How to Overcome the Fear of Not Being “Present” (Read Time: 3 min.)

StressHow often do you hear people talking about being “present”?

If I had a dime for every time mindfulness was mentioned in some way, shape, or form, I’d be a multi-millionaire MANY times over.

The mindfulness movement is in full effect y’all!  And that’s great… HOWEVER, far too many people are living their lives walking the tightrope of “Am I present?  Am I present?  Oh God!  I’m not present!  Oh no!  I’m creating a future just like the past!  I’m not going to get what I want!  Oh no!  Be here now.  Be here now!”

So much pressure for such a supposedly “natural” thing…

All of a sudden, “not being present” comes along with fear: the fear of “missing it”… whatever “it” is.  Whether it’s your future, your dreams, or moments of your life, we fear not being present because we fear that every time we miss a beat, we lose something that we can’t get back… and guess what?  That’s not entirely true…

Not being present is a human reality in today’s technology-driven, work-til-you-drop, 24-7 access world.  Everything around us is programming us to be anywhere else but here.  The quest for non-stop, eternal mindfulness is a futile one.  There WILL be moments when you’re not present.  In fact, there will be days, weeks and even months where life is so busy and the circumstances are so crazy that you are forced into a mode of either hyper-investigating the “could-bes” of the future or hyper-vigilantly reviewing the points of the past.  Either way, whatever your current experience, it’s the experience you’re supposed to be having in this moment.  Either it’s a call for mindfulness or it’s a reminder that being human involves tripping up, wearing down, and finding your way back to center.

So what do you do with the constant call to be “present”?

  1. Stop being afraid of moments when you’re not.  You’re in that “not present” moment for a reason.  Find the gift, the blessing or the lesson.  In fact, find all three and you’ll be better for it.
  2. Redefine what “present” means to you.   You might be the parent to three children under the age of 5 and being “present” means getting two minutes in the bathroom, on the toilet, ALONE… Yes, you reached “present” today.  Pat yourself on the back and keep it moving.
  3. Always view the moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks and months of not being present as a call to come home.  When you remember all the times, as a kid, when you’d go down the street to the park and, at dusk, you’d hear your mom screaming, “Come home for dinner!”, remind yourself that the call to be present is that same kind of call: firm but loving, immediate but patient, and absolutely necessary to ensure that you get fed what you need…

Presence is not a conquest you need to reach for.  It’s a state of being you can access at any time.  There is no such thing as “falling short” when “being present” is up to you and always within you…

Stop being afraid of not being “present”…



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