I have been in a lot of places lately that were filled with people, but nobody was there. Well, to be more accurate, everyone was physically present but psychologically absent. Their attention was elsewhere. They were lost in thought or lost in technology but mostly they were just lost to the present moment. Sad really, but true.
As it turns out, there is an interesting reason that I have even noticed this in the first place. I am right in the middle of studying Doug Silsbee’s book, Presence Based Coaching with a group of my coaching peers. The focus of our conversation is around being fully alert to what is happening in conversations by being totally and completely engaged in them.
Once I started reading the book and participating in the weekly discussions I began to bump into all kinds of reminders that ‘here and now’ is all we have. They hit me a bit like a comic book hero. Right between the eyes. Neurologists would say that getting these cues is my brain’s reticular activating system in action. That’s the part of the brain that, amoung other things, looks for evidence to match our experience.
What Showed Up For Me
Sorting through my desk for filing the other day, I found a scrap of paper on which I had written a favourite quote by author Eckhart Tolle, “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it”. BAM!
Racing around on a whirlwind of errands, between school drop-offs and pick-ups I heard Dr. Shefali Tsabary being interviewed about her book The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children. POW!
Searching Amazon late one night for a book to pass the impending hours of unexpected insomnia I accidentally downloaded Seeking Peace – Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World by Mary Pipher, and then the wireless connection dropped. WHAM!
Just this morning, feeling a bit unnerved by a few of life’s hassles, I heard a clip from Randy Pauch’s Last Lecture from Oprah’s Life Class – Slowing Down. That snippet prompted me to look up and watch the whole lecture. ZAAAP!
You can follow the links in this post to get to the details of all of these resources. Do it! You’ll be glad you did. In the meantime:
The BIG Messages
Whatever is going on for you right now, in this moment, is happening for a reason. Stop. Notice. Pay Attention.
The most important thing that you can give your children is you. Listen. Engage. Focus.
Going ten thousand miles an hour is not the same as living your life on purpose. Slow Down. Think. Act With Intention.
Squandering the experience that is right in front of you is a choice you make minute by minute. One day it will all be over. Be Present Now.
What do you do to stay present? I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment below.
Author: Cathy Shaughnessy
Cathy Shaughnessy is a PRISM award winning ICF Master Certified Coach and author of the book series The Really Competent Coach. Cathy coaches senior leaders, mentors credentialed coaches, trains fledgling coaches and helps organizations build strong coaching cultures.
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