BlackLion told me that it was my turn to write about presence. “Presents? I love presents!” was my reply.
August and September are big-time birthday months in our family, and I guess I was getting a touch of celebration fever. Yet August is also a time to focus on presence – it’s our Feline Dreamers theme for this month.
Presence does bring many gifts to those who practice it. To receive them, simply focus on the moment you’re in. Do it several times each day, until it starts to become natural. You might want to remind yourself – post-it notes or phone alerts, or however it is you remember the important things. Being present is important! Here are some of the gifts it can bring.
Gratitude. When you reside in this moment, you know that all is well. You recognize the people, places, and things that surround you, and often you’ll feel a wave of gratitude for them. Right now, as I write this, I’m thankful for my comfortable home, the lovely trees and blue skies I see outside my window, a fresh summer breeze, and sweet Percy cat, who is keeping me company. I’m thankful for silence in which to write, and the ideas that flow through my mind. Stop reading for a moment and look around you. What are you thankful for right now?
Relaxation. Sinking into the present moment allows you to relax and just be. Tension flows from your body as your muscles relax. You’re not worried about what else you have to do, or upset about what has or hasn’t happened in the past. You’re just here. Now. You’re safe. Your body will notice your mental letting go, and you might release a sigh, or reach upward for a big stretch. Ahhh…
Inspiration. By looking around you at what is going on right now, you see the beauty of our lovely world with new eyes. Being present for and open to the flow of life can be incredibly inspiring. While gazing at the sunset, you might have an idea for a poem or story. When you let go of your worries, often your subconscious mind will be freed up to design a solution to a problem. The amazing ideas that pop up might surprise you. What a gift!
Peace. Along with the physical relaxation of “living in the now” comes peace of mind. When you surrender to the moment, you aren’t focused on your expectations about what should and shouldn’t happen. You accept whatever arises. This is peace.
Affection. When you expand your practice of presence to include your interactions with others, your heart will open. When you focus on a loved one, really listening to them, or simply being in quiet companionship, you’ll notice your love and affection for them increasing. Accepting them as they are right now allows you to see all the delightful things that you enjoy about being with them. Share your affection, and chances are they’ll return it.
Empowerment. Once you’ve been practicing presence for a while, you’ll begin to see how it can change your life for the better. Ironically, when we let go of our expectations and let life flow, we are carried along more quickly to where we wanted to be. You’ll feel empowered to really go for your dreams. Rather than fretting about failure or wallowing in uncertainty, you’ll joyfully move toward your big goals, enjoying each of the steps along the way.
Confidence. A presence practice will bring you more confidence that everything really is okay. We humans spend a lot of time worrying needlessly. When you’re living in the now, there’s no space for worry. You’ll see that you are an integral part of the whole Universe. You’ll feel loved and nurtured. This will give you confidence that even when life is difficult, you’ll be all right.
Start practicing presence today, and you’ll soon find these joyful presents unfolding in your experience!