Every now and then, a coaching client comes to our appointment and says, “I don’t know what we will talk about today. Nothing is pressing. Nothing is urgent. Life is good. Yet what I know is that it is important that we talk. Something will emerge.”
And so it is as I sit down to write this week. I don’t know what I will write about. As I ease towards starting my summer sabbatical in just over a week, I’m “emptying out.” It’s very quiet inside, and that feels really good. I’m looking forward to two months of rest and recharging – no appointments, no major creative project; just open space and time, and some travel with dear friends.
I’m looking forward to lingering longer on the deck in the morning sun with my coffee and The New York Times, diving deeper into some books I’ve started to read, or just basking in the silence and the nature. With each passing day, I can feel myself easing into those “longer lingers” even more. It’s like I’m “practicing” – I want to get really good at the “practice” of lingering and savoring moments in time. Who knows – maybe I could even become a master at lingering and savoring!
Sitting on the deck with my coffee this morning, I couldn’t find a topic to write about. I was just enjoying being empty. Yet I knew that I had to write this article today. And somehow I knew that if I came to my desk and started typing – if I “showed up” to my creative task – a topic would find me. And it seems that it has.
Showing up. It sounds like such a simple thing. And it is – sort of.
It’s more than just being physically present. To “show up” fully asks something of us. It asks us to be present and engaged. As I ease into my summer sabbatical, I’m realizing that while I recognize the importance of “showing up” to lead a workshop, to support a client, or to have a rich conversation with a friend, I don’t always fully “show up” for rest and rejuvenation.
My opportunity in this sabbatical is to fully show up and be present in the open time and space I will soon have. In other words, to show up and be fully present with the sunshine and my early morning coffee. To be fully present with the sounds of birds singing and the rustle of the leaves as the breeze gently passes through. To be present with the deep peace and stillness of my back deck, with one dog on my lap and another stretched out at my feet. To linger in and savor this time in my life.
And when the autumn comes, and appointments and travel and workshops resume—when sitting in the morning sun transitions to sitting by the morning fire—it will be up to me to remember to linger and savor those moments as well. These kinds of moments are always available to me if I choose to take the time, to show up, and to be fully present.
It’s the same with the creative process. I learned a long time ago that I have to “show up” before the creative process can take off. Of course, ideas come in passing thoughts throughout the day; inspiration comes in many forms. Yet if I want to actually do something with those ideas, I have to show up and engage with them. I have to listen to them and sense what they want to become, and therefore what they need from me. I have to become a co-creative partner with them, and do my part.
Actually, it’s the same with everything in life. If I want to get the most out of every moment, I have to fully show up.
The last two lines of William Stafford’s poem, “Being a Person,” beautifully capture this idea:
How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.
Life is full and fast. We all have visions and dreams, circumstances and responsibilities. The more we show up, the more becomes possible. The more we show up, the more intentional we can be about what we create. And the more we show up, the better the chances that we will notice, linger in, and savor the extraordinary moments, invitations, and opportunities that are all around us within our ever-so-ordinary lives.
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