Are you present…or a million miles away…or both?

One of my favorite questions to ask my husband at any moment in time is “What are you thinking about right now?”. To which he typically answers, “nothing”. What? Huh? How is that possible? A quiet brain is not one I know; I almost said “blessed with” but thought better as I am blessed as I am, busy-minded and all. And that last sentence makes my point perfectly; even as I am writing this my brain is ahead of me and correcting me before I can type the words on the page.

Active brain or quiet brain regardless; are you present? Are you where you are at this moment in time or are you a million miles away. Right now I am present, I am writing and I am here in this moment thinking through this concept. This is the space I prefer; not thinking about the future or the past, but in the now. Our reality is that we only have now and therefore thinking unnecessarily about any time beyond is fruitless. It is an effort to be in the present because so much attention is pulled in other directions; a million miles away.

Now I challenge how many times have you been a million miles away. I can’t tell you how many drives to or from that I don’t recall; I just know I got there safe. I can’t tell you how many TV shows I have watched and never heard a word of what they were saying although I was staring at the TV screen. I will become aware that I have not heard a word that was said and then fight my brain to acknowledge what I missed and where I was in those moments. It is one of the reasons that I like to have my phone or notepad by me at all times. One of my Best Practices is when something comes to my mind that is taking me away from the present moment, I write it down so I don’t forget it so I can get back to the now.

One of my favorite parts of running is the ability to be a million miles away and present all at the same time. I can run for miles and as I do the processing begins. Sometimes I am acutely aware of the effort the run is taking; my breathing, my pace, the heat, the traffic around me. But then other times I am still processing that day’s events or tomorrow schedule. I am a million miles away. I have often said that I am not a multitask-er and have no desire to be one. What I am describing is not multitasking it is 100% about simply “being” here or there; or sometimes both at once.

The worst example of being a million miles away is the Sunday Evening woes. The realization that we have to go back to work on Monday affects all of those I know that have a “Monday”. While we are still in the presence of Sunday and all that there is left to embrace; we are thinking about Monday. “What time do I have to wake-up?” “What time is my first meeting?” “What is on my schedule?” All the while, the life that is being lived is still all around us to embrace or deny. And all we can hope for is that Monday will come and be as well-planned as we are counting on it to be.

There is so much to expound on in presence and the gratitude that being present can bring about for yourself as well as others. I think of the conversations I engaged in today and those that I was 100% present for were a gift and those that I was not fully present for are now a loss. I cannot get that time back, could it be the last time, the last conversation…you see we simply do not know. Yes, that was a dramatic left-hand turn I just made but it is relevant. During my mom’s last week’s I was present, more present than I have ever been in my life. I was absorbing every part of her; her voice, her breath, her scent…HER. I was drowning myself in her presence because I knew there would be a day, not so far away, that I would not be present with her ever again. I knew then, but I do not know now how it will end, who I will see again and what I will miss if I am not present.

My intention this week is to be present in every moment that I am engaged. I have a very busy week with meetings and travel however I will take it one hour at a time, embracing the people, the experiences and the present moment that I have been given as that is my blessing and I hope that if you are part of one those moments that I can bless you with my presence.

Living life as I see it – L.

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