Just Show Up

“Sometimes the bravest and the most important thing you can do is just show up.”
Brene Brown 


Last month I wrote about training and getting psyched up to be part of a relay race across Lake Tahoe. The race took place on July 22nd and there were 190 teams consisting of 6 people each swimming the 10 miles across the width of the lake. I had been nervous about the cold (turned out to be “warm” – meaning I didn’t shake for an hour after I swam), and about swimming longer since we did the race with 5 people instead of 6 (no biggie – we all just got in the groove and swam more legs), and all the other variables that could go wrong (but nothing did – just fun and sun!). We had a great boat captain – Ian – who drove our boat and gave us a great course that resulted in us finishing the race in 5 hours and 29 minutes.
When we were done I reflected on how I felt the very first time I had done this race. After years of being a pool swimmer and just seeing the black line at the bottom of the pool, there was something so deeply satisfying at looking at the other side of the lake and realizing we had swum all that way across. When I got home I pulled out one of my scrapbooks and found a picture of my first Lake Tahoe swim team from 1982 (!) and realized I have been doing this swim off and on for 35 years! Longer than our 28 year old captain Ian has been alive! I started to feel really old until I realized that I have actually been living one of my favorite mottos: “Just Show Up.”  I have done this swim through the years with so many different kinds of teams – some were out to win, some just had fun, some were way to serious for me. There were times when I felt slower or faster, swims where the lake was like glass, and others when there was rain and eight foot swells. But I kept showing up.
Maybe that is what spiritual practice and life is all about. Just doing it. Just showing up to meditate, or pray, or sing, or listen to a friend, or write that book that has taken years to do, or in my case going to swim practice in the dead of winter when there is frost on the ground because I know in the summer I’ll be swimming in a cold lake and I want to be in shape to do it. It also means showing up for a friend when they need you, or pushing past the discomfort when there is something in the air that needs to be said, showing up for yourself in terms of your own self-care and nurturing. In other words: making the commitment no matter what the obstacles are, and pushing past the whining and negotiating of your “logical self” and just showing up. No matter what.I have always said about myself that I might not be the fastest swimmer, or the most talented singer or songwriter, or the most wonderful speaker or facilitator around, but I do know that I will keep showing up and always giving it my best…and for me that is what it’s all about.


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