Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Rewards of Showing Up

On Tuesday morning, I went to my weekly yoga class. This would not be significant except I'm in the middle of moving. I'm sure I could have used the extra time to pack, but after spending the holiday weekend in a flurry of cleaning out, packing, selling items, shopping for new furniture, and worrying over silly details, I was sleep deprived, drained and spinning like a top. The old me would have skipped the class. I would have skipped the class because I wasn't really prepared to do the class well.

It's an old habit, but an entrenched one—walking away from experiences because I won't be perfect at them. Go ahead and laugh. I laughed as I wrote it. It all stems from caring too much what other people think. When I look back, I feel a wave of regret for the times I decided that unless I could show up prepared, I wouldn't show up. And for all the times I deprived myself of sleep or the company of friends and family to get it right.

Photo by Michael Guidice
The idea that someone else is keeping a scorecard on me seems ludicrous, but not so ludicrous when I put it in perspective. The world works that way. Someone was always keeping a scorecard on me at school. I was much happier before I entered first grade. That's when it all changed. Instead of enjoying learning, someone was judging my learning. I responded by ensuring that there were few holes for anyone to point out and kicking myself for any imperfections that slipped through. And then, of course, there was my good Catholic upbringing. I took the whole sin thing way too much to heart.

It continued in my work life. Holding my breath, hoping no one would see what I had not been able to accomplish. And it continues in my life as a parent—in the way I wonder if I am any good at this mommy thing when I lose my cool and scream at my daughter. Or when I see the look on another parent's face when my daughter does something true for her, but not in accordance with what others think is appropriate.

Tuesday morning I went into my yoga class wondering if I would spend the entire time in child's pose, but I went. I showed up, assuring myself that I would get something out of it even if I did spend the entire class curled up on the floor. And I got a present in return. I had a great class. I left energized, centered and relaxed.

Too many years I have not shown up for myself. But here, in this blog, I am. I am showing up every week, and I am not doing it for the grade. Last week I almost didn't get a blog written, but I just kept showing up to write it until an idea arrived.

So go show up for something you don't think you're up to this week. Go knowing that you don't have all your ducks in a row and that there is no way it could work out well. And let me know how it goes.

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