My word of the year is presence and now that we are at mid year, it seems like a great time to reflect and review. Did you pick a word of the year for yourself? How are you doing with it? How have you used it? What have you learned?

I am taking the opportunity to remind myself (and you if you are willing to read!) about what is important about presence and what I have learned so far. This is a lifelong pursuit, though and no such thing as perfect.

What I have settled on is that awareness of what gets in the way of me being present has been my greatness learning. Being too busy and ungrounded makes me miss present moment goodness. Thinking too much about what I am doing next. The next meal during the current one! This is a habit of thinking that I picked up back when I used to jam pack my schedule. I have unwound it a bit, but I am still working on it. It is so ingrained. Going too fast ruins the goodness of the present. So we can miss out on so much. We miss out on life, really.

I often wonder why I can’t remember things that have happened- like my kids and friends will remind me or be talking about something from the past. It eludes me. I know now it is because I was not present in those moments. My mind a million miles ahead or in the past.

What is working best for me is cultivating awareness. Pausing. Taking my meditation practice even more seriously has been one of the best ways to build a strength of presence. My emotions can also get in the way of presence. This is another place awareness comes in- when I stop and notice my emotions, work with the root cause, I can quickly get back to grounded and present.

Being mindful is another great way to practice presence. Trust me- building presence and mindfulness does not always feel appealing if you are a person who has been taught to value productivity in a big way. You will feel like it is boring, or there is something more essential to be done. There is nothing more essential. Learning to be present will only make everything you do better and better.

And you will remember what you have done so that you can share in the memories with others, not just have them retold to you!

When you are present you also have the opportunity to positively impact others. Listening, asking questions. I share a truth in this week’s YouTube video around this thought.

Above all, while you work on this, as I say about anything you are doing to develop yourself- be kind to yourself in the process. No judging or comparing. Just notice and learn. Be glad for your growing awareness and do not get discouraged when you find yourself off the path.