Relationships – the breath and scope of which send us reeling. Whether that screaming reel moves backward into yesteryear or forward into a future unknown is all about the thoughts we attach to either direction. The ‘uh-oh’s and the’what if”s’. Rampant unchecked thinking pollutes filters.
The word presence is a seductive pill. Does presence offer a peek into a better reality or is it the come-and-go fad of our time?
Presence is simple and impossibly difficult (here come those paradoxes again, they nip at my ankles like hungry gremlins). You are in the moment when you are dealing with nothing other than what is happening now. The place, the people, the words, the feelings. Most of us have trouble discerning when we aren’t there because the thoughts that occupy our brains are relentless and hidden in old tapes that drone endlessly. We hardly hear, and less often acknowledge, their background hum over the noisy din of our current ruminations and conversations.
Circumstances require and/or benefit from forward thinking, I don’t believe that planning or thinking ahead is meritless. But the amount of focus we maintain on the journey, in the moments we spend on the way to a place or goal, are golden opportunities we may never have the chance to revisit.
Presence is boosted by thoughtfulness – being thoughtful is hard, if not impossible, when we are in the past or the future. The past cannot be changed (what happened, happened) and the future has not occurred. To be painfully obvious – I’m not speaking about therapeutic and cathartic conversations about the past meant to clear out behaviors that no longer work or apprehensions of the future that stifle us.
I remember the joys of orange-red sunsets from upper New York State hilltops, or purple-pink sunrises from the tiny window of an aircraft flying at 30,000 feet. Or watching the Jets win a football game. Or seeing my children for the first time, or the zillionth time. Or spending time with the man I love. While I’m not always successful at keeping myself in the present or banishing ancient recurring fears or apprehensions that may occur somewhere down the road, I know quite well when I’m in the present. I analyze less compulsively, feel engaged (not trapped), honor my emotions and experience little drama. My goal is to dignify my past, look toward to my future, and keep my present the vivid, ever-changing landscape that it is.
No harm in giving thoughtful presence a try.