Believing my worth lay outside of me.

That’s no longer the place I come from. It’s no longer how I show up. And I enjoy it, but it’s also very uncomfortable at times, let me tell you. Sometimes I really want to let rip unto the world, some injustice I believe have been done unto me. But many times, that urge quickly falls away, because that’s also something which I’ve gotten better at, namely to act, rather than react.

Hm. Perhaps that’s the biggest factor in how I show up in the world today, now that I come to think of it. I act. Much more deliberately.

That might sound as if it’s even more of an act I put on by being deliberate, but really – no, I think it’s the opposite. Because by giving myself that pause, that moment to look at where I am coming from, I am neither slave to light nor darkness within me. I get to chose how to show up in the world. And so do you. Ever given it any thought?

Drop the agenda

What happens when you drop all thoughts on having an agenda, and just do this:
* Show up
* Respond to what shows up

These are two points that Michael Neill talk about, and I’ve only recently started to experiment with it. For real. And I can tell you, what I’ve experienced so far makes me want to try this even more, on more occasions. For one thing, coming to a meeting with another human being, without an agenda, without any thoughts on wanting this person as a coaching client, on me knowing what would be the best thing for this person in this instance, on wanting to help or fix this person, means that I am more present to the situation at hand. It means I am not already dead set on how to go about it, what will be the outcome, having fixed goals for what I want to happen, etc. And that really makes it easier to experience touching the silence. It makes the meeting much more real, somehow.

Now. It’s actually not so easy, I’ve discovered. Or, at least, it’s not something I am used to. Quite the opposite. I’m used to being prepared, knowing what to say, what to show, and often times, having a clear agenda as to the desired outcome. And somehow, when I am there, with a clear agenda, the magic is missing. Something’s missing. It falls short, not really living up to its potential. Not fully becoming all in the moment that it could be.

Two other things I’ve noticed about this:
First, I believe I would have a much harder time showing up without an agenda, if it was something I was not certain about, or knowledgeable about, perhaps is more the word for it. That is, if you asked me to go deliver a speech about the state of EUs financial policies and structures, I’d freak out. There is not way I would be able to do that in this manner of showing up. Because I have no clue whatsoever about the financial policies of the European Union. Go find someone else, who knows this stuff, please. But ask me to come talk about my dream of changing the school systems on a global scale by 2020, and I can just show up, and respond to what shows up. Without a doubt. I might not do it that way, but it’s an area where the possibility of it happening is much greater that the first example.

Second, this is not the way society is set up, somehow. When did you last show up, without an agenda? If you go to the doctor, you want the doctor to diagnose you. The doctor meets a patient, with the same agenda, to help the patient. Teachers meet their students with very clear agendas, on What learning should take place, and often times, How. You go to the bank, wanting a loan. Not just to see what shows up. You make a business appointment, wanting to sell your brilliant idea, or to get a hand shake on a joint venture. 20140508-214622.jpgI could think of thousands of these instances, where showing up with an agenda, is what is – mostly – done.

And yet, the magic happens, for me, when I drop it. When I drop the agenda, drop what I WANT to happen (sometimes oh so desperately!), just show up, and respond to what shows up.

Does this make sense to you?