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Inspiration for the Mind, Body and Spirit

The Magic of Presence
Last night, I attended a friend's birthday party at a funky, Russian River, outdoor restaurant. I had no idea what to expect other than we were going to celebrate with several friends, eat, drink and be merry. (my kind of party!)

As we entered the parking lot, I could not believe how packed this so-called "dive" was. What was so special about this place? There were 60's hippies left over from a free-loving generation, milling around outside and you could hear live music booming from afar.  The anticipation was killing me as I handed the bouncer my $15.00 cover charge. 

Turns out, the live band was a 1940's swing band, with the musicians authentically outfitted in high wasted baggie trousers with suspenders. The scene was perfected with American flag banners and an outdoor BBQ of burgers and hot dogs. Casual lawn chairs and tables were unsystematically arranged around the stage, and people were swing dancing across the wooden dance floor. Now, I am sure you are asking yourself, "what does this have to do with presence?"

One of the guests at the party ( I will call him Joe) is in the middle of a complicated divorce. Joe has been toiling with this for about a year, and he cannot get beyond the suffering. Having been in this place, I have deep, compassion for him, with the fortunate understanding that "this too shall pass." What became so clear to me in our conversation was that he talked all about the past obstacles and even more about the uncertainty of his future. Joe is depressed and full of anxiety for what has been and what might or might not be in his future.

Juxtapose this with the elderly couple swing dancing to the sounds of the Stompy-Jones band. It was clear that the gentleman was suffering from some kind of illness as he moved gingerly across the dance floor. His stunning, white haired wife was beaming with love as she held him close, placing her cheek tight up against his. What mattered to them was that moment in time. Who knows what happened yesterday to bring them to this place, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring. I could not stop staring at them as their vibrations of joy resonated across the yard. Presence... pure, magical presence.

These two scenes took place in the same setting, and I was touched by each in a different way. My heart yearned for Joe to spend a few moments bathing in the magical presence shared by the elderly couple. Our minds need a vacation from the worries of the past and the mystery of the future. It can be found, even if just for a moment, in the present.

In Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle says, "When your attention moves into the Now, there is an alertness. It is as if you were waking up from a dream, the dream of thoughts of past and future. Such clarity, such simplicity. No room for problem making. Just the moment as it is."

Where have you found the magic of presence?

Until next time,

Just the beginning
So, here I am. Several friends have encouraged me to start a blog. I had no idea how to do that until I realized that my personal email for the last 11 years, has a blog feature. How cool is that?
Over the last 3 1/2 years, I have been on this incredible journey of self discovery. The awakening was triggered by my divorce after 17 years of marriage. One door shut and an infinite number of doors opened.

Do any of us ever know when the journey begins or why? Can you pinpoint the catalyst for change or the powerful surge that erupts inside? I know that one such catalyst for me was when I watched Brene Brown's Ted.com video on vulnerability. Within seconds of watching her 20 minute discussion on vulnerability, I was crying. I don't just mean gentle tears; I was sobbing. She was speaking directly through me...a tunnel straight to my soul. For my entire 45 years, I had been living behind a wall of pride and protection, held together by mortar of an unrelenting desire to be "perceived" as perfect. Wow, what a waste! It took me this long to realize that this constant striving for perfection only caused me to become less authentic. There was some sick comfort in holding on to this unachievable goal. It distracted me from looking deeper inside; letting go and becoming vulnerable would have been weak; I would have been a cop out.
Now, I can honestly say that once I let go of this goal, I became stronger rather than weaker. 

If any of  you suffer from the same desire for perfection, I highly recommend The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Letting go of this truly has been a gift.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection."

How do you tackle that inner voice? I welcome your thoughts and inspiration.

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