Have you ever felt like you are living outside of your life? Like your life is happening but you aren’t part of it-you are simply an observer? More like life is happening to you versus your being an active participant in living your best life.
Recently, I have read a couple of very inspiring columns related to how we show up in life. What does it mean to “show up”? It means not phoning it in-which is honestly a big part of today’s culture. I believe it means to be aware and intentional. It is being mindful and present with each moment, opportunity, and/or experience. Showing up in our daily life is all about giving ourselves permission to linger and be still. It’s identifying what matters to us— our values and convictions and setting clear boundaries and intentions that honor and protect those things that matter most.
Showing up to our daily life matters because it is the rich and fertile ground where we happen. It’s where we grow, learn, unlearn, and make choices that help us truly build the life we desire. Showing up for life also means showing up for others.
Sometimes, this is what can seem at face value to be the simplest of ways. In her September 13 column for ALS News Today, Dagmar Munn shared this insight regarding Why What I Wear to My ALS Appointments Helps Me Feel Better
“Showing up, for me
Even though I know my doctor and the clinic team won’t judge me for wearing laid-back, casual clothes, I can’t let go of wanting to dress up just a little.
I’ve come to rely on a wellness strategy called “showing up.” It involves a combination of taking care of my appearance no matter how deep a mental funk I happen to be in, and not wanting to be seen as someone who’s relinquished their identity to ALS. I want to be perceived as a person first and a patient second. “You’re a little dressed up for a day at the ALS clinic,” my husband would comment as we climbed into our van.
“Yup,” I’d reply. “I’m showing up!”
Perhaps you’ve never considered how what you choose to wear to a medical appointment is having any influence on either you or the people around you. If so, I challenge you to give my strategies a try.
Remember, it’s the little things we do for ourselves that help us learn how to live well with ALS.”
The simple act of being present with other human beings is so powerful. One of my favorite instructions I remember from childhood is “Stop, look, and listen.” Of course, it applies to safety, and yet it is also a key component of how we show up for others. For instance, if I am talking to another person, and I really “stop, look, and listen,” I’m seeing the details of the person; their face and expressions, the way their body is placed, and I’m getting curious; everything becomes more alive. Suddenly, the other person matters.
Showing up in life is about connections and relationships. In another amazing column from ALS News Today in October, James Clingman shares How pace lining helps the ALS community support one another
“In a pace line, every rider gets a chance to lead, which requires more energy than it does to follow from behind. After taking point for a while, he or she peels off and drifts to the end of the line where they can recoup before rotating back to the front. The longer the line, the better.
ALS patients can mimic our own pace line by participating in support groups and taking the lead in sharing information that others may not have. Then we can sit back and learn about opportunities and resources and be encouraged and refreshed, ready to take the lead once again.”
This is a perfect example of showing up for both ourselves and others.
Keep negative thoughts in check.
While honoring your emotions is tough, facing your negative thoughts is a whole other challenge. You need to keep those negative thoughts in check. Every time a lousy feeling starts to arise-acknowledge it and let it go. How? Remember that showing up for yourself is an act of self-love and self-care. You must be your biggest cheerleader to unlock all your potential.
Read this month’s newsletter to discover all the ways that you can commit to showing up in life for yourself, your family, your friends, and your ALS community. Our Connection Groups, presentations, workshops, and new ALS Texas Connection Forum are the perfect places to jump into the pace line. The longer the line the better!
-Tonya Hitschmann, Director of Community Programs