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Presence, It Really is a Gift

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
but today is a gift.
That is why it is called the present. 
I'm not going to lie. Sometimes, I read sayings meant to inspire and I just roll my eyes. Often, the words come across as empty. I get it, I get it . . . Make the most of today. Every new day is a gift. But what does that really mean?
One of the questions I ask over and over again in this life is "what does that look like?" What does it look like in real life to embody an idea like the present. More precisely, how can we harness the power of true presence?
I confess, presence is something I'd like to improve. I had a chat the other day during which the other person apologized for something that had been said the night before. I didn't remember. I. Didn't. Remember. This was alarming to me. My mind worked hard to remember, and then to make sense of it all. Fatigue? Early indication of Alzheimer's? No. After some analysis (my favorite thing), I realized my lack of awareness in this instance came down to one hard admission: Only one person was present during the conversation in question - and it wasn't me. 
How often might I be tuning out during the moments of life? How many times has my mind run to the past or traveled to the future when there was a precious moment right in front of me? This line of questioning in myself has led me to be more observant; not only of myself, but of others. You know what I see when I look around? A sea of distracted humans. It's a little sad, actually.
There is so much to gain by tuning in; to really grounding, heart and mind, into each moment of this journey we're on! 
Presence fosters better relationships. A no-brainer, I know. But how often do you see two people together, both staring at their phones? We instinctively crave connection, but we've forgotten the art of actually cultivating it in our day to day interactions. 
Presence leads to insight. The more I practice staying in the here and now, the more I learn about the people around me. I can see how one person scratches the left side of her head when she's nervous. I can tell when the words I am speaking are hitting their mark, and when they're simply floating in the atmosphere between myself and another. Most importantly, my presence allows me to feel the feelings behind the words, and that is where the magic of connection lies. 
Presence matters even when we are alone. Until I learned to be with myself, I was rather ruled by the thoughts and emotions I thought were mine, but really weren't. I found myself tuning out, turning away from my own deep dark feelings, far too often. And, all the while, I was fooling myself into thinking that checking social media one more time was really "tuning in" to a larger whole. It's not. It's nothing more than avoidance. 
The present really is a gift. Imagine if we all learned how to bring that concept into reality on a daily basis. How different this world might be.


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