Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Just show up (or how to get where you need to go)

I have a little encouragement today, and it's as simple as three words:

JUST   *  SHOW   *    UP

I've heard these three guys a lot this past year. Has this become a buzz-phrase, or am I just especially tuned in because this is what I need to be doing?

I first heard Elizabeth Gilbert talk about showing up to the pen and paper, consistently, and waiting for creativity to follow. Maybe not that day or the next, but eventually, it would come. She says what artists have been saying for centuries I imagine: you can't control creativity, what you can control is if you give it time and space.

Last week I heard it at church. Very admittedly, Dan and I had not been showing up at church in the last six months since moving to Seattle for a host of legitimate reasons. It was good to get in the doors again. The pastor mentioned that a lot of the spiritual journey is about showing up. The experience might not be amazing every single time -- in fact, it may often be frustrating -- but in the bigger picture, growth happens when you put time in.

I was thinking about it at work today, how some important conversations and relationship building can't be scheduled in -- it happens when people are working late together, both putting in extra hours or are just there for what turns into a great conversation in the middle of the day. I hate the idea of office "face time" and having to be somewhere just to show that you're there, but I think there's merit in certain types of this time. You've got to show that face of yours sometime.

Showing up has definitely got to be a key in relationships. Even scheduling in down time of doing nothing, together, is so rewarding.

This morning, Dan and I popped down to the ski lodge-esque Java Bean in Ballard where I worked on a chapter for two hours. It felt so good to show up to the page, again. I have a February deadline for a competition I'm entering with the first thirty pages of my manuscript. Talk about incentive! This is how goals are achieved and books are written: in blocks of time and showing up, over and over.

Local author Janna Cawrse Esarey came to speak with a group of us writers a few weeks ago. She told us that if we all kept writing and kept submitting for publication, eventually, we would be published. Or we could very well quit. But if we didn't quit, we'd get published.

I hope that with whatever it is you need to be showing up for in this season, you do. It's not glamorous or exciting, but it's beautiful and necessary.

{Photo by Kerry Ball}


Cherie said...

Great post Alisha - encouraging and timely!

alisha said...

Thanks Cherie! :)

Joanna Roddy said...

LOVED this post--maybe because I'm in the same headspace these days. Read it aloud to Matt (who perked up at "Java Bean"). In the spirit of downtime/ work time together, let's schedule some parallel play for as soon as school's out. Just a week and a half left! :)

Rebekah said...

love your words as always my dear and you passion..I have no doubt you will be published soon. Thanks for the timely inspiration I always find encouragement here! xo

alisha said...

Joey, parallel play is indeed in order. It's been too long.

Rebekah, thanks for your encouragement. I always find inspiration on your blog too!

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