Opening Presence

Who can resist the sound of a child chanting ‘let’s open presents’?   Something about their mere presence makes celebrations feel like more fun.  And children are palpably present, unlike their adult counterparts who are typically wondering what comes next. Young ones can get as excited about the wrapping as they do about the gift itself.   I admit I do love the process of packaging my presents so they have significant presence.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could embrace life’s packaging with similar eagerness and openness?   After all, it is the journey, right, not the destination.  And life’s most promising opportunities often come clothed as challenge and hard work.

Have you noticed how after the holidays inquiring minds want to know: What did you get for Christmas?  Next they may ask how and with whom did you spend your time.  The older we get the more we realize it is not what is under the tree that matters as much as who gathers around it with us.   And where did the time go, we wonder? And what will the new year hold?

Adults are always busy working on ‘to dos’ while children work at perfecting ‘ta das.’  Why not create a ‘to be’ list for the New Year, rather than the traditional to do list, and start it with a plan to be more fully present.

Practicing presence is paramount to hearing and honoring our purpose on this planet, yet many neglect to navigate this priceless path.  I recently heard the suggestion of entering a closet or bathroom where it is dark and free of distractions to experience the essence of presence and learn to live it.

My surrogate sister gave me a wonderful wall hanging with multiple reminders of the importance of living and loving life in the present.  My God parents gave me a beautiful butterfly necklace that also says ‘live in the present moment’ on the back of the butterfly. These glorious gifts are priceless compliments confirming that those in my close circle see me practicing this principle in a manner that has meaning for those around me.

Where are you the most present?  And who can benefit most from your presence?

As we ease away from Advent and embark on another new year, it is a perfect time to reflect on your past and anticipate your future, but be sure to practice presence in the process.

Many will make New Year’s resolutions, only to abandon them within days.  We all have good intentions but often lack the discipline and motivation to make meaningful change, in spite of endless opportunities.  My New Year’s challenge to you is this: commit to being more fully present in every moment and give the gift of your presence whenever possible.  It truly is a priceless present; the gift that keeps on giving.


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