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Silent Revolution

Being Present

In this moment, I’m in a good space.

I feel peaceful, relaxed, and content.

I listen to my body. I notice I’m thirsty, so I drink a glass of water. The water replaces my habitual one o’clock coffee.

I drink without bashing myself for being a caffeine addict.

In truth, there are thoughts that I’m lazy, stupid, and hopelessly addicted to coffee. But they’re more in the background without causing me angst.

Instead, I feel calm.

I wonder: how do I maintain body awareness when I’m not feeling “good” feelings and am buying into negative self-talk?

How do I notice I’m thirsty for water rather than mindlessly grind more coffee beans?

With practice.

By slowing down. Pausing. Breathing.

It might take a minute or two to become present. Or thirty minutes.

I need to commit to being present.

I’ve a growing understanding of its value:

       Being present is the antidote to madness.

What is madness? Steadfast belief in our mind-made stories.

Stories of brokenness and separation.

Presence, on the other hand, is a meeting with who we are; as being whole.

I wrote a vision (or mission) statement on my website last night:

       To be present so that we evolve.

I thought I had distilled my vision down to a simple sentence that could direct my decision-making moving forward.

Today my therapist said this about my vision statement:

       The paradox is that we need to devolve to evolve.

I think about his comment – and find welcome relief.

I rest in the realisation that my quest for personal transformation, healing, and evolution produces considerable stress in me.

This stress leads me to perpetually grasp for wisdom, guidance, and nourishment from outside myself.

I’ve justified this harried search for years: I’ve been mad – really bad mad – and so I must heal.

I experience peace of mind as I drop my need to heal and understand I’m whole, now.

I changed my vision statement to the following:

       Humanity being present, starting with me.

The stress is gone. It’s easier, and calming, to focus on being present than worry about evolving.

So, I commit to being present. I’m present now.

And then I won’t be.

We can all practice being present.

My therapist says that in time, with practice, we can be proficient enough in being present that we’re of value to others.

My therapist is consistently present with me, as is Lachlan; their presence is of value.

They’ve been present with me when I’ve been mad.

They’re present with me when I forget to come home to myself.

Their presence makes all the difference.

Presence is a gift I give to myself, in this moment.


I’m home after being out for the evening.

What a great night to practice presence.

First, standing in a small reserve opposite Ivanhoe station in the cold, wrapped in a vintage woolen blanket I brought from home, witnessing a mesmerising dancer illuminated by projection as directed by Juta Pryer.

Then drinks and dinner in a nearby wine bar with Banyule City Council’s Pinpoint artists, hosted by Banyule’s Arts and Culture team.

I chose soda water with fresh lime instead of beer because I was thirsty.

Now home, I sit and listen to meditation music and realise how thirsty I am. I’ve drunk many glasses of water since seeing my therapist today and realise how really, really thirsty I am.

When Lachlan asked me if I wanted a cup of tea just now, I asked for peppermint tea, rather than the black tea he and I are in the habit of drinking at this time of night.

What’s happening to me?

 

Photography by Jasmine Powell