“Four Rules for Life: Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. Don't be attached to the results.”
This paraphrased quote is from the late cultural anthropologist, author and speaker Angeles Arrien. I try to follow these seemingly simple rules to guide me on the most authentic path for living a “seen” life. The first three can be achieved with practice, mindfulness and diligence. The fourth one has a hit and miss success rate for me. But here’s my take on it, it is part of the human condition. The fourth rule provides the bump in the road that brings us back to awareness. You may find the full quote at the end of this post.
What is a “seen” life? When you show up for yourself you agree to be seen. I went through a major life changing transformation in my early thirties when I left a life of addiction. I worked hard to turn my life around. I was working in the field of addictions and going to University. But I was still wearing my cloak of invisibility. This cloak had served me well in my previous life. It kept me below the radar so I could still function without the label of addict. I had not stepped fully into my new life and so I was not being seen by others.
So, what pushed me to take the next step? I watched as others around me got noticed in their fields while I seemed to be invisible. I remember it vividly. It was like I had been going through life hiding under a cloak. I had been studying with some native healers from Mexico and one day I just felt my life start to glow. I said to my friend as we were walking that I had decided to remove my cloak of invisibility. I had to make the conscious decision to step fully into my life and to be accountable for it. I had to show up for myself. I had been doing the work, but not being fully aware that I needed to show up and be seen.
To be seen is to live your most authentic life. Once I made that decision offers for art shows came in and I was given a promotion at work. My life vision expanded and very quickly I was running spirituality and healing groups. I began to pay attention to the clues that would light up for me. It is like looking at a scene and someone or something seems to be a little brighter than everything else. Pay attention to this. You may not understand why but follow the clue. I would go and talk to the person, look at the book or investigate the path that seemed to be most visible, and one step led me to another clue.
Telling the truth seems straight forward but there are so many ways we can deceive ourselves. When you don’t pay attention to the help that is showing up for you and then you make an excuse for why you didn’t follow the path, that is not being honest with yourself. Ween yourself off excuses and blame. I see a lot of folks get caught up in this trap. You don’t see yourself as being untruthful it’s just the economy, the relationship or something else that kept you from showing up and paying attention. Notice every time you make an excuse or blame circumstances and pull yourself back into your power.
So, we have looked at how to step into your light, pay attention to when people, circumstances and paths light up for you and follow through. Let go of excuses and be honest with yourself. Now for the fourth one, detach from the outcome. When I have done the best I can, I am clear about what I desire, and I feel in alignment with my desire; I can step back and trust that the Universe will provide in perfect timing. It may not show up in my timing, but in hindsight I am very grateful that I did not get everything I have wished for. Still it isn’t easy to detach, but like I said in the beginning this is like the guard rail that keeps you from driving off the cliff. When I find myself disappointed or upset, I think back to other times when I was very grateful that I didn’t get what I was asking for because something so much better came along. The more I go through this the easier it is for me to see, be seen and to show up.
Hear is the full quote:
"The four Ways reflect a pervasive belief that life will be simple if we practice four basic principles:
Show up or choose to be present,
Pay attention to what has heart and meaning,
Tell the truth without blame or judgment, and
Be open, rather than attached to, the outcome."
~ Angeles Arrien