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Day 136: Showing Up

otherness“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Woody Allen

The most positive thing you can do with your life is to show up consistently and authentically. It seems like stating the obvious, but in day-to-day life there are more people who check out of their relationships and quit on their commitments than you would think. Sometimes this is a conscious choice, but more often it is the small omissions and emotional laziness that gets the better of us, often without our knowing it.

It is easier oftentimes to not have the difficult conversation with your partner or teen. It takes energy to take a teenager to task about the basics, but when the issue is emotionally charged, the amount of energy required increases proportionally with the emotions involved. Balancing perceived freedom with reasonable responsibilities is an argument that has taken more than the ten minutes of negotiating out of me. Not uncommonly we all walk away exasperated and I wonder how it is that I cannot communicate what seems to be the most basic of agreements.

Even more challenging are the hard conversations with my husband. I would rather just focus on what is working than actually try to take on the places where we don’t meet and often stir up old resentments. The hard conversation shakes the floor we stand on for a time and just by the tremors all kinds of things neatly stacked on a shelf come loose and back into view. You have to fully show up so you can tell what is really at issue, and so you don’t let your mind run away with you.

Showing up in transition times in life is another easy check-out zone. Even when things are going the way you hoped for, big changes like moves and divorces, even marriages change things inside of us as much as outside and it takes a while to be able to name and live with what is happening. This is showing up, the inquiry and the willingness to not look away. Anne Lamottt wrote, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”