I find a few consistent things fascinating.
One is patterns or themes. For example, as a Life Coach, what I’m hearing from one client at any given time is what I’m hearing from all of my clients at that time. This is true of others I talk with outside of the work I do, as well.
Now, certainly the stories and circumstances are different, but the patterns are the same. It’s uncanny!
Most recently, one of the main themes that has been emerging is the idea of Being Present.
I think most of us know what it means to be present, but many inquire about the most effective strategies for practicing presence . . . how to approach and sustain a state of being present.
For this reason, I thought I’d share with you my own 5 step process for tapping into a present mindset.
#1 Set the Intention
This may sound obvious, but if we are not focused on it, we rarely do it. Before I get out of bed every morning, I set the intention to be present to what is happening in my life. I also set this intention again before any event or planned interaction like a meeting, talk, client call or face-to-face with my daughter when she comes home from school.
Yep, another seemingly no brainer, but, again, we are not often focused on whether or not we are actually doing this. Ever witness yourself holding your breath when you are super focused (like when you are trying to hold the plank position with your PT standing over you!) or stressed? Being mindful of your breath can help bring you into a state of presence.
#3 Focus on Being Open-Hearted
Connecting through our heart space is the only way we can be authentically present with others. Be aware of how you feel in a given moment. If you find yourself going into a place of protection catalyzed by worry or fear, you are most likely closing your heart. Instead, while getting clear with your intentions and desired outcome, focus on communicating your boundaries, while remaining relaxed, curious and compassionate towards the other(s) with whom you are interacting.
#4 Trust How You Feel
When you allow yourself to pay attention to how you feel at any given time, you are able to gather much more information about yourself and how you are interacting with the outer world than if you are on autopilot (being unconscious) or trying to make sense of everything from a rational standpoint (which is where you are thinking in the past or future). One of the best ways to navigate a present moment that is challenging is by trusting how you feel, first, and working on connecting the dots from there.
#5 Be Yourself
Your full, authentic power comes from being who you are, not who you aren’t. Being aware, in the present moment, of whether you are comfortable with how you are being or uncomfortable with the way you are trying to be will offer a lot of great information. The right things are more likely to happen when you are speaking, thinking, feeling and acting in accordance with your individual truth and nature.
When it comes to the power of being present, I believe everything else stems from our ability to be (or not to be) this. When we are present, we are aware. We are tuned into the now, which is the only place we truly have to create, experience, connect and be.
I am reminded of an article that I recently read about fathering and the importance of being present. All of our connections in relationships are reliant on the decisions we make in the present.
“My daughter asked me to look through a catalog with her. Just sit with me, Dad. This’ll only take a minute. She had circled a sweater that caught her eye and wanted to make sure it was on my holiday radar. And so I did. We sat and looked at every page until we came to the reason for our sit-down. The correct size and color were emphasized, followed by a hug around the neck, a kiss on the cheek, and something like you’re the greatest dad ever! These daughters. Smart, huh?
So, one afternoon after work, I journeyed like a magi to the appropriate store and rattled off the correct item number, size, and color to someone who looked every bit of twelve. The girl-clerk seemed impressed at my vast knowledge of this particular item of clothing. Wow! How do you know so much about this? I told her it came from sitting and listening and flipping pages and stuff. She said cool.
Moments like this seem to be popping up all over my fathering landscape. Moments where I’m reminded of something called the power of presence. Maybe you prefer “stopping to smell the roses” or “being there.” Potato, potatoe; same thing. Now, lest you think I’m the greatest dad ever, rest assured that for every moment when I’ve stopped to smell the roses with my children, there have been twice as many moments where the roses had to take a back seat to my own, ‘more important’ little world.
But kids are gracious and I’m learning. I’m learning how utterly vital it is to them that I, the father, set aside my adult privileges and sit for awhile and humble myself and enter their world. I don’t have to get the high score or even like hoodies; I just have to be there, with them, my presence passing along something to them that may be real close to that word L-O-V-E.” The Power of Presence by John Blase
So, I hope you set the intention to go forth and be PRESENT!
And, do be sure to let me know how it’s going . . .