Showing up as Myself
I have been thinking for the past couple of days about that phrase. We'll call it the phrase of the day. "Showing up as myself." Actually, the phrase, "showing up as the best version of myself" and what it might mean if that was my intention. Every day. This is certainly a new thought to me---well, maybe more precisely it is an intentional version of a longing.
The moment I start to ponder it, shame arrives. The shame that lives in me for the times I have lived as the worst version of myself. That is a truth. That in the past 59 years, I have sometimes been the very worst Lyn imaginable. And that has deeply hurt people. I feel that. I regret it. I cannot undo it. Shame asks, "How dare you?" Shame tells me to lower my head. Shame says I should not try.
Which makes this notion for me even more, not urgent really, but weighty...important. I have lived what I hope is about 2/3rds of my life (but could very well be 99/100ths of my life) and I would like to live the rest wisely, with kindness and compassion. With that intention. I would like the 2.0 version of Lyn to be even more herself. Wasn't that the point of all the transitioning over the years? Isn't that exactly the kind of insight, courage and self-compassion I am urging daily in my office? Daunting as I turn it (publicly) toward myself today.
So these are my ponderings.
For the past couple of months, I am assuming in part because my mom died, I wake up in the morning, I make some coffee and sit down to do a bit of reading and writing, and I get very, very sad. It just washes over me as I read. As I write. I don't think all of it has to do with mom. I believe some of it has to do with this very thing--the longing to live well whatever time is left in front of me. So when the phrase of the day showed up in my head, one of my first thoughts was that this might mean that I would not get sad in the mornings. But that feels like a lot of pressure to put on a notion. Would the "best version of me" really not get sad? Is that what I imagine this means? Is the best version of me always up? Cheerful? That is almost amusing as most any of the folks that know me well might use a number of words to describe me but it is unlikely that "cheerful" would ever show up in anyone's mind. I have heard "thoughtful". "Intense". "Nurturing". Never "cheerful".
I believe that I probably show up most often as the not-paying-attention version of myself. I am who I am. But I live every single day almost entirely on auto-pilot. What would it be like to live today with intention? Throughout the course of today to bring my mind back to her. To the best version of me. To bring that energy to the playing field. And then try it again tomorrow? Maybe string together a week or a month of intentional living. So that THAT is how I start showing up in the morning. Hmmm.
So...what does she look like? And..what does she bring to the world? And...why in the world does it matter?
The best version of me is loving, compassionate, kind, and wise. How strange it feels to write those things down in a place where other people might read them. My inner critic is SCREAMING. Tara Brach has a lovely meditation called RAIN. It stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture. The premise of the meditation is that you notice a way in which you have disappointed yourself (recognize). That you do not fight it but Allow it to be there. That you Investigate where it is in your body--your somatic experience of disappointment or shame or grief or loss. And that you ask the question, "what do you need?' (Nurture). That is my understanding of Tara's meditation anyway (thank you, Tara), and the way that I have practiced it. What often happens when I get to "nurture" is have this idea that the confident, competent, compassionate version of Lyn needs to show up for the Lyn who is sad or scared or struggling. It is a powerful notion. The idea that both of those Lyns live in me. And that I can support myself in a strong, real way...possibly an even stronger way than anyone outside of me would be able to do.
I guess the best version of me allows all of the parts of me...with kindness. The best version of me tries to live compassionately both outwardly and inwardly. If I bring her to the world, I imagine that I might help. That I might not make things worth. That some (myself included) might feel loved and cared for and, in turn, be able to offer that. This is not some new, original idea, I know. It is ancient. It is universal in any sort of scripture--to live our lives in lovingkindness.
The only difference I can find in the Lyn who is thinking about these things and the other every-day-version of Lyn is intention. Bringing mindful awareness to the way I live. Here. Now. Looking out across my field. On Friday morning. Show up today as the best version of myself.