the art of being present

Recently, I was in San Francisco and found myself observing the city's homeless population. I would find myself looking at them from a restaurant noticing a nice man giving a homeless person a small bag of chips, another lady letting an older homeless gentleman pet her golden retriever as she was walking past him. In both of these moments I felt sadness, joy, confusion, a feeling that there are good people in the world, determination to find an answer, and compassion. If I were not in present time I would not have seen these acts of kindness when they thought no-one was watching. It profoundly changed the way I looked at how I could make a difference, and I was humbled as I thought about how I live in a city with very few homeless people.

I realize that for most of us, very little of our time is spent in this present state. However, if we take time to "BE" in present time, and see, feel, listen to our thoughts and feel our hearts, we would have a sense of who we are being in that moment.

The definition of "being" is: "Have life, have being, exist, live, be alive." But while we've all heard the word "being" used regularly, chances are we don't really know or think about what it means for ourselves.

The art of being is expressing your state of being, your essence, who you have been your whole life. This is the "Being" who feels deeply, who laughs, who cries, who smiles, who gets fired up about life and the things you love in life.

But how much time do we actually spend "being" in the present and not thinking about the past or future? In shedding some light on this subject, I hope to point out a state that could reveal a better way to express who you are.

I used to have a license plate that said, "Just Be," and people would often ask me, "Just be what?" With a smile I would think to myself, "This cannot be expressed, but experienced."

We have a choice every moment of our lives about who we choose to "Be." Wouldn't it be a lot better to be who we are instead of who we think we should be or who someone else thinks we should be? I truly believe that who you are being is much more powerful than what you are doing in life.

For instance, how many times have you heard people say that they are doing all the right things, but the results are not what they want or reflect who they are? They might want to start looking at who they are "being" first.

One of my clients had a difficult time being present, so we explored some of the many ways to "BE." She started off by setting a reminder on her phone to once a day stop what she was doing and just "BE" for one minute. She increased it to five minutes and then 10. This was a huge accomplishment for her. Additionally, since two of her favorite activities include music and reading, she created time for five minutes a day to read and dance.

This was enough to give her a sense of being present. All the stress she was feeling started to go away and she was able to notice more things in the moment like a little girl on a bike and a neighbor that was painting a table bright colors. Her life became more full and calm, and she started to see what was right in front of her and all around her as if she had new eyes.

You could have the so-called perfect career, family and life, but not being yourself will result in consequences that are not in alignment with your true self and best life. The impact you can make on your life and others is directly proportionate to who you are being.

For one client who was unhappy with her job, we implemented a plan that allowed her to start living and being happy regardless of what was happening around her. We talked about who she was "Being" when she was her best self. She decorated her office with items to remind her who she wanted to "BE." Among them were a picture of a sun, a beautiful plant, and quotes that touched her soul.

A few weeks passed, and she reported that she was feeling happy and fulfilled again. Not only was she happier, but also she noted that other employees were happier as well. They commented on her new state of "Being" and how that made a difference in their job

Take time to look at who you are "Being" in your life, and if the results are not what you want, perhaps you, too, should make a change from the inside out.


Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

1.)  Set a reminder on your phone at least five times during the day to put actually put down the phone (or step away from the computer screen) for a moment and look to see what is around you. Breath slower and deeper than normal; notice how your body is feeling.

2.) Try on different ways of "Being" around others. Notice how you feel and when you feel more yourself.

3.) Notice how people react around you, then make a mental note if these are reactions you want.

4.) Remember a time when you felt your best, and how you were feeling and acting. How did others react to you? If reactions were positive, try to recreate those previous actions and see if you don't get similar results.

5.) Create an environment that reminds you of who you want to "BE." This could be as simple as posting a picture of yourself at your best, a piece of jewelry, or elaborate as redecorating your room, home or office. My client painted the door from her garage to her home yellow to remind her to shine her light.

Posted on September 18, 2016 .