Presence was my word for 2023.
I learned a lot of things practicing presence, living presence out each day, when I remembered to! Each instance. when I remembered to.
The biggest thing I learned is that presence will be a lifelong pursuit. It can be learned and helped with tools. It can be practiced and requires awareness, intention to do so.
I learned that even with the best of intentions, my humanness is always a factor from moment to moment. Perfection around presence had to be thrown out immediately.
My biggest area of growth– making peace with the past. I am no longer living in the past with my thoughts, second guessing, etc. I might slip here and there, but my awareness has grown and I am able to get back on track quickly. When you decide to grow and learn, lessons will come your way. Certain things happened this year that reminded me of something from the past. I named this “coming up for acknowledgment and release” so that I could consciously let go of it. Things still come up, but my new habit of bringing them to the present has helped me to keep moving forward. And so much less suffering!
When I meditate I am much more able to be present and when I am with others and doing something I am better at staying present. My next level is to spend less time in the future. I LOVE to plan, so this is a tricky one for me. I allow myself to make my plans- briefly future facing- and then again bring it to the present. What can I do right now? What is even important about it right now. I can take a breath and create peace in my mind, focusing on the thing that is important in that moment.
I still spend a fair amount of time living in the future. And this is where I accept that presence is a work on progress- forever. Being human we will experience challenging situations as well as things to look forward to. All a part of life. Having something to look forward to is a really good happiness builder. It can give us enthusiasm for what we are doing in the present. We just don’t want to sit around only thinking of the future excitement- we bring that excitement into the present moment.
Yoga, meditation, breathing, working out, just sitting, reading something, listening intently to someone, putting your phone away during meals and other times when you are with others. Writing, walking and time in nature. These are all a few of the ways I have increased my strength of presence this year. I have done them all consistently and that has compounded over time.
I still get thrown off track, I still forget and get lost outside of the present. Now I have the ability to notice and to ask myself some questions.
- What is the most important thing to be thinking about/doing right now?
- What is bothering me? (I lose presence many times when something has triggered me, worried me, etc.) Once I can discern what it is I can write it down and examine it and then ask question #1.
- What can I enjoy about this present moment?
- What is my intention in this present moment?
- What can I change in the present moment to support myself? (Hint: it is usually what I am thinking about.)
I am wishing you a year ahead full of beautiful, present moments and that will notice them without allowing the past or future steal your attention.
Stay tuned for next years word coming soon! Have you chosen yours yet?