At my recent signing events for my new book When the Moon Winks, people have asked me "What is the most important thing you did to write this book?" My answer: I showed up. Every day, until the book was done, and through the process of editing and rewrite, I showed up at my desk, ready to work. Initially, my goal was to write between 5-7 pages a day, a tip I learned from the wonderful author Lawrence Block. When the drafts were done and I was dealing with rewrite, much the same effort was made, only then I was dealing with larger chunks of work. I took time off in the middle of the process to write and publish another novel, The Book Sisters, and to publish a book of poems, Taking in Air. But three and a half years later, When the Moon Winks was released by Warren Publishing. I couldn't be happier.
The practice of showing up can be applied to any area of life. There are the obvious ones: our employment - bosses like me to show up on time, to be prepared to work, and to put in a good effort. That is how I keep a job and get promoted, garner great reference letters and support myself. Exercise and nutrition is another obvious area. If I want to improve my health, I need to eat healthy meals every day. I need to engage in some sort of exercise for 30 minutes or more daily. What works for me is writing down, in the morning, what I am going to eat and following that plan. I also include in my journaling the exercise I am going to engage in that day. Today, for example, I am eating: breakfast- 2 eggs; berries; I cup skim milk lunch - sushi
dinner - mahi ; stir fry broccoli and carrots with ginger; pineapple snack- White Cheddar popcorn For exercise, I will do an hour of yin yoga.
Showing up isn't just about the obvious physical things. Showing up is about relationships with myself and others. Over the years, I have changed from someone who didn't, couldn't, trust herself to a woman in whom I have the greatest trust. Through practice , I have learned that I can count on myself to keep my word, to pay what is owed, to keep my hands off what is not mine, and more. I can count on myself to take care of myself, not to engage in unhealthy activities, everything from gossip to lust. Because I can count on myself, I am a better friend and coworker. People in my life can count on me to show up, listen, work hard, love harder.
Showing up means not playing the victim, not playing the King or Queen either. It means that blaming others is out, while having compassion for those who suffer in one way or another (and we all do). Showing up means putting Me First, but Not Me Only. Or, as the Dalai Lama states, practicing wise selfishness.
Showing up, ultimately, means turning my day, my life over to the care of a loving deity whom I call God, but you can call it anything you like. When I place my life in the care of that boundless energy, I am assured that my day, though it may have bumps and bleeps, will be full of miracles, if I just stay open.
My intention today is to show up for life and see what lies in store. What do you plan to do with this amazing 24-hours?


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