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The Gift of Presence

This Christmas, how lovely it would be to give and receive the gift of presence.

At this time of year, many of us spend time with family or friends. And if not we have time with ourselves.

It is easy to allow ourselves to spend that time worrying about the future or musing over the past.  This means that we are not paying attention to ourselves or to others in the moment.

In Aldous Huxley’s book, The Island, he describes a paradise.  In the forests which cover the island of his book, trained talking birds perch and fly, repeating two phrases endlessly – “Pay Attention” and “Here and Now”.

They act as a constant reminder of the inhabitants of the island to be present in the moment and to turn their awareness and attention to what is going on right now.

Another trick our minds play on us is that when we are with others our focus shifts to ourselves rather than to them. We are worrying about how we are, how we look, what we are going to say next.

When we are not fully present, those we are with sense that we are not fully engaged with them.  They withdraw part of their energy in return. And an opportunity for intimacy and closeness can slip away.

How to be Present

In order to be present, we need to know that the current moment is all we have. The past is settled.  The future is unknown. We can choose how to be and react right now.

Try these ways to stay present:

  • If your mind is wandering, focus on your breath.  Allow this to centre you and find your way back to the here and now.
  • Notice what is around you. The light, the air, the people.
  • Accept that you will have thoughts. Allow them to pass through you.
  • Ask for help – if you have a tendency to drift, ask someone to point out when they feel that you have moved your attention away from them.
  • Slow down. Allow space between one moment and the next and enjoy the moment you are in.

The Benefits of Presence

Being present allows you to bring your true self into your relationship with others.  Often we are distracted by thoughts and words, which act as a barrier to others seeing us.  Or to us being able to see ourselves clearly.

Being present gives room to appreciate the world we are in more, or to focus on the sensation of eating, breathing, touching. To savour life.

Bring present allows you to be open – to others and to the experience of living. This allows more flow, creativity, playfulness, fun, sensuality and connection.

So give the gift of presence to yourself and others.  And be open to receiving it in return.

And remember presence is for life, not just for Christmas.  You can choose to live your life paying attention to the here and now.

Do you have other ways to stay present?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.


Tantra Coach: Sex and Relationship Coaching for Individuals and Couples