practicing presence

when katie den ouden reached out to me about joining 24 other women in coming together to support, celebrate and promote each other in sharing our journeys to truly feeding our souls, freeing their bodies, and loving our lives as part of the skinny dip society blog tour, i couldn't say 'yes' fast enough! so today, i'm so happy to join in these other women (see the full line up here) in sharing about womanhood.

practicing presence (1)

for my part in sds blog tour, i've decided to answer the question:

how do you stay present in your life? why?

i'm going to start with the why.

for me, there has to be a big why. it's much easier to go through life not being present. i find it all to easy to wish away my days by always thinking about the future and doing day to day tasks constantly distracted by other things. it feels natural and easy. being present takes effort.

my history with presence is a little all over the place. in the past, i've had several seasons of practicing consistent presence, followed by periods of distraction and 'absence'.

presence: the period of time now occurring.

absence: the state of being away {in thought} from a place or person.

so why is it important now more than ever? three reasons.

1) for my marriage. for the sake of our love, our romance and our time spent together. being present when i'm with david helps nurture our love for each other, keeps our time sacred and our conversations rich.

2) for my baby, bear. i want to soak up every moment i have with him. i don't want to wish a way a single moment. everything else (technology, sleep, cleaning house) is all so unimportant in light of him.

3) my work as a creative. now more than ever, time is of the essence. i no longer have the time (or the desire) to waist time while i'm trying to work. when it's time to work, i (try to) work efficiently and productively.

next i want to share with you the how. it's a constant struggle to be mindful about my time and my thoughts, but i will always keep trying, and hopefully succeeding at least on occasion.

1) keep technology at bay. technology is usually the culprit to my distraction. twitter, facebook, email, instagram, pinterest, texting or even just mindlessly scrolling through photos and apps on my phone. i like to have designated moments of totally immersing myself in mindless technology, but then put it away when there are more important things to focus on (why is this so hard!?). i keep my phone in my purse or car when david and i eat out or grab coffee together. i always put it down while we talk and i try never to mess with it while i'm with bear. emails, texts and social media can wait!

2) related to the above, i decided to not work at the computer while bear is awake. it's not fun for either of us, so i get my online duties done while he's asleep. this allows me to be extra present during his awake time, and he doesn't always see his momma staring at a screen. i use awake time to play with him of course, but i also wear him around the house while i clean, prep for dinner and work on projects. it makes him happy and gives him a constant learning experience. because i'm usually wearing him, i have constant eye to eye contact with him and we connect deeply, even though my hands may be folding laundry. this is an example of where i'm being present with bear by being un-present with the laundry (and multi-tasking). who says being present means you can't multi-task? (and who cares about being present with their laundry?).

3) never wish a way even a moment. early on after i had bear, i found myself saying, "i can't wait until he _____!". i quickly stopped. though i am looking forward to all of his milestones, i love each and every moment of him in the NOW. i don't want to wish away the years by always thinking about what is to come. bear is crinkling his nose and blowing bubbles TODAY, so i delight in that. i will delight in him walking and talking when the time comes.

in a nutshell, those are the things i try to do to stay present in my day to day life. practicing presence allows me to connect more deeply to the ones i love around me and makes each moment more meaningful.

on a related note, i feel that being present also allows me to better feel the presence of the Lord in my day to day life. i have to get out of my own way in order to better be aware of His presence in my life. having a clear mind, i can focus on staying connected to God and feel in at work in every moment of ever day. my favorite way to practice presence with the Lord is to keep in constant communication with him. rather than have set 'prayer' times, i try to have an ongoing conversation with him in my mind each day. it draws us closely together and makes me like i'm never alone.

now it's your turn.

how do you stay present in your life? why?

practicing presence (4)

if you enjoy reading up on the sds blog tour, be sure to also sign up for katie’s (free) 21-day freedom challenge starting.
practicing presence (2)

be sure to read caroline's post from yesterday!

Facebook: musings in montage
Twitter: @care_oh_line

practicing presence (3)

and to bring it full circle, head back to the first post, by natalie borton.

Facebook: Thoughts By Natalie
Instagram: @natalieborton
Twitter: @natalieborton

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  • It’s funny that I’m reading this right now as I just posted a little thing about staying in the present moment today as well. It’s been on my mind…because a LOT has been on my mind! As far as why, I have accepted that I’ll never achieve ideal balance in my life as a creative–artist, musician, etc., as a friend, loving family member, as a healthy person, as a person who has side hobbies. But I can at least stay present in this moment, and it will help me with every one of those roles.

  • I LOVED this! Presence was hands down the biggest game changer for me in my life and happiness. But, I never thought about it this way: “where i’m being present with bear by being un-present with the laundry (and multi-tasking). who says being present means you can’t multi-task? (and who cares about being present with their laundry?).”

    This is SO true. I try not to multi-task too much, but when it’s things that have already been auto-mated that i can, I can choose which part to be present with.

    Love love love this and how you have an ongoing convo with God. I do the same – not so much certain “times” but like I normally would with a friend. Thank you!!

  • I LOVE reading your blog. I find your voice to be very natural and you come across as so friendly and encouraging rather than bragging or being demeaning. Being present in the moment is such an important thing for each stage of life & I found your evaluation to be helpful and relatable. Keep up the good work Bonnie!

  • This is beautiful! I’m finally trying to get caught up on Katie’s blog tour. I too have a little one and I know what you mean about saying you can’t wait for this or that. I have been trying to be more present in my life lately too. I’ve begun meditating and that helps.

    I also have started a daily practice of writing down my daily blessings. It forces me to realize that my life is much more blessed than I ever used to think it was.

    I am in love with your blog btw!