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The Gift of Presence

During this season of giving, I am reminded that the greatest gift we can give to others — and to our Self — is our presence. The following message from the June 2005 Revolutionary News, is as true and important today as ever.

Are you living your life as history, mystery or now?

History: “I know this won’t work; I’ve tried it.” “I’ll never forgive her.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m still scared.” Resentments, anger and fears rooted in the past keep us stuck, unable to enjoy the present.

Mystery: “I can’t make time for you/kids/making love/me today if I’m going to be ready for next week/year/when I retire.” Blaming the unknown imagined future, we take actions (or not) based on fear, and give ourselves excuses for not being here, now, to fully enjoy this moment and be all that we can today.

Now: Fewer of us live with hearts and minds fully present in this moment. My husband, Glenn, is one of these people. For him, it comes naturally; for me it is a practice. And it is well worth it. When I catch myself worrying about the past or future, I can take a deep breath and focus on the gratitude I feel for this moment, bringing me fully present to experience what’s in front of me right now. Only when I am present am I able to live my mission to enjoy my life and experience love in every moment.

When I am present, I feel a special peacefulness in which I feel deeply connected to all of life. When I am present, I see you in your full radiance and hear you to the depth of your being. I feel our common bond, our union through the Divine, and my heart fills with the joy of being alive, together, at this very moment.

When you are fully present, what is your experience? When not hindered by judgment over something that happened yesterday or immersed in a story about a yet to be determined tomorrow, what is different for you?

African cultural diplomat and musician, Babatunde Olatunji, said it beautifully:

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

To practice the final Revolutionary Agreement, “I Agree to Lighten Up,” does not require becoming a stand-up comic, but one who comes hither, delights in smelling the roses, alights at the foot of the speaker, and gives the greatest gift of all: presence. Try it today! (How about now?)

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