In Bali, riding freely on the back of a scooter, wind in my hair, breeze on my face and the beauty of the open road, I found myself present, connected, and one within me and everything around me. No thoughts, nothing; emptiness, or complete fullness if you will. That is until, I remembered I was supposed to be the one directing the driver, staying alert and letting him know when to turn right. So, we missed the turn. I looked down at my phone and it took me out of this precious present moment.
I call this practically present.
Many things take us away from this moment. For example, how often do you go out to a meal and at least one person is browsing on their phone? I remember going back home and having dinner with friends and as I was sharing some adventures, I realized, no one was listening. They all had their phones out doing other things and couldn’t possibly hear me let alone be fully present in our dinner experience and conversation. It had me frustrated and I wondered what the world was coming to if we couldn’t really be here now. To find a solution to this problem, now when we go out to dinner and people are distracted, we call “phones” and everyone has to put theirs in the center of the table. If someone reaches for theirs during the meal, guess who pays for it? I find this is a practical way to remind ourselves to stay present with one another.
We are present, until we are not. Why is it so easy to come out of the state of presence and extremely difficult to find it, let alone stay there? Our spirits natural state is in the essence of NOW and we are here to remember. Who wouldn’t want to bask in the glory of THIS moment. Do you know this state?
If not, here are 5 practical ways to stay present:
1. Observe the Space Between
Pause (right now). Notice the feeling of the space between. Often we get wrapped up in the list of things we have to accomplish and forget to pause along the way. You can simply become aware of the natural pause at the top of your inhale and the bottom of your exhale. When we can observe the space between, we develop an understanding of what it is like to be fully present. We start to create space in our bodies, minds, and between our actions so we can access and remember what it is like to be present.
2. Bell of Mindfulness
This is a reminder that comes out of nowhere every so often to check to see how present you are staying throughout the day. In a practical way, maybe you can set a recurring alarm on your phone every 25 minutes to go off when you want to practice presence. Build your capacity to stay in the NOW. Retraining the brain in this way will start to shift your awareness helping you to access this state more often.
3. Deep Listening
When you are in conversations with your family, partner, co workers, colleagues and friends I encourage you to listen, and I mean turn on your deep listening skills. Often times we are not truly listening to one another because our mind is too loud. The mind tries to distract the heart by thinking about what it is going to say next, how it is going to add to the conversation, or how it wants to compete in some way to “one up” the story being told. When we truly listen to one another, we find pure presence in the moment and in doing that we develop the skills to listen to our own hearts and live from this space.
4. Moving Meditation
We are busy and we may not have time to go to yoga or sit down for meditation, but we can understand that being present is a lifestyle not something you dedicate a small amount of time to each day. As you move throughout the day, see how mindful you can be and begin to create awareness in each step you take.
The very best you can do is try. Have the discipline and intention to practice coming back to your natural state. A consistent and continuous practice will start creating new habits and help to retrain your brain and ultimately develop a new way of being. How can you accomplish anything if you don’t have a practice?
Start to notice the thoughts you are having. Typically the mind likes to go directly to past experiences or creates anxiety over future endeavors. When this happens, being practically present isn’t enough. It is a different feeling to fully be here NOW, you will see. To be present is to be in your heart and not your head. Let us do that more often.
Sure being present in Yoga Teacher Trainings and Transformational Retreats can be easier than when we are at home. Typically, we think we have to leave our daily routine and escape so that we can create space to just be here NOW. Intentional vacation or time away from the norm is what we think we need because how can we possibly find presence amidst all the chaos that is life? Hopefully these tools will help you to create more presence in your life and in turn will help to find more connection to your heart and the hearts of others.
Randi’s open heart, affectionate manner and infectious laugh create an instant environment of friendship and authenticity. A true pollinator of people, her direct communication, sense of humor and energizing, activating manner allow for deep work to be done with a sense of playful acceptance for what is.
Randi ERYT 500 has taught over 50 yoga teacher trainings since 2010. Her expertise is in sharing Holistic Yoga, a well rounded practice including meditation, pranayama, mudra, bandha, mantra, theme weaving and intelligent sequencing. A certified Thai Massage Therapist, she is especially known for her firm and intuitive based hands on assists. She facilitates with a strong energy and passion for the practice which supports her compassionate, graceful and empathic nature. She has an innate ability to take in knowledge, experience it, and share wisdom in an authentic way.