At 2pm I was given last-minute tickets for the Portland Timbers soccer game that would start at 4:30. I grabbed my neighbor (who played and coached for 40 years) and off we went.
As a kid, I was inspired by my older brother to try soccer. Unlike Chris, who went on to play and coach for close to 50 years now, I lacked coordination and foot sense. The physical contact also intimidated me, so I dove into the “safe” sport of swimming, where the most physical contact would be smacking my hand or arm against oncoming swimmers, backstroking my head against the wall, or getting pulled out of the water by my hair (but that’s another story).
Sitting 30 feet away from the midfield, I witnessed for the first time the intensity that fails to fully translate on TV: the bursts of speed and agility, the fine-line dance of fighting for the ball without drawing a foul. These men were not playing it safe.
How have I played it safe?
I’ve been asking myself a lot these past few months – how have I chosen to show up in the world? How courageous have I been in my relationships, my playing, teaching, writing and speaking?
Yes, it took faith and courage to leave the traditional ways of the world and follow my heart, but my practice of meditation sometimes was a way to hide myself away from the hard stuff. I withdrew into a nice little box and was so happy to be safe. If I stayed small, I would never have to feel failure.
And now I live in a different world. My phone reminds me each day at 9am, SHOW UP WITH YOUR WHOLE SELF. That is what I practice. I can hear the difference in my voice, my cello, my writing, even my emails. I feel the difference in deeply focused meditations. I realized that I needed no one’s permission to be myself—what a glorious freedom.
But here’s the thing—this “whole self” is something beyond my ego. “Showing up” is more like opening up to what my highest potential has to offer. I am discovering that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined.
One fantastic outcome has been my cello improvisations. I was part of a Sound Healing Day recording (which you can view here). Another is an opportunity to play at the Princeton Chapel on March 9 with Ruth Cunningham of Anonymous 4. Although this will be our first time meeting in person, our zoom improv sessions have transported both of us into exalted states of being.
I’ll end with two questions for you. How have you played it safe in your life, and where do you show up with your whole self?
Be warned—when you show up with everything you have, your life will change in ways you could never have dreamed possible.
All is change, and all is well.
Be well, my friends.