Wish #4: Presence

Urban Outfitters Acid Etch Letter K

(Acid Etched Letter K from Urban Outfitters)

It’s Monday again. And unlike most Mondays I am busy coordinating schedules for a busy evening. A lot of planning – which sometimes I get consumed by – and then the actual experiencing part gets kind of forgotten.

I was thinking about the notion of presence. Presence is the state or fact of being present, as with others or in a place. Now as anyone knows presence isn’t something you can wish for. It either is or it isn’t.

While at the Authentic Leadership in Action program in 2008, I learned a whole lot about presence and how it can be transformed into presencing. (Presencing is a heightened state of attention that allows you to really get to the source of who you are and what your work is.)  More than just being there in the moment, I learned how to tap into something called your emerging future self. It might sound hokey but it is actually kind of cool. Just for kicks, I am going to share with you the journaling exercise that had a profound impact on me and precipitated some important changes in my life, work and (both literal and proverbial) geography.

You Are Here Tiny Art

(Tiny Art Print by Kal Barteski)

I have learned that being present is really something to focus on. There has to be an intention and attention toward it. It sounds like it should just simply happen but that isn’t really how it works. Before leaving for Tanzania, I had all of these great plans and ideas about how I was going to document meeting Miriamu, her family, schoolmates, community, etc… But once I got there, I didn’t want to be stuck behind a camera lens capturing the images, expressions and conversation. I wanted to actually be part of it. Present in the moment but also in the moment, to connect with the “deepest source of self and will”. Thinking back to that moment, I went through a process. It was more than just thought. It was taking that thought and connecting it to the intelligence of the heart and then combining it with mindless action.

My wish for presence is really, in a small way, stating an intention to BE present but also to tap into a future space of possibility. Once I do, there’s no telling where it will lead me.


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