Showing Up


What does the phrase “showing up “mean to you? Does it remind you of a particular time in your life? Perhaps, you made a statement or took actions that made you clearly visible. Maybe it was a time when your heart raced, and your legs shook with fear. Yet, you kept going and pushed past perceived limits.

Or do you think showing up means taking on a huge project and having thousands of likes on social media?

This is how the dictionary defines showing up.

  1. Clearly seen

  1. Making an appearance

  1. Revealed

Writing this blog for ten years is an exercise in discovering what it means to be present. Two people that I have written about immediately come to mind. They are not famous in the world’s way of measuring. They each are shining examples of being seen.

The first, an elderly man I encountered at Wheaton Eye Clinic. He looked to be in his early 90s. He was well-dressed in a suit, white shirt and a tie. I watched as he approached one of the many others who waited to be seen. He asked a woman across from me a question and then handed her a paper.

Then he walked over to me.

His kind eyes met mine. He says, “Do you like poetry?” I was not expecting this question. I replied with a hesitant “Yes.” He hands me an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet with several typed poems. He then walked away.

He demonstrated that showing up can take many forms. Do you have poetry that you want to share with others? Does it need to be a published book or can you hand out sheets of poetry? Part of this process is to let go of the outcome. When we show up we do not know what form it might take.

I will always remember that man and his desire to share with others.

And then there is Johnna Parr. We met at the Wellness House in Hinsdale. I was teaching journaling to cancer patients. She was on her own healing journey. She walked into the classroom full of life. Over the next year or so we became friends. She was honest about her ordeal. She demonstrated that at the core of showing up is our willingness to stay with discomfort. It means being present to whatever our path reveals. She met her struggles with profound faith. She was always willing to share her journey.

This is part of what Johnna tweeted on 1/21/20

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. ~Marianne Williamson

Shortly after her tweet, on April 9, 2020, Johnna died.

At a time when many of us might give up, she kept sharing and inspiring others. How do we define having a great life, a life that we wish to embrace? Johnna’s journey says that being fully alive is not about waiting for the perfect circumstance. She spent two and a half years in an arduous battle with cancer. She experienced many dark days. She never stopped loving her life! Her family called her the “happiness coordinator. “

Why did I choose these two people? Their vulnerability and willingness to be seen is inspirational. They were listening and following their heart. They did not focus on the outcome of their actions. They spent little time concerned about what others might think.

Sometimes we do take on a big project. For me it’s in the form of a documentary. During its creation I have faced fear, bumped up against my “you’re not good enough” messages and kept going. The film, Showing Up: Dare to Live from Your Heart reflects lessons from both my personal and professional life. My intention is that the film will encourage us to keep showing up.

You have an opportunity to experience this inspiring message. Saturday, October 15 at the Tivoli Cinema in Downers Grove you can attend the premiere. The doors open at 9 AM. As we gather the amazing Cover Girls Rock Violin Show will perform. 

Link for more information and tickets.


What will showing up mean for you?