I recently celebrated my 50th birthday but I don’t have a single photo of my party to share with anyone.
Why is this?
Upon reflection I realise that it’s because all of us at the party were actually present in the moment rather than worrying about capturing it to share with the rest of the World.
Being present is something many of us forget about in our relationships.
How often are you truly present in your relationship?
Your partner arrives home from work and tells you about their day, but rather than listening properly you’re thinking about what to cook for dinner, what to tell them about your day, what time you have to pick the kids up.
You sit down to watch TV together but one of you is watching whilst the other is scrolling through social media on your phone.
You go out for dinner and rather than talk, you take selfies, photographs of your food, your surroundings and share them on social media.
When was the last time you and your partner really connected and were fully present with each other?
Try it today. Take just 20 minutes, put your phones on silent and out of sight. Spend 10 minutes each talking. Person 1 talks about their day or whatever they want for just 10 minutes without interruption, then person 2 does the same. Truly listen to what is being said. Watch your partner’s physiology. Do you notice when they become excited, angry, reflective, motivated?
Taking time out to be truly present with your partner is the best present you can give each other.
Presence is much better for your relationship, and more valuable than presents.
Today is National Bird Day and as I sit watching the birds in the garden fight over the nuts and seeds in the bird feeder I’m reminded of my grandfather, my Pappa, as I used to call him.
Pappa loved watching the birds in his garden and on his home-made bird table and instilled a love of wildlife in me from an early age. I have fond memories of feeding the birds, helping him on the garden and on his vegetable patch and of going for long walks with him, often past fields of horses when he would miraculously produce a sugar-cube, carrot or apple from his pocket so that my sister and I could feed the horses who would come to the gate for us to stroke them.
On National Bird Day though I’m reminded of him towards the end of his life. He was quite a quiet man and absolutely adored my Nan and if he was being teased, in the way we often tease our loved ones about little quirks they have, he would smile and laugh and say “it’s difficult to soar like an Eagle when you’re surrounded by Turkeys!”
One year when he was in his late eighties, I spotted a mug with that phrase on it and bought it for him for his birthday. I remember the smile on his face and his chuckle as he exclaimed that “at least one person in this family understands my predicament”. I was always very, very close to my Pappa and to this day I miss him terribly. That memory always brings a smile to my face.
But the phrase has stayed with me. I have no idea where he first heard it, undoubtedly it was in a documentary or a comedy he’d seen on TV or in a book or newspaper. The internet hadn’t been invented back then!
But what does that mean? For me, it means surrounding myself with like-minded people, people who support me and encourage me to be the absolute best ‘me’ I can be. Those who support and encourage me through my lows and celebrate and trumpet my wins. Those who challenge me and stretch me, who provide a steadying arm when I’m fearful and who help to shine a bright light on me when I’m front and centre doing the things I absolutely love and was born to do. And when it comes to reclaiming your life you need to be surrounded by people who can help you to soar like an Eagle.
Who do you have in your team who enables you to soar like an Eagle? Who are the turkeys you want to spend less time with?
Only you know the answer to those questions and only you can do something to change it.
As you ponder that thought, I’m going to leave you and get back to watching the birds in the garden and thinking about my Pappa whilst I enjoy my morning coffee. If I sit for long enough I can almost smell his pipe tobacco!