Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How To Be Here

Those of us who value the inner journey may, at times, forget to orient & ground ourselves in being fully here. Of course, here includes the inner landscape, but it also includes the outer. And sometimes it feels as if the external world is coming at us with too many demands, distractions, and information. But the world around us can also help us open our awareness in a grounded way, particularly when our inner world may be a bit chaotic.

Try this with me now. It doesn't matter if you are feeling sluggish or speedy, this can offer an opening into this moment in a way that does not overwhelm.

Wherever you are, look around and say to yourself (out loud if you are alone) "I see. . . . " naming five things you see. They don't have to be big or small, intriguing or ordinary. They don't have to be anything at all except something you can see. You can do it at any pace you like, but don't rush. Let your gaze be soft and wander, finding what draws the eye in this moment.

Then, name five things you hear, simply completing the phrase, "I hear. . . . ." Then, name five things you feel in a sensory way- the temperature of the room on your skin, the feel of your feet in boots, the support of the chair beneath you. . . .

You could stop there, or you could continue- this time naming four things you see, hear and feel. . . followed by three, and then two, and then one.

I have a deep desire to be here fully, but sometimes I need a little help with how to do this. This small exercise of observation is an effective "how." It lowers any anxiety that may be worming its way into my day, and helps me stay here so I can fully receive the gift of this day, this moment, this life. I'd love to hear what happens for you.

~Oriah (c) 2015 (With thanks to Karen Belfontaine for this lovely restorative pause.)

Another wonderful picture from Karen Davis at https://www.facebook.com/OpenDoorDreaming We often find ourselves most easily present when in a natural setting, and I am always drawn to wild places near water, so this pic seemed like a perfect reminder to be fully present even as I sit in my apartment in downtown Toronto.


  1. Thank you for this small exercise, I did it immediately, and it is lovely. What also works for me is doing a quick "body scan", going with my breath through all the parts of my body. It doesn't have to relax during breathing, it is just for checking how my body is at the moment. That brings me out of my head. And the photo ... sigh! It would be so great to be at a beach right now :-)

    1. Body scans are helpful too Nora if we can observe, and not critique. :-) This exercise is helpful for anyone who wants to be present but it is also used for those who have had a traumatic past and can feel their bodies going into distress (ie- they have been triggered.) The focus on surroundings helps the nervous system "get" that the danger is not happening right now, and helps us ground in the present. Of course the challenge with all of these methods is remembering to do them!

  2. Good exercise, Oriah. Don't think I've ever quite used it this way but it's effective. Thank You!