Showing Up

Being here fully feels amazing. When we’re truly present we feel more alive, we connect effortlessly with ourself and others and we stop worrying about anything that isn’t happening right now. It’s no surprise that so many teachers – whether they’re offering Tantra, conscious kink, breathwork or dance – put so much emphasis on being present.

At the same time, the invitation to be present can create a kind of pressure – the New Age equivalent of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. Am I as present as her? Do I feel as much as him? Do I feel the Oneness? Ironically, if we’re asking these questions we’re not fully present, since comparison is one of the things that takes us out of the moment.

I find it useful to use a different phrase to remind myself what we are talking about here. The phrase is ‘showing up’. I first heard this phrase at 5 Rhythms and it immediately struck a chord with me. I knew instinctively what it meant: on the one hand, it’s a similar invitation to ‘Be Here Now’; on the other, it recognises the challenge contained within the invitation.

Showing up means taking off our armour and removing our masks. It means being more of who we are. It means being as strong as we are and as vulnerable as we are – often at the same time. It means being true to all of our impulses, including the ones that make us uncomfortable or might offend others. It means letting go of being ‘nice’ in favour of being real. It means speaking our truth and listening to others’ truths – even when they don’t align. It means welcoming feedback, including things we find challenging, and keeping our hearts open.

It that sounds like a big ask, that’s because it is! We’re asking ourselves to be real, to hide nothing, to emerge from behind our job, our status, our personae, our sexual allure, our playing big, our playing small and everything else that keeps us hidden. It’s an invitation to be naked at a soul level, to take everything off and just be.

Before we can show up for anyone else, we need to learn to show up for ourselves. This is often the biggest challenge, because our ego is the keeper of the masks and its job is to protect us from anything that could hurt us. So first we need to learn to unmask ourselves.

This looks different for different people. Some folks are really in their bodies and feel a lot. If this is true for you, then you might want to look at what’s going on in your mind. I notice that a lot of people whose bodies are open miss out on what’s happening in the rest of their being: the fears, anxieties, frustrations and other thoughts that are present in their minds? Open-body people often go back into their bodies when they feel these ‘difficulties’ – but this means that they’re not showing up fully for themselves. From this open-body place lots of pleasure is possible, but often with a lack of awareness and ethics.

Alternatively you might be someone who spends a lot of time in your head and finds it hard to feel or be in the body. For you, the challenge is to move your awareness down from your mind to your heart and your genitals, where a whole bunch of energy is moving without your full awareness. Often we go into our heads to avoid pain (physical and emotional); so the journey back into the body is a challenging one, especially at first. But until we’re able to feel what’s in our body, including the pain it holds, we’re not able to show up fully.

So this is the first step: get in touch with whichever parts of you usually get less attention. Listen to them and find out what they need and what they want. Bringing awareness to more of yourself is half the battle won: it’s much easier to show up when you’re in touch with what’s moving in you and can bring it into consciousness. By giving space to those neglected parts of yourself, you increase your capacity to feel, to understand – and ultimately, to be alive.

Often this process happens through something other than thinking. Over the years I’ve found 5 Rhythms to be a powerful way for me to show up for myself and get in touch with what I wasn’t aware of. The things I discover during this moving meditation are often on the fringes of my consciousness: giving them space and ‘dancing into them’ enables me to bring them more fully into awareness so I can see what they want and need.

There are many methods for welcoming more of yourself in. For many of us who enjoy BDSM, nothing brings things into the light quicker than a good whipping. For others, the silence and stillness of meditation or a walk in nature does the trick. Whatever it is for you, trust that.

At the same time, this is not about letting those parts of ourselves go or ‘feeling the love’ – that may be true at the deepest level, but most of the time it won’t help you at all. This is about giving space to what’s alive in us right now. I’m sure many of us would love to fit the picture of the Yogi or the Buddha we have in our heads: empty mind, open heart, free of attachment. But how real is that for you? So often I see spiritual people suppress what’s in them because they feel they ‘should’ be more equanimous and non-judgemental. But this is just a way of bullying and bullshitting yourself, a strategy for avoiding what’s real and true for you right now. Don’t waste your time! You need to feel it before you can transform it – and maybe it doesn’t even want to be transformed. Don’t let dogma dictate how you experience your truth.

Like any community, the esoteric scene puts pressure on people to conform to certain norms. We’re all supposed to Love Nature. We’re all supposed to belief that Everything Is One. We’re all supposed to know that We Are Just Love. But is this real for you or are you simply conforming? It saddens me when I see yet another mindless post on Facebook, someone telling everyone how wise they are by regurgitating what they’ve heard from others. When it’s congruent and real, we feel it, but most of the time it’s just a bit fake. (I’ve written more about self-help myths here.)

Most of us want to fit in and we reject parts of ourselves that don’t fit in with the norms. If you’re a merchant banker, you’ll probably deny the sensitive parts of you that rear up just before you close that big deal. You know a lot of people could get hurt by what you’re doing, but you don’t want your colleagues to think of you as different so you hide your feelings.

In the New Age world, the opposite is true: people suppress their anger, hatred, frustration, sense of isolation and other things that don’t fit into the wholesome happy picture they’re supposed to conform to. But this isn’t showing up, it’s pretending. Being Spiritual can easily become just another mask.

A key to showing up for yourself is permission. Give yourself permission to be who you are in this moment, however uncomfortable or difficult that is for you. It doesn’t mean you have to do anything about these feelings – but remember that there’s nothing authentic or spiritual about suppressing them. By giving ourselves permission to be who we are and to feel how we feel, we are more likely to find that place of presence that we’re all looking for.

In everything I offer my invitation is for you to show up fully and bring whatever is in you into the room. If you feel unconsolable sadness, bring it. If you feel fury and rage, bring it. If you feel totally numb, bring that. It’s part of you and it’s welcomed. You’re not going to become present by pretending it’s not there – that’s just spiritual bypass and it’s an egoic act. And who knows – perhaps you don’t even know where you’re supposed to be going! Just keep showing up, being real and trusting your authentic desires, and God/Goddess/the Universe/Life will show you where They want you to go next.

This weekend (Fri 20th – Sun 22nd June), Faerie leads Together London, a weekend about showing up and belonging. Find out more >>

Coaching: testimonial from Death Cafe founder Jon Underwood

I am simply delighted to receive this warm and enthusiastic testimonial from Jon Underwood, founder of the wildly successful and ground-breaking international project Death Café.

I have now had 2 coaching sessions with Faerie, both just before commencing some of the most important ventures of my life. Both of these have been extremely useful and I cannot recommend Faerie as a coach and mentor highly enough.

In his coaching I have found Faerie to offer a well-developed combination of skills. Foremost is his ability to be a present listener. I felt he was totally there for me and I could say whatever was on my mind without worrying about him becoming judgemental or disengaged. This enabled me to be honest with myself and vocalise some things that were too scary for me to have uttered aloud before. In doing this I felt totally held and safe.

Faerie was not just a passive listener. He has an amazing intuition, which seemed to enable him to say things I needed to hear at any given time. Faerie has a formidable intellect and is extremely well read giving him a deep well of resources on which to draw. Faerie is well networked with some amazing people and is happy to pass on contacts. Importantly, Faerie is very practical and realistic and I found all his reflections grounded in good common sense.

In his coaching sessions Faerie generously offered me these gifts in a very skilful way. The whole experience was liberating, energising and extremely practically useful. Again I cannot recommend Faerie as a coach and mentor highly enough. He offers extremely good value and I’m very much looking forward to our next session.

Copyright © Dandelion by Pexeto