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What is Presence?

February 02, 2024

What is Presence?

We come from a place filled with constant distractions and the ever-increasing pace of life. This means the concept of "presence" holds profound significance. 

But what is presence? What does it actually mean and how can we obtain it in a world where we agonise over the past or live in anticipation for the future?

While we are consistently asking for more time and wearing the title busy like it is a badge of honour, we ignore what we have right in front of us, presence. 

What if instead of looking for more time, we just aimed to be more present? 

What is presence? 

Beyond the dictionary definition, the word can have multiple different meanings.

But what does presence truly mean and how can it transform the way we live and connect with the world around us? 

At its core, presence refers to a state of being fully engaged and aware in the current moment. 

It's the art of immersing ourselves in the present without being clouded by past regrets or future anxieties. 

While we now live in a society that often glorifies multitasking and constant stimulation, the ability to be present is a precious skill that can enhance our well-being and relationships.

What are the benefits of presence? 

Cultivating a practice of presence and surrendering the need for that practice to be perfect has been shown to deliver:

  1. Enhanced wellbeing
  2. Increased focus
  3. Deeper connections
  4. Reduced stress
  5. Greater emotional resilience
  6. Improved decision making
  7. Enhanced self-awareness
  8. Elevated creativity
  9. Better physical health
  10. Greater fulfilment in life

But, what If we forget the dictionary definition of presence and all the benefits, what significance does it hold for you? 

What does presence mean to you? 

If I asked you to complete the sentence “Presence is…” what would you say?

For me presence is freedom, it’s curiosity, it’s the clarity we long for, the peace we seek in the everyday.

For my clients presence is a practice, beautiful, a way of life, everything, a connection to my essence, calm, grounded.

If I asked you to tell me “what does presence feel like for you” what would you say?

For me, presence feels like the sea breeze in my hair, the ocean in my ears, the sand beneath my toes, the smell of salt upon my nose and the sun kissing my skin.

Clients have shared with me for them presence feels like home, a warm hug, calm, infinite expansion.

The reality is presence comes in all shapes and sizes. 

How we define it and how it feels is up to us. We don’t have to look to the gurus to tell us what being looks like.

When we give ourselves permission to define presence on our terms it provides a basis to experiment with our presence practice and inject more of it into the day before us.

If you are looking to add more of your own definition of presence in your day and your own presence practice, let this exercise guide you. 

To bring more presence: try this exercise 

Here are 5 things you can do right now to inject more presence into the day before you and start your own practice: 

  1. Write down an intention for your day.
  2. Stare out the window for just 5 minutes and observe how many things you notice from tiny to huge.
  3. Have a conversation where you can only ask questions.
  4. Be where your feet are and engage your 5 senses to connect with your environment. What can you see, hear, touch, smell, taste?
  5. Brainstorm 10 things that make you feel present and try one a day for the next 10 days

This exercise along with other intentional actions is what helped me be the “Present Woman” I am today. 

How I became the “Present Woman”

I transformed my tomorrow by embracing my today and ditching the need to look like I was Wonder Woman.

I no longer choose to hustle and excel in every area of life all at once whilst inside quietly falling apart from exhaustion instead I choose to live by prioritising joy and connection over the need for others to validate how good I am.

I no longer chase balance which feels elusive. Instead, I practise harmony injecting sacred pockets of time into each day that recharge my mind and body and spark my soul.

I no longer say yes to everything which in reality means a big fat no to self-care and my dreams instead I have clear boundaries and I’m unafraid to deliver a NO with kindness because it creates the space for the impact I seek in this world.

I no longer see rest as unproductive dead time, I know from my Psychology and trauma studies that it is foundational to optimising my output and how I show up in the world and I guard my rest daily.

I no longer feel like it’s never enough and like I’m never enough. Instead, I ask myself daily what would self-compassion look like for me today and then I act on what my body tells me it needs.

If trying to be Wonder Woman is moving you away from the woman you want to be and the life that you want to live you have a choice.

Wonder Woman Versus The Present Woman. Which will you choose?

Who is The Present Woman? 

She’s clear on what presence looks and feels like for her and is not attached to it looking like anyone else's. 

She’s open to practising presence in simple and creative ways in the day before her. 

She asks herself “what would self-compassion look like for me today” and acts on the response. 

The Present Woman comes in all shapes and sizes and how you define presence and practice is really up to you. 

If you long to be more present in life and with the ones you love but don’t know where to start and equally don’t want to go it alone you don’t have to. 

Transform your tomorrow by embracing today and join the Present Woman Challenge NOW. 

The Present Woman Challenge is a 14-day Challenge designed to empower you to practise presence and reclaim your mind, recharge your soul, and cultivate lasting joy and connection in the process. 

Think sustainable evidence-based action delivered to you in bite-sized pieces to reduce the mental load and connect you into the moments that matter more often. 

Join the Present Woman Challenge

Final thoughts  

Presence is not merely a state of physical existence; it is a dynamic and transformative way of engaging with life. 

It involves being fully aware, both of ourselves and the world around us, and actively participating in the moments that make up our existence. 

By embracing the essence of presence, we can lead more fulfilling lives, nurture meaningful relationships, and find solace in the beauty of the present moment amidst life's chaos.

If you’d like to define presence on your own terms and elevate your presence practice, I invite you to journal by completing the following sentences;

  • Presence to me is…
  • Presence to me feels like…
  • I would like to enhance my presence practice by…
  • When it comes to my presence practice self-compassion for me looks like… 

If you need a little extra accountability, I have put this into an exercise you can do online, it is a beautiful way to reflect and you can get the answers sent to your email.

Do the exercise here.