What Do I Notice When I Am Present?
What’s your favorite mantra or quote or phrase? You know, it’s that one that you say over an over again to yourself because it completely resonates.
I try not to play favorites with my life commandments. Still, if I’m being honest…. the one I repeat the most is my Life Commandment #3: Be present and feel all the feels.
Already I’m wildly curious about your response to this particular commandment. What comes up for you when you hear it? Does it resonate with you or does it actually make you cringe (or maybe a little bit of both)?
On June 9th, 2021—I wrote this commandment while journaling, the morning after my doctor’s call. It was the first Cancer Commandment I wrote and it became a Life Commandment in its original form.
That morning my instincts told me I’d want to side-step my fear and grief and sadness and uncertainty and anger. I’d want to get to the winning and overcoming part of the cancer journey that you want to have when you get diagnosed. My people would want that for me too.
Who doesn’t want to be a strong, badass overcomer when you’re going through cancer? It’s a natural desire to want to “kick cancer’s ass.” I guess that’s why the world of cancer gets filled with battle language.
Journaling/Morning Pages As A Way To Be Present.
But sitting there with my journal showed me something different. I’ve never resonated with battle language really. Maybe battle language does support you… I want to acknowledge that some individuals do relate and it’s incredibly powerful throughout their cancer journey.
So that morning I asked myself: Since battle terms don’t resonate for me, what type of languaging will support my healing?
On that morning after everything still seemed surreal, but already I’d noticed some intense emotions hovering around the edges. (During any painful experiences I go through a similar process. Something hard and awful happens and I sense big, scary emotions circling in on me.) I visualize them as wolves baring their teeth and growling.
Now, with a Breast Cancer diagnosis, I knew my first instincts would want to do anything to keep those wolves at bay. After all, I wanted to stay calm and level-headed. I didn’t want to give into intense feelings and fall apart.
Over the past several years a few therapists and coaches have guided me safely through the world of intense emotions and uncertainty. I’ve learned not to follow those first emotional instincts into a fight, flight or freeze response—it’s best to sit with them for a bit–noticing and naming them, to be present and feel all the feels.
During my doctor’s call, it’s as though Breast Cancer had showed up as a surprise party full of unwanted guests–I’d cry or scream or respond however I wanted to, thank you very much. I’d stay with any intense emotions and ride those waves of grief.
Writing Your Own Life Commandments
What about you? What does this Life Commandment bring up for you? Today, in this moment, what challenges do you find in staying present?
We've entered the 4th quarter of this year. GULP. This may be a good time of the year to write your own Life Commandments. If you’d like my coaching support and accountability, here's where to schedule your own 2-hr. stand-alone coaching session to guide you in writing your first draft.
Prompts To Support Your Present Moments
Below you’ll find some prompts to support you in being present moment-to-moment. I find that staying present is easier said than done. It’s part of being human—to relive the past or look ahead to the future.
Pause. Breathe. Breathe some more. Here are some reflective prompts to keep you present. Any of these will act as a stand alone prompt depending on the time you have to give….
What am I noticing around me in this moment?
What am I noticing inside of me in this moment?
I am present to __________ in this moment.
Where in my body am I holding tension or stress or anxiety?
What do I need most in this moment?
What’s hurting my heart and/or filling my heart?
What emotions are showing up in this moment?
I am feeling ____________.
If you’re not up for using these word prompts, simply try doodling on a blank sheet of paper and see what shows up on the page. Doodling and drawing may offer you another way to get present.
Being present is a gift, pardon the pun (or don’t).
I’m rooting for you, cheering you on this moment and many present moments yet to come.
You are deeply loved.
You are a gift (or present, whichever you prefer).