The importance of Showing Up

I’ve got it!! I’ve finally got it!! After all my searching and asking and experimenting, I have discovered the most important practice in the universe: Showing Up.

That’s it. It’s really that simple.

Okay, I didn’t say it was easy. Not at all. Far from it, but it is simple.

Just. Show. Up.

Showing Up has been a theme for me of late.

I became acutely aware of Showing Up when I committed to a daily meditation practice, which was difficult and confusing and scarey because I was like, “Who am I to do this when I don’t know what I’m doing?” Then I had life-changing experiences and began to share what I discovered and was like, “Who am I to tell others about this? What do I know?”

And some people loved it and some people didn’t but it didn’t really matter because while I thought I was helping others what I was really doing was helping myself. I was showing up for myself, and as a result, I’ve become more myself than I ever have been.

In truth, I’ve been showing up for a while. The first time I ever Showed Up was my first recovery meeting. Before that I had always hid from myself and the world in some sort of substance or form of pretending.

Showing Up that day completely altered the trajectory of my life. Showing Up full of shame and confusion meant I would be one day be writing to you about it which I would never have believed if you’d told me.

And that’s why I continue to show up, because something magical happens to me when I do.

When I go to a meeting, I am there for myself. I am showing up to pay respect to the disease which killed my father and almost killed me and has destroyed so many lives in my family. I’m not hiding from it or denying it or pretending it doesn’t exist. And in that process of showing up for me I get to show up for others too, offering myself and my experiences to them.

It helps me because it helps them and it makes sense out of my suffering and my father’s suffering and Tyrhone’s suffering and the suffering of all the people who never made it. To me, it makes sense of it all, because it is for something.

My suffering heals people, including me!!! It’s nothing short of a miracle.

I practice showing up for this blog, the book I am struggling to write and a new project I’m working on which scares and excites me in equal measure.

I could use more practice with Showing Up in my relationships (and I just realised that). Because Showing Up without expectations of people is the greatest service you can ever do for them, and I have a long way to go with that.

So I am re-committing to the most important spiritual practice in the universe: Showing Up. I encourage you to also.

Show Up with your doubts, your fears and your faults. Show Up in spite of the voice in your head which tells you you’re not good enough, not deserving, not talented enough, well connected enough, together enough.

Show Up for that new class, the job interview, the therapy appointment, the recovery meeting, the date, the dinner.

Show up for the things you are most scared of. In my experience these are the things which will alter the fabric of your life for the better.

When you show up, you change your future.

You are sending a message to the universe that you are here and that you are taking action toward an idea or a dream, and it cannot help but listen.

I cannot promise that you will succeed immediately or that things will go the way you planned. I cannot promise everyone will like you or support you or understand you. But I can promise that if you Show Up, you will learn something about yourself which will carry you to the next step, and the next.

You will be fortified by the experiences you encounter, especially the tough ones.

You will grow. You will transform. You will serve the world. And by doing that, you will discover that your whole purpose for being here is Showing Up as yourself so that you may encourage others to do the same.


Speaking of showing up for scarey things, I recently showed up for an interview with Uma Girish, author of  ‘Losing Amma, Finding Home,’ a memoir of love and loss published by Hay House.

I had never done a live voice interview before and I was terrified. I almost said no, because, what do I know about grief? What could I possibly offer? Surely there would be a thousand more qualified people than me. But I showed up, full of fear and doubt.

It was actually a very healing and cathartic experience thanks to Uma’s well crafted, interesting questions. Sure, I forgot my own train of thought once and got cut off by the Mexican Telco, but I Showed Up as myself and shared my truth.

I talk about authenticity, recovery, grief and healing and you can listen below.

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The importance of Showing Up — 16 Comments

  1. After more than 20 years and 40lbs I am once again practicing yoga. I need to be in better shape for our next adventure and yoga is the first step.

  2. I thought about this today as I was running. I didn’t get much exercise while we were visiting Portland (some, but not much) and the feeling of being slower and out of shape was hitting me hard. But I decided I was going to show up for the 3.5 miles that I needed to do – whether that was running or walking, I had no reason not to complete it. At the end of yoga class, we used to thank ourselves – what a simple, but great concept. As you said – not easy, but simple. :)
    Carmel recently posted..ASHES TO ASHESMy Profile

    • Dude, 3.5 miles is more than I can ever imagine running, good on you. I do the same thing with meditation and yoga, set an achievable goal for myself so at least I do something rather than nothing. I truly believe creating regular habits is key, rather than pushing yourself less often. I’m certainly no master of showing up, but I’m practicing. :-)

    • Dude, I am ALWAYS my own worst enemy. I can talk myself out of everything that is good for me! The trick is not listening to the negative voice in my head and some days I do better with it than others.

  3. It is so very true! Simple but not easy, as with so many things in life. Any time I’ve committed to something but don’t want to go I always feel exhilarated once I do show up – going to the gym at 6am, squeezing in dinner with a friend after a long day, just applying for a job even though you don’t have all the credentials. Inspiring post!
    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel recently posted..What it Means to be a Japanese HalflingMy Profile

    • Hey Michelle, yes, if I listened to the voice in my head telling me all the reasons why I should do something or it won’t work, I would never do anything!!!

  4. Sarah, you are seriously amazing at getting to the bottom of my mental mysteries these days:)Thank you for showing up to write this post. It did most definitely help me.
    The sentiment is so simple and so profound at the same time, as are most life changing things. That is what is so beautiful and reassuring at the same time about it. I can do that, just show up and I will.
    Tracey recently posted..House Sitting In Panama:DetourMy Profile

    • Thanks Tracey, I think it’s because we all deal with the same basic stuff. The great thing about this lifestyle is that you get to have choices, and it is also the challenging part because there are so many to make! And it (at least for me) can feel like stumbling in the dark because there is no boss or mentor going “good on you,” (again, a good thing, I don’t miss having a real job). I often feel stuck and suffer from a lack of confidence in my abilities. I just have to constantly remind myself not to let the fear and doubt prevent me from taking action. I am by no means a master at it, but I am practicing :-)