Maybe you’re like me... You crawl into bed at night and wonder, “What did I do today, and did any of it really matter?” Do you feel like life is passing you by? Do you think you might be missing something? Does your life seem a bit like a blur?
What is it that you are missing?
Could it be that you are missing?
Ever since Adeline was stillborn, I’ve had this overwhelming desire to find more presence in my life. I’m one of those people who is more reflective after an event or a conversation rather than during it. I’d like that to change, so I can experience my life in the moment, while it’s happening. Relishing a cup of coffee or a conversation with a friend in that particular moment seems so easy, right? I’ve found presence to be more elusive than I expected.
I’ve only experienced, what I would consider, true presence a few times in my life.
Once, two weeks after I met my husband, we found a swing and sat together in silence for hours. There was something so honest about that moment. We both knew that moment was the start of something amazing that would change our lives forever.
And then on the day we met Adeline, when I held her in my arms, it was as if no one else existed. I was completely consumed in the moment.
Today, I’m searching for ways to ground myself in my daily life and learn how to be more present so I can experience more moments like these. What I've learned thus far is that it doesn’t have to be a monumental life event for me to find presence. It can happen in the most mundane of everyday activities—cooking, walking the dog, driving in the car. Here’s how I’m learning to integrate presence into my daily life.
The only perspective we ever get to experience in our life is our own. In order to live a full, rich life, it’s important to make a conscious effort to see things and learn things from other people. Take time to experience what others have to teach you and allow yourself to learn. Pick up a book (you’ll find my recommendations on my Resources page); go to a class or join a group who challenge you to think differently; watch a TedTalk that piques your curiosity. Find people, places, and things that intrigue you and leave you with a desire to learn more.
Our bodies were not made to sit and to be still forever. The human body is dynamic and holds secret doors to our emotional states. Have you ever done a workout, any workout, and left to go home and cry? I have, in fact, it just happened last week. Our bodies “know” more than we realize. When we move and pay attention to what bubbles up to the surface, we can learn a lot about ourselves not only physically but also emotionally. I personally enjoy a balance of reflective movement, like yoga, and strenuous movement, like rowing or an exercise class. Find what works for you. The key is to pay attention to how your body reacts when you’re moving.
There is something so pure about building, inventing, creating something that is uniquely yours. It touches something in your heart, igniting a small flame deep within your soul. Just as movement connects body to emotions, creativity connects souls to expression. When we allow our true-self to speak through creative outlets, we find connection to our deepest desires. Try creating in several different ways to see what fits you best. I enjoy writing, photography, organizing things, and recently started making soy candles. Be creative with the intention of releasing your soul's desires. Do not worry about how it will turn out or if it will be useful or if anyone else will like it. Do it because it feels good to you and allows you to find a deeper connection with yourself.
I know I just told you to move but finding stillness in your day can be just as important. Life happens too fast, so it may be hard to slow down and to notice how you feel. Make time, even if it’s just five minutes in your day, to stop, to rest, to meditate, to breathe, whatever it might be for you. This provides you with an opportunity to ground yourself in your day. It reminds you of where you are and gives your brain a moment to relax. Our thoughts are going so fast we sometimes miss what they are saying. If you stop for a moment and notice, you might learn a little more about what’s holding you back from experiencing life as you’d like it to be. You might learn that your thoughts are getting in the way of your dreams. You might learn nothing and yet walk away less stressed and more at ease. Couldn’t hurt to try, right?
Do you see a pattern here? Each one of these experiences opens a new pathway, doorway, or window so you can explore beyond your own perspective, beyond what you’ve always known. These types of experiences have helped to ground me in my life. Others have taken different routes, and you will too.
The idea is to find a few key experiences that help you connect to your own life, to experience your life, and ultimately to feel present in your own life. This is the only life you have, this moment right now. What will you do with it?
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