One of my clients recently asked what it means to be present and how could she maintain it in her hectic life – a great question, and one that I’m sure many others are thinking.
Immediately, the obvious phrases sprung to my mind. It’s about ‘being in the moment’ and ‘appreciating what’s in front of you’. But if you’re suffering from overwhelm and exhaustion, phrases like these may feel debilitating and only for those who make daisy chains all day or walk barefoot in the sand every sunrise.
Unfortunately, we don’t all just wake up one day and suddenly know how to be the Queen of Zen. But it is possible to practice and as with any practice done regularly, one day, it will just click without a second thought.
For me, being present is about releasing those thoughts and feelings that don’t serve me. To let go of annoying arguments in my head of how I wished I’d said what I really wanted to say. It’s all in the past and by holding on to these thoughts, all I’m gaining is increased anxiety and distraction.
It is also about honouring our ‘self’ and using this moment to top up with some well needed positivity or allowing our breath to reach past our chest and circulate to the rest of our body. With every breath, we nourish our bodies. Pay attention to your breath and notice where it goes around your body.
What if it were true that you didn’t get through your to-do-list today and no-one suffered because of it and tomorrow it won’t matter? How would that feel?
I am reminded of what I say to my Reiki clients when we are about begin a healing session:
‘This is your time now. The next 45 minutes is all about you.
No-thing else matters in this moment’.
It brings a knowing smile every time. It gives them permission to relax and settle in.
But why must we look for permission to relax? It is important for our health and wellbeing on every level that we make time for ourselves.
For most of us, our mind does a lot of the heavy lifting in our daily life and it can be exhausting for it to bear this burden. In meditation, we give our minds permission to wait in the wings and allow our heart and soul to join in and play. They all deserve equal billing.
Another meaning for ‘present’ is ‘gift.’ Your gift to yourself may be to simply sit and be.
What if it were true that you had a half-hour in your day where you could sit and read your favourite book? How would that feel?
Squeezing in twenty to thirty minutes of reading (preferably a physical book or kindle rather than your phone or tablet) can be a pleasurable way of unconsciously eliminating all thoughts and focusing on what is in front of you. Whatever you choose to read influences your subconscious mind. When there’s a positive shift in your subconscious, positive things happen. Your thoughts create your reality and it becomes your soul’s desire to work to bring you more of the same.
I read a mix of educational, mindful wellbeing books and fiction. I love learning how I can help myself and by extension, help my clients. I also love to delve in to a good novel, especially at bedtime. For me, it is both relaxing and an important part of my preparation for a good night’s sleep. I shrug off the day and get lost in another realm.
Reading with your kids is a great way of being present with them, particularly at bedtime where there may be less distractions (in an ideal world!). The story may be a focal point, yet you are both sharing a loving connection without any overbearing attention on each other. As a mother, in my experience, it brought up opportunities where it felt safe for my child to share their worries or anxieties in a calm and relaxed setting.
Before you go to sleep or when you awake, set an intention to honour yourself and practice being present in your day. If you tend to forget, try placing a sign by your bedside, on your fridge or set it as a screensaver on your laptop:
I Am Present
I Feel Joy in All That I do
Explain to your little ones what it means to be present. Small teaching moments can plant strong seeds of thought in their brilliantly inquisitive minds.
‘A great hallmark of mental wellness is the ability to be in the present moment, fully and with no thoughts of being elsewhere.’ – Wayne Dyer