Intention and Presence

Dear Ones,

I hope you each found a way to enjoy the holiday season, and are feeling ready for whatever the New Year has in store.  I chose to spend my holidays at home, and cherished the slower post-Christmas pace and spaciousness to reconnect with friends after a busy fall and lead-up to Christmas.

While I know that January 1st is only an arbitrary date set centuries ago to mark time, I still find myself more reflective during these darker days around the turning of the year.  I start with gratitude for the beautiful life I get to have — rich with friends, connected to family, and with a professional calling that inspires me to bring my best self into the world each and every day. That’s a lot to be grateful for.  I hope you too, take regular stock of the blessings of your life.

But healthy self-reflection also invites us to gently explore where we’ve missed the mark, what’s not working, what is in need of transformation to bring more healing and wholeness into our lives.  And if we can do this without shame or blame, we’re heading towards enlightenment!

During my quieter post-holiday days, I noticed how my inner sense of frustration and irritation spiked whenever I was trying to do more than one thing at a time — from reading or responding to a text while in a ‘live’ conversation to talking on the phone while walking the dog.  Conversely, I noticed how much more beauty and joy I experience in the moments when I offer my full presence to whatever is before me.  Going deeper, I could see that even if I am not actively ‘doing’ something else, the quality of my mental attention also greatly impacts my capacity to appreciate, even savor, the unique moment before me.

This world is full of distractions — most of it is illusory shiny bait designed to take us away from the present moment — a seductive mind trap. We have one life,that is lived one moment at a time.  With reawakened awareness, I’ve decided to make ‘staying present’ my intention for this coming year.  I hope you will support me in that endeavor, gently calling me back when you see I’ve strayed, and inviting all of us, in our group endeavors, to practice presence.

I also hope that you, too, can experience the fruitfulness of these darker days, and use them to gently reflect upon what will help you savor the one life you have been given.