A Shift in Perspective

Showing Up, Removing Labels

Back in the beginning of my work in the field of healing, I was on a practicum shadowing the Drug and Alcohol counsellor of a First Nations band. I was asked to facilitate a women’s support circle. I saw this role as a very important one.  I labeled myself in that thought, and in the label there was a separation from the group—not an obvious one but a subtle one nonetheless.

The circle invites each one sitting in the circle to share from their hearts in a sincere way—to share what’s alive in their world. I would share along with the rest of them each time.

About the fourth circle or so, I had something going on and  I shared it. I had a few tears and was more authentic than I’d been with the group so far. I let my wall down, and expressed—in a raw way—something painful I was experiencing. I allowed myself to be vulnerable with the group.

When we were tidying up at the end of the evening, an Elder who was coming out to the circle was looking at me. I could feel her looking. I looked across at her. She then said five words to me that changed me in that moment. She said, “so you’ve finally shown up.”

I totally got it. It was such a gift to me—in that moment, I understood that when I show up in an authentic way, removing whatever label I give myself and allow my expression to be open and true, then I become one with the people I’m sharing with.

I can truly experience what it means to show up. From that moment on, I have not thought of myself as anything but equal and one with those around me.

She saidSo you’ve finally shown up

Being one with me puts me in touch with my soul; it opens up a connection that is powerful. If I think thoughts like I’m not smart enough, or I’m too good or I’m the teacher . . . I separate myself from others and from my true self.

Now I encourage individuals in my workshops to show up for themselves and I support myself to show up for myself when the challenges are their greatest.

Life is different because of what that Elder said to me. There didn’t need to be a long conversation about it—the message was clear in those five words . . . Show up for yourself and life will be amazing, interesting and delightful when you least expect it. This is all part of the journey to truly loving self without all the conditions we place on ourselves.