Practice is on my mind lately. Practice in the widest sense of the term of consistently staying committed to something.
Tomorrow marks one year since I left Washington, DC to make my way cross country on a road trip that changed my life. I spent time in national parks, took long drives through hills of golden brush in silence, and I lived in a Buddhist monastery. I've been doing some "stocktaking" over the last week of the last year since my trip. As a part of that practice last night I looked through the pages of my journal and re-read some entries I had written over the last year. I was moved by the wisdom that poured onto the pages of awareness of my situation at that time, the foresight about the areas that remained in my own journey of healing, and the questions I asked that later received answers. As clients and students brought many questions over the last week about how to be more present in their lives, how to have difficult conversations, how to start a meditation practice, and how to experience more joy, I started seeing a pattern in my own experience with all of the practices I do myself and share with others.
While ruffling through the pages of my journal, reflecting on the conversations I've had over the last week, I realized the one string connecting everything together in my own practice is a commitment to show up for myself no matter what. The single practice I'm doing beyond whatever its form is showing up for myself. The way that looks varies. It's what I was doing as I let the ink of my pen write the words of my heart on the pages of my journal each night. It's what I'm doing when I wake up for a morning meditation practice. When I read and reflect quietly with a cup of tea. When I go to bed to get a healthy dose of sleep even when I want to stay up all night listening to new music. It's an understanding that when certain practices or "to dos" get pushed out of the schedule, no matter what, I stay committed to showing up for myself in some way, shape or form. This may simply be a thought of gratitude for waking up in the morning or a moment of silence before I sleep. It may be putting on a favorite song or eating my oatmeal without multi-tasking. Whatever it is, the one thing that I've learned is that my practice is simply to show up for myself. Because the truth is when I show up for myself, I can show up for others. When I'm present to myself, I'm present to others...to Life. And no one is going to show up to my life for me. It's up to me.
When I show up for myself, the rest of life takes care of itself. Even when my mind thinks it isn't! Life flows. Questions I have eventually receive answers. Cloudiness around situations receive clarity. Problems don't seem quite so overwhelming. Conflicts don't seem so puzzling. And most of all, when I show up for myself I'm consistently reminded of just how much love and abundance I am held in when life just continues to work itself out. It's just not always on the timeline my mind is expecting. Or even in the way my mind is wanting. But in retrospect when I looked at the pages of my journal last night, I saw this amazing perfect dance of my life over the last year and the Loving Hand behind the scenes moving the pieces.
This week's Joy Tip Wednesday will be about the practice of showing up for ourselves. As we start the week, I invite you to ask yourself the question, how have I showed up for myself today? If you find that you haven't, be curious about how you can. Take one small step to be present for yourself. A minute of silence in the middle of the day. Making yourself a cup of tea. Dancing to your favorite song. Small or big, the more I show up for myself, the more I realize I'm finally showing up for Life.