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Feeling Present

What does it mean to feel present? It is hard for me to define it, but it is amazing when I feel it. I still remember the first time I felt present. I was at a park watching my son play on the playground equipment. I felt at peace. The colors around me were vivid, and all felt right with the world. I felt like I had always watched my life from a distance, but, at this moment, I had been “beamed” into my life and was actually experiencing it. I had never felt anything quite like it.

That moment of presence did not last long, and I wasn’t quite sure what it had been once it was over. While it felt peaceful, peace was not really the word for it. It took experiencing it a few more times to get what was going on. It felt like I was finally putting my arms down after holding them up over my head for decades.

I have been thinking about presence a lot because I spent the day yesterday moving in and out of being present. It was amazing. The colors around me were vivid, and I noticed and appreciated things that typically would not even catch my attention. I felt like I was a part of this world, and the world around me was filled with so much beauty. The best way to describe this is feeling “zen.”

I do not yet know how to “make” myself feel present. I have some tools that help, but I cannot yet simply choose to “be present.” I have to silence my mind and not think about the past or future. It helps to focus upon what is around me and appreciate its beauty. These things help, but I still don’t have the ability to “be present” like turning a light switch on or off. Right now, I am just trying to enjoy the beauty of presence while it lasts.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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