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My word for 2020: PRESENCE

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Each new year I select a word that will represent my journey for that comming year. I chose 'presence.' Little did I know what was to come. I could not have picked a more meaningful word for 2020.

Oh boy what a year. I'm aready in my second major lockdown here in NW England and the temptation to zone out, distract, ignore has been a constant since March this year.

When I woke up on 1st January 2020 I felt calm. The only urge was to make a cup of tea and just sit. Like most other people I typically kick off New Years Day with all kinds of plans, and goals starting with shedding my house of the Christmas decorations. This year I just sat and watched the birds. I listened to them chirping their little hearts out in the garden and then without any effort at all my word came to me... PRESENCE.

Presence on one hand is about being physically in a place. One the other it may be a feeling you have about someone or something. For me practicing presence is a combination of both a physicality and a feeling - sitting in stillness and the physical feeling of calmness as we come into the present moment.

I've practiced meditation for about 15 years and I'm still not that great at it. However the physicality of yoga has greatly increased my ability to be present. The physical asanas of yoga were created approximately 3000 years ago mainly because they realised that sitting in mediation was extremely challenging. However as we learn to still the body we also learn to still the mind. Most of the time we live in the past or the future in our mind. When we tune into the body via the breath we come into the present moment.

Presence is therefore about connecting to my true nature beyond the limitations of the thinking mind. And in challenging and desperate times it's about finding stillness and calm in all of the chaos and intensity. It's about being human and so much more than a productivity machine. Presence is finding peace and contentment in the moment with out the need for external validation - letting go of judgement, not comparing myself to others or allowing my mind to continually fluctuate between the experiences in the past and the need to control the future. And so far 2020 has given me tonnes of practice!

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