The skill of presence has been the number one thing that has helped me heal from my trauma and emotional wounds. In this episode I give 5 reasons why you should practice presence and several more about why we don’t make time for it. I hope you will see the value in practicing presence after listening to this episode.
So today I want to talk about why you should practice presence and I just want to say that I am going to sell my membership at the end of this episode, but I think you will also get a ton of value from the idea of why you should practice presence, even if you never go practice presence the way that I’m talking about it, just knowing that it is valuable can be extremely valuable in and of itself.
So, presence… it’s this word that we all talk about, but I have this sense that many of us don’t actually know what it means and really what I want to tell you today is that presence is what everyone wants, even if they don’t know that’s what it is they want.
So first, I’m going to tell you about five things that just quickly came to my mind when I thought about why should we practice presence? What is the value of presence in our lives? And then I’m going to talk about a few things, why we don’t make time for it. Like why is it so easily overlooked?
I’m going to talk about my membership that is open until the end of July, until July 31st, which just happens to be Harry Potter’s birthday but you know, it’s okay if you’re not a Harry Potter fan.
Okay. So. Why we should practice presence?
The first reason, and I think the biggest reason is because overall, it just makes us feel better. It decreases fear and anxiety and depression and other uncomfortable emotions. And it helps us build some of the more comfortable emotions.
So the rest of why we should practice presence are just some specific ideas about what presence brings into our lives that most of us, if not all of us want more of it builds trust in yourself. When you practice presence, you are building trust in yourself, in your body, like in the cells of your body.
It leads to contentment. Contentment is probably my top favorite emotion, which is kind of interesting because it’s not a very intense emotion. It’s sort of low intensity on that. scale, but it’s my favorite way to feel even more than happy. I love to feel content. Content to me is this feeling like everything is good and right in the world.
I kind of think I haven’t done a ton of pondering about this, but I wonder if contentment is just another word for presence. I think it’s a little bit different than presence. I think it’s like presence plus gratitude, but they’re very similar. At least they are to me the way they feel in my body.
Presence also increases self compassion, self love, self acceptance. And I know that we don’t talk a lot about self compassion, self love, self acceptance. They’re not very… flashy or sexy, but I think self compassion and self love and self acceptance really are at the heart of emotional regulation. They’re at the heart of feeling contentment.
They’re at the heart of making progress in our lives. We cannot make progress when we are judging ourselves and being harsh or critical to ourselves. It just almost negates all the progress that we make. I’m just thinking of like building a business or something like that requires a lot of separate tasks.
If you endeavor, I’m just going to use this example of building a business, but the whole time you are criticizing yourself and beating yourself up, then you might build a business and you might even be successful but it will be for nothing because the experience of having that business and running that business will feel awful.
So if we don’t have self compassion, self love, self acceptance in our lives, if we haven’t practiced these things, and I personally believe that our culture is toxic and we’re not taught how to practice these things, It’s not something that we see modeled very well out in the world. And so it’s kind of this like hidden, like I know I want, I should love myself and have compassion for myself, but I really just don’t know how if we don’t have those elements in place in our bodies, in our lives, then everything else in our life is almost for nothing.
It’s like almost moot, right? And then finally, and I’m sure there are a million other reasons why we should practice. Presence, but the one that is really compelling to me, I think it’ll be compelling to you is that it helps you. Feel connected to God to the universe to others and to yourself. I once heard someone say and forgive me I don’t remember who said this who first gave me this idea, but this idea is that there is God’s time and there’s our time like the way humans mark time is very different than the way God Thinks of and looks at time and there’s one place Where they intersect and that is in the present moment.
So I love thinking about that. I think it might’ve been a book. I’ll have to think more about it and see if I can remember where I learned this, but they said that the present moment is God’s time zone. And I just love thinking about it like that. So when I am really present.
I feel like I’m in God’s time zone, I’m kind of on his wavelength. And for me, the best way to really get present is to go out in nature. And that is also the place where I see the fingerprint of God the most. So it makes sense to me, it feels right to me to think of it that way. And I just think that presence is the best gift that you can give to yourself or that you can give to others when we are really present with, say, one of our children or spouse or friend or, anybody in your life.
There’s a quality about that. It’s easy to feel when someone is being present or when they are not, when they’re distracted, when they are thinking about other things, right? And it’s such a gift that we give ourselves and other people when we can be present. Okay. So why it brings us all these amazing things.
It helps us feel better. It builds trust in ourselves. It leads to great feelings like contentment, self compassion, self love, self acceptance connection. Why don’t we make time for practicing this skill? And I do want to just pause and say presence is a skill. So I did not think of this as I was outlining the episode, but maybe this is one of the reasons why we don’t make time for it is because we don’t think of it like a skill.
I think often we think of it as something we have or something we don’t have, not a skill that we can build and so if it’s not thought of as a skill, then we don’t even think to say, I’m going to practice presence. I’m going to do some things that’s going to help me be more present in my life. I think really we don’t truly understand presence and what it feels like to be present and all the amazing things that it will do for us because it is not a logical skill. It is a body skill.
It is an experiential understanding that we’re trying to get to. It’s something that we have to experience in order to understand. So if we haven’t… experienced it, it’s kind of difficult to really understand the value of it in your life and to then therefore, take some effort and action in building it and bringing it into your life more.
So it’s almost kind of this lack of awareness about how amazing it really is. And I think the reason for that is because it isn’t logical and in our culture, logic is King. Everything is about, does it make logical sense? Is it an intellectual pursuit? We put these logical intellectual pursuits. We put more value on them.
And that’s just, that’s just the truth in our culture. And because this isn’t a logical intellectual pursuit, it’s an experiential pursuit. I think sometimes it gets overlooked. The second reason I think that we don’t make time for presence and building presence in our lives is that we think. We can’t get good at it.
Somehow it’s something that’s just beyond us. Either you can do it or you can’t. It’s like either you are introvert or extrovert. You’re either able to be present or you’re not. And I just don’t think that’s true. And I think it goes back to the fact that I believe it’s a skill. And I just believe that any skill can be built and perfected.
Now, some people, it might be a little more difficult, just like any other skill, right? Some people start learning how to cook and they’re just like, Oh, I got this. I’m really good at this. And other people, it takes a little more practice. It takes a little more time, right? So just like any skill, there’s going to be a range of how easy or difficult it is.
I would just urge you to believe that. It’s something that can be built and developed, not something you either have or you’re doing, or you don’t. Another reason is I think it’s counter cultural. It’s counter cultural to be present.
We live in this culture that’s go, go, go rush. You know, last week’s episode was about urgency is a trauma response. Our culture is very fast and go to the next thing and do more, right? And so it’s very counter cultural to practice presence, to slow down and to not be doing anything, but just being. And so because of that, because it’s counter cultural, we risk the possibility of not.
Fitting in, or not belonging, or not being like everyone else. And that’s a real thing that we struggle with. I find that most things that are countercultural and good are worth pursuing. But you do have to struggle against the urge that will come up, the thoughts that will come up about what will other people think.
So that’s another reason why it’s just easier to not bring something like the practice of presence into your life. Another big reason, and this reminds me that I did a podcast episode with the Latter day Life Coaches podcast. I don’t even remember. It was several months ago, and it was on present, so I will link that in the show notes.
And I talked a lot about this, that we fear our own emotional state. So if you can get beyond The idea that either you have it or you don’t, if you can understand its value, and if you decide I’m going to do it, even if it’s counter cultural, there can still be this sense of resistance or fear because when we slow down, when we quiet everything, what comes up is our own inner voices, our own emotional states, which sometimes are not very pleasant.
Sometimes the rushing around and staying busy is a way to cope with the negative voices and the negative emotions within us. And if you have a fear of that, if you have a resistance to it, conscious or subconscious, it’s going to be a little bit difficult and you’re just not going to want to bring that into your life.
Bring that presence into your life. It also requires a level of self awareness that I don’t think the average person has because you have to notice when you aren’t present. That’s almost the first in to building this muscle of presence is noticing when you’re not noticing when you’re thinking about the past, noticing when you’re thinking about the future, noticing when you’re worrying, noticing like all of those things that take us away from the present moment, we have to notice that first and be like, Oh, I am not being present.
Then maybe take a deep breath or feel your feet on the floor, do some kind of grounding exercises to sort of bring yourself back to the present moment, and honestly, the way I practice presence, I do meditation and things like that, that bring presence into my life, but it’s really practiced in these little snippets of time, just five or 60 seconds at a time of, Oh, I noticed I’m not being very present. Okay. I’m going to bring myself back to the present moment. And it’s not that I do it constantly there.
You can’t be present a hundred percent of the time, but I do feel like just the practice of it, either in these short snippets or in other more intentional ways, it brings this level of calm and groundedness into your body and into your life. And the last reason that I really want to talk about is that we don’t really know what it means. We don’t really know what it means to be present.
So I want to just encourage you to do a little exercise with me. And first, I’m going to tell you the three steps and then we’re just going to practice them right now as you’re listening. Whatever you’re doing, you can do this with me. To me, practicing being more present means first, slowing down. Second, noticing. And third, allowing or feeling.
So, the way I like to slow down is by breath. I either like to just notice my breath, breathe in and out slowly and intentionally, or sometimes just feeling what I’m feeling. Right? Just being in my body and not in my mind. And I know that’s kind of abstract, but I hope you catch the drift.
And then the second thing that follows that breath, that groundedness very quickly is the noticing there is always something to notice. This is where many of my clients feel like, Oh, I’m not good at this. Just noticing can be a skill in and of itself, noticing what is there. And there’s all these different layers of noticing.
I will just say very quickly that. When I first started doing this, what I would kill call feeling work or body work, and I know I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before I would go for walks for the purpose of feeling cold. I hate feeling cold, but I would do it for the purpose of feeling cold. So like I could notice the resistance in my body and then I could kind of relax it and kind of start practicing that to sort of let go of some of the resistance I had.
And at first, the only thing I could really notice was my large muscle groups, so like my shoulders, my neck, maybe something like my biceps, these larger muscle groups, I would notice a lot of tension or tightness in them. And as I went on and on, and probably about two years into this practice, I noticed that I noticed the little tiny muscles around my eyes being tense.
So I love that story because it just shows kind of the progression. At first, we’ll only be able to notice the really big stuff. And as we practice noticing more, we’ll start noticing some of the finer things in our body, the finer sensations, experiences, emotions, those kinds of things. So really the first thing is just to practice.
Noticing what you notice and there’s always something there even if you think there isn’t and then third is allow or feel so if you notice a tightness or if you notice a warmth or a heaviness, these are all just examples Can you just let that sensation be in your body without trying to get rid of it?
Trying to think about it trying to fix it trying to change it. Most of us don’t love the sensation of feeling heavy. So if you notice a heaviness, oftentimes it’s associated with grief or sadness. If you notice that heaviness, usually the first thing is like, how do I get rid of it? How do I make this heaviness go away or make it lighter?
And I always start with, Hmm, what is it like to be there with that heaviness to allow the heaviness to just be there. So that’s what I call allowing or feeling different people like different words, but some people like to think of it as just, Oh, I just allow it to be there. And other people like to think of it as, Oh, I feel it fully.
And oftentimes the fear that comes up here is, Oh, if I feel it, then it’ll get bigger. It’ll get worse. But I really want to encourage you to think of this as like a dam. A dam is simply a lake that is manmade, right? And usually on one side, it has a concrete wall that has, um, a way to open in different increments, open and let the water out of the lake, right?
Most people think, if I feel my emotions, the lake is going to get fuller and fuller and fuller and fuller, and then it’ll overflow. But the truth is, when we feel our emotions, it’s like opening a little portion of that dam and letting some of the water out. And the opposite happens. The level of the lake goes down and becomes more manageable. So those are the three steps.
So I just want to do this with you. So whatever you’re doing, whether you’re driving or walking or doing the dishes, whatever it is you’re doing, just slow down, do whatever it is you’re doing just a little bit slower and take three deep breaths with me in and out your nose and now notice what do you notice in your body?
You can start with just a pinky finger, or a toe, or you can connect into your body as a whole. What do you notice? Typically, we notice things in our midline, our head, our throat or neck, our chest, our solar plexus, our stomach and our gut. What is there for you right now? And can you let whatever is there to simply be there? Can you just allow it in? And what does it feel like?
You can think this out loud, talk it out loud, or just think it to yourself in your mind. I notice a little bit of tension in the middle of my back. Kind of feels like… Something is pulling out from my backbone, out toward the edges of my back. It’s a little uncomfortable, but not completely. Describe whatever it is you’re feeling and just allow it to be there. Don’t try to change it or fix it. Just let it be there like it’s a tree in the yard.
And there you go. You have practiced presence. You’ve practiced being in the present moment instead of being in the past, or in the future, or in your mind.
Have you noticed a shift at all? You might have, you might not. It totally depends on the person and the situation. So I hope… You understand just a little bit more about the value of presence and why you should practice presence. I like to practice presence by practicing meditation. I usually meditate maybe 5 minutes a day, some days not at all, other days 15 or 20 minutes.
It’s kind of all over the place. I also love to spend time outside every single day. So, to just… Notice yesterday I went on a walk and I saw two bucks, two four point male deer in our little greenbelt behind our house in the middle of suburban Denver. And I just thought they were so majestical. They looked so amazing.
It just, I was in awe. So I love to Watch the birds and the insects and, and the grass and the plants and trees that always brings me to the present. And I also like to just give myself a little bit of time. I’m not the best at doing this, but a little bit of time at just sitting in the quiet, journaling, or just being with myself and my body.
And doing what we just did. Slowing down, noticing, and allowing and feeling. So those are just three quick ways that you can practice presence in your life and I hope you will. I have found, as I have practiced this, that my life feels, like I said, more grounded. I feel more content. I feel less frenzy and hurry and rush, which I hate feeling that.
I feel more connected. More connected to myself, more connected to the people I love, more connected to God. And those are amazing reasons, if you ask me, to practice presence. Now, my membership is called presence. That is the name of it because that is my goal for all my clients that come in there is to help them and support them in bringing more presence into their lives.
Another way of thinking of this is thinking of it as a membership for processing emotion. There are lots of coaching memberships out there that will help you sort through your thoughts. I don’t know of any, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I don’t know of any that help you process emotions and become more present, especially I don’t know of any that are couched in an understanding of the nervous system and phases of trauma response because trauma essentially is when we can’t be present to something.
We store it away. So that is the effect of not being present, right? Which is a whole other list of reasons to be in practice presence. And I’m just going to brag on myself for a minute. I recently did several interviews with my clients who I really enjoy working with. And basically they all told me that I was a really fantastic coach.
This is not something that is easy for me to say about myself. I do think that I’m a really good coach. I think that I’m very intuitive. I think it’s easy for me to see and feel things that other people don’t see and feel. And To understand what level of support is needed right now. So I have really big dreams for this presence membership.
We’re just at the beginning. We’re just getting started. And I just want to invite you if it feels right to you right now. And it may not, that’s okay too, but if it feels right, if what I talked about on this episode, and if what I talk about in my podcast in general resonates with you, I invite you to come check out presence and see if it.
It might be something you want to try out. You can get more information by going to my website, DenitaBremmer.com/presence. There’s a few different options there. There’s an option to get on a free call with me so that you can just experience me coaching you and supporting you in this way. You can ask questions on that call as well.
Or if you’re like, you know what? I’m sold. I want to do this. And I did have somebody do that the other day. They just showed up in my inbox. You have a new member in your group. You can choose two payment options, a monthly pay or a pay in full for the whole year. There’s a slight discount there. And all of those options are on that page.
I truly honestly believe that this practice of being more present is one of the ways that we heal. It’s one of the ways that we heal our trauma and, and there’s other healing to be done as well. This has been the tool that has worked the best for me. So if you have any spiritual or trauma to heal, I was going to say spiritual wounds or trauma to heal. I invite you to come join us.