What happens when we try to be present with ourselves, including uncomfortable feelings or experiences we have? Is there a way to be with ourselves the same way a good listener is: without judging the experience or tying to change it?
You can listen above, on your favorite podcast app, or watch on YouTube. Notes, links, resources and a full transcript are below.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Conversation with Dr. Bill Pettit on YouTube
Transcript of episode
Hello explorers and welcome to Q&A Episode number 24 of Unbroken podcast. I’m your host, Alexandra Amor.
Today I wanted to talk about the power of presence.
I was listening, as I mentioned, I think on the previous episode Q&A Episode number 23, I was listening to a conversation with Dr. Bill Pettit the other day. One of the things he mentioned that has really stuck with me and I’ve been contemplating ever since, is presence. Being present, both with ourselves and with other people. And it’s something that I try to practice quite often.
I’ve been challenged with a lot of feelings of urgency in my life and tend to feel quite sped up. And that really comes about, I noticed, with myself in conversations with other people. I tend to sort of step on their heels when somebody hasn’t quite finished saying what they need to say, I try to jump in and can be a little more focused on what I have to say, rather than what the other person is saying.
And yet, when I’m recording a podcast interview and when I’m working with coaching clients, one of my favorite things to do, is to really drop in to that space of presence. I’m trying also to practice that in all other areas of my life as well. I’ve had some success, and sometimes not, but that’s okay. I’m learning. So when Dr. Pettit brought this subject up about presence the other day, somehow it occurred to me that it might be useful to be present with the depression that I have had been experiencing, or was experiencing at that time. Luckily, it’s resolved itself for the moment.
I want to share what I experimented with, with you, with the aim of always of pointing you back towards your innate well-being and easing your suffering.
So this is an exercise I think we could do with anything that’s going on, we can practice it with other people, but with ourselves, what I’m practicing is being very present with whatever’s going on with me in the moment, and so I’ll explain that now.
Here’s where we can begin: imagine that you have a friend who and maybe you do have a friend like this, who when you’re sharing something, that’s a challenge for you – maybe you’re upset about something or something upsetting is happened, that kind of thing – I want you to imagine the type of person who is able to just sit with you while you share what’s going on, and what that feels like for you.
Now our culture tends to be so focused on fixing things and making our experiences go away that this kind of presence can be a bit rare. So if you don’t have anybody in your life like that, I want you to imagine someone imaginary who could do that with you, who could just sit with you, and be very present to whatever it is you need to share or need to say. And it could be a fictional character. I was thinking of someone like Mary Poppins or someone like that. It could be a character from a film who you found very sympathetic. A character from a book, anyone like that, who you just imagine, has the ability to be very present with you when you’re sharing something that’s a challenge for you.
I’d love for you just for a minute to sit in what that feels like.
I know that for me when I’ve been with someone who listens who can be present with me in that way, it’s such it’s such a good feeling. For me, there’s just nothing else like it. And the person is not being with me and listening in order to change me, or in order to argue with what I have to say, or in order to point out where I’m wrong, or try to help try to change my mind about whatever it is I’m experiencing. They’re just there with me in it.
That lack of expectation for change or resolution even to whatever the issue is, is such a peaceful, beautiful place to be. So if you can feel that in your body for a moment, what that feels like. Whenever I drop into that space, I feel my shoulders drop down, and my solar plexus unclenches, a little bit. I love the feeling, it just feels really great.
So now, this is the second part of this little exercise. If you’re struggling with something, so if you’re struggling with an overeating habit, and the cravings that come along with that, or if you’re struggling with a low mood or depression, like I have been recently, I invite you to take a moment today, even just two or three moments, and be present with that feeling in the same sort of way, without having to change it.
Let’s talk about let’s say it’s a craving.
Being there with that feeling, without having to change it without having to make it go away without having to fix it without feeling like it’s a part of you, that’s a problem that needs a solution. Just being there with that feeling dropping into a real presence with the feeling.
And really, that’s it. I’m not looking for any outcome. When you do this little exercise, I’m not saying that things will shift or change for you at all. But I think what I’ve noticed is that in so much of life, we, especially those of us who are seekers, and who are trying to improve ourselves and learn more about ourselves, and maybe yes, fix some challenges that we have in our lives, like an over eating habit, we can and I know I should speak for myself, personally, I can spend so much time trying to change myself, trying to change these things about myself, and make them go away.
So there’s this resistance going on inside me, in my experience, all that almost all the time. And that’s what I’ve been noticing. That’s what brought me to think well, what if I was just present with this feeling without any expectation of, like I said, making it go away, or fixing it or changing it or understanding more about it? What if I really tried to let all those expectations drop away.
Again, like I say, you don’t have to do this for an hour or anything. But just for a couple of minutes.
See what it feels like to be completely present with, with that feeling that’s challenging you in the moment.
I was just going to tell you what that experience has been like for me, but you know what? I would love to hear if you give this a try, what that experience is like for you. What happens when you drop into that space of presence with a feeling or with an experience?
If you’d like to share, you can do that you can email me support (at) AlexandraAmor.com. Or if you go to the corresponding blog post for this podcast episode, you can submit a comment there as well. So this is Q&A episode 24. And you’ll find the list of episodes at unbrokenpodcast.com. Then if you click on Q&A number 24 that will take you to the page where you can leave a comment.
I look forward to hearing from you and I hope this little exercise maybe brings you some peace. Maybe you discover something interesting about yourself or about a feeling or an experience that you’ve been having.
Until next time, please take care. I will talk to you soon. Bye.