Can it get any more BEAUTIFUL? The London Tower bridge against a deep blue sky dotted with puffy animal-shaped clouds? (You might not be able to tell in this picture but there were animals floating everywhere on this day!)
When I travel I experience a different level of presence. It's like an intensified focus on the physical things around me, an elation for beauty which I see absolutely everywhere, and a peace that allows for all kinds of magic to happen. Traveling, I find myself in opportunity after opportunity to practice presence. In London, for example, I practiced presence while feasting my tastebuds on delicious new foods like quail tortellini with apricot and marjoram; feasting my eyes on ancient buildings and bridges carved by hand; feasting my ears on a brass band who showed up in the pub performing Mumford and Sons and Katy Perry; feasting my cognition on unique accents and ways of phrasing English like I never imagined - for example, "fancy a snog?" means "would you like a kiss?"; and feasting my hands on the backs and tummies of 6 chihuahuas, a french bulldog, and a giant schnauzer while visiting some of the most beautiful people in the whole wide world! (Alexa and Maddy, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your incredible hospitality!)
Presence is getting out of my head by going into what's directly happening on the physical plane right now in front of me. If I am ever in a bad mood it's almost always because I'm entertaining something IN MY MIND, some story or fear or negative perspective. If I bring myself fully to the present moment, there is nothing wrong. I'm generally not freezing or dying or starving or in great pain. In the present moment things are actually almost always close to perfect. In fact, there are not a lot of situations that would be less than blissful if I am able to bring myself fully into presence.
For example, while sitting in a doctor's office or waiting for a long flight to end, what makes the experience most miserable is thinking about where I need to be next or what I cannot do while I'm in the office or on the plane. Patience is shifting focus from the mind to the present physical world, from 'in the head' to 'in the moment'. If I shift to presence, noticing the details of the world around me physically in that split second, everything changes. There are human beings to absorb. There are comforts like water and soft chairs and pillows and clean air. There are interesting mosaic patterns in the carpet. If I stay in this mentality for just a few minutes, something very interesting always comes to my attention, like a conversation with a beautiful stranger, an incredibly insightful magazine article, an observation of decor that I would like to apply to my world. Presence is patience! And presence is always more FUN. And if we are to follow the fun (as last week's blog suggested), presence works wonderfully.
May you delight in all the delicious details of your present surroundings as you go forth soaking in all the riches this beautiful Thursday is bestowing upon you!
Love and travel presence,
PS - One of my favorite women alive, who inspired me to start traveling again and to dare to see life from a new perspective, is celebrating her birthday today. Rochelle Schieck, founder of Qoya, may you have the most brilliant and immersed-in-presence year of your entire life so far! Happy Birthday!