Blog#103 – Showing Up

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Dear Readers,

Welcome back to my blog. I hope you’re all keeping well. Here’s the link to the audio version. Winter has got a firm grip on us here in Australia which is welcome by many as it brings desperately needed rain! But for me personally, well, I’m not cut out for the cold. As I age, I’m noticing its effect on my bones! My body yearns for the warmth of summer. But hey, it’s nothing that a few extra layers can’t fix.

Thanks again

Thanks again for sharing your feedback with me following my last blog ‘Attention, Seekers’. It seems that it inspired some of you, but it also generated less inspired responses from others. I take these on board. I have been thinking a lot about the different ways in which meditation is experienced or simply perceived, depending on where a person finds themselves in life. For this reason, I want to share a little more about what it means to me and what it looks like.

changes to our overall wellbeing

I’ve titled this blog ‘Showing Up’ because showing up captures the intention that is required if we want to make changes to our overall wellbeing. It might require showing up at a doctor’s appointment, or for an x-ray, to meet a friend for a coffee, or to see a counsellor. But there is also another way we can show up, and that is to ourselves. Meditation is my way of showing up for myself.

life’s mission

I often think about how much of my energy I’ve spent throughout my life looking outwards for the answers to the big questions I’ve had around purpose, meaning, direction, etc. I’ve spent thousands of pounds on courses, self-help books and workshops, and many hours watching videos that I hoped would lead me to where I ought to be. I see a multi-billion-dollar industry founded on people’s hunger for direction. You could say the same for religious institutions. I was brought up a Catholic which attempted to instill in me the belief that all the answers to those big questions lay outside of me, that if I did what I was told by the priest who shouted instructions at us from the pulpit (often incomprehensibly) then we could go to heaven we die. We were told that we were born sinners and our life’s mission was redemption. We weren’t encouraged to think for ourselves and to question our faith. We were required to be a sheep and follow the shepherd. There was always someone who claimed to be better than us calling the shots. It eventually dawned on me that the shepherd and the priest and anyone else who took it upon themselves to tell us how to live were all just humans like me, mostly driven by their ego. And this is why there has been such a massive decline in the number of people attending church. On saying that, if belonging to a religious organisation works for you then that’s wonderful.

A fight is going on inside me

I still visit churches regularly and have done since I left Ireland at the age of 18. I prefer to go when there isn’t a service in progress because I go for peace and quiet of my mind and soul. I guess you could say that I have this deep need for a spiritual dimension in my life. I acknowledge the great efforts that communities have gone to in the creation of these magnificent sanctuaries, driven by a common desire to have a sacred space for contemplation and meditation and in which to nurture one’s spirit. I am acutely aware of the importance that religious practice has played in people’s lives for millennia. But we’ve reached a point in our evolution where we are more aware of our own power and no longer wish to be ruled over by men who claim to be better than us. I do not believe what they tell us about being born a sinner. Instead, I believe that we are born with the ability to choose to sin or not. There’s a story that I used to read to my kids when they were little which tells of a Cherokee elder who is teaching his grandson about life. ‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy. ‘It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.’ He continued, ‘The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win? The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

feed the good wolf

If, like me, you want to feed the good wolf, then how do we feed it? We do so by becoming aware of the thoughts that we are having and how they are driving our actions. It is through being still, and tuning into the body and mind, that we can listen to the stories that we are telling ourselves. We are all story tellers. We all have narratives that we have created about our life from a young age, narratives which may have served us once upon a time but need reviewing and updating as we go through life. In my old narrative, I was a victim, and I was suffering a great deal. In my new narrative, I am empowered to no longer be the victim, to let go of the suffering that I endured and live a peaceful life where I am okay with everything. I suffered enough in the past. It makes no sense at all to continue suffering for those same things in the present. Of course, suffering is a part of life. We can’t avoid further suffering. But if we can accept that it is part of the experience of living, then we can get through it. The important thing is to stay in the present because in the present there will always be something that we can appreciate. For example, even if I’m dealing with challenges that bring emotional or physical pain, I can appreciate the kindness of others, or the beauty of the natural world around me and give thanks for that.


Meditation isn’t about going into a trance. It’s an umbrella term for finding stillness, watching what the mind is doing, and shifting the focus to a place of peace, even if for a moment. That place of peace can be in the breath, or scanning each part of the body, or repeating a mantra. Whatever works for you that allows you to tune into you and your deep connection to all living things. As you are focusing on the breath going in and out, the nervous system will begin to calm. The mind will wander. It’s what the mind does! But you will notice this because you are still. The part of you that is noticing what is going on in the mind is your AWARENESS. It is that deeper part of you where the wolves reside. It doesn’t matter what thought pops into your head… ‘I need to pay that bill’, ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’ve got a million and one things I could be doing instead’……whatever it might be, let it go and come back to it later. For now, you are showing up for you and your wellbeing by giving yourself the space and time to be still, to tap into your awareness, to watch your thoughts and to shift the focus so that you give your mind a rest. You are giving your mind and body a chance to reset. You will also become more aware of the part that you play in your suffering. Our thoughts generate actions which can lead us into conflict. How amazing is it to know that by becoming aware of our thoughts, we can change the outcome! In effect, meditation is a science of mind in that it allows us to work with the mind. I reckon one of the greatest benefits of praying or chanting (as is the practice in organised religions) is that it gives the mind a rest from thought.


People who have experienced trauma in their lives may find meditation difficult. This is understandable. I recommend to my clients who struggle with meditation to go gently. It’s important not to beat yourself up if you find the experience jarring or confusing. The simple act of sitting quietly may bring up things that make us feel uncomfortable. It’s how we respond to the experience that matters. I always recommend self-compassion and kindness. Healing happens slowly and by making a habit of showing up for our wellbeing. As I said, showing up includes getting support such as a counsellor.

infinitely less stressed

I recommend practicing stillness twice a day, starting with just a few minutes, sitting in a firm chair with the feet planted on the ground, eyes closed, mind alert (no sleeping!) and the back straight. Slowly build on the time to whatever feels good for you. I’m currently doing 20 minutes both morning and evening. The reason I keep blogging about this is because it has honestly transformed my inner world and made me calmer, kinder, more joyful and infinitely less stressed. If there is a chance that it might do the same for you, I’d be absolutely delighted for you!  As I mentioned last week, meditation helped me to see the damage that the ego was doing to my wellbeing and is what allows me to ensure the good wolf gets all the nourishment it needs to help me thrive.

Thanks for being here. Love, Gill x



Gill Kenny - the Writer & Blogger

About the author – Gill Kenny

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Through my blog, I aim to provide you with a place where you can feel valued by inviting you to share your journey too.  I will regularly have guest writers who wish to share their views or experiences on each topic. I am open to ideas and happy to cover any topics that interest you, so please feel free to share yours with me.

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Love, Gill x