Chapter Three–The Infinite Power of Showing Up

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.

 Brené Brown

It was my birthday and I had planned to party. It wasn’t a regular party, it was in  Skid Row LA. Skid Row is an area where the homeless and hopeless live on the streets. In one of the wealthiest and creative cities of the world, this is a ghetto. A place where LA dreams come to die. A place I wouldn’t venture into normally, but, on that day, our friend Justin from Red Eye had organised a pamper party for the women.

There was music, makeup, and miracles. One woman swivelled her hips to the music and danced alongside me. We got chatting. She’s been in rehab for a year, she’s the same age as me, and we would never have met if it wasn’t for this Mother’s Day celebration.

‘I’ve been on drugs my whole life, but I think this might be the time I finally get out of the life.’ Hope danced in her eyes and tears danced in mine.

‘There, but for the grace of God go I,’ I thought.

We held hands, hugged, and connected.

When we express real emotion and share authentically, the power in this space is infinite.

When we step out from behind the barricades of self-preservation and brave the wild, the power in this space is infinite.

When we find the courage to show up for each other, the power in this space is infinite.

I travelled around the world this year and met people beyond the safe borders of what I know. From Skid Row in LA to poverty-stricken villages in Tanzania, I came into contact with people with different views, orientations, socio-economic situations, and beliefs.

Amidst shared experiences, I found we all have the same need for love and belonging.

 

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. Brené Brown

But, the world seems so polarised right now. People who are brave enough to express opinions at the extremes of the opinion spectrum generally shout at each across the internet and things get ugly.

It feels safer to sit with people who believe the same things, live the same way, and never step out of the cocoon we live in. It’s easy to feel like we belong when everyone thinks and believes the same thing.

Why do we get lonely, even when we’re surrounded by those we consider our tribe?

Brené Brown tells us that the quest for true belonging isn’t about just feeling comfortable. She’s encouraging us to bring our authentic selves and connect, despite the differences we have.

Do we fear that if we are our authentic selves, if we express a different opinion, we’ll get ostracised by the people who we think we belong to?

Even if we go the same church. Even if we live in the same street. Even if we live in the same house.

So, there’s a tension here. In order to feel we’re not alone, in order to truly belong, we need to be our authentic selves.

Is showing up as our true selves and developing community, despite our differences, an answer to this tension? Maybe.

What if we showed up as ourselves?

What if we become the one who others depend on?

What if we find the courage to show up for each other?

What if we show up and find our place in the world?

What if we find true belonging?

I’m learning to find the infinite power of showing up, but it’s taking a lifetime.

Lots of love,

Elaine

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What does the infinite power of showing up look like in your friendship groups, community, on a world-wide scale?

 

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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree with you Elaine, it is taking a lifetime!

    Strong views I held as a young adult, taking sides across an issue, no longer seem as relevant. Connection continually becomes more important than being seen as being right.

    And yet the tension in that, the tension of actually holding views that may be different from those of my friends and family, and expressing them without breaking connection. That’s a hard path to walk.

    Looking forward to the discussion this evening.

    • Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      This is so true: ‘And yet the tension in that, the tension of actually holding views that may be different from those of my friends and family, and expressing them without breaking connection. That’s a hard path to walk.’ It is a hard path. xxx

  2. amandaviviers
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I have just found myself saying lately to people “Just Show Up”. Even an old man I saw at the shops, who had stopped coming to our family night gathering because of a disagreement. As he walked away from me, I turned and it just spilled out of my mouth. Just show up. Come on you can do it.

    Then I came home and my day kinda unravelled. You know, the crying at the computer, can I really do everything that is required of me today.

    And I have been over here debating whether I should go to family night tonight. Because it would just be easier to hide. To not have to talk. To put the kids to bed and sneak away into my own bedroom cave.

    But then I read this.

    Showing up, even when we don’t want to, is the cornerstone of belonging.

    Gosh its not easy.

    XXOO

    • Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      You are a great example of showing up. I love this story.

      Love this: ‘Showing up, even when we don’t want to, is the cornerstone of belonging.’ xxx

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