Cultivating our capacity to sense energy and information flow helps us expand the 'Self' beyond the boundaries of our body and reveals the fundamental truth that we are indeed part of an interconnected world. - Dan Siegel
For the last few weeks, I have been immersed in Nature, surrounded by amazing human beings + have learned a lot. I hosted our Autumn Attunement retreat in the mountains + then travelled to the far west corner of Canada to participate in a Mind, Body, Medicine training. After a couple weeks digesting and reintegrating back into my every day routine I am feeling grateful and would love for you to know what I've been pondering. It has the potential to be more helpful than anything your Dr. would ever order.
Whether you are in conversation, listening, learning a new skill, parenting, sharing a meal, making love, immersed in Nature, healing your body/heart, playing a sport, facilitating a meeting, executing important business transaction, practicing yoga or at home with a cup of tea: P R E S E N C E is pivotal. My personal thinking is that most of our problems in relationships, parenting, business, and our health, stem from our inability to be present with ourselves, each other + our lack of intimacy with Mumma Nature. Most of us lead incredibly busy lives, trying to cram an impossible amount of activity into our days, and in the process of trying to take care of everything the brain deems important, we forget what truly matters.
What is presence? Can we simply define it and therefore truly understand? I don't believe so. For me presence is more than a state of existing or occurring in a place or experience because you can physically be in a space with others or alone and not be there at all in heart, mind or spirit. I liken presence to a feeling, a willingness to embody receptivity. The ability and desire to truly engage oneself in the moment. Life is only happening right now, in this moment.
When we leave the moment by getting distracted by our thoughts, we lose the opportunity to experience what it feels like to really be alive. We can easily get caught fixating about a past hurt or worrying about a future concern. But when we can bring our focus back to the moment, we have the opportunity to heal and step into a future we actively choose. One thing that consistently blows me away when I am hosting trainings, retreats or participating in them is the intense level of presence and healing that can be done with strangers. Presence does not have limited access to those closest to you. I hear things like: 'I can only be open with those who know me best' 'I don't even know them, no way I am touching them or making eye contact!' 'I'm too shy to share with people I don't know' 'Strangers don't care about my story or who I am'
Blah blah blah that is WRONG. You can actually feel such tremendous love, strength and depth from someone you have never met (trust me, I witness it OFTEN) but you must open yourself, show up + BE with them sans judgement, fear or distraction. Some of my most profound healing moments have been with people I do not know well, they have been acts of pure human tenderness, compassion, empathy and gratitude. In order for you to radically increase your ability to be in relationship with other people and share embodied experiences YOU must learn to be embodied.
At my recent training, we spoke in depth about the universe of cells that make up our physical vessel. Your being is always sensing, seeking, waiting + responding to stimuli / information. Our bodies are equipped with a natural mechanism called the “stress response,” also known as the “fight-or-flight” response. When we encounter something that feels like a threat the amygdala in the brain experiences the emotion fear. The brain then communicates to the hypothalamus, which communicates to the nervous system, which signals to the adrenal glands to release the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. This assembly-line-like process of the sympathetic nervous system is a crucial part of our body’s internal self-protection mechanism. Many of us live in overdrive and operate in a constant state of 'fight or flight'. This can be a result of feeling the fear of imagined threats: financial security, societal achievement, the steadiness or demise of a relationship, a perceived health threat or the loss of a loved one etc.
We are not physiologically designed to be frightened as often as we are.
Constantly operating from this place, it is no wonder that many of us feel the perils of stress and anxiety on a daily basis. We struggle with migraines, digestive issues, difficulty breathing, lack of concentration, fatigue, depression, isolation, and innumerable other physical ailments because our body is actually attempting to flee the scene of a real threat (car crash, lion chase, assault, etc.) that simply isn’t there. We are spending less time in Nature, our communities (although electronically are expanding) are becoming smaller + we feel more alone than ever. We find ourselves reacting to the body's information by stuffing down pain, emotions, numbing, we push through and past the bodily feedback in order to achieve the external goals, tasks or demands of every day life. To survive, get by, make it to tomorrow to hang on. Disease generally occurs when we abuse our bodies or deprive them of basic requirements to keep us healthy over extended periods. When we idle at the surface of the problem and do not dive deep into the root.
Ask yourself why it is that you take time to understand how your computer or iphone works but you cannot take time to explore, learn + understand how YOU work?
The good news is: YOUR BODY WANTS TO + CAN HEAL ITSELF. Both our energetic and physical bodies have an innate genius for balancing themselves -- maintaining homeostasis through intricate, constant acts of self-regulation.
And when we bring consciousness/awareness to parts of ourselves that are out of balance, and for whatever reason are resisting coming back into balance, that deep, listening awareness can help remove the resistance and ALLOW our natural balancing/healing power to reassert itself. You must calm down though and get out of the stress response.
To help get present, try this...
1. Take a sacred Pause from whatever is happening, in Nature is best of course.
2. Breathe, inhale deeply (deeper than you have all day)
3. Breathe, exhale deeply (through the mouth, a big purge/sigh of air)
4. Repeat + keep shifting OUT of Doing + INTO Being.
5. Sense the difference in the Body/Mind/Heart.
Mind-body connection + awareness is a practice and like most behaviours we engage in, our degree of awareness is habitual. How can you start to cultivate presence in your every day life, despite the level of chaos and whirlwind pace? We must learn to prioritise spiritual sustenance: Nature Appreciation. love, connection, breathing, nurturing movement, high vibe foods, whole body listening and gratitude. I am confident that humans can choose to develop and increase their frequency, their ability to attune to themselves + others and therefore tap into their deeper self - healing potential: Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Realising that presence is a skill is an incredibly empowering thought and opens the door to beautiful possibilities. xo
Stay connected + Keep it real.