presence life mindfulness

As a Pilates practitioner, and instructor, for over twenty years, I have come to respect the benefits of a mind/body practice. Through years of training, and teaching, I have noticed that many of my clients were still in deep pain, despite doing everything “right”. 

This led me to recognize that people can carry their trauma within their bodies as a somatic memory. Walking through life, totally fine, and yet feeling the small, or large, irritations that linger. In the back, in a limb, in whatever part of the body that ails them. 

This noticing led me to my other career path, somatic trauma release. Also, a mind body form of sorts. I help others tap into their minds to find where in their bodies they hold these traumas, and release them. I hold a strong belief in our power to heal ourselves, and I guide others on their path to this belief. 

For me, and many of my clients, it is a path to presence. It seems so simple, right? Presence. I could spout off the many quotes and adages on presence, and I would rather not sound like a cliche. Instead, I will share a simple way that I have found to keep presence in my life. Simply put, it is to remember to be present. 

What does that mean? It means being mindful of what is happening at any moment. This does not require hours of meditation, or holing yourself off from the rest of the world. While those things can be beneficial, they may not be realistic to your life at this moment. 

You can be present to this moment – my hope is to inspire that. I hope you are taking the moment to breathe, and take in every word. If you’ve just been skimming, take a moment to breathe right now… come back to these words and take in the meaning, whatever that is for you. If you are in a moment of thinking, “this woman is crazy” or, “this feels trite” or, hopefully “this has me curious,” good. It’s all good. The point is to notice, and then to move on. Like reading these words on the page, we move through our thoughts just as quickly. Another example: Imagine you are eating. It can be any food, for the purpose of this article let’s all imagine blueberries. You have the bowl of blueberries sitting in front of you. Breathe as you take it in. Notice what sounds may be happening. Notice what the blueberries look like. Notice the one that appeals to you. Pick it up. Take it in. There is nothing but you and this blueberry at this moment. Smell it. Does a blueberry have a smell? Really just take the blueberry in. Touch it, pick it up. And then, bring it to your mouth. Feel the roundness of that berry. Feel the texture of it, roll it around on your tongue. And when you notice the desire to bite, take the bite. Feel the burst of the berry. What does it taste like? Is it sweet? Is it tart? Does it make you want more? Just notice. Take another breath as you notice what it is you want next. More blueberries? A drink? There are no answers, just a present curiosity. 

Perhaps you can take this concept with your next meal. Whatever it is, just breathe and notice, for just a few minutes, with all of your senses. 

Be present. 

Take it in with all of your senses. 

This can be done with anything throughout your day.

Taking a moment to be fully present with whatever it is you are doing. Whether it be eating, drinking something, or brushing your hair. You can feel each stroke of the brush. Notice how it feels. Drawing the brush through. Notice the tangle, or the softness, or the curls, and then move on to the next stroke. Whatever it is that you choose to take a moment to be fully present with can spark a practice towards mindfulness.

It doesn’t have to take years of Buddhist Zen practice to find presence. 

It only takes this moment, and a willingness to notice it.

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Laura Michele is a mother, a Pilates instructor, and a trauma counselor, to name a few of her many attributes. She has been a resident of Maui for 14 years, and continues to support her community through her many endeavors, including writing. You can reach Laura at laura.michele@outlook.com

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