Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Gift of Presence

Fall has come for real in my neck of the woods.  I spent an enchanting 30 minutes or so the other day watching the leaves fall from the neighbor's ash tree.  They were a beautiful golden color back lit by the sun and very difficult to look away from.

It's a part of my annual 'slowing down.'  It happens every autumn to some degree.  The winds begin to sharpen and change direction, the leaves turn color and fall and I take a breath after the hustle and bustle of summertime to slow the passing of time and drink in the last bits of sun and warmth.  Of course time doesn't really slow down, it only seems that way when you are 'present.'

That's what I've been working on the last few weeks.  Following my epiphany about my inner guide, I've been looking at  the way I have been spending the time I've been given.  And, probably predictably, I had another epiphany.

It doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter how I spend the time I've been given as long as I'm present in that time. When I take a free moment and just be still, it's easy to get lost in the laundry list of things that need doing or should be done.  Letting go of the should haves and living breath to breath is calming.

I've even found it to be useful at my workplace and it's lead me to learn something new about myself.  The pace gets hectic on a regular basis with two or three or more people all wanting something from me at the same time.  There are people in this world who can multi-task. I am not one of them.

This is not the end of the world.

Actually, once I figured this out about myself, my work day got a little easier to manage.

I was recently put in charge of organizing and executing the on-the-job training for a new hire on my team.  Because of a lot of factors that I won't enumerate here, this became an overwhelming ordeal for me.  It was too much to do this and my regular work at the same time.  I was pretty much at the end of my rope.  I asked my co-workers for help; but, other factors made that difficult to come by.  Feeling frantic, I did what lots of women do when they feel overwhelmed at work.

I went to the ladies room to bawl my eyes out.  It helped a little and in the tiny moment of clarity that only soul-rending tears of frustration can bring, I made a decision.

I decided to just do my best.  I decided to apply the gift of presence to every moment of my day.  From getting out of bed in the morning, to driving, to doing my job and driving home again, I want to give my full attention to what is in front of me.  To be present and do my best.

That's all anyone can ask of me.  It suddenly occurred to me that it is also all I can ask of myself.  I am, after all, my worst critic.

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