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You Have to Show Up: On Small Miracles (Okay, maybe not so small)

I hadn't intended to go to my cousin's funeral.

That sounds terrible, I know. And if I had chosen to focus on the 18 year estrangement of various factions of my family from each other and my own 15 year estrangement from my uncles (hey, Greeks are a war-like people, what can I say?), I could have patted myself on the back for the fact that I had gone to the wake and let it go at that.

But if you knew the littlest thing about me, you would know that I recognize an inner dragon when I see one. And, once I see one, I have to slay it. It's a sacred covenant I have with myself.

And, should I get tempted to walk away from a soul-defining battle, I have some very powerful people watching my back. Powerful people who won't let me slack off. Powerful people who say just what I need to hear to remind me of how powerful love is and the miracles that can unfold when we Show Up.

To prepare to attend the wake, I visited with my dear friend and spiritual Rock of Gibraltar, Mike Schwass, (http://www.dontblamethegame.com). He shared with me some of the last conversation he had with his dear friend, Blackhawk's Keith Magnuson a month before he died.

You have to show up. Just your presence can be so powerful. You have to show up.

Mike has a way of planting seeds in my head that grow...and grow...and grow. Guru-types are like that.

This brought me to a lesson from an anonymous reader at my blog this week:

You can criticize or you can educate.

"Anonymous reader" chose to criticize my falling prey to a pervasive myth on Chinese calligraphy interpretation but never gave the slightest clue to how I could correct my path. All I got was, "sorry, you are wrong, seeya."

Thankfully I am naturally inquisitive, so I was inspired to do research and enjoyed learning more. However, I could just as easily been hurt, embarrassed and defensive at being publicly defrocked as my unwitting blunder was exposed to my readers.

But since I also believe everyone is a Buddha here to teach me something I paid attention to what was really happening here.

You can criticize or you can educate.

The biggest reason I was going to avoid the funeral was due to my own belief that everyone in my family was going to do it wrong. That it would be a fiasco. That my grudge-holding family, in the midst of chaos and tragedy would just pour fresh gasoline on fires which had been smoldering for 18 years and I didn't want any part of it.

No, I just wanted to sit in the woods and meditate and not be soiled by the whole thing. Not be irritated. Tempted to jump into the fray. Resurrect my Greek Evil Eye.

You have to show up (you big weenie).

The truth is I did know how to show up. Sure, there is something familiar about being pissed at my family. It's just so easy. And, face it, anger is energizing. Gossip has a certain seduction to it. There's momentum. Criticism is so easy.

But love is more powerful.

Yes, it's a harder place to hold. It takes work. It takes a conscious conviction to stand for love when there are so many temptations to blame, to judge, to criticize. It's easier to walk away.

It's easy to walk away until you realize that your very integrity is on the line. I'm either walking the talk or I'm not. I'm either adding to the love or I'm adding to the pain. I'm either criticizing or educating.

You have to show up. Just your presence can be so powerful. You have to show up.

I showed up.

I'm here to tell you that my 15 year estrangement from my uncles has ended. We talked. And hugged. And the one that was most difficult to reach, who has been estranged from the entire family for 18 years accepted an invitation to come to my home next weekend. He even came out to the parking lot as I was about to drive away to make sure I knew the best route home.

My uncle's laughter is one of my favorite sounds of all time. It's brilliant and silly and mischievous and infectious. It is the sound of everything that was ever right and good in my family. And next weekend, his laughter will fill my home.

Laura Young is a personal development and business coach. She is a contributing author to A Guide to Getting It: Purpose and Passion and Become Your Own Great and Powerful: A Woman's Guide to Leading a Real, Big Life. She has recently been featured on By, For and About Women and Artists First Radio. To learn more about her, visit http://www.wellspringcoaching.com

To visit Laura's blog, visit http://antwatching.blogspot.com

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