"I Wish My Partner Was More Present"
Thich Nhat Hanh said "If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence"
How simple is that? And yet also; how hard? I believe that living in the moment is something that lots more people nowadays are striving for. In the time of our grandparents it would have largely already existed. They did not have the technology that we now have; the constant comparisons, demands and social busy-ness that we seem to have created today. Our minds are all but silent.
And so here we are, with more 'connection' than we've ever had, suffering the least connection we've ever had. A time when our consciousness is expanding to understand terms such as being present and mindful, in a time when it feels almost impossible.
But you can do this. For you, for your spouse. for your family.
Being present doesn't have to be a big deal
Here's what you do: STOP
Stop using your phone, put it on silent or better still in a different room and on silent.
OK there's a little more to it but this is a big and brilliant first step. Think now - I know we're trying to do that less - but for the sake of this point; think about how many times you think about your phone. How many times do you look at it during the day? Even if it's just to check the time. How quickly do you respond to a notification? How many times do you think "I'll just send her a quick message now" or "I'll just google that recipe". Don't get me wrong, I do this all the time. It takes seeing it and a deep desire to change it to become more present. Removing your phone from your immediate proximity is the first step.
It's amazing how freeing it feels to not have your phone. Depending on your level of addiction it may not be easy. Try to do it for an hour a day, an hours gift - or should I say present? To your family, and to yourself.
It can wait
Next: whatever your mind is telling you to do; it can wait.
The dirty dishes? It can wait
The toys on the floor? It can wait
The laundy is STILL in the washing machine since this morning?! Whaaaat? It can wait
Dinner prep can wait
The plan, the task, the message; can wait.
Nothing is more important than this moment. This gift of a moment. So when a thought pops in, no matter how true, how compelling, how quick. Reply to it instantly with: "p*ss off" -- just kidding "it can wait".
Now, listen to what's going on around you, listen to the conversation being had in front of you. Pay attention to the words, the tone, the energy of the speaker. Just listen. It sounds so simple but how easy is it to jump in and give your own opinion or perspective (usually a reflection of the past or future)? How easy it it to jump in and rescue them from the problem they're communicating? How easy is it to not think about yourself at all when someone is speaking to you? Dudes, it is hard!!! But worth it; to them and to you.
How did you feel when working on being present? How did those around you feel? How was the atmosphere? How did you feel afterwards? Hopefully your answers will encourage you to try and give the gift of presence not only to your spouse but to yourself, again.
Being present really is a gift, but it needs to be practised and repeated. Your spouse, your children and your own mind will thank you though.
*Photo byRakicevic NenadfromPexels