Presence is a Present You Give To Yourself

The mind loves to distract us. So often we ruminate about the past. History that we can’t change. We may even get caught up in the old stories, limited beliefs and the “should haves” of our life. At other times, we’re worried about what’s next, the “what ifs?”. Things we can’t determine. When we are stuck in the past, it creates depression. When our head is always in the future, it creates anxiety. The present moment is our only reality. The place where we have the power to take action, make change and find peace.

On our mat, we can slow down the pace, create a moving meditation and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity. While focus is the ability to sustain attention on one thing over time, presence is the ability to hold attention on many things simultaneously. Presence or “This is what’s happening now.”, is a powerful reminder that the only moment we really have is the one that we’re in. When we’re present in the moment, we’re giving attention to all that’s happening now - and nothing else.

We can break the patterns of the past and build a bright future by making a decision to do something different now. This is where our strength lives. Before we can do that, we must surrender to what is. In our yoga practice, when we’re truthful about where we are, and accept it with grace, we find the integrity in our pose. Our practice grows by building on a solid foundation of where we are in this breath. When we deny that, we may not lean into our potential or go beyond our capabilities and injure ourselves.

Off the mat, when we aren’t truthful with ourselves about where we’re really at, we're usually living from a place of what used to be, what could be, should be or what we wish was happening. We become complacent. We aren’t living in integrity with the present moment. Getting real with ourselves doesn’t mean we should not strive for something different or better, if that’s what we want. It doesn’t mean we have to be hard on ourselves. It means getting honest. Pausing when we’re triggered. Not reacting from repetitive behaviors of the past, or living in fear of what might happen. But thoughtfully responding to what’s happening in the moment with compassion. Making a choice to choose something different or find gratitude with what is. If we can’t get real with ourselves in the moment as it is, we can’t take meaningful action in reality.

Whether it’s our diet, relationships, job, family rolls or any other area of our life, presence can root us in reality. “This is what’s happening now.” is a mantra we can come back to when we feel our mind pulling away from the present. It’s a reminder that reality, power, the ability to change and finding peace is right now.

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