The greatest gift we can give ourselves is presence. The greatest gift we can give others is our presence. What does it mean to be present? What is it like to have someone present among us? Why should I be present?
Most of the time we go through our day doing everything but be present. If we can learn to slowly incorporate it into our lives by allowing ourselves to put down the phones, close the email, and be present with the work or people we have before us, we can become much happier. We can learn faster, we understand others better and we experience things in the fulness of the moment because we are fully internalising the experience right in front of us.
It’s possible to miss quite a lot of important cues and opportunities by not being present. That might be because we are thinking about something else (usually something either in the past or in the future), not fully tuned in or have our heads in technology, probably the number one culprit.
Take a typical weekend. Presence can be the practice of remembering you don’t need to check your phone several times an hour but you will if your phone is right next to you all the time. You don’t need to answer that email right now, you don’t need to answer that call, you don’t need to answer that snapchat, you don’t need to answer that text, you don’t need to answer that instant message. Just be present with the people surrounding you by putting your phone away.
What are they talking about? Can you inquire more about their life? People love talking about themselves. In doing so, you will learn more about them, and what makes them tick. If you’re lucky, you might even learn a little bit more about yourself.
Social media and other digital distractions don’t interrupt us if we close them and learn to pour ourselves completely into the present task. And if we need to do email, Twitter, or read blogs, we can set aside everything else and just be present with that one digital task. So if a family member it talking to you try just being with that person, focus on them, listen to them, give them the gift of your presence.
If your job demands that you focus on an urgent task, it is easy to feel stressed because you probably feel you have a million other things to do and not enough time to do them. Or you choose to be present, and focus completely on that task, and now there is only that one task and you. When you’re done, you can move on to the next task.
Being present takes practice though – that can come from using mindfulness and breathing and finding ways to bring it into our daily lives.
We use mindfulness and working in the present moment on our experiential learning workshops. The Advantage is a unique two-day experiential learning workshop that raises immediate awareness of adaptability, empathy, critical thinking, integrity, being proactive, optimism and resilience. This workshop is currently being delivered within a range of settings from employability to corporate. It is effective because the facilitator works with what emerges from the group in the moment. We are currently licensing trainers to deliver this workshop.