This morning what trickles up for me is the word presence. What does that word personally mean to me? It is about being here, now, completely and wholly. No distractions, no pretending, no placating, totally in the space with mind, body, and spirit. How many of you can do that? How long can you stay present, before your mind drifts, your body fidgets, and or you grow uncomfortable with not having a distraction?
The other day I was at the grocery store going through the check out. I only had about five items, so I was in the fast lane. My mind was thinking about the class I was teaching that night, checking in with my gut as to whether or not I had everything prepped and ready. When it was my turn at the cash register I was jolted back into the present moment, for the man on the other side of the counter was really there. He was present! When we made the customary eye contact, I was refreshingly caught off guard with a person who was truly connecting with me in the current moment. Most of the time this is a lame experience at best, for you go through the motions of niceties and the perfunctory, “How are you..?”, while the items beep across the scanner. I could feel this man’s genuine presence, it was literally like a breath of fresh air. I slowed down, I shut off my mind chatter, so I could drop in and be with him. While the exchange was brief, it was real and had impact. I found myself smiling all the way to the car, for we crave and need true connection.
Did you know that there have been studies that prove babies who do not receive touch can actually stop growing, some may even die. Here are a couple of the articles I discovered: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/infant-touch/; https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/born-love/201003/touching-empathy, there are many more. What I love about sharing time with children is that they know INSTANTLY if you are truly present with them. They do not get caught up in the fake game of “let’s pretend we really care, are listening and sharing”. They are either completely present with you or they are present with whatever they are engaged with. If you are not present with them they will let you know. I can remember moments with my children when they would actually take my face in their hands to direct my attention.
When I am out enjoying a walk one of the things I love is passing people with their pets, for the four legged adventurer is always present. They are completely in the moment, enjoying whatever is happening right now. It always makes me smile from the inside out, for there is such pure joy, delight in what is around them and contentment in being together with their people. My two four legged wonder beasts used to literally vibrate with anxious anticipation when it was time to hit the trail for a walk. They did not care where we went, just couldn’t wait to run, smell, explore, and be in the “great outdoors”. The sweet pure simplicity of enjoying what was here and now with complete presence.
Human beings need connection! We thrive and become happier, healthier people when we truly share time with others. While we know this, (check out this article – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-are-wired-to-connect/), we seem to be forgetting its true importance and need. I find it more and more challenging to connect with people when I am out and about. Everyone is rushing, people are stressed, even when you are having a conversation with them you can feel their minds buzzing somewhere else. Why? Today there seems to be more intimacy with your phone and computer, then with other breathing and living souls.
It has been my personal experience that when I truly connect with someone in the here and now, the rewards are immense. I walk away feeling replenished, happy, and smiling with deep gratitude. What would happen if you tried for a full day to be completely present with every interaction you engaged in? How might you feel? Who will you touch along the way? Living present is a practice I engage in every day. It is something I truly focus on with intention, for I have been blessed to learn and understand that profound experiences unfold when we show up in the moment. I challenge you to try it. That may mean leave your phone in the car when you meet your friend for lunch. Turn off the TV to engage with your family. Really stop and greet your spouse when they get home, when you say, “How was your day?”, sincerely hear and engage in the response.
If you do have the courage to try it, I would love to hear about your experiences. Heck, we might even share a connecting present moment in the exchange of your sharing :-).
May today be full of present moments! A.C.T. (always choose truth) with intention to be present and connected.