Being Present is Everything

I was very fortunate to witness the solar eclipse in totality this week. Before this amazing celestial event, I read extensively about what would happen. I listened to presentations from scientists, naturalists, and other eclipse aficionados. I felt as if I was prepared and understood what would happen. I looked up at the sky, protective glasses in place, with my adult son and 35,000 of my closest fans at the ballpark. To say that I wasn’t prepared is an understatement. I was moved emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Being there was everything. The sense of awe, community, and pure wonder was astonishing. It felt like the world stopped for those three minutes, and it was glorious. I felt the coolness on my skin; my eyes saw nighttime in the middle of the day, and I basked in the silent awe of those around me being present.

I relate this to the work we do at Designed Learning. In our Flawless Consulting experiences, being present with a client, partner, colleague, or friend is essential to being effective. With our Leader as Convener experiences, we convene with others to be fully present in larger groups. We utilize small group conversations to connect and be present with each other. These experiences were created from Peter Block’s books. The content of his writings continues to inspire me and help me to be more authentic, alive, and curious. However, if I just read the books, I am missing out. Being present in a room (Zoom or in-person) with other caring and curious people is everything. We learn from listening to others interpret, apply, and question the material and each other. 

Our world is so full of distractions that keep us from fully being present. We rush through meals, rely on texting, and look for “what’s next?” It’s hard to slow down and appreciate the moment and appreciate the people we are with. A fundamental premise of Peter’s work is “The relationship is everything.” Knowing and experiencing it are two different things. The quality of our relationships is highly dependent on our ability to be present and in the moment. Let’s hit the pause button more often. Postpone our desires to take immediate action. Better yet, let’s appreciate that pausing, listening, and thinking are all actions. Let’s focus on what’s now, not what’s next. Be present. It will change your life and the lives of those around you.

Article by Jeff Evans – April 2024