Can you recall being outside on a beautiful sunny day, seeing the blue sky, and noticing that you are glad to be alive? You let yourself experience the moment of basking in the sunshine, feeling the breeze, and hearing the joyful sound of birds. You are present. You are not worrying about the future or fretting about the past. Notice what happens in your body as you experience this moment. We experience joy and aliveness in the present moment.
Observe children at a playground or zoo. They naturally know how to bask in the present moment. They don’t have a lot of past to regret and have not learned to worry about the future yet. As we grow older and life becomes more complex, it is easy to lose our sense of wonder and excitement about the world. The good news is that we can regain this energy and excitement by building the habit of being in the present moment. When we live in the present moment, we can experience life at a deeper, more meaningful, and joyful level.
We experience reality and authentic connection in the present moment. A participant in my leadership class shared that he often would think about an email he needed to write or reflect on an interaction with a colleague when eating a home-cooked meal. Only when his wife asked him if he liked the meal did he realize he was eating and what the food tasted like. He missed the experience of the delicious food as well as a real connection with his family. When he consciously tried to be present, taste his food, and experience the family connections, he felt a genuine sense of aliveness and connection. He noted that this was a new, joyful experience for him. He is not alone. Too often, we miss experiencing the joy of our present moments because we are distracted and focused on reflecting on the past or worrying about the future.
Our lives are taking place in the present moment. When not experiencing the present moment, we miss the joy of our relationships and experiences.
Of course, it is difficult to be present when we are faced with uncertainty and challenges all around us. While we may want to hide or lash out, when we are present with our sensations, thoughts, and emotions and what is happening, we can also be present with others. Our emotions influence others, and our attention and presence is a gift. It may seem like a small gesture, but connecting with our joy and aliveness enables us to connect with others, which can make a difference.
When another is present with us, we experience a sense of connection, aliveness and joy–something we all need these days. I wish you the experience of presence and JOYBeing–the joy of being alive.