You’ve heard the saying that half of life is showing up. I think the other half is settling in to stay.
Being present means being where you are, unconditionally. It would be easier to have our own, more convenient version of being present, maybe something like, “I’ll be present, but only if it I get what I want from it.” This is the version of mindfulness where the goal is to be present with good feelings or groovy experiences, and the existence of discomfort means you are not being mindful enough. Joe once described this “California Mindfulness.” Its the attitude of “what a beautiful sunny day to be mindful. Let’s not look at those storm clouds.”
Real mindfulness, lets call it “50 state mindfulness,” is willing to be in contact with the moment regardless of external weather or internal mood. But why would anyone want to be present with the storm when they can avoid it? One answer is resilience.
Resilience, defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” When you are willing to be present with difficult experiences, to be still in the center of the storm, your train yourself in the skill of resiliency. You don’t learn how to weather a storm by avoiding the storm. Resilience is learned by showing up and being present with the sunshine and rain clouds of your life.
Being in the center of the storm does not mean allowing yourself to be overwhelmed or out of control. It is not about being macho or proving a point. It is about practicing the skill of being curious and kind while being present with discomfort. This is the practice of showing up and staying in the center of the storm. If you want resiliency, your discomfort transforms into a priceless opportunity to mindful. If you are willing to be in the storm with mindfulness, the skill of resiliency will begin to shine through.