Monday 01 | 16| 2017
Showing Up - It’s Not Always Easy
The compassionate life is a way of being which requires showing up for the many moments that ask us to illustrate this
way of being. We show up to help those in suffering, show up to help ourselves to follow the calling with a sense of
sacred wisdom and to show up to carry the light, beaming the light, of Divine healing out into the world. If we believe in
the soul, and its Divine nature, then we are called to show up for such nature even when it appears contrary to the way
of the world around us.
But it is just not that easy! There is much in the world which gets in the way, much of it generated by ourselves. The path
of the mystic is one of seeking, and reporting back to others, about how to show up and what happens when you can or
cannot. The journey obviously, but not so simply, starts with showing up – daily, hourly – and discovering what gets in
the way of doing that successfully.
Before my Parkinson’s took away two careers I was on track for a life of active, face-to-face service in a career of hands-
on healing experiences both in practice and educating as a professor. That was ripped away and in its place chronic
pain, emotional exaggeration, and ever increasing motor difficulties. This is not a pity party but a clear example that life
can throw things in the way which do interfere in what one’s current calling is perceived to be. It need not be something
as severe as Parkinson’s. It can be obesity, sloth, addiction, or poor habits. Do we keep the physical temple ready to
There are many things which keep us from showing up and they quite simply involve the choices we make every day. I
have been involved in a compassion project within virtual reality for several years, now in the game “Shroud of the Avatar”.
It is a wonderful game for exploring the choices players will make within the gaming environment. Given the choice to
offer your services and donations to a “Goodwill Center” would you do that? Or would you horde all your possessions in
your own home? Not help financially if you are able? Be afraid of participating because it is a novel idea inside the
gaming culture? Do you need to place conditions on your donations – “I will help if you do this for me” – before
contributing? It may be virtual reality, but it’s a reflection of the modern world and the difficulties one faces living the
Then there is the mansion of the mind and all the rooms into which we can get lost as we seek to show up. We are
currently moving our home to another state, and moving is reportedly as stressful as the loss of a loved one. It is
stressful even for experienced (our 14
move) such as ourselves. Stress changes what we pay attention to, how much
energy we have, and even how much health. Born in the bowels of evolutionary antiquity the stress response was
helpful, but today it creates harm that is only worsened by the ever increasing pace of life. Solution: the quiet mind, the
still space mentioned previously, but its practice is not universally taught nor practiced with deep sacredness.
Then there are beliefs, so deeply entrenched that some people are held captive by them. Slaves to their own captivity
unwilling to move even to the point of sacrificing both friends and family for the empty tenets of their declared faith. We
developed a relationship with a “fundamentalist” and willingly overlooked this to open a door to friendship. For years
this friendship flourished and included taking care of our cats as we traveled quite often to VA treatment, during which a
close bond developed with our cats. When the move came up we knew the cats could not go with us because of the
dynamics of the move requiring several months with days in each home, and family issues of severe allergies that
precluded their visits for their health. We passed on this information, along with the fact that the cats needed a new
home. This was met with a barrage of insults about our cruelty to animals that spilled out incorporating unprovoked
and nasty remarks about our characters, past beyond the cat debacle. Nothing we could say changed this, despite trying
to explain that the cats would undoubtedly suffer more with our transition than they would finding a new home, and the
friendship ended. Unfortunately some people cannot look in this irrational belief mirror and see the reflection that
others see, even to the loss of bonds with family and friends. This is the resistant relationship and the darkness that
envelops such is the bane of healing and the root of much suffering. The path of the mystic has always been to call out
the seditious, the maligners of justice, and yet to not be held captive by one’s own beliefs. Here again we find the need
for that quiet still space.
Being brutally honest with oneself without being a martyr is showing up. Looking within without being overwhelmed
with what is found is also showing up. Knowing the masks we wear are fragile and often need to be removed is showing
up. Never are we to become old dogs who cannot learn new things. Finally, and importantly, showing up is entering the
shared “we” space, the between space, here referred to the compassion space.
Is showing up hard? Absolutely! But there is more. All of this needs to be done with a lightness in step and breath, with a
sense of awe, humbleness and gratitude. This all may seem impossible and it is without the sacred quiet still space.
A quest of compassion and finding our “true self”
in the midst of a hectic world