In the morning, when you were in school, the teacher would take attendance and when he/she came to your name, You’d yell, “Present!” or even, “Here!” It’s not that that teacher couldn’t identify you especially if she/he was the regular teacher but in that moment you you stopped whatever you were doing and it served as proof that you were there. That day was a gift, just like the days since, today and the days to come but back then, you didn’t realize it and probably thought that it was stupid to have to do it. As mature adults, how can we be present and not see it as the gift it was to acknowledge to the world that you are here. Is it just me or is that the most powerful, downplayed activity of the school day? It’s so simple but so amazingly cool that when you didn’t answer your people felt it. They looked around for you as if you’d appear from the inside of your desk but when you wasn’t there people would notice. The vibe would change, you could legit feel that you, the class as a whole, were missing apart of you. I never realized that until now.
And although most of us aren’t in school anymore and there’s no attendance being called, we feel it when someone is taken from us whether it be relationships dissolving or by death we feel depletion and if it was a bad situation, you feel the weight removed and lightness return. It’s amazing how much we are all connected. Even keeping that in mind, after the relationship runs its course, it’s tough to not revisit the past of jump to a time when you feel that you’ll be okay again.
There’s a quote from Jim Elliot that says “Wherever you are be there.” This can be a difficult concept to live. The past is history, you’ve studied it because we were told that it would repeat itself. Tomorrow is a mystery that we tend to obsess over before today even ends. We spend half the day rehashing the past and the next part of it worried about tomorrow but God says to not worry about tomorrow. In Matthew 6:34 it explains that tomorrow will worry about itself because each day has enough trouble of its own and what will it change? Even if you care and you show you care by worrying it wouldn’t add to your life.
Therefore, it’s important to be present. Just yesterday I heard a story about how a woman gave another woman many gifts over the course of a couple of years and the receiver never opened the gifts. She admitted that she appreciated the act of the giver giving more than she would the gift itself. Unknowingly she offended the giver. The giver would ask how did you like the gift? and she had no response…One day the receiver opened the gifts to find many useful gifts, including money. The point to be made is it’s great to appreciate the gift giver but you miss out on the intimacy by rejecting the gift itself. The best way to show appreciation in that instance was for her to integrate it into her daily life and while she was thankful for the gesture she was never grateful for the gift until she opened the present.
Here’s a couple of tips I’m using to become more present. If you have any please leave them in the comments section.
- Say “Thank you” and mean it
- Be grateful
- Take deep breaths
- Stop and look around you
- Be reflective
- Admire beauty
- Don’t complain
- Release what you can’t control and do something about what you can
- Avoid distraction
- Practice self awareness, intention, mindfulness and taking responsibility of one’s own actions