Updated: Dec 17, 2019
"Are you troubled, lady?"
Such sweet & tender words with the distinct Greek accent released from the lips of an aged man.
Moments before he had invited me into his Orthodox Greek Church in Santorini. When I first saw him, I thought perhaps he was a land caretaker. He was wearing work pants smudged with dirt, old tennis shoes darkened by use, a tattered button-up work shirt. I was walking past, and the bell towers and blue domed roof against the blue Santorini skyline caught my eye. I walked around the church, and sat upon the perimeter wall admiring the building. Our eyes caught and he invited me into the sanctuary with a gesture and a guttural 'please'. The church was filled with Saintly icons on the walls and niches in the building. Chairs around the perimeter, some candles lit and flickering with the breeze coming thru. I had just finished teaching a workshop, and had experienced some challenging communications that morning. I was raw and vulnerable. Feeling the peace and the place of prayer penetrate through my skin and into my heart, released a torrent of tears. I felt this man in the background be with me. He sighed, letting out air. He cleared his throat and eventually walked into the room behind me. I responded to his question with, "No, I"m just releasing." With few words, broken English interspersed with Greek, he invited me to light a candle. He simply stood there with me as I lit it and offered a prayer. Some moments passed and he took me to one of the Saintly beings, and shared with me a story. I"m not sure I got it right, but I do know that I felt his heart, his intent, his purpose. All because of the palpable presence he offered me.
Simply Being is so important to help others feel heard and seen. To be known and valued. It's a place we deeply long for within ourselves and from each other.
Offer your presence. Presence is a particular form of magic that reflects an energetic connection to the source of all things. Start with the embodiment of presence with yourself.
1. Give your full attention to what is right here right now. Start with yourself, can you hold your attention simply to the breath that rises and falls from your belly? Find yourself sitting, and watch your belly fall and rise. Feel it fall and rise. If you find yourself wandering, come back to your belly. Practice this again and again until you can successfully hold the attention for 5 minutes.
2. Do the sitting belly breath attention exercise, and now add in the Soft gaze exercise. Let your gaze be soft. Feel the softness from the edges of your skin outwardly to the space around you a few inches. Hold the attention to the breath rhythm and feel the edges around you dissolve as you invite in the softness. 3. Now, stand. Give your attention to the ground. Notice your feet sinking into the floor. Connect with soft knees, your hips aligned directly with your heels and feel the floor. Feel your connection to the ground. When you feel grounded, add in the belly breath attention exercise. When you hold the ground and the belly breath attention add in the soft gaze. Practice. Practice. Practice. And then take this to all of your conversations and your friends and family will know you are there, really listening and taking them in. Your presences will be strong and palpable.