“If being in the moment is hard, then being in the moment in a positive way is harder.”
– A.J Jacobs, from article in Real Simple magazine, September 2009
I sat in a cabin for two full days. I read a book entitled, Mad Church Disease, detailing how leading in a church context can work against one’s health and spiritual vitality. I read Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and all the Major Prophets. I journaled and did some self-assessment. I read a magazine article from Real Simple magazine that challenged me to the core. And I made some commitments to make some changes in my life before the end of 2009. One of those changes spiked the traffic on this blog and comments on my Facebook – I gave up my Blackberry for a regular phone. Not sure for how long, but definitely going to be a minimum two month fast.
The second big theme I felt during this retreat was that I need to be engaged fully. Getting rid of my Blackberry goes a long way in helping with this. I have a friend who will look me in the face when I am distracted and LOUDLY call me out, “Be present, Scott!” She cracks me up.
But, in all honestly, I have been shortchanging people. Some have not had my full attention and focus. And because of this, they have not been getting all of me, the best of me. Some friends have been getting the dregs, the leftovers. This is a hard pill to swallow. But I felt the weight of this necessary movement in that cabin, writing in my Moleskine. Dallas Willard once said, “The first act of love is giving attention.” I am deciding to focus my attention for a purpose. I am making moves and choices to become present
But not even just being present; rather, being present in a way that actually contributes something. I say I love people, but that statement must be actualized into an action of real presence and attention. If I really love people and if I am going to be present in a positive way, then it must be something larger than just a physical way. More than just paying attention. I have to be ready to offer myself, the best of myself.
So, this is my public commitment to a renewal in my presence and engagement where I am living.
Did you identify with my experience? Do you struggle to be present? If so, what gets in the way of being present in a positive way? What can you do to change this?