Being Present – What does it mean?
Being Present #1
Written by – Trevor Hayley
At Adelaide Memorials, we believe being absolutely present with grieving families is at the very core of what we do. They deserve nothing less.
But what does it mean…….being present?
There is the present when you are in the moment. Maybe something like fireworks, where all you see are the colours racing into the sky. They take your full attention, and your are swept up in the amazement. At that point you are not thinking about the past, and any baggage that may come with the past. Nor are you thinking about the future, with all of the uncertainty thinking about such things may bring. It can truly be a experience of freedom to just be in ‘there’ present in the moment, and such moments lead to memories, which are so precious.
But what does being present to someone else mean? Well, believe it or not, it is a little like fireworks. Except, the fireworks are all of the chaos, a person who has just experienced loss, may be feeling. There are the different colours, yellow, red, blue, purple; the ones that go really high, and the ones that go really low. In fact there are lights going in all sorts of chaotic directions. But presence means to be there with the person in amongst the chaos.
Presence means undivided attention. Seriously undivided; mobile phone off and out of sight, not thinking about anybody else, or what needs to be done, or how the social media might be going. UNDIVIDED. There may also be an element of turning yourself off completely, except we need ourselves in conversation. Not that we will ever experience what someone else is feeling, but there will be elements of their story that will resonate with you.
In fact it is those moments, the ones where you are ‘nodding inwardly’ where you may find your presence heightened. For you see there is resonance, true and deep connection. For a moment your feelings connect. Listening no longer become a chore, it becomes a pleasure, because hopefully through your attentive and present listening, a person is making some positive discoveries for themselves.
Just a tip. How do you know you are being present? Because next time, they will ‘make a beeline’ for you, and they will slow their speech down, because they know they will not be interrupted and they have your undivided attention. So be consistent in your presence.
When there is loss, there are memories. And for us at Adelaide Memorials Online, these are precious and critical, because they become the light our grief will need, when we are trying to come to terms with someone who is no longer there. This is why we will always take the time to listen.
And our hope? Just as fireworks make up a beautiful picture when seen as one, so is all of our life experience. The good memories, as well as the bad. Together they make us who we are. Beautifully unique, filled with imperfections, but filled with what it means to be human. A suitcase of memories and experiences we take with us, as we travel through life.
This commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.