I want to invite you to explore what it means to be fully present with those around you. Discerning the difference between spitting out information or opinions like we know the absolute truth, versus being fully present with someone, could allow us to experience our life in a more genuine way. I call this being with. Being with allows us to embrace our compassion and wisdom through the act of listening and embracing the whole experience of the moment. A huge part of being with is honoring that there is no one way or one formula that will help everyone or resonate with everyone. When I share my thoughts or impressions during my therapy or healing sessions, I present them as something to try on or to consider, even though they are based on my training, educational degrees and experiences. I feel such greatness exists within each and every one of us! If I talk at someone without collaborating with their greatness, I would be holding them back.
Being with is a whole body experience that requires the use of all of your senses and your intuition. When I am being with others, there are no other thoughts or experiences interfering in the moment. I am also not thinking or worried about what I need to say next. I’m responding in a genuine way that is like holding, lovingly the thoughts and feelings with the other person. I want to make a distinction about “holding” that is important; I do not worry about the person during or after the experience, I do not think I need to solve their problems or think I know what’s best for them. It is a genuine caring about the other person or people that allows you to be in their experience with them. It’s pretty amazing and not so surprising, that the more you practice and engage in these skills, the more people want to be around you!
Those of you that know me, might have heard my frustrations with the “talking at” culture I feel we live in. There are too many organizations, groups and individuals that talk at people to educate, teach, and share. This constant talking, with limited listening, severely challenges our ability to be fully present with the ideas being presented. Whether this is in a conversation with an individual or a group setting where you are trying to teach or share a concept, this talking at can be boring, can limit what is covered or addressed, and sometimes can be annoying because the person or ideas are unable to consider other perspectives. The way I determine if someone is being with me or talking at me is by asking myself whether or not this “speech” could be said without my presence? Could this person be talking to themselves? When you are being with someone, you are energetically and consciously aware of the other person’s participation in the event. It’s a, “Let’s see what we can discover together” kind of culture. This can be created even when you’re wanting to learn from the other person.
We even like to talk at ourselves instead of being fully present with ourselves. I feel many of us are in the habit of getting our needs met from outside of ourselves. Sometimes we let our self-worth be determined by other people’s opinions or thoughts about us. We even let others’ thoughts, opinions, and feelings make up our own experiences because we do not spend the time “being with” to determine our thoughts and feelings. This can be seen and felt in all of the “shoulds” you embrace in your daily experiences. “I should go here or there. I should work harder. I should stay in this disliked job, relationship, space…” Be mindful — this is talking at!
The most important relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves, and to nurture and grow this love affair with ourselves requires genuine loving attention, from ourselves. Think about being with yourself to notice how you feel and think about everything without judgment or fear.
Allowing yourself the space, time and energy to simply be with yourself and others is a loving, compassionate and wise way to interact with the world. With practice and intent we will get better at “being with” every day!