I’ve observed that of the things many of us struggle with is being present — not living with regrets from the past or fears of the future, but simply being here now (as Eckhart Tolle or Ram Dass have eloquently expressed it). It’s perhaps one of the greatest skills you can master throughout your lifetime as it allows you to fully be with those around you now, in real time and as importantly it allows you to be with yourself more fully and mindfully in the moment. When you do that you cultivate peace of mind for yourself, you can enjoy our surroundings, feel more ease, and have more joy and balance. You’re no longer carrying the weight of anguish, anxiety and fear with you at every turn — and you can really breathe. How precious is that?

And of course your relationships with others improve by default; being fully present with someone else (whether friend, family, co-worker, or in any other environment) allows for a richer connection because you’re really engaging with them and aren’t ‘somewhere else’ in your mind — turns out your presence is just about the greatest gift you can give someone else.

I was at a family gathering this past weekend; an important one — my aunt’s 80th — and I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my immediate or my extended family so I was really looking forward to it. I’m so used to operating with my ToDo list and unfinished tasks to take care of in my head. My mom had to remind me to focus on being present and in the moment. In fact, we went into a book store near the event, and she got me a book entitled “1001 Ways to Live in the Moment”. Of course I embraced it immediately; how perfect. It was an act of grace that the book showed up at that moment and re-framed the importance of being present (this is something that often happens to me in bookstores by the way; it’s dangerous for me to go into them because books literally fly off the shelf at me!).  As my mentor Alan Cohen says, “you can change the world by the power of your being.”

Consider how you can give yourself and those around you the most precious gift of being fully present.

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