Many winters ago, as everyone else seemed to be getting jazzed about the upcoming holidays, the whole thing felt like an enormous amount of work to me.
Three little kids, and just one of me. Going to college, cooking, building my coaching practice, trying to keep the big machine turning smoothly - and barely hanging on. The thought of adding baking, caroling, decorating, wrapping and plain cheering threatened to tip the scale to the ugly side. I knew I couldn’t cancel Christmas, and I knew I didn’t want to fake it.
So I decided to demote it, inside of my own mind.
I decided that I would not bake and that in fact, I would give myself the whole month off from cooking. I would buy prepared food, ready to reheat. Something we had never, ever done.
Mostly, I would allow myself to give the minimum amount of energy to the next few weeks, keeping my eyes on the peacefulness of January. We would still have gifts and the kids may barely notice, but for me, I knew the shift would be important.
More than a way of doing - or rather not doing - I was committing to a way of being.
And so that’s how it went. I didn’t let myself get swept away. I maintained a mostly January-to-October state of mind. I did not stress, I did not stretch. Basically I did not show up.
December days passed, and up till Christmas morning, I was feeling pretty darn good about the whole thing. I was doing what I had said I would do. Kids were happy, I was sane. And a bit proud of it.
Then, on Christmas morning, a typically delicious time, it hit me: I felt flat, as though I had missed a really important magical bus.
By not showing up, I had missed out on the brightness, all the sparkles. I had stayed on the bleachers and had refused to get on the court. I had not felt the stretch - and I had not felt the joy, all the way. Maybe no one else had noticed, but I sure had.
I vowed to never do that again.
And because life is such a skilled and thorough teacher, over the next few years, including very recently, I was gifted many opportunities to see how easy it is to ... not Show Up.
There is such a subtle difference (from the outside) about Showing Up and not Showing Up. And the results are very, very different.
So, today, I invite you to check inside of you for the places in your life where there is some dulness, some sense of leaving some magic on the table. The places in your life where maybe you are not Showing Up. Sometimes, just noticing these places is enough to get us to shift, and make our way back on the court.
I wish you a lovely, sparkly rest of the day.
PS: Because this topic has been swirling in my mind a lot, lately, I have created a new course, called "Showing Up!" The first workshop will be in Mission, BC in October. You are warmly invited to join me as we all get on that court together - fueled by the beauty of the place, and some wonderful food.
"Staying comfortably small is NOT what you're here to do. And I think that you know this. During "Showing Up!" let's talk about what you're here to do and what you're here to GIVE."
My new book