The Present of Presence

We love a good play on words, right?

Aside from the somewhat cheesy, alliterative title of this post, I would like to share some of my thoughts towards presence and how practicing presence can truly be a present.

Within the past year, I have noticed a mismatch with my age and where I am at in life.

Yes, I am 21 years old, but often I feel younger than my age.

It blows my mind to think of how much is already behind me: childhood, high school, college, etc.

I have taken time process why I feel this mismatch and have come to a conclusion: I have not been present for most of my life.

Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right.

Looking back, I fell victim to my busy schedule and seldom took time to stop, look around, and “smell the roses”.

I identified with my busyness and let it take over my day-to-day life. Rushing through things and feeling a self-imposed pressure to always look ahead left me searching for more.

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be “an adult” and drive and be independent.

When I was in high school, I looked forward to college.

When I was in college, I wanted to finish as soon as possible.

Searching for more, and wishing my life away, has led me to feel like the past two decades went by in a blink of an eye.

Since graduating college in May 2019 and electing to take a gap year before starting law school in August 2020, I have finally made the time to practice presence.

While I am working, this is the least busy I have ever been in my life.

So now, just working feels rather light.

Because of that, I have been able to soak in each and every day.

I am not saying I now fill my days to the brim with meaningful, productive things, but I have been learning to enjoy my time for what it is.

I no longer feel this pressure to constantly be busy.

Yes, I get what I need to get done, done, but I don’t feel as stressed about it.

It is far too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Running errands and checking off to-do lists in addition to working and taking care of ourselves can be all-consuming.

But when you think about it, it truly is a gift to wake up each morning and have the day ahead of us.

Regardless of the stresses work and chores may bring, it is up to us to find the beauty in being alive and leading the lives we live. It sounds romanticized, I know.

Something I have been doing to reinforce my practice of presence has been reflecting at night and practicing gratitude in the morning.

Before I go to bed, I reflect on the day and appreciate it for what it was.

When I wake up, I send thanks for waking up healthy.

One thing I am working on is focusing in on the specific moment. Not thinking about other things I have to do or ruminating about the past.

Exercising control over our thoughts is immensely important.

Otherwise, you may experience what I experienced in feeling like two decades went by in a blink of an eye.

Here are a few quotes that encapsulate what I was trying to get across in this post:

“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliot

“In today’s rush, we all think too much…seek too much…want too much…and forget about the joy of just being.” -Eckhart Tolle

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the moment. Gratefully.” -Maya Angelou

“Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware.” -Nhat Hanh

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