The Courage to be Present

Has this ever happened to you?  You’re having a conversation with a friend who is dealing with some confusion in an area of their life.   For some reason you are able to get clarity on their situation in a way they can't?  There are these precious few moments when I know I’m wholly connected with a person.  It's sacred.  I understand them completely in that moment and they me.  It’s beyond beautiful.  It’s scary and bliss at the same time.  It’s in these moments when I know my advice is perfect.  It’s crafted in time by something larger than the two of us and it’s just for them, just in that moment.  It doesn’t happen by accident.  It only happens when I’m brave enough to be completely present.

It doesn’t happen as often as it could because I don’t live the courageous life as often as I want to. But I want to.  There are times when it’s just too easy to go the route of comfort; to not be fully present.  To turn everything else off and let the autopilot take over so I don’t have to think or feel as much.  Being completely present means that I have to let people experience the totality of me.  It’s easier to say a half truth than it is to let people see all the way through me.  What if they don’t like what they see?  What if I don’t like what I think they see?

I didn’t even like typing that last paragraph.  I thought about watering it down a couple times.  I want you to think that I have it all together.  I know you know that no one has it all together, but I still want to pretend that I can trick you.  I want you to think that more often than not I choose brave and present.  But it’s not the case.  Not all the time.  I do choose it more often these days though.  And I’m proud of that as my quality of life rises each time I choose fullness.  And as I choose it more and more it creates surreal moments of genuine substance in my life on a regular basis.  That facade... the not showing up part... it doesn't bring a high quality of life.

What are the ways that you cheat yourself?  What are the ways you don’t fully show up in your own life?  For yourself?  For others?  When’s the last time you let yourself be honest about it?  When is the last time you let yourself be honest about it with someone you deeply trust?  Try this one exercise… determine right now that you will.

  1. Take 10 minutes and list just a couple areas where you don’t show up in your life.  Use detail… allow yourself to feel how you don’t show up.  Write down what comes to mind.
  2. Now, immediately forgive yourself and cut yourself some major slack.  Shaming yourself into showing up will never work.  You can’t shame yourself into being courageous anymore than you can hate yourself into love.  So don’t try it.
  3. Call that one person you trust without reservation.  The one you can say almost anything to and you know they won’t judge you.   Maybe it’s a trusted friend, family member, or coach/mentor.  Tell them this… “I have a couple things I need to verbalize with another human being.  I’m not asking for advice, I just need you to listen.”  Tell them how you haven’t been showing up in your life.  Then, with your next breath, tell them how desperate you are to show up in those areas of your life and what that might look like.  Tell them what the outcomes might be if you did show up like you want to.

End of exercise.

Brave and present isn’t easy.  It requires much courage.  It requires much faith.  It means risking more embarrassment.  It means more work and working harder.  It means keeping little promises and big promises that you’ve made to yourself.  It requires more of you than you’ve required of yourself for most of your life.  Unless you always show up with courage in each moment of your life.  If that’s the case, then please email me…  we need to talk.  It requires you to make some different choices.  Most likely it means some loving choices in regards to yourself.  But the payoff is huge, regardless of the outcomes.  The longer I live into truth, the more crucial surrendering the outcomes is. But more on that in my next piece.

So where do you want to show up in your life?  What might it look like if you did?




PS – do the exercise!!!!


"Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known?" - William Shakespeare

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." - Alan Cohen

"Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think." - Brene Brown