In the extraordinary turn my professional life has taken me this year, I have come across the writing blogs of some extraordinary people. They have been sources of inspiration to me. I am astounded at how these gifted people can find time to live so fully in their careers, their families, and still find time to write, reflect, and inspire others. One Little Word is a reflection technique they inspired me to try. I am grateful to Ruth Ann Ayers and the contributors of Two Writing Teachers blog for this idea, and so many others. If you are not aware of their blogs, I invite you to take a look.
One Little Word works like this: Instead of making a standard list of New Year’s resolutions, choose one word to use as a lens as you live out your new year. So here, on the eve of returning back to work after two weeks of vacation, the world outside my window a frozen landscape of snow and ice, I choose my own One Little Word for 2015: Presence.
This year, no matter where I am, what I am doing, or who I am with, I seek to be fully present in the moment, the place, or with the person I am with. The world is so full of distractions, change, and things that spin outside my control. But I can control the quality of my presence, especially in the midst of stress, and make the moments I inhabit richer and better for myself and those I am with.
Presence in my Workplace:
2014 was a year of extraordinary change for me. The environment of the position I had taken after first moving to Vermont had drastically evolved over a five-year revolving-door-of-leadership. Each revolution became more personally toxic: outside the parameters of what I believe and value, professionally and personally. I began to lose my footing. I did not like the person I was becoming. But January of 2014 brought an amazing transformation. A year ago, I began my current position (a job I have reached and aspired to my entire career). I found work with like-minded, passionate, visionary, professional people. In 12 months my experience changed from one of micro-management to trust, marginalization to collaboration, from survival mode to growth and reflection. Instead of watching years of careful work get tossed aside, I am now an agent of change in an environment where there is long-term support for practices I know make a difference.
Being a change agent, with adults in all phases of their careers, requires me to be mindful of my presence. In usually brief windows of time, I need to get to know my colleagues, to discover their strengths, their goals, and co-create with each a unique pathway to lift their practice. Presence demands my focus as a listener with an open heart and mind. My presence..is the pathway to trust.
Presence in my Home:
Five and a half years of living nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont with its vibrant seasons and unique quality of life, has been a treat for the senses. But with my own retirement in sight, my already-retired husband and I, face the realization Vermont is a very expensive place to live. Coupled with distance from family and accessible coastline, and Herb’s developing condition that makes enduring long cold winters increasingly brutal..we anticipate returning west within five years. What does this have to do with presence?
Knowing my Vermont time is fleeting, being present in these remaining years is critical. I want to always remember the sparkle of snow crystals in temperature of spare degrees, the vibrancy of fire-colored leaves against intensely blue skies framed by white clapboard church steeples, the tantalizing hint of green that dresses mountains each long-awaited spring. I want to breathe Vermont in deep. Presence.
Presence in the My Life:
This year, I want to be aware of my presence in my life. Technology, though a critical part of my work, and long-distance connection to mentors and friends…can also be such an addictive time waster that pulls my presence into cyberlands of someone else’s purpose and intent. This year, I want to be more judicial and watchful of the time I spend online. I want to be present fully in my life and with those I love, creating meaning, and noticing beauty.
Note to self: Presence: To be unwrapped each and every day.
Photo credit: Flickr Commons/Tina M89