First, Just Show Up

November 5, 2012 at 6:24 am (Attachment Parenting)

Recently, I’ve gotten into a rhythm of exercising. It had always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to work out regularly, get fit, and lose a few extra pounds. The thing is, it’s harder than it sounds to make that happen.

Whenever I set a fitness goal, I quickly get focused on results. And when I’m not getting the results I want as quickly as I want, I get discouraged. It becomes easy to say, “Oh, I’ll just have a cookie (or 5).” At which point, I’m surely not going to get the results that I want!

Lately, though, I’ve been showing up at the gym. Just that. Not really trying so hard, but just being there, going though the motions of activities I enjoy. I did this a few times a week for several weeks. I just made it a point to regularly complete something physical with no pressure on myself to perform, improve, or excel.

I began to get in the habit of being present at the gym. It started to feel right to be there, and I wanted to continue it. When I wasn’t focused on results–just presence–I ended up getting results. Which made it easier to want to be there.

How does this relate to parenting? When making a change in the way we do things, the first step is just to show up. Not to be focused on the results, but just to be present. Attuned. Engaged. Aware. Attentive. That’s what “showing up” looks like in parenting, and that’s what will lead to the results we want. Take time to get into a rhythm of presence with your kids. Move presence from the back of your mind to the front, and focus on being there instead of on the results you want.

First and foremost, make it a priority to show up.


  1. Christine Gordon said,

    This is exactly what I needed today, thank you! (I joined a gym a month ago and starting to get discouraged!)

  2. Katherine Collmer said,

    Kelly, your post brings up such an important point about parenting…and every segment of our lives. When I began my Occupational Therapy career, I was so focused on the goals and objectives that I was writing and aiming for that I found myself overwhelmed by the process and getting lost “in the process!” One day, as I was with a client and my mind was racing about thinking of all of the busy client schedule I had that day (and every day), I suddenly looked up at her and saw her smiling at me and working so hard at her therapy. That was my “aha moment,” when I found that being in the present solves most stressful situations. Being in the present was going to provide my client (and myself) with the best that we both could be. Thanks for bringing this important information to light. We can all use a reminder in this area! Best of luck with your exercise plan…that’s the same one I follow and I think it works, too!

  3. Lynne said,

    I am learning that being present is fundamental to everthing…That’s my spiritual journey because it’s so hard – remembering to be present and continually bringing myself back to the present.

  4. Stephanie B. said,

    Again, you hit the nail on the head. I’ve been exercising for a week now, and seem to be having the opposite desired results. I’ll keep at it though. Just knowing I’m doing something to help my mind and body (whether or not it goes the way I think it should) should be enough. Thanks.

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