Being present means noticing, being aware of, paying attention to, or focusing on what is going on within and/or around you in that moment. Being present can mean noticing things about yourself such as how you feel, if you’re hungry or full, if you’re thirsty, how your food tastes, if you’re tired, if you’re excited, if you’re tense, or if you’re warm or cold. Being present can mean noticing things around you such as the scenery, the sky (is it cloudy or clear?), noise levels, smells, lighting, or traffic. Being present with another person can mean focusing on or being fully engaged with that person.
When you’re present with another person, you get the opportunity to connect with that person and deepen the relationship. Think about how it makes you feel when you have someone’s undivided attention. Doesn’t it make you feel great when someone is actually listening to you rather than scanning the room for someone else to talk to or checking their smart phone for emails or text messages? We all feel that way!
This evening I am going to a black tie event that’s being held at the Nixon Library. I’m having my nails and hair done, and will wear my favorite midnight-blue, full-length gown. I purchased that gown for a similar event about seven years ago, when I carried over 45 extra pounds. I just had the dress altered so that I could wear it tonight; about eight inches were removed.
You can bet that I will be present tonight! I will be aware of how good it feels to be dressed up and feel beautiful inside and out. I will take in the beautiful and historical surroundings of the Nixon Library. I will focus on those with whom I engage in conversations by maintaining eye contact and not letting my eyes wander to see who else is in the room (or check my smart phone). I will eat slowly and enjoy the special vegan meal that has been arranged for me. I will listen intently to the panel discussions.
So be present. Put away your smart phone or whatever it is that takes you out of the present moment and tune in to your world, even if only for five minutes. Notice what is happening around you. Notice where you are. Notice how you feel. Notice what you eat. Engage with those with whom you interact. You may just notice that time will slow down and life won’t pass you by.