Your Presence Changes Things

Remember last time how I shared about experimenting with being versus doing? Well, I had a breakthrough! And I’m super grateful because I’ve found it really challenging to explore being. In fact, I was talking with my husband about it and he lovingly pointed out to me that all the ideas I had were things I could do! Yeah, I know. Being isn’t something you do. It’s something you allow and experience.

Which is why I am so excited that I had one of those Aha! moments this morning. I was reflecting on the retreat I’m going to this weekend (it’s my last one for ministerial school!) and I realized that as it turns out I have a very small role to play. You see, the seniors have responsibilities at retreat and being a senior I have responsibilities. But, they are minor. Then it hit me:

Even though I have a small part to play this weekend, my presence will make a difference.

The most important part about this experience isn’t what I’m going to do. In fact, there are other people who could do what I’m going to do at this retreat. But, there is absolutely no one else who can be me at this retreat. I am the one who brings my insights, my heart, my energy, and me to this retreat.

And my presence will change things.

Just like the presence of each student and each facilitator will change things. Together we will create an experience, an opportunity to know ourselves, to know Universal Truth, and to know each other. And isn’t that what spiritual community is all about? Being together, growing together, supporting each other, seeing the Truth in each other, and celebrating one another with love, kindness, and respect? Yes, it is.

It is also about providing space for our humanity – the tender parts of ourself, the pain, the disappointment, the grief, the fear, the uncertainty. I have found that some of the strongest connections I’ve experienced are when we are brave enough to feel all the feels together without judgment and with compassion.

So I enter this retreat with an open heart. My intention is to deepen my understanding and experience of being. I am reminded of one of Brene Brown’s mantras:

Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand your sacred ground and be seen.

I remember that true belonging isn’t about fitting in. It’s about authenticity and courage. It’s about the willingness to be oneself, to let yourself be fully present, and to love yourself through it all.

On Being a Newbie

Remember how I posted about being in the space in between? Yeah, well apparently I’m not that good at just hanging out! In fact, it kind of terrifies me.

So in the last session with my practitioner she lovingly challenged me to explore being versus doing. Ever since, I’ve been in a haze of confusion. I don’t even know where to begin! This whole doing thing is so deeply engrained that I’m struggling to even grasp the concept of just being. Needless to say, I’ve felt so inadequate in exploring this new way of being.

And then yesterday I received an email from Tara Mohr who shared about her experience taking a new dance class for the first time:

This time, I could comprehend that I was simply a newbie in this class; nothing personal about that. I was able to chuckle at myself when needed and – most importantly – I was able to enjoy.

Oh! I’m simply a newbie at this being stuff! Now, there’s some self-criticism around this – like I should be farther along than I am – but, when I put the negative self talk aside, I am so relieved to know that I’m just a beginner.

In her email, Tara referenced this blog post where she talks about giving yourself permission to learn and how a growth mindset can enable you to play and practice. As I read, I felt myself soften and relax. And then I began to wonder….

  • Is it possible for me to enjoy learning about being?
  • Might I really enjoy letting go of all the doing?
  • Could it be that this space in between is actually the best part of ministerial training?

Honestly, I don’t know! But, I feel a crack in the veneer of doing and I’m willing to experiment with just being and see what happens. Maybe being a newbie is the best part of living?!

 

The Space in Between

I haven’t really talked about it much. It feels tender. But, it also feels right.

You see, a few weeks back I decided to take a leave of absence from my job at New Thought Center for Spiritual Living. I started working there at almost the same time I started ministerial training and for the last couple of years I’ve been going to school full-time and working almost full-time too.

It’s been an incredible learning experience and it has also stretched me to the max.

The thing about being stretched super thin is that it’s not sustainable. So as I wrap up these final months of training and get ready to take senior exams, I knew I needed to slow down.

I felt this need to pause and ruminate in all that I’m learning. My soul yearned for spaciousness and quiet time to reflect, discern, and feel into what’s mine to do and be.

So the other morning when I went for a jog (something I never did when I was working!) it dawned on me:

I’m in the space in between.

As soon as I thought it, I knew it was true. I also realized that I needed to allow myself to stay in the space in between. I decided to stop trying to figure everything out and to focus on taking exquisite care of myself. I would do the things I’d been wanting to do and the things I love to do. I would catch up on homework and read all the things.

I would let go of going somewhere and just be right where I am.

As much as I intuitively know this is exactly where my soul needs me to be, I’m not exactly comfortable here. I’m way more comfortable going, going, going, working, working, working. There’s something reassuring about the black and white living of busy-ness.

But, I’m willing to slow down because I know that letting my soul unfold requires time, space, connection, and presence.

So, I’m doing it. I’m staying put in the space in between – even when it feels uncomfortable (especially when it feels uncomfortable!) – and I’m just going to see what happens. I’m going to let it unfold.