By Sunny Simon
This week I was introduced to the term: ministry of presence. It was described by one of my favorite bloggers as “an act blessing hurting people merely with a presence—by showing up, by being there and offering tangible support, whether it’s in the form of a hug or a steaming bowl of soup.”
Not too long ago I performed such an act for someone who was really hurting. We can all do more of that. There are, however, more simplistic forms of this ministry involving just being present.
Reflecting on the quote, “No yesterdays are ever wasted by those who give themselves to today,” I am consciously preparing to spend a week vacationing with family. In doing so, I’ve made some promises to myself. Taking the “being present” part seriously, I’m going unplugged and vowing to leave my electronic toys behind. I promise not to use my phone for anything other than capturing memories that will not immediately be posted on Facebook. No tweeting, texting, reading emails or playing Crazy Taxi. I solemnly swear to stay in the moment and make time with them my only priority. I give myself permission to venture off for some sweet solitude, but in their presence I’ll show up and nurture the relationship.
It is all too easy to fill our lives with distractions. Tuning out the constant static competing for mindshare and vying to capture our thoughts is an uphill battle. I’ve also taken that into consideration. When my thoughts stray from soaking up the blissful scenery to wondering how things are going at work, I’ve instituted a dollar in the swear jar type philosophy. Penalties exist for wasting a precious moment on the mundane.
How are you doing on that score? Do you have meaningful dinner conversations or are you dining with one eye on the big screen and the other on your plate? Have you banned cell phones and texting at the table and made meal time a period of sharing? Are there other segments of your daily life where you are only half-present and semi-engaged?
Upon my return from this holiday, I’ll happily get back on the grid and power up my online linkages. After spending a week practicing the ministry of presence, I trust I’ll be seven days into creating a constructive habit. This positive pattern can only make me a better person by living in the present, precious moment by precious moment.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com