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The Gift of Presence
November 6, 2016
Do you find yourself stuck in patterns of behavior or thoughts about yourself and the world? Ones that drain your vitality and joy, that keep you living small, the “same old, same old”? Do you ask yourself “How did I get here again? I KNOW I did it, yet I can’t seem to find a way around myself to what I really want”. If this was easy we’d all be doing it.
Remember basic psych 101? We learned that we form ideas about the world and ourselves at a very early age and think they are the absolute truth. We really want to play outside yet we’re called inside to do homework and we think “responsibility before pleasure”( well, maybe not in those words), a parent is distracted with daily living and we wind up thinking “I’m really not that important, or lovable”. Before you know it you’re living the rest of your life believing what you thought as a child is the absolute truth.
So, how do we find something different? How do we open up to a present and future aligned with our greatest capacity to live fully and deeply? One of the ways is to understand that our narrative thoughts, our story, are different from awareness. Our story is the past relived again and again. Awareness is being present in the now, aligned with our highest self. How can we step into the present more consistently?
One way you can step into the present is to commit to a daily practice that grounds you. Whether it’s yoga, running, swimming, a daily walk, you know the thing that brings you a feeling of greater joy and presence. Maybe you can’t commit daily; four or five days a week is what works for now. Whatever it is, commit to it. Give yourself the gift of coming back to yourself. It’s amazing what can open in you when you make your inner well being a priority. If you need to commit to a week only, start there. But start.
For years I struggled with a daily practice. I began with telling myself I would practice five out of seven days for one week. I then committed to another week and then another until my practice has become something that feels like a daily present to myself.
Another beautiful practice is to start a gratitude journal. Yes, you’ve heard it soooo many times it feels trite. Except it really works. I write down three things every day; my successes, what I’m grateful for and how I’ve made money. Brownie points for adding a random act of kindness to the day. lt helps me see that my life is full of much more grace than the story I tell. It’s a map to the present, to awareness. Just for this week, what practice can you commit to giving yourself? I’d love to know. Please feel free to share your journey.