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Being Present

Editor’s Note

This article was extracted from the daily emails.

Monday, last week was a crazy ride of a day. First, it was my son’s one year old birthday, and we were planning a big party – 24 adults and 8 babies. Second, we were notified that we’d won the Good Mood Gig contest!

The day consisted of a lot of running around, last minute shopping, cooking for over twenty people, writing the announcement blog post, and taking part in the excitement on facebook. I don’t think I ate anything all day until 9pm.

The party was a success, people looked like they had a good time. We had loads of food, helium balloons, and a lot of red wine to keep many of the adults happy. Ryan was properly dressed in a suit vest with a red tie, and brown dress pants.

I ran around, making sure the food was all laid out, that people got drinks, and that everyone had their photo taken in our makeshift portrait studio we had temporarily setup in the garage (Photos from the party can be seen here).

When everyone left for the night, Ryan was asleep in his room, Jeremy went to the gym, and our moms were in the kitchen putting away leftovers; I was left standing in our empty living room, with colorful helium balloons floating happily in the air, baby toys spread out on the floor, and traces of cake left on tables, the floor and chairs by all our adorable young guests.

Despite a lot of excitement, I felt a little empty. I had spent so much energy running around, making sure everyone was happy, that I wasn’t very present. I wasn’t really fully here, enjoying the party, or spending quality time with Ryan.

You know that feeling, like you’re running 100 miles an hour, in a race through life, doing something that you thought was important, only to slow down and realize that you’re not fully enjoying it? That you weren’t present? That your mind was elsewhere, while your body was moving with the rhythms of what you’re expected to do?

I don’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the party, or that it wasn’t important. I really loved seeing all our friends who took the time to come by. I loved seeing the babies play and smile. I loved preparing for the party – buying party hats, and thinking about what to feed everyone. I just wished that I were more present when everything took place. I wished that I were in less of a rush, and more established in the peaceful place within me.

In a way, psychologically, I feel like I’ve missed out on Ryan’s party, because I wasn’t really there, mentally. Too much of my focus was on our guests, and making sure everything went okay.

At around 1am that same night, as I was in my office writing down these thoughts, I heard the familiar sound of a baby crying from across the hall.

Usually, (especially when both grandmas are in the house) I would wait for one of the grandmas or Jeremy to get up first. My mother-in-law has an especially gifted touch with babies, and she can magically put Ryan to sleep better than any of us.

But on this night, I got up from my desk, walked into Ryan’s room, and picked him up from his crib. I wrapped him in a warm fleece blanket, and sat down in his glider. We rocked and rocked. And I hushed and hushed, until he fell asleep on my chest.

He is so big now. His once tiny body, which could fit entirely on my chest, is now all stretched out; he’s now so long, his legs and feet dangling off the side of the glider. I could feel his legs brushing against me with each rock of the chair.

His head lay gently on my right shoulder. And I could hear the soft hiss of his breath, whispering dreams of bliss in my right ear.

I leaned forward slightly to kiss his forehead and told him how much I loved him, and how blessed I was to be his mom. And I whispered happy birthday.

He has taught me so much about love, in the unique way that only a child can teach his mother. Tears rolled down my face, and I was filled with this enormity of love that burst out of my physical body, surrounding us, wrapping us, taking us in and keeping us warm.

I am thankful that I got another “chance” to be with him on this special day – a day that marked the one-year anniversary of the day that changed my life forever; the day that I was granted with the biggest blessing of my life – the day that I became a mother.

Suddenly, those mind created problems, which were nibbling at me during the day, melted away. Everything else, especially problems from the past of which I have little control over, became less irrelevant or interesting. And being fully present in this moment, sitting here in the dark, holding my little boy, became the most rewarding, fulfilling, and joy-filling experience. It was magical.

I felt love and I felt loved.

I was reminded that everything that’s important to me was in this house right now – my son, husband, mother, in-laws, my blog, and our dog tommy. And that whenever I find my mind wandering off to some land of nothing, distracting me away from this moment, or causing me negative feelings, I will return to being present.

If anything that I spend my energy on doesn’t contribute towards the wellness of those people and things most important to me, I will stop, and re-shift my focus. That is my new motto.

This day has been an important day. I felt that I’ve reached a new plateau in my own “inner awakening”. I felt an important shift that took place in my being. I’ll expand on this topic soon.

Until then, wishing you peace, clarity and happiness.

Love,
Tina

P.S. Want more articles than the blog posts on this site? I’m trying something new, and are experimenting with daily writing that reflects on something I’ve learned each day. This article was extracted from the daily emails. You can subscribe here to receive my “Thought of the day” emails.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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11 thoughts on Being Present

  1. Hi Tina,

    When our minds are focused on external events and ensuring things run smoothly, it is hard to be present at the same time. Although you were not fully present during the party, because of the things you had to do, I love how you shared the story of being fully present when you held Ryan later that night. Just holding, observing him, how he has grown and all that is a simple and powerful story of being fully present.

    I love the way you write. Just by describing your experience you have reminded me to be present. Just by sharing your story about Ryan and you have triggered the sense of being present in me. This has made me more centred and brought about a sense of inner peace and calm just by reading your article alone.

    Your motto is lovely as it is pragmatic. Since we have the option of what we choose to focus on, it is best to focus on things that contribute to our wellness or the wellness of those around us. This conscious choice will always help us to be more present and happy. The danger is that we may forget we have a choice when events overwhelm us. But with practice and by focusing on the solution and not the problem, it will become a habit for us to re-shift our focus to things that benefit us.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • @The Vizier

      Hi Irving,

      Aww.. I had tears in my eyes as I read your comment. Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply to my article.
      I am so happy that the article, the story triggered the sense of being present within you – there is nothing I want more than that. I’ve done my job. :) Thank you again.

      And in response to your comment:
      It’s not a danger that we may forget that we have choices. We will forget that we have choice when we are overwhelmed by events and especially our emotions. Our emotions are so powerful, and I’ve come to peace with allowing that to happen, and then quickly (as best as I can) adjust to making a conscious choice. We only do the best that we can in every moment, and it is just as important to forgive ourselves when we are not being conscious – it’s part of being human, ya know? :)

      Have a beautiful week!

      Tina

  2. Hi Tina,

    Nice narration and this is very much similar to what I experience.
    I undergo the same thing while hosting social events like this. When we invite close people/relatives we want to ensure everyone is attended to with utmost attention. In the process we lose the luxury of leisureness with each individual guest.
    An analogy to what has happened to you later in the night…. happens to me everytime (probably I’m more lucky :))….where I spend time with my sisters (l like them a lot) after the event ….discussing so many things about life and happenings around…and in the process without my knowledge I learn lot of things…which I never worried about or cared for in my busy work life.
    BTW….all my sisters read and practise various things related to spiritual life regularly along with their daily family chores.

    The more and more I read Tina@TSN…the more I wait for the next one. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful experiences…

    Thanks
    Kishore

    • Hi Kishore,

      Aww.. that makes me happy to hear. thank you! This article was extracted from my daily thought emails, edited and polished. If you are interested in more writing, check out the daily emails, it’s free and can be subscribed here: http://bit.ly/happyteam

      Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know that other people can relate and are experiencing similar emotions.

      Warmly,
      Tina

  3. Hi Tina,

    That’s such a heart-warming post, thank you :)

    In a way, aren’t you’re touching on a kind of minimalism? I’ve been thinking about that lately – focusing more on what matters, letting other things slide, and being more present as a result.

    • Hi Graeme,

      Hmm.. I’ve never thought about it being minimalism.. but perhaps. People who are attracted to minimalism are drawn to the idea of mentally decluttering to find a place of inner peace.

      Thanks for the thought. :)
      Tina

  4. bob

    Tina,
    We have all been there. Wanting everything to be perfect, you forget to slow down and enjoy the moment.

    It takes no time before children go from being newborns to terrorizing the house at 2 and 3. My son turned 4 right before Christmas, and I am still shocked at how fast it has gone.

  5. As a father of five, I completely understand how that happens. Especially being on my 5th, I’ve learned the important lesson of being present, enjoying the “now” in life. Time goes by so quickly. Soon, my one year old will be 15 and my 5 year old will be 29. I don’t want to miss anything because I wasn’t present in those moments.

  6. Hye Tina,
    This is really helpful…., i love to see your interview true you tube, maybe all the writing u done before this can be the visual presentation maybe on video or anything like ‘the secret’ film. Thanks Tina.

  7. Loved this, Thank you. My kids are 17 and 18 and I’ve had the honour and privilege of homeschooling them, so we’ve had so many precious moments together. They are helping me with this whole “being present” thing. I’m always so busy performing that I hardly know who I am. We need more stuff like this to break through our everyday.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Darlene

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