Activities to build your ability to Be Present
Is the ability to be in the moment, right here right now, it is very similar if not the same as the practice of
It is also foundational to the 'Practice of Respectfulness',
as such it is a key skill to develop on your Respectful journey.
Here you can explore a range of activities to enhance your ability to Be Present
they are rated: Basic: ideal for the those whose mind is running wild
Standard: for those who are developing the ability to Be Present
and Advance: for those who are enhancing their skill.
Which level of activity to use in any given moment will depend our the space or
cognitive state you are in.
Triggered, highly active moments can fall on any of us at any moment.
At such time using Basic activities maybe what is required.
An Important note: 'Being Present' activities practiced regularly, at least daily, become a habit, an automatic practice. The more automatic and refined in your practice,
the more skilled and reliable is your ability to Be and Remain 'Present' in difficult situations.
Keep practicing and enhancing for your ever enhanced ability to Practice Respectfulness.
Breath Awareness: B
A Foundational Practice that brings you back to the very basics of life, breathing. For the count of two cycle through breathing draws you back to that. Paying attention to the breath technique strengthens the habit of full breath.
1) As you draw your breath is think innnn or count one and focus all of your attention on the air as it flows in through your nose, fills your lungs, your abdomen extends as your diaphragm flattens and enlarges the space for your lungs to fill with air.
2) Pause a moment
3) As you allow the air to leave your lungs think outtttt or count two and focus your attention on the air as it flows out your nose (or mouth), your abdomen draws towards your back and your diaphragm extends pushing the air out of your lungs.
4) Repeat 1-3
You may find doing this two or three times is adequate to restore a sense of calm presence. Alternatively you may find you require a few more.
Grounding Senses: B
A Foundational Practice that grounds you into your sense and what is happening right now.
1) As you breathe look around you and list three things you see, name them, perhaps three colors, perhaps three objects, ideally things you like and appreciate.
2) As you continue to breathe, pay attention to what you can feel, name them, perhaps your breath as it passes over your skin, your clothes somewhere specific on your skin, perhaps tension in your neck. Consider them, how do they feel, delightful, not quite right, observing and savouring.
3) As you continue to breathe, listen for three distinct sounds, and name them, perhaps your breath, music, people talking, birds singing. Again ideally things that provide meaning for you.
4) Continue to breath as you turn your attention to any aroma you can smell. Can you name them? Is it sweet flowers, a fragrance, food, something that smells a little or a lot off. Observe, does it effect how you feel?
5) Now a real challenge, what can you taste? Anything? Do you have a drink present, a herbal tea? Something nourishing you can slip and focus your attention on its taste.
By now you are likely to be feeling more grounded in the present moment. Though you may also be more aware of feelings, explore them if you like, redirect to a sense if you prefer.
Breath Mediation: S
While some consider this a basic practice, and indeed it is a foundational practice, anyone who has experience trauma may have found it very challenging. Even individuals who have chaotic thinking and or feelings may too. This is because with meditation we tend to relax, our inner thoughts and feelings arise challenging our ability to stay present. This is why many say mediation is too hard, the discipline to continuously redirect thoughts back to a mediation's focus just may not be there YET, for anyone. For someone who is still processing trauma, the associated feelings can arise bring forth a sense of overwhelmed helplessness. The need to get away, the sense one is still unable to manage the experience.
Yet this is precisely what mediation is about, developing the ability to stay present no matter what is happening, building our ability to do so each day. It also helps us build the confidence that we can and by doing so empower our calm self, because we know we can manage.
Yet we need to get there, dynamic tension is the key. That is we do it in manageable bite size chunks. We use kindness and patiences with the basic breath mediation to get there.
Breath Mediation Practice:
1) it is important you are relaxed and comfortable with a straight spine. As you relax you may find your spine naturally want to move into its natural alignment, enhancing your posture. So find a position to sit or lie that allows you spine to be in alignment.
2) Gentle close your eyes.
3) Draw your attention to your breath, use Breath Awareness, and focus on and sink into the experience of breathing.
4) If thoughts or feelings arise, and they are bound to, the idea is to observe and let go. For a predetermined time.
Here is where the challenge can be. In which case, where patience and kindness is required.
The challenge is to sit with it, not run away or become overwhelmed. To recognise all is well, or as well as it can. Staying for your predetermined time.
The kindness is doing your best and then letting go. If you manage one breathe, two or more before opening your eyes and letting go, congratulate yourself.
The patience is recognising each small step is a step forward and returning again and again despite the smallness of the steps, despite potential slips, and as works for you gentle extend the time you remaining focused on your breath, observing and returning to the calm place below all the turmoil.
Thus I have left selecting the predetermined time to last despite the reality it is first.
5) Select a time your will mediate for.
How long you mediate for depends on you. Fifteen to 30 minutes are common recommended times. Some like longer, once you get into the peaceful space it is really nice. At the same time getting there can be a challenge and so I recommend the first few times you use to work out what works for you now.
You might find, taking two claiming breathes is where you are starting from, you might find you can jump right into the 30 minutes. Whichever, start where you are, practice daily or perhaps twice daily and finding that calm space will become a habit, a habit you will fall into automatically as you move through the day.
Rooted Grounding: S
A Practice that grounds you into the earth and place you are.
1) Whilst practicing Breath Awareness, become aware of your feet standing firmly on the ground.
2) As you continue to breathe draw the energy of each breathe in through your lungs, down through your body, your legs, your feet, into the ground.
3) Take it deep into the ground, as if roots of a tree. Experience the stability of such deep roots ensure.
4) Allow the energy to flow, in your lungs, through you, deep into the ground and then cycle back up and out with your breath.
5) Recognise the strong connection you have with the earth, experience the Rooted Groundedness that reminds you you belong, you are part of nature, of life.
6) Go about what you are doing maintaining the sense of Groundedness.
Putting Aside: B
A Practice that allows you to put aside thoughts, tasks, and other impinging mental activities so you can focus on what is occurring in the moment.
1) Use a pen and paper to jot down all thoughts, tasks and other impinging mental actions that are on your mind.
2) As you fold the paper acknowledge all noted are important and will be attended to, however right now you are going attend to what is right here, right now.
3) Place the paper somewhere that it will not be forgotten. Perhaps immediately in front of you.
4) Now focus on here and now.
5) Once you have finished that activity you can turn your attention back to the contends of your note.
I use this when attending meetings, so I can focus on the meeting. At the end of the work day, so I can leave work behind.