Presence Under The Tree

Large cat-topped Christmas tree with people sitting underneath.Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to think of something fitting for Christmas.

Perhaps along the lines of a gift for you.

Nothing witty. Didn’t have to be profound. In the Warm & Fuzzy ballpark would do.


And nothing came to mind.


Total. blank.


I was looking forward to this particular Letter and there’s nothing to write.

Even a few 4 AM mullings proved idealess.


Except for one.


Might as well ask what wants to be written and wait.

Only I didn’t have to wait long.

The word “presence” dropped into mind.


Oh great.

I’m supposed to take a hokey suggestion like that for real?


There has to be something better.


(How quickly one forgets wanting a gift for you.)


Mind continued searching for something else, giving up a little more hope each day.

Presence, meanwhile, hung around casually dropping in a thought here and there.

The tidbits actually came together to make sense.

And I scrambled to remember what they were.

(Why follow my own advice to write them down as they appear? HA!)

Hopefully, there’s enough of what I could piece together to make sense.


Remembering Presence

Presence with others

How and when are you actually being present with someone else and truly listening? So many things can get in the way – to-do lists, Netflix, cute cat videos, work, kids … What all is competing for your attention and should it be?

Presence is connection to another. Look at the quality or depth of your connections. Look at how present you are with those people. What correlations do you see?

On a deeper level, being present with others is also about holding the space. A sacred space. For yourself and for them. The length of time doesn’t matter. Connection does. Think of how you feel when smiling at someone when you’ve made eye contact for even a fleeting moment. How does that feeling differ from averting eyes and perhaps an awkward smile indicating you’ve seen each other but don’t know what to do with that?

Oh, and presence for another doesn’t require reciprocation. Or expectation. It’s a huge nice to have, but not required. Sometimes presence for another can’t be returned. Presence is something you are for another without expectation. Somebody can’t make you be present to them. Presence is your choice to make. Over and over again.

Presence in the moment

Presence in the moment is all about awareness. It’s a stepping back to become the observer and paying attention to the details and nuances that can so easily go overlooked.

Presence in the moment can also be about giving up or not holding on any longer to acknowledging the inner pokes and prods trying to guide you or deliver messages you’ve been longing to hear.

Presence in the moment and expectations have a hard time existing in the same space. The former asks you to see what is and invites you to get curious. The latter squeezes you into seeing (or not) what you’ve thought of and honing in on a path – one way or another.

Presence in the moment is not about your level of activity. Awareness, yes. Stillness, no. Presence is all about being engaged with what’s happening right now, not how still or active you are. You would do well to stop thinking in terms of physicality. Or degrees thereof.

Presence of yourself

Presence of yourself is the kind of presence that is opposite of absence. You’re being a presence – seen, visible, known. Doesn’t have to be world renowned, all-star, top of the charts or Oscar winner. Being yourself and bringing yourself to life in whatever way you choose is all that counts. Holding back or hiding – and you know when you’re doing this – is not presence. You can tell and others can tell.

Don’t confuse putting yourself out there to be seen with needing others to see you. Taking the risk to be seen is about being yourself. Needing to be seen is about validation. When you have true presence of yourself, you don’t need to be validated. Giving becomes more prominent than receiving.

Ultimately, presence is about being yourself, being connected and being engaged.


Those are the gifts of presence I was given to pass along to you.


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Lorraine Watson - on rustic porch

chief nudging officer


Crazy for cats and potatoes, Lorraine's insatiable curiosity of Life leads her to question, explore and push beyond the box. A self-professed "left-brained creative big picture" type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing beyond and beneath first appearances while at the same time nerding out on the details. Most of all she sees and holds others in their highest until they can see it for themselves.

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