Presents and Presence


In this season leading up to Christmas and the exchange of presents, I find it interesting that what’s been on my mind recently is presence, specifically, being fully present each moment of every day. For the last two months, this has been one of my intentions. Growing up as a trauma survivor, to ensure my safety, I always planned, trying to anticipate what might happen and how to respond. As a result, I was future focused. Yet, in my spiritual studies, time and again I heard about the importance of being present.

Over many years I tried to embrace that. While I was a religious, I asked God to help me be present with parishioners, and to those I ministered to and with. As a therapist-in-training, my intention was to walk with my clients as they sought healing. As a manager, a key goal was to listen to my employees’ hopes and challenges. And, of course, as a husband, I endeavor to be fully present with Michael, as he shares the events of his day, and his frustrations and successes.

This morning, while meditating, I realized that much of my intention was outwardly focused. With that awareness, came the awareness that in order to be fully present, I needed to be present with myself too. At first, I thought that meant being fully present in the tasks that I’m doing, whether I’m folding a blanket, washing the dishes, or doing some activity. But, I realized that to a degree those are outwardly focused too.

So, what does being fully present with myself look like? Might it be tuning into where I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Might it be taking time to sit quietly without doing anything, and just seeing what comes to mind or heart? Might it be just being with intention, noticing and noting things and people who I pass every day? I would say all of that, but somehow I know there’s more. What do you think?

My sense, though, is that as I and you become more fully present with ourselves, we can more easily be fully present with others. What a great present that would be during this Christmas season!

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