If you watch any amount of television, you’ve probably seen the commercial about “becoming your parents.” These commercials have showcased everything from the plaques on the wall to grocery shopping to the parking lot at a football game. It’s the parking lot one that got to me—and maybe not for the reasons that initially come to mind.
As far back as I can remember, my life has been full. Even as a kid we were rushing from one thing to the next. Dinner felt like a 5-minute event to hurry and eat so we could get out the door and to the next activity. No wonder my digestive system has been a wreck. Even vacations were a frenzy. How much could we pack into a trip? How about the trying-to-get-out-the-door chaos? Even now as I recall many of these times, my heart starts beating quickly and my mind races; the last thing on my mind is relaxing and being fully present in the moment.
In the parking lot commercial, the football game hasn’t even started and they are already talking about leaving in the 3rd quarter to beat the rush of people. Notice what is missing—full presence in the experience. We witness this concept every day: when we don’t fully listen to people and are already thinking of what to say while the other person is talking, or maybe we are at dinner with a group and we’re already thinking about what we are going to do when we get home. We are completely missing being fully present, here and now, with what is happening.
How much are we MISSING because we are TOO focused on the next thing?
Please do not mistake this as “never plan.” I am all about having a life strategy and purpose in place. I’m all about a business plan… and once those are in place, we can choose to be fully present on what is happening right now. There’s a lot at stake here friends. Our society seems to have lost the art of being present with one another—connecting, bearing witness, showing people they matter…and the list goes on.
Here are my top tips for staying fully present:
Focus on right here, right now. If your mind runs adrift, find a focal point. If I’m with someone, it is often their eyes—or nose or mouth if they don’t use eye contact. I seek to look deep and hear beyond the words—to also include expressions.
Breathe. Taking deep full breaths aligns us with the here and now. It is also extremely grounding.
Grounding. I pretend I am a tree. I notice the grounding of my feet. I allow my arms to sway if needed. In the grounding, I hold space for the here and now.
Scheduling. If I realize I’m struggling to be present, I notice my schedule. Have a booked myself too full? I look for spaces to make sure I have catch up time so I can be fully present with each endeavor.
Choice. Once I am in an appointment, presentation or other activity, I choose to be fully present with that activity. Everything else is released until I complete this current thing.
What have you found useful for being fully present? I’d love to know!
Blessings, Peace and JOY—