#givepresence (do less, be more)
The title would make a great mantra for life. In fact, about six months ago I made a decision every morning as I wake up to repeat the words “I am enough, I have enough, I do enough” to remind myself that I am worthy and complete as I am right now, not because of what I’ve accomplished or what I plan to do, but simply because I am worthy just as I am right now. Ever since I started my days with this mantra, I have naturally created a more sustainable and healthy pace in my daily schedule and ultimately, my life. This mental training is a practice. The practice leads to a mindset, a mindfulness that is actually making my life feel more full, while doing less. I must share that I am not quite perfect at it yet; like any practice, we must repeat often and regularly. It helps me to believe, and I really believe, that every moment of every day is an opportunity to start the day over. Sometimes I get halfway through the day and repeat the “I am enough” mantra, because I have forgotten self-kindness and I fall back into the striving for something different/better/more. Sometimes while waiting at a traffic light I want to reach for my cell phone to check the ubiquitous text messages or change the song or make a call and I remind myself that this moment is enough. I remind myself to simply drive when driving. Sometimes when I am standing up while eating my hurried lunch for the fourth day in a row, I remind myself to just eat while I am eating.
“Do this to just do this. Don’t do this to do that” I heard Willem Defoe say in an interview not too long ago and it spoke right to me. From the way that I connect with others to the way I have approached sports, career and relationships, I have often spent to much time longing for the way things were or imaging how they could be better. Sometimes we spend so much time preparing for the perfect relationship, the best body, and the right job that we forget to appreciate the gifts of what we already have. I used to have so much drive and passion for adventure sports and achieving that I actually forgot to enjoy what I was doing. For so many years I was striving for excellence and training for that next climb or the perfect powder day or even now, with kitesurfing, mastering the next trick. I was often so focused on “getting better” that I forgot to simply appreciate my abilities and myself as I was. I forgot to feel the waves washing over my skin or see the fish swimming beneath me or the perfect bluebird sky against the purest powder. I found that once I dropped in to the actual moment, that was the actual highlight. There is nothing to train for, get better for or wait for. Life is happening right now.
We can take this principle into our lives with a few practices of presence; call them mantras, principles, teachings, whatever, just consider inviting them into your life.
There is nowhere else you need to be than right now. During a weekend meditation retreat I did with ordained Tibetan Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodron, she invoked the weekend by asking us to “welcome the present moment as if we had invited it. It’s all we ever have, so we might as well work with it rather than struggle against it.”
Practice loving-kindness and self-acceptance, with your self and the world. We only suffer because we expect things and people to be different then they are.
Create your own mantra that anchors you to the present moment. I am _______. This moment is enough. Do this to do this. Whatever it is, use it daily!
This holiday season, give the gift of self-love and self-acceptance. When we give ourselves permission to be raw, messy, authentic and real about who we are, not our striving, future selves or our past awesome accomplished selves, but our in-the-moment-figuring-out-this-life-as-we-go-along-self we become more relatable to others and others feel more willing to be the same way with you.
You know that old adage, we teach what we need to learn most…well, I work on this presence stuff every day, so when you meet me and I hope you do sometime soon, remind me if I get out of the moment and into wishing/wanting/expecting something different. Remind me that the gift is now and we can share it together.
With so much loving-kindness,