Show Up Anyway

Between making some upgrades in my business and resigning from a part-time teaching job, I’d put a lot of faith in my ability to be more consistent than I’ve ever been in the 9+ years I’ve been doing this work. So when I found myself struggling to come up with my weekly blog post last night, I turned to Holly, who was sitting on a chair next to my desk.

“I’m tired, and I don’t know what to write about,” I confessed. I was hoping she’d give me the permission I wasn’t giving myself–to cut myself some slack, get to bed, and commit to writing for next week instead.

Show Up Anyway | A blog post from Jill of Ark

“Write about that,” she said. “The only way to get what you want is to show up anyway.”

Damn it, Holly.

She continued before I could formulate my protest. “I get it. It’s not easy to show up when you don’t feel like it or don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“But how can I show up and I write about nothing? I have zero inspiration right now.”

“It depends on how badly you want what you want,” she replied. “Do you know how many times I wait by the dishwasher in case the mouse shows up?”

“Hey, wait a minute. Are you saying there’s a mouse in the kitchen again?” We live in an old house by a wooded area, and every temperature drop seems to drive another critter inside. The cats love it, but I’m not nearly as amused.

“Dunno. There could always be a mouse in the kitchen, but if I’m not there and ready for it, I’ll miss it.”

I knew what Holly was trying to say, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. Human psychology researchers say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. We have to push past the resistance that inevitably rises to challenges us.

But there’s also a difference between moving through resistance and chasing wildly after desires.

Cats have a reputation for being master hunters, but if you think about it, they’re actually master receivers. They don’t dart around hoping to stir up something worth catching. They rely on their instincts to lead them to opportune places, and they wait–through the boredom and other distractions–for their prey to come close enough to pounce on.

It’s our constant chasing that wears us down and makes us assume that what we’re chasing is a lost cause entirely. If we stop wasting energy on seeking, we can reserve the energy we need to overcome the obstacles.

And, here’s the proof! Once I stopped focusing on how I didn’t know what to write about or how exhausting it was going to be to try to figure out new content week after week and just sat down and wrote, this post came through almost effortlessly.

I owe Holly a thank-you after all.

Lesson:  whether you’re stalking a mouse or your creative muse, you’ve got to show up to receive it.


Over to you…

What surprising things have you been able to receive by showing up instead of chasing? Tell me in the comments.

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