How often are you truly present in the moment?

Presence is becoming harder to achieve with the distractions of internet, messaging services, social media, spending long hours at the computer, insufficient physical exercise and movement, as well as spending much of our time worrying about past mistakes and future concerns.

These and other factors lead us to distraction as we become more and more disconnected with our bodies. This disconnect with our bodies deprives us of mental clarity and the emotional and spiritual intelligence within us.

Presence is about being grounded, centred, alive, and alert in the moment, sensitive to what’s going on around you, tuned in with all your senses, ready, responsive (instead of reactive), conscious of your thoughts and actions, truly “being” with others, listening, connected, and able to make choices.

What happens when you speak?

Are you so focused on what you have to say or so nervous that you forget you have an audience? Does your inner critic voice tell you things like… you’re not good at speaking to groups… you can’t find the right words …or no one really wants to listen to you?

If you want to reach your audience with your words, you need to be present in the moment. Presence allows you to meet your audience (whatever the size) right where they are and respond to them directly. It permits you to sense what is needed and adjust your way of communicating accordingly. When you’re present in your body you can use your body’s intelligence and energy to create the richness and resonance that brings your voice alive and carries your words, energy and intention to your audience.

Raise awareness about your habits 

By paying attention to what you’re doing and when, you can become more conscious of your habits which may include things like day dreaming, contemplating experiences from your past, worrying about what’s going to happen in the future, going inward and avoiding to speak up, trying to dominate conversations and meetings by talking all the time, worrying about what others may think of you, etc. all of which have an impact on how you express your voice.

Once you become conscious of your habits, you are in a position to change them if you choose. To begin, you can choose to be present whenever you like. It is only in the present moment that we have the power to influence, help, inspire, teach, and learn.

Here are some simple exercises to get present (and chase away your inner critic):

  1. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly three times. As you breathe, speak Thich Nhat Hanh’s words silently in your mind, “Breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile.”
  2. While standing with your feet flat on the floor and your knees released, lean slightly into the balls of your feet to sense a greater connection between your body and the ground. Feel a sense of readiness.
  3. Stand up and move around.
  4. Walk briskly with purpose, feeling the movement of your body and the contact with the floor. Breathe easy and enjoy the sensation of movement.
  5. Shift your attention to your surroundings, get curious and notice what is there. Activate your sensations to notice visuals, smells, sounds, colours, the sensation of your feet on the floor, the temperature of the room, the energy of the space around you.
  6. Give someone your full attention. While talking with a friend, colleague, your child, your partner or anyone, choose to focus your attention on that person with the intention of listening in order to understand. If judgemental thoughts or thoughts about other things pop up, just set them aside (don’t let them take over your attention) and continue listening to that person wholeheartedly. Check in with them to ensure you have understood their need(s) or want(s). Show them you care.

“Don’t wait to be successful at some future point. Have a successful relationship with the present moment and be fully present in whatever you are doing. That is success.”

Eckhart Tolle

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