by Andrea Chilcote
The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!
Yesterday my long-time client offered up a ground rule at the start of a team meeting. “Be present,” she said, adding: “I got that from you, Andrea, years ago.”
Presence has been a life-long goal, and I’m adept enough at it to feel I’m in integrity when I coach and encourage others to stay in the moment. It is, after all, the only place where there is peace and it’s also the place where most real work gets done.
Oh, I still have a way to go.
This afternoon at 3 pm, after wondering for at least an hour why I felt so irritable, I remembered I had not eaten since 5:45 this morning. A piece of cheese toast, and all was well. But why was I not in tune enough with my own body (present in it) to realize this sooner?
Yesterday, rushing to leave the house, I accused my husband of having my car key. “You drove my car this morning!” I exclaimed, exasperated. “Yes,” he replied calmly. “But I used the spare valet key because yours was nowhere to be found.” I stopped, breathed, and instantly recalled where I had put it the day before. I was reminded that even being momentarily present in my doorway, gathering my things (which included my key) is significant. My mind was already on my drive and destination, though getting there depended on basic mental clarity.
And for my last confession, I offer this small but significant story. Earlier this week, I allowed myself to become distracted by a potential problem. The problem was not real; it was possible, maybe even probable. Several hours later, I learned that a work-around had occurred and all was well. This was a stark example to me that I had squandered time and productivity worrying about something that did not even exist, and eventually never did. Worry is rarely a partner to presence. It is usually a projection of future possibilities, mostly negative ones.
In these three simple examples, in some small way I jeopardized the following.
- My physical comfort (hunger that led to anxiety)
- My relationships (irritability with others)
- My productivity (time wasted worrying)
We all experience these lapses of presence, at least sometimes. And if you share my goal of honoring the moment at hand, perhaps my experiences will remind you to stop and breathe, notice your feelings — and take remedial action where needed.