Monday, August 17, 2015

Just Show Up

"That Perfect Moment"
 - At the Desert Retreat House-

I’ve been noticing a new trend in the social media nowadays. When Mondays come along, I see all sorts of posts, comments and tweets from people offering motivation and advice to one another about facing the “Monday Morning Blues” at the beginning of yet another work week.

This morning I was especially struck by one particular “tweet” from someone who said, “The best I can do today is to just show up.” My guess is that the person who wrote that was probably not having a great day, and I can only wonder what baggage may be included in that one simple line - perhaps a boring job, the thought of another day of cleaning the house or taking care of the kids, maybe an illness, a financial or a relationship problem?

As I read today’s little “Monday morning lament,” I thought to myself, “In some sense that’s exactly what any one of us might best do on this day: “just show up for life.”

I actually know very few people who wake up on any given Monday morning with a big smile on their faces, jumping out of bed with great enthusiasm, eager to begin their everyday routine lives.

Lots of people are, in fact, discouraged by their lives, sometimes angry that things didn’t turn out as expected.  Maybe they saw themselves having better jobs, a more caring spouse, a more understanding boss, a more exciting career, a more enjoyable retirement experience.  Instead they find themselves feeling rather  “defeated” in life, without any work at all or doing jobs they don’t especially enjoy, people have disappointed them, daily tasks seem menial and sometimes it’s hard to just make it through another day.  

I am reminded of something I read recently in Alex Luckerman’s book, An Undefeated Mind:

An undefeated mind isn’t one that never feels discouraged or despairing.
It’s one that continues on in spite of it.
Possessing an undefeated mind means never forgetting that defeat comes not from failing but from giving up.

This is why I say that getting up in the morning and just “showing up for life” is probably the best any of us can do.

I’m not at all saying that everyone should just accept his or her fate in life, however miserable it may be. Nor am I saying that we should never hope for anything more or work to make our lives happier or more fulfilled - in fact I am saying the opposite. In my experience I have discovered that when we are really able to embrace life as it comes to us rather than resist life as it is, we often find a joy and purpose we never might have imagined.

Paradoxically, the more we embrace life as it is, the more we find the fulfillment we all seek.

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle wisely observes:

Whatever the present moment contains
Accept it as if you had chosen it.
Always work with it and not against it.
Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.
This will wonderfully transform your whole life.

Another Monday has come along – what a perfectly beautiful time to “show up.” 

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