single autumn leaf in black & white

Right here, right now.

During this month I will be focusing my intention on developing:

presence

Imagine if everyone on Earth suddenly gained the gift of presence. What if we were able to slow down and step away from hyperactivity and disconnect: listen to what’s going on inside, see the person next to us with empathy, be aware of how our actions impact others and impact the world, and become aware of what is essential for our own wellbeing.

What if we were all able to stop anaesthetising the effects of chaos and overwhelm with more: more busywork, more junk food, more drink, more Netflix binges. To pull our heads out of the sand and see what is happening around us.

We may not be able to snap our fingers and bring presence to the world, but we can choose how to live our own lives.

By choosing to live with presence we say “no!” to zombieing through life on automatic. We say “yes” to connection with ourselves and with the world around us. And maybe, just maybe, living our values in this way can inspire one other person, or even two, or three, to re-examine the choices they are making in their lives and gently improve our little corner of the world.

Like intention, “presence” has a different meaning to each one of us. This month I encourage you to explore what it means to you, where your challenges lie in this area, and where you succeed brilliantly.

presence in my life

In my life presence looks like:

  • Feeling grounded, solid, alive inside. Bringing my complete authentic self to everything I do.
  • Being able to connect with those I love without my own issues and defences getting in the way.
  • Allowing my feelings to be what they are – joy, excitement, fear, sadness. Accepting them without shying away or burying them under busyness.
  • All aspects of myself integrated as a whole.

how I’ll practice presence in November

starting right

When I start the day well I find I’m more likely to continue well. During November I commit to a morning routine that grounds me and encourages presence.

I intend for it to look something like this:

  • Getting up early to have a relaxed breakfast and giant mug of tea with my wife as the sun rises; talking, reading together, enjoying each others’ company before we start our separate days.
  • Spending time with my morning pages to clear my head and reinstate my intentions for the day.
  • Taking a few minutes to “invoke the muse” (a term I borrowed from The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield), which can mean anything I need it to each day – a few minutes of meditation, some gratitude practice, a small prayer to help me feel connected in my day, a reminder of the feelings and intentions I want to carry into the day with me.

After this I will start my work with focus and intention.

full attention

I will focus my full attention on each thing I am doing.

When in someone’s company I’ll endeavour to be present, focusing deeply on their words, actions, feelings and body language. Not listening while waiting for a gap into which I can insert my opinion (which tends to be my standard practice).

This month I am going to try and break my device addiction (it’s bad…), using only one screen/device at a time – this should be easy but is what I’m dreading the most – and will removing all unnecessary notifications that pull my attention away from what I’m doing.

When I find myself distracted I will attempt to bring myself back to centre and remind myself of where I my attention needs to be, “I am working on this right now…”

mini check-ins

Throughout the day I will take a break from what what I’m doing, take a few deep breaths and reconnect. Check how I’m doing, what’s working for me, what’s not working so well, what I feel I need to adjust.

feeling my feelings

I will practice becoming aware of my feelings whether positive or negative. When I feel the urge to do something that covers the dive into busywork and  not hiding and numbing.

what are your intentions?

How will you add a little presence into your life? Please join me by taking the following steps!

  1. Post in the comments below to let me know how you would like to focus your intention on developing presence during November.
  2. Subscribe by email to keep in touch – I’ll be posting weekly updates as the month goes by.
8 replies
  1. Anita
    Anita says:

    I love this Eva! You made so many thoughtful points on presence and being present in our lives. And starting off the day right is so true! I am going to join you in that – exercise, get ready for the day, prayer & then start working. Too often I start working & skip the rest. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
    • Eva
      Eva says:

      Thank you Anita! I’m so happy you’ll be joining me this month.

      It’s funny, often when I start working early and skip everything else it’s because I feel I don’t have enough time, then these end up being the days when things drag and far more time gets wasted than if I had taken that time out in the first place to prepare myself properly.

      Exercise is such a great start to any day, it gets the energy levels up from the beginning – let me know how you do!

      Reply
  2. T.O. Weller
    T.O. Weller says:

    Beautifully said Eva!

    Being present shouldn’t be so difficult, but every day I find myself distracted by my own worries. All I end up doing is overwhelming myself!

    I’ve been challenged lately to focus on my priorities, so this month I’m committed to getting clear and putting a plan into practice. I have to trust that all other tasks and projects can wait while I address what’s most important.

    Reply
    • Eva
      Eva says:

      Such a great focus for this month! Trusting that everything else will be okay while you focus on your priorities can be so hard, especially when everything feels as crucially important as the next thing. I hope November is a grounding, calming and productive month for you!

      I feel the same need for setting priorities and knowing what’s important – I’m planning this to be a month-long exploration on this blog in the near future.

      Reply
  3. Grace
    Grace says:

    Wow, what an insightful post. Allowing my feelings to be what they are and accepting them has been especially hard for me lately. I struggle in the winter, and as the clouds and the cold have begun taking over, I can feel it affecting my mood. Plus the apprehension from knowing how hard it’s been previous winters adds to it. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to bury these feelings or pushing back against them when in my head I know I need to experience them as they are.

    Reply
    • Eva
      Eva says:

      Sometimes it’s hard to accept our less-than-pretty feelings, and even harder to accept that they’re not only okay but a necessary part of ourselves. Be gentle, give yourself some extra pampering and self care as you practice leaning into those uncomfortable feelings. Take care of yourself! 🙂

      Reply
  4. tlcole14
    tlcole14 says:

    Love your thoughts here! I need to practice being present so badly, especially since I have three little boys. I’m with you this month. Working at intentionally being present. For me it will mean coming out from between my ears to really listen and interact with those in front of me.

    Reply
  5. Joy
    Joy says:

    Starting the day right … yes I’ve been working at that one too. It makes such a huge difference to the rest of my day. For me, that looks like – NOT looking at any of my devices until I have actually had breakfast, done some physio exercises, and some Bible reading and prayer. Oh, and I should probably add getting showered and dressed. Haha.
    Those devices get me side-tracked every time.

    Reply

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