I read this post from a favorite website a while ago and it stuck with me, especially as we weathered week after week of progressively more and more screen time for all of us. It's so easy to immerse ourselves in mindless clicking, falling farther and farther down rabbit holes. Instead, let's move away from our screens, turn to real people around and be present.
How to be more present
1. Practice fully pouring yourself into every act. This is a Zen practice — being fully in every task you do, every act. If you’re sitting in meditation, be fully in your seat, not have your mind be somewhere else. If you’re brushing your teeth, just brush your teeth — and be completely immersed in that. This is a practice, of course, which means we’ll forget to do it most of the time, but it’s an incredibly rich practice. Fully express yourself in everything you do.
2. See the divinity in the person in front of you or in this moment. When I say “divinity,” it might mean God if you believe in God … but if you don’t, it’s seeing the incredible gift of the world, of each person. Seeing the profound beauty in everything. Seeing the sacredness of the ordinary. When you’re talking with someone, can you fully appreciate their divinity? Can you feel wonder at the world around you, no matter where you are? This is an incredible practice that will help you feel more alive, each time you do it.
3. Let yourself express your emotions physically. Working with my coach, I’ve discovered that I don’t let myself feel anger — the world trained me that it’s not OK to express or even feel anger. So every day, I practice not only feeling it, but physically expressing it in a safe way that doesn’t hurt people – for example, punching a pillow or yelling your head off in the woods or going crazy on a heavy punching bag. It’s not just anger, though – most of us barely let ourselves feel any emotions. We can express them physically — scream into a pillow, throw a tantrum by kicking and banging your fists on the ground, express pain by writhing in anguish or letting your heart be broken. When we express our emotions fully and physically in our bodies, we unleash our vitality.
4. Open your darn heart! Most of us move through our days with our hearts closed. We do our tasks, go through the motions, but we aren’t connected to our hearts. (Some people, of course, are able to live in their hearts much of the time — let them be our role models!) What would it be like to be open-hearted today, feel loving toward every person you see, loving and tender toward the world around you? Try it and see!