my attendance policy

13 Feb

be here

Your attendance in this class counts for 10% of your final grade:  but some may say, showing up accounts for all of it.

You don’t have to be clever.  You don’t have to do anything but show up.

All the posturing, the scripting, the worry, the judgement, the hierarchal shuffling in your head right now – poppycock = what will flow naturally through you when you just show up fully present is beyond your perceived capabilities – and you cannot prepare ahead for it.

When I say attendance and class participation count for 10% of the grade, I add that showing up to class is not just coming to class.  The people who need to hear this might not get it and the people who show up, show up; they don’t need the reminder.  But I say this now to you anyway:  show up.

I know how hard it can be.  There are some places for me that are harder to show up than others.  I do understand.  There are some places an old movie reel of ideas starts playing on the screen inside my head – I have a hard time being where I am.  There are places where  I want to script what is going to occur; I want to control the environment; I want to figure out how to fit in, feel comfortable, get past the discomfort.  I want to check out because I am scared and scarred.  I waver between the idea  that this discomfort is telling me to get the hell out of dodge for my own good – or that this discomfort is asking me to stay and do some work – some clearing – some good ol’ purging,  so I can then walk away without the white noise roaring.

One interesting aspect of the class room is meeting other students.  You may find the other students by asking yourself:

Who shows up when I show up?

Show up – look around, see who else is there.  Not many at times.  On your subway ride, glance about – who is present?  At the coffee shop, in the book store, on the playground, in this class – who is present with you?

This is such a vibrant practice for me.  When we show up, it becomes clear who the others are.  You may not appear to have much in common,  as you are different ages, have different bodies and varied interests, but if you are both present, there are magic micro moments – wordless even – of eyes seeing and acknowledging that you are both HERE:   it happens!

It is becoming even clearer lately with all the devices that people have that enable them to check out on who is here and who is not.  The texters, the posters, the internet phone surfers:  it doesn’t mean they are never present, but often you can see how truly unique you are showing up while everyone else is here but somewhere else.  How brightly you stand out – and I see you from the front of the classroom where I am taking roll. 🙂

Also at times, it seems as if to not check out is creepy.  Hang on, it is okay.  Eden says to me, why are you standing there grinning – you look creepy – but at times I am present and happy and happiness leaks out of me.  In days like these, that is obviously strange.  I try to wear all black and blend in – and look cool, but my joy is bursting out of my coat seams, shooting up my spine, twinkling from my eyes.

You can use this 10% to help pull your overall grade up.  It makes for an easy A – just  for showing up!

14 Responses to “my attendance policy”

  1. seeingm February 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    In the very first post I ever wrote I talked about this very thing…

    “Some years ago with an excellent Chinese takeout I got a fortune in a cookie that said, “To know others gives wisdom, to know oneself gives enlightenment”. I saved that little piece of paper, had it laminated, and for many years I carried it my wallet as a talisman and reminder. For whatever reason, early on in my life I remembered a second piece to this powerful truth which is that we also only truly see and know others to the depth we can see and know ourselves first. So it is when we are only living on the surface and not taking a deep and honest look at ourselves, it is impossible for us to connect in a deep and honest way with anyone else either. This little dynamic in the flow of human story has often left me surrounded by some of the most wonderful and loving people living interesting lives, but as I attempt to see past the life details from a deeper perspective, we are in the same room together, but I am left experiencing what we are actually sharing all alone.”

    It is so much fun to find those who are sharing the deeper look at what is happening as well. When Eden is older she will understand the grin and one day one somewhere she will catch herself doing the very same thing as she giggles at the beautiful complex simplicity and absurdity of it all.

    (your post popped into my reader just as I was making the first attempt to see all I have missed these past few weeks!)


    • marga t. February 13, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      So so wonderful to have words from the deep well of M. Welcome back to the world of the web. I imagine the well got even deeper in the disconnecting.

      I love the way you enrich these musings – I could never have imagined the exponential gifting back of such wonderful souls from the excavation of myself.

      I also love being a fly on the wall right now to the future of this grinning Eden – the beautiful complex simplicity and absurdity – and how!
      (I popped out just as your response came in to to get these restless, cooped up girls out of the house for a bit. Snow days with no snow…can you say stir crazy teens?)

  2. ptero9 February 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    I spent the first half of my life not showing up, at least not where I was expected to show up. It’s an art to be where you are and not to live in desire for being somewhere or someone you’re not.

    It’s much harder for me now not to be where I am doing whatever it is I am doing intentionally, mindfully. I tried carrying around a smart phone, but especially if I am out and about, I like to look around and can’t stand feeling tethered to a device.

    But, yes, there’s nothing lonelier than hanging out with people who are constantly looking at their devices. Am I getting old, or what, lol? 🙂

    • marga t. February 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

      I think my not showing up was longer than half…I will need to live a bit longer to better those ratios. 🙂

      So funny the timing of this; I just returned from the cell phone store as one daughter has lost her phone. Smart phones seem the only option anymore. I have been a long time hold out.

      I’m there with you – and we can recognize each other by our lack of tethers to devices! We will sit at the fun, present table. So very nice to see you, Debra!

      • ptero9 February 13, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

        I will look for you there Marga!

  3. The Retired Seeker February 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    So good. There is truly something magical when more than one person shows up at the same time. I’m going to try to be more aware of showing up more often…a good practice for me. Thanks for this great post!

    • marga t. February 13, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

      I was looking over my syllabus, having to rearrange our schedule for missed days, and my attendance policy caught my eye. When I read it out loud the first day of class, I often say to them, “Show up, and I mean more than just coming to class.” Little seeds here and there for me as much as them. Hope you are doing well!

  4. Michael February 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Your sharing of your humanity– the challenges, pains and micro moments of grace– helps to pull me back into the classroom on the days I am staring out the window. Thank you for that. This is a beautiful aspect of being who we are: it is a natural invitation to everyone around us.

    The building wherein I work was constructed using all the same principles of design and cost-effectiveness that would have gone into a 1978 strip mall roller-skating rink, but last night I exited the building just as our local ball of cosmically-connected flame was dropping below the horizon. Recent snow and ice storms had left the trees in between myself and the life-giving fireball coated with a crystalline dew. To say the horizon sparkled was an understatement. These micro moments are how we keep it real… I stood in the parking lot snapping photos on my smart phone (there is an upside to having a decent digital camera that makes phone calls and can navigate through foreign cities) as others fanned out around me headed to their vehicles. My motionlessness on the tarmac caused others to look up and appreciate.

    Class dismissed. Ha!


    • marga t. February 15, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

      This is prayer – isn’t it, Michael? You with your smart phone camera, the orb caught in its descending glory – the attention of others. I just ran across this Mary Oliver Poem “Prayer” –

      “It doesn’t have to be
      the blue iris, it could be
      weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
      small stones; just
      pay attention, then patch

      a few words together and don’t try
      to make them elaborate, this isn’t
      a contest but the doorway

      into thanks, and a silence in which
      another voice may speak.”

      I also see you in this building, working, coming out to the contrasting world. It is always such treat to get to relish your words and the glimpses you afford into your walk. The illuminated icy trees are captured just for me now!

      I am working on your wonderful “what is possible” thoughts now – slowly – like a savored, rich dessert – chocolate mousse – in fact! 🙂

      • Michael February 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

        Thanks, Marga, for the poem. Yes, this is prayer. I agree. To simply notice what is present in the world all around us is prayer, indeed. “…a doorway into thanks…”

        A doorway into remembering we are part of what we see, too, perhaps. A doorway prompting us to step through it and offer our reply… This poem is very much like what Jesus calls the Art of Thought in A Course of Love. He uses a sunset as an example of the way a beautiful element of Creation, if we would be let it, can move us, and join us, and even call out to us. This poem has all of that.

        Beautiful. Hope you enjoyed the mousse!


  5. tocksin February 15, 2014 at 5:28 pm #


    • marga t. February 15, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

      Not only accounted for but you are also seen, Mr. Tocksin.

  6. ~meredith February 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Hi Marga.

    I don’t have a cell phone, by the way.

    I carry change, though. Lots and lots of change… of all sorts.

    Happy Wednesday. xx Meredith

    • marga t. February 21, 2014 at 12:25 am #

      How wonderful you are ~ walking in this world in your own unique way! The change you carry, you carry for many! Happy Thursday, my friend! xo! Marga

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