Presence

This is a post imitating the style and topics of my personal favorite website, “Marc and Angel Hack Life.” This post was inspired by the Daily’s Post’s Daily Prompt, titled “Imitation/Flattery”.  See the full prompt here.

I’m a thinker.  I’m a writer.  And I’m a dreamer.

All of which are three things that, to me, have always been so closely related as to be indistinguishable.  I spend most of my time in my own mind, living in my thoughts, in my imagination, in my memory, and even daydreaming about things that haven’t even occurred.  The problem with this, living so much in my mind, is that I frequently find that my active presence in the moments of life has been lost.

I think that we can all relate to this feeling of isolation from the world, especially in an age where socialization has become mostly technology oriented.  Communication and socialization have both converted our private lives into public posts, which, and this is the absolute paradox of our age, has ultimately made us even more private than before.  Or at least that’s what I’m coming to believe.  The point that I’m trying to make, my own point, is almost even too intangible for me to fully explain, and this isn’t a preachy post on the downfall of society.  I think it’s ridiculous to define a society based on its faults because, even if less glaring, the good and beauty always exist.  Attitude and perspective are everything.

What I would like to do with this post is to discover, together, ways of becoming more present, active participants in our own lives.  Instead of enjoying even just the day, let’s enjoy the hours, the minutes, and the seconds, moving beyond ourselves and our minds.

The following are the five four ways that I would like to be more present:

1. Disconnect to Reconnect. 

As an online media specialist, managing multiple social media accounts, including my own, it’s common for me to waste much of my time with my eyes glued to a computer screen, shifting my attention to my cell phone as a “break.”  Because this is my job, I can’t fully disconnect from technology, but between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m, I certainly can.

I read an article earlier this year about a man who completely disconnected himself from the modern forms of communication, including his cell phone, e-mail, and social media accounts. This is appealing to me in so many ways, but then comes the thought, “How would I keep in touch with everyone?” or, worse, “What would become of me?”  It sounds so strange, but our internet personalities, including our perceptions of others’ internet personalities, have become huge defining points in the “Who am I?”s of today.

I would so like to have the presence in life that I believe results from existing without technology, but, truthfully, just as soon as I convince myself to do it, a thousand arguments for why I shouldn’t pop in my head.  I mean, look at me, I’m essentially blogging about giving up blogging.

Either way, I would like to make it a point to take more time to put the cell phone and other distractions away, even disconnecting my mind, in order to connect myself to the more important things.

2.  Do More Than Endure.

Do you ever feel like you’re living each day, surviving until the next, big thing?  We spend so much time looking forward that we lose sight of the now.

I for one know that, starting Monday, I begin the countdown to the weekend, and I like my job, so I can only imagine how much worse this is for people who are unhappy at work.  Too often I find myself simply enduring the present moment because I’m anticipating something exciting that I’ll be doing in a week or in a month.

For this reason, I want to find something to look forward to every day.  This has become such a cliche piece of advice, but perhaps it’s almost so obvious as to be overlooked.

Rather than treating life as a checklist, completing tasks, moving from one day to the next, I want to really live and breathe these moments, no matter how small they may seem.

3.  Learn Something New Every Day.

Again, this is an obvious piece of advice, but I think that we may have set our expectations too high for fulfilling this one.  Just because you aren’t taking a class or reading a book doesn’t mean you aren’t learning.

This is something that I’ve been doing more of recently, especially when it comes to learning more about myself.  We spend so much time getting to know topics and other people that we sometimes let our own self-awareness go to the wayside.

I’ve started keeping a journal, titled “One Month to a Better Me,” which began on November 25th and will “end” on Christmas. (Although, if successful, the “end” will only represent the beginning of a lifetime of learning.)  Each day, I write down one thing that I learned that day, a lesson that will better me as a person.  It’s amazed me how easy this is when I take the time to recognize these lessons; the best lessons are not always the obvious ones.

You can rest assured that I’ll be posting the final list, with pictures, on Christmas day. ;)

Sneak Peak: My favorite lesson thus far is “Take the time for a long hug.”  Cheesy, but how often do we really take this time?

4. Sense.

Take the time to use your senses.  Taste what you’re eating.  Feel the air on your skin. Look at everything around you.  Really take it all in.

I’ve been incorporating this mentality on my training runs.  As I start to tire and count down the miles and the minutes, I take a second to bring myself back to the present and to just allow myself to sense.  It’s so easy but, in so many ways, so difficult.

5. ?

I’ll leave #5 to you.  What do you think is a great way for us to become more present in life?

-H

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2 thoughts on “Presence

  1. I tried to think of a #5, but your list is very complete. For me, #4 holds the most sway: observe, taste, touch, hear and allow yourself to interact with everything going on around you.

  2. Pay attention to others. We apply our thoughts to social networks and agree with our friends without really connecting with the person behind the post. Or, for that matter, the person standing behind you reading over your shoulder. Real Life people are great, check one out today!

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