Being Present to Ourselves


I have noticed a new catchword being used a lot; present or presence. I use that word also, and in fact, I use it for my web presence and my work. Being present means so many things at once, it is complicated, and yet it is so simple. Being present to oneself is about staying in our center, noticing when we are drawn out, paying attention to what draws us out, feeling what happens inside of us when we aren't centered and are reactive, being available to us and others, and being ourselves out in the world, and so much more. It is simple in that we have so much power and availability when we are present to us. It is hard in that we are taught from a young age to be present to almost everyone else except for us.

Lately, I have had a couple of experiences which keeps teaching me about being present to myself and what happens when I am not. In one instance I was with a young woman who wanted to learn from me. As I was with her I noticed that as much as she said she wanted to learn from me, and as much as that was most probably her intent, she was much more involved in her life and her story that I was pulled into being a counselor as much and more than I was being asked questions to engage her learning and experience for her work. As this was happening I became acutely aware of what was occurring inside of me and how I felt physically as this was happening. I realized that I felt used and drained and wanted to teach and not to act as a counselor.

What helped me to realize this was how I felt in my stomach. My stomach felt achy and pulled and uncomfortable and I found I was unconsciously and consciously rubbing my tummy. This gut reaction pulled me back to my center and I was more able to be with me as I was with her. I have noticed that for me and for many people, we get these beautiful signals if we listen and are present to us. Most of us do get information from our guts. Some get this information from our tight necks or achy shoulders or a feeling of antsiness. We all get the signals, and now it is time to teach ourselves to listen to these beautiful cries for personal attention.

When we start to feel uncomfortable or feel a reaction brewing in us, notice this is happening. Step aside so that you can register that you are feeling and reacting to someone or something. Sometimes that is all we have to do in order for us to be present to us again. Sometimes then it is important for us to take the next step of paying attention to, and recognizing what we are reacting to. As your stomach starts tightening, for example, then see the reason it is tightening and give yourself the attention you need. It could be as simple as telling you that you understand, and are going to stay with you instead of leaving you alone to deal with the discomfort. As you do this more frequently your whole self will feel more whole, vital and seen.

Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life
Take a minute and think of a recent time when you felt uncomfortable. What was your bodies response; did you tightening, did you get a stomach ache, did your shoulders go up, did you get a headache? Now go back to that time in your mind's eye and pay attention to what threw you off. The next time you feel your body or mind react instead of ignoring the signals, pay attention and be present to you. It is a great gift and one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

My soothing words of wisdom for the week is about the secret life:

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