Today, I had the chance to spend a few moments talking to a friend and colleague. We started to talk about presence and accessing presence daily. We found ourselves discussing the barriers in our lives limiting us from being in the moment. Despite the laundry list we were each able to come up with, why, why can’t we live in the here and now? Sure, things like jobs, chores, taking care of our families need to be done. But why is it that we are running on autopilot? And more importantly, what are we missing while in this mode?
I was recently in Santa Barbara, CA for a workshop. Each day, I got up in the morning, walked down to the wharf from my villa and watched the sunrise. I stood, took photographs, let the light radiate into my being, breathed in the salt air, and for one hour lived in the moment and felt completely present. I was filled with a sense of rejuvenation and I was able to maintain a sense of presence throughout the days. I lived just for the moment I was in and it was completely blissful.
I returned to what is my life, at the current moment, and I was filled with to-do’s, projects, tedious tasks and I became overwhelmed. I am beginning to realize that from this state of being overwhelmed, I am not only struggling with presence but I am not productive. The more I allow these activities to run my life, the more they do. I guess, being an adult, one has things that might not be fun or blissful that simply must be done, but how much time is really necessary to spend on them. When I put this into perspective, I had a task that I didn’t want to do, that took me over 4 hours to complete and as I was barreling through, my attitude about it was negative and this translated into conversations complaining about it, feeling upset about it, and dwelling on it. I probably spent an extra 2 hours on this task than the task required.
I’m often quoted saying to my clients, “how much more time do you want to spend on this?” or “how would you prefer to be spending your time?” In the case of the task above, I could have certainly spent that 2 hours watching a sunrise, reading a fabulous book, writing poetry, making a delicious dinner, or about a million other things. BUT, I wasn’t living in the moment, I was stuck.
And just when we think we’ve got it, life throws us a curve ball. Just a few months ago, I was feeling like I was on top of the world, really present, really conscious. My life changed substantially with one shift. But I realize I can get back to being present, I can get back to me. And I have learned that when I am present, I am the most authentic version of myself.
I am the girl with starry green eyes of wonder, a body that wanders off the course to see nature’s beauty, a heart that loves unconditionally and openly, a smile that shines brightly, and a soul that heals.