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The Gift of Presence


How deep presence is a nourishing and restoring gift for worn and weary women.



Fifteen years ago, my now 20 year old daughter, received a miniature tea set for Christmas. It came with little tea cups, plates, a miniature tea pot and “recipes” for finger foods one could make for a tiny tea party.


My daughter and I decided one day that we would make the miniature cinnamon rolls (white bread rolled flat, spread with butter and cinnamon sugar, rolled up and then sliced into small circles). We also made the tablespoon of lemonade that would go into the tiny teapot for our tea party. At the time I remember feeling tired, and kind of cranky. I didn’t feel like playing, but I tried.


While we were preparing this “feast”, my daughter spontaneously looked up at me, and simply said, “Mom, I love you.” Time stood still for just a moment. I forgot how tired I was. I no longer felt cranky. I realized in a moment of overwhelming weight, how lucky I was that I hadn't missed this micro moment of joy.


That one moment of deep presence has nourished me repeatedly over the last 15 years.


Around the holidays, we often feel tired, “touched out”, too empty to give and to full to receive. Yet, there is a magic to this season. As we create small moments of deep presence, we are blessed with restoration and nurturance.


Creating deep presence starts with one thing. Stopping. Even as I write this short article, I am trying to write, eat lunch, and answer emails at the same time. As women, this is what we do. We multi-task. Stop.


Just take a moment to breathe, right now. Close your eyes. Focus your soft attention on your breath, as if your breath was the only sensory input you had right now. Breathing in. Breathing out.


Come into this very moment. Invite your future mind and your past mind to this space of stillness. Letting go of future anxiety. Letting go of past regret. Just be here. Breathing.


 

Give yourself the gift of presence this week. Here is one way to practice:


Do one thing at a time with more intention and awareness.


Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist master says: “Every minute is to enjoy and how can you enjoy many things at the same time? It’s impossible. Focus your attention on one thing. Put all your mind and body into what you are currently doing.”


So begin by stopping. Stop. Focus all your mind and body into the one thing that you are currently doing. If you are washing dishes, be present for that. Smell the soap, feel the warm water, hear the clink of the dishes etc. If you are with your children or partner, put your phone away, listen to their stories, feel their warm body up next to yours as you talk, see their eyes reflect the lights and magic of this season.


It's often when we are deeply present that our worn and weary soul is nourished by those unexpected micro-moments of joy.


Wishing you and yours a meaningful Christmas.


May you find the gifts your soul is searching for this season.


Juli Larsen, CMI

Certified Meditation Instructor

A Mindful Path Forward



Interested in Gifting Presence and Stillness to yourself or others?

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