I recently caught an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter featuring the coaches on The Voice – Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher, and Shakira. I love the show The Voice. Instead of most reality tv shows that seek ratings based on drama or negativity, The Voice emphasizes encouragement of budding singers hoping to become stars (and, of course, seeing Adam Levine week after week is a definite highlight for this Maroon 5 fan). In this interview, Oprah told Usher that he has a way of making the person he’s with feel like they are the most special person in the world. What a wonderful compliment! It really resonated with me. I think it’s the perfect description of being present. To be wholly in this place – body, mind, and spirit – as the rest of the world melts away.
It got me thinking. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone is not present with me in conversation. When they’re distracted, consistently aware of things going on around them, and not focused on our time together….it hurts my feelings. Maybe it bothers me so much because my love language is quality time. Spending time together is the way that others show me that they care about me. To be physically present, but not mentally and emotionally available is worse to me than not showing up at all. It’s a sure way to put me in a grumpy mood. I shut down quickly. Over the past few years, I’ve taken a step back from people in my life who do this to me. If you don’t value time with me, then I don’t want you to be part of my life.
Being present is not something that comes easily to me. I’m a daydreamer. My mind wanders. I would be in a constant state of reflection if I let myself. It is difficult for me to be truly present. My pastor opens worship each Sunday with the phrase, ‘let’s move from getting here to being here.’ Beautiful. Simple. Forget how I got here; be present in this place; don’t think about what’s to come. It’s not about ignoring or being in denial about what’s before and what’s beyond, it’s about living into THIS moment. God gave me this moment and this time and it’s precious. I’ll never get it back. It’s easy to be present on Sundays, but what about the rest of the week? If I let them, the weeks melt away and time seems to accelerate. I decide daily to live each day for the individual moments and not fall into the rut of ‘just another manic Monday.’
To look people in the eye. To engage in relevant, meaningful conversation. To listen with intention. To recognize answered prayers. This is my definition of being present. What a gift!
I’m in the moment
the one where nothing matters
and everything’s alright
I’m seeing things so clearly now
and you’re the reason why
I’m in the moment
and I’m alive
– chorus from the song, In the Moment, by Sister Hazel