"It's the experiences and people along this beautiful journey that really matter most!"
During some time away with my husband up in the beautiful Apostle Islands of Northern Wisconsin, I am once again reminded of the importance of being present in life, conversation, experiences, and perspectives.
By nature, I am a 'doer' and can easily get wrapped up in the doing of life. Going from one thing to the next, work, home, hobbies, etc. As I look back, I can clearly see when I have been in such a doing mode that I completely lost the gift of enjoying the moments. For me, the sense of accomplishment I get in the doing and the feeling of responsibility are two big reasons for falling into the doing mode of life.
Even in moments like the time we had together in the Islands, historically, I would have been focused on seeing and doing as much as we could when we were there, even if it came at the cost of going through things at a faster pace. Don't get me wrong; I believe that you can be present and still go at a decent pace, but it's a fine line not to lose the enjoyment of the experience.
On the other hand, my husband is slower-paced by nature, and in much reflection the last few days, I must add is so present to his surroundings and the experiences of life. Historically he hasn't been a big nature and hiking type of person, yet he was fully engaged in the experience of the islands and our time together.
Joel and I have been together for over twenty-two years. And, let me say that it has not been all rainbows and sunshine. Quite frankly, we had some rough years in there. But, looking back on our life together, being present to one another has had a profound impact. (I would say it does on any relationship). But I'll save the relationship tips for another post.
As a natural listener, I would have told you I was always present in conversations; boy, was I mistaken. I believe there is a difference between simply listening versus being present in a conversation. When you are present in conversation and relationships, they are taken to a whole new level.
Let's look at some of the other benefits of being present:
Stronger relationships and social skills
Lower stress level
More acute focus
Better overall health
More enjoyable life!
A more robust appreciation for life
Less worrying and overthinking
Now I am not sure about all of you, but even with all of the amazing benefits that Being Present brings, it has not been an easy one for me to crack, actually quite the opposite.
Especially when we often live in a 'doing' society.
Let me ask you this...
Have you ever been driving somewhere, you get there and don't remember half the trip?
Or, what about watching your kid's soccer game, she kicks in the winning goal, and you missed it?
Or, perhaps you are in conversation with someone, and you miss half of what they say?
These are tells, my friends! Signs that you are not present in the moment.
So, how can you get there, you ask?
First things first, as with most things in life, DECIDE you want to be more present to the things, people, and experiences of life.
And, here are 11 more of my top tips.
Start by trying one and go from there, you won't regret it!
1) Seek to understand and see things from the other person's perspective.
For years, decades, maybe I would have told you I was a great listener. And, although I still believe that I've been a great listener through the years; I recognize that the way I listen now is far different and with more depth of understanding than I have ever had before.
When you are in conversation with anyone, hear from a place of understanding who that person is, what they are experiencing, and their perspectives. I believe this art of good communication also resolves and prevents many issues in relationships of all kinds.
2) Leave the phone on silent
There isn't much more to be said on this one. But, bottom line, when we are always distracted with the dings, buzzing, etc., from our phone, we are not present to where we are at or who is with us at the moment.
3) Give up control
Call it go with the flow, or maybe call it patience. When we let go of what/how something needs to happen and accept that things may turn out differently than 'planned,' it is easier to be present to moments.
4) Gratitude and appreciation
This simple practice helps keep your mind and thoughts in the present situation and conversation.
5) Ask questions to yourself that will bring focus to the moment you are in.
I believe asking questions is one of the best ways to find the answers in so many situations and areas of life, and for being present, it's no different. So here is a couple to get you started.
If I wanted to, how could I be present in this moment?
If I wanted to, how could I better understand this person?
6) Prepare ahead of time.
If there are things that could interrupt or distract you, tie those up first.
7) Schedule it!
The fact is we all have responsibilities in life. So if you are finding yourself in moments of having so much to do that you are not being present to people, conversations, or situations, schedule or plan it into your everyday life. Give yourself and the people in your life the time and space to be present.
8) Redirect yourself as needed
Fact is, we have nearly 50 thoughts per minute that come into our brains. And, when you are present in life, those don't just shut off. But, I believe in time, they slow down and more easily pass when they do show up.
As you are working to be more present and things show up that knock you off course, redirect the thought and bring your focus back to whatever situation or conversation you are in.
In all areas of life, the simple art of taking a moment to slow down and breathe can reduce anxious moments, improve digestion, prevent arguments, increase understanding, and so much more.
Breathe, my friends!
10) Take care of yourself; sleep, eat right, get good movement in life.
When you feel good, it's easier to be present and enjoy.
Have you ever realized how distracting it can be when you don't feel good, or perhaps your body is sore? The simple act of taking care of ourselves, so we feel good can help keep our focus on the now.
11) Give yourself a break
Finally, and probably one that I think is key in many areas of life, BE KIND to yourself and give yourself a break for things you thought you "Should have" done that you didn't. Or that you felt you "Should have" done differently.
Leave the "Should's" out of life and when something doesn't go quite the way you would have liked, allow it to be used as a lesson to do differently next time. Use it as knowledge, not punishment, and appreciate all that is you!
Stay well friends!
Empowerment Coach, Dream Advisor, and ThetaHealing Practitioner
Strong Foundations Coaching & Consulting, LLC
Copyright 2021 @ Jen Zahari