The Present of Being Present

There is so much power in being present.  When present and in the moment, you can truly capture and enjoy what is right there with you.  When present, you are not caught up in the past and you are not worried about the future.  You can just simply be.

This sounds wonderful doesn’t it?

Being present IS wonderful, when you’re actually practising presence.  As I look around me however, I notice some of the obstacles that challenge us to step up our practice of being in the moment, and of being fully aware of the beauty of what – you – are – living – right – now.

My own practice of being present was challenged not too long ago as I arrived back from my holiday.  I believe the date was July 17th.  I was relaxing and watching a bit of TV as I worked to fend off any lingering jetlag.  To my horror, (teachers brace yourselves, as I’m about to use some offensive language), I saw a back to school commercial.

Didn’t we just get out of school?

Now, for those of you parents who have been filling your days with a variety of activities and chauffeuring here, there and everywhere to help keep your kids occupied and happy, these commercials may be seen as a blessing 😉

But for those of us who are just now soaking in the warm rays that took so long to get here, learning how to unwind and crossing out all of the to do’s that we’ve put off all year so that we could get to this point of relaxation – those back to school commercials seem not only ridiculous, but also stressful, don’t they?

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my work.  I adore my students.  I am also unbelievably grateful for the time teachers are rewarded with in the summer.  But, it was only July 17th!!

Why do the media insist on encouraging us to think about situations that are still 6 weeks away?

In that moment of watching the commercial, I observed my mind going from relaxed, present and grateful for what I was experiencing in that time, to nervous, anxious and in anticipation of all that I had to get done to set up for a new school year.

Just like that, I had lost the present of being present.

This type of ‘out of the moment thinking’ surrounds us each and every day.

Take the dollar stores for instance.  The aisles are filled with every Christmas decoration, card, present, craft and food item you can imagine and no later than December 26th, you can already see glimpses of Valentine’s Day merchandise lining those same aisles.  It’s as though Christmas didn’t even happen.  Or at least that we couldn’t savour it long enough to be present for its magic, before thinking about the next holiday on the list.

How about the news?  Yes, the news provides us with some ‘in the moment’ information to help educate us about the happenings of the world.  However, the news also keeps us in the past by recounting over and over events that have occurred; many of which are negative in nature.

How, as a society, are we to stay present and to experience the ‘Power of Now,’ when all around us we are encouraged to re-visit the past, or to speed up to the future?

We must choose to.

We cannot control what others do.  We can only choose what we do.  The reality is, commercials are going to continue projecting the future onto us – it’s their way of advertising and making money.  Stores may continue to hit the fast forward button for the very same reasons.  The news will likely glorify the past.

These are all their patterns, but they don’t have to be ours.

Choosing to be present is a present.  It’s a present to ourselves and it takes work.  In fact, watching that back to school commercial was its own gift to me.  It reminded me that I needed to step up my own practice this summer.  Perhaps as I eased into my relaxation of the holidays, I felt as though those practices were not as needed.  It’s easy to see the beauty in the warmth of the sun, through a slow-paced walk through nature, or while on a fun journey to a new place.  However, those fast paced days will return and I need to be prepared.  The commercial was my very reminder of this.  My body’s reaction to it was just the proof that I needed.

We can get upset at the stores, media and news and blame them for taking us out of the moment, or we can choose to take responsibility for our own feelings and emotions.

I choose to be responsible for me. 

So, today I chose to step up my practice.  My meditation and gratitude journal were the perfect starting place.  Re-uniting with my familiar routines brought me to the here and now and that is the best present that life has to offer.

You have a special gift waiting for you too.  Go unwrap it and revel in its beauty.  It’s the present of your presence.

Gift of Presence

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