Woody Allen said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
This comes to mind today as I find myself showing up for things that I’d rather have skipped out on. The whole day, I dragged myself from place to place. There was no real reason I had to go to the places I ended up, but, on the flip side, there was no real reason not to be at any of them.
I found myself crawling, miserably, out of bed to get to my 7AM AA meeting. After that, I attended a yoga class, that today, I didn’t want to be bothered with really. Then, later, my women’s meeting, where for the first time in six months, I didn’t have to be because my service commitment ended the week before, I was a free woman if I wanted to be. Yet, there I was, at all these places. And, in some strange way, each place seemed to acknowledge my being there, thanking me, in some small way or another.
My 7AM meeting was a good one, with a good chairperson, a good topic, and, several of the people called on shared the ever-popular AA saying, “Don’t leave five minutes before the miracle.” My yoga teacher, at the beginning of our practice, said, “Take a moment, go inside, and thank yourself. Whatever it was that got you here today, take a moment to acknowledge and thank it.” And, upon arriving at my women’s meeting, a few of the regular attendees expressed their pleasure that I was there, they thought because my service commitment was up, I was a guaranteed no-show.
It got me thinking. What had gotten me to all these places? Today I didn’t want to be anywhere. But, more than anything else, I did not want to be home, wallowing in self pity, which is often my best option when I’m not sure where I should be or what I should be doing. So, rather than entertain that possibility, I let my feet take me to the next best thing. And, as it turned out, all those places were happy to have me and offered me something I couldn’t have given myself alone in my apartment.
If showing up equates success, then, I think it only appropriate we define success.
In the context here, success, for me, was merely being present. Something that I’m discovering, more and more, is quite possibly the best gift sobriety has to offer. Full and total presence opens up a world of possibility, and, mind you, that isn’t always a good thing. Being connected sometimes means being tied to things that are thankless and uncomfortable. But, adversely, there are those unexpected places and events that offer a strange, almost undeserved gratitude. But, in order to receive the gifts of the latter, you have to be present for whatever the universe may or may not give you. Yes, you have to show up.
Sobriety has become, for me, almost exclusively, about showing up. Being present and available in ways that are both pleasant and unpleasant. And, after I get past the fear of the uncertain reception my arrival will invite, I find more often than not, the universe is glad I made an appearance and usually finds some little way of letting me know.
So, perhaps Woody Allen was right. And, what’s more, it’s nice to feel you’re successful just by being somewhere. It’s a change in the heart and mind, not a change in location.