The Foundation Stone of True Presence
Do you want to improve your personal and professional relationships? Do you want to become a more effective leader in your life and your organization? Do you want to create a more fulfilling life for yourself? Then you need to cultivate the foundation stone of true presence. What is true presence? It’s the ability to be still, listen, focus and witness what is happening. It’s the ability to be in your body, feel your feelings and acknowledge the feelings and content of what’s in front of you, whether it’s a person, or a circumstance.
We’ve all experienced what it isn’t. It’s the friend or loved one who is checking their phone repeatedly during a conversation. It’s the partner who shows up late, is absent and/or often cancels at the last minute. It’s the boss who isn’t interested in what you have to say because they are too busy with something else. It’s the parent who is engaged elsewhere or lost in an addiction when their child needs their love and attention. It’s when we move through the world in dream land, disconnected from our bodies, the people and the world around us. Being on the receiving end feels awful and if it continues over time, it not only tanks relationships, it tanks the effectiveness to create the personal life we want, and in our jobs it can lead to being moved into a lame duck position or fired.
It’s only from true presence that transformation, connection, and the ability to influence change occurs. If you’re not present, you aren’t seeing, hearing or feeling what is going on around you and you have no power to engage. It’s a paradox that one of the most powerful ways to affect change and healing is to be still, present and listen without trying to change what is inside you or in front of you. Science bears this out. Quantum Physics experiments have shown that being present and witnessing sub-atomic particles affects change in how they behave with no other action on the part of those conducting the experiment.
This is counter to our Western culture, where we are taught to be ‘doing something’ all the time. We are either so eager to act or afraid to act, we completely miss the part about creating the foundation stone of true presence first.
So how do you cultivate and strengthen your presence? Get out of your head and engage the five senses of the body through the following practices:
– To quiet the mind, mindfulness exercise and meditation of any kind that resonates for you
– To get into the body, practice awareness of body sensation – tension, temperature, heartbeat, breath. Exercise without input from any kind of screen or music, take walks in nature and engage your five senses, practice yoga. When sitting, feel your feet on the ground and the textures of the furniture.
– When listening to someone, don’t practice in your head what you’re going to say next while they are talking. Really listen to what they are saying, then reflect that back to them to make sure you heard them right. Just ‘be’ with them.
– Be curious about your emotional life. What happens in your body when you are angry, sad, happy, etc.
In coaching we talk about the ‘being’ and ‘doing’ in life. True presence of our ‘being’ must be anchored before any ‘doing’ happens for us to be effective. It’s like a muscle that you use and strengthen. Practice this and not only will your fulfillment and effectiveness increase, you will receive feedback from those close to you about the change they witness in you.
Sabrina Roblin, CPCC has been a professional coach, mentor, and trainer since 2004. She has worked successfully with individuals and for corporate clients that include Cargill, Medtronic and Stantec. Contact her for more information and a complimentary coaching session.