I completed my last Sunday service shift as a staff member at Unity of Gaithersburg today. The senior minister, Rev. Sheryl Myers, allowed me to talk to the community about my time with them and what’s next for me.
I thought back to the first book study group I facilitated there: Brené Brown’s 2013 book on wholeheartedness in workplaces, relationships, and families, Daring Greatly.
Toward the end of the book, Brown offers an anecdote about her daughter’s struggles with swimming. Brown encourages her daughter, explaining that winning races and getting the best times doesn’t have to be her goal. There are benefits to winning, of course, but there are also benefits to participating in life experiences with an open mind and a soft heart regardless of the outcomes.
“Sometimes,” Brown tells her daughter, “the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
“Showing up” isn’t just being a body in a room. It means actively choosing to bring your best wherever you are, accepting the risk of risk and the possibility of creating and failing, and moving forward rather than hiding out in what’s familiar and “safe,” even if you come in last.
As I learned more about that congregation and the spiritual tradition it’s part of, I noticed how the tradition encourages members to practice the “impulse to go forward.” Unity’s co-founder Charles Fillmore wrote decades ago, “A person without zeal is like an engine without steam or an electric motor without a current.”
These forward movements can be both purposeful and healing; it doesn’t follow that we have to accept cavalier or inhumane behavior just because ambition is socially acceptable!
As we participate more fully at home, work, and in our local communities, we can demonstrate care by pursuing action that’s aligned with our values and supporting other people who are living integrally.
My next opportunity gives me a chance to do all of that, and so I’m deeply grateful to the community at Unity of Gaithersburg for encouraging me to leap into it!