Stress, Sustainable, Connection, Change, Releasing Expectations, Curiosity
How Will You Show Up
Leigh Johnson | 3 December 2021
When life seems crazy and like it’s getting more unpredictable by the moment, how do we handle it? How do we handle the constant change, disappointments, unknowns, curveballs?
If the research and statistics are anything to go by, the answer to these questions is: With panic, worry, insecurity, anguish, stress and exhaustion.
For decades now, and especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the stress levels across the planet have been skyrocketing. And along with this, so have increased all the associated stress-induced diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, anxiety disorder, depression, suicide. We’re not in a good way as human beings and, if we look at our sick and struggling planet, neither is this world on which we live.
So how do we handle this? How do we keep going when it seems all around us is just too much – especially in this last month of the year when it feels like we might break and yet there is still so much that we are trying to navigate.
One response I can give is: Just show up. Just be there. Just keep going.
But do it differently. Showing up as we have been over the course of the year may very well not be sustainable anymore – if it ever was! So, my invitation is for you to let go a little, let things flow, and just show up differently.
The following are some ideas for you to think about in terms of how your ability to ‘show up differently’ might be enriched:
Show up as YOU!
The very act of ‘showing up’ implies that it is us doing the action. But what is abundantly clear in this wild world of ours is that the majority of people on the planet are walking around acting a part, playing a role that is in total misalignment to who they truly are and what they truly have to offer. We act out what our culture, family, society or the media (including social media!) tell us to think, be and do. And we do this blindly!
In order to connect with the person - the ‘me’ - you truly are, you need to be spending time daily alone in silence and deep reflective practices in order to slowly invite the magnificent soul that you are to emerge and show up. Because, when THAT you shows up, everything changes!
Put one foot in front of the other
Focus on NOW. Yes, have some plans and guidelines for the future and the next few weeks, but then just look at now, this hour, today. The sense of overwhelm that we get when we focus on everything that we see and plan in front of us literally paralyses the prefrontal cortex of our brains and decreases our ability to do anything other than fight, flee or freeze. That’s right – the panic we often get when thinking and controlling things that are still in the imagined future activates our survival brain and causes us to react just as we would were we to encounter a dangerous wild animal. We have evolved massively as a species, but not that much after all!
This is the "letting go."
We. Can’t. Control. Anything. Out. There!
We can only make the best plans possible, try to anticipate some different options that might occur, and then we need to sit back and be open to what happens - or doesn’t. The only thing within our control is our response to situations and people around us. This holding on tightly to everything only causes us exponential stress when things don’t happen as we try to control them. The act of letting the outcome go and being curious and open to what actually does happen gives us far more peace, acceptance, flexibility and resilience. And, importantly, it allows us to notice the extraordinary truth that often things actually happen better than we thought they would (but we get so stuck in the fact that they didn’t happen ‘our’ way that we don’t see it). Also, even when the outcome is a challenging one, something extremely positive will always emerge from it. These are the laws of nature.
Let go of perfection.
Perfection is a ridiculous invention by the human race. It doesn’t exist! It is an arbitrary and subjective concept that kills us with the continual striving to reach an unattainable goal. My ‘perfection’ is different to yours. And different to others. As is yours.
We need to get comfortable with ‘as is’. With ‘enough’. With ‘let it be’.
Open your heart and mind to change.
Change is a constant. Everything always has and always will be changing. The pace of change in our human work and lifestyle has ramped up significantly over the decades, but we can still choose how we want to face all this change. When we open our heart and mind and invite the sense of 'not knowing’, of wonder, of curiosity, we not only reduce our stress levels, but we enable ourselves to live lives that have a significant amount more of ease, impact and joy.
Our work is to explore who the person inside us really is and allow that person to emerge, to show up, with lightness and ease. Because, goodness knows!, this planet and all of us on it are in desperate need of more people to show up with the strength, openness and courage that are only possible when we let our true selves out and stop listening to everything ‘out there’.
Author: Leigh Johnson
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