On showing up

This sailing lifestyle is suiting me pretty well…. And by that i mean it’s fairly effortless.  I love sailing…  The wind and water are elements I find very comfortable…  Therapeutic even…  Showing up here is easy for me.  Some people think I must have a lot of courage to set off across oceans…  This is laughable to me.  And leads me to face a reality I don’t like to look at very often.

I’ve just learned that my stepmother has been diagnosed with ALS.  As long as I can remember, she has feared something like this.  Her appearance has always been impeccable, her idependence extremely valued and her social graces always something I admired.  Apparently now, she is living with the fact that she cannot show up in the world the way she wants to, the way that’s been so easy for her…  She’s been forced completely out of her element.

We are going to visit her in a few days.  This upcoming trip being the passage that I don’t feel prepared for…  Don’t feel equipped to respond to appropriately…  I recognize the irony here: this passage that seems to be a part of so many people’s ordinary experience is what feels like a scary ocean crossing for me.  This is the epitome of effortful, for me.

Brene Brown is a (famous) researcher in Texas.  Her work focusses on vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame.  You might have seen her TED talks or seen her on Oprah.  One of her quotes is yelling at me right now through a megaphone

“Normally, when someone we love is turning away from a struggle, we self-protect by also turning away. That’s definitely my first response. I think change is more likely to happen if both partners have common language and a shared lens to see problems. “~ Brené Brown

I think this often happens in families… It’s happened to me… Distance grows…  And sometimes grows so vast that it becomes the largest, most frightening ocean in the world.  How do I prepare for this one?  I feel like I might not be able to weather the storm of judgment by some people I know I’m going to see soon.  Brene Brown calls it a shame storm…  How can I possibly respond to it so it doesn’t sink me?

I am provisioning for these things…  Crossing this ocean… Unsure how it might unfold…  Worrying that I might not be worthy of the situation…  And yet I know I must summon the courage to try.  Maybe we’re all in a sinking boat anyway, and the whole point is to recognize it!!  And to try to be that “good mariner” who will offer assistance wherever and whenever in a position to do so..

I think Brene Brown tends to start with this one, but I’m inclined to bring it to my ending here:

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. “

Pegi, I’m on my way.