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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,
Amy


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