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The Power of Presence

Jennifer Mulholland
January 26, 2016

“Show up to what shows up. Respond to what shows up. Embrace uncertainty. Trust you are ok.” These are the words spoken by my dear friend and colleague, Scott Kelly, a mindfulness and well-being coach. These words, and my experience behind them, have changed my life dramatically.

Seven months ago, I remember waking up for a large event I was hosting and speaking at and immediately feeling a sense of anxiety and worry. Now, I had done this a hundred times before and knew the process inside and out – ideate, create, design, plan, host, and deliver an experience for people to learn, connect, and become healthier and happier. So why then, was I such a mess inside?

I was nervous, stressed, and consumed by my own insecure thinking. “This has to be perfect”, “I must say the right thing” etc. With each thought that floated into my mind, I placed more expectation on myself and more importance on how others would see me. I did my best to push past these feelings and began to write down my speaking points for the day. I rehearsed them on my way to an emotional freedom technique workshop I was attending for myself – on the same day. 

By the time I arrived to the workshop, I was a wreck. I had fallen into the downward spiral of future thinking. I was completely consumed by the event’s logistics, delivery, and desired outcome. I had rehearsed my speech for the last thirty minutes and my body was tense and tight. All I could think of was my event and I beat myself up inside for choosing to be at a workshop the same day of my own event. What was I doing here?

Again, I pushed past these feelings and made my way into the workshop. After introductions were made, and an in-depth explanation of the healing technique we were about to learn was shared, we were paired up with a stranger. One person would ask the questions and the other would answer, then we would switch. I started by answering the questions.

“Think of a stressful situation and bring that into your awareness”, said my partner.

“Well, that is easy, I’ve been consumed by it since I awoke.” I replied.

“Where do you feel it in your body? She asked.

“In my solar plexus.” I placed my hands underneath my sternum, above my stomach.

“What does it feel like?” she probed.

Tears began to stream down my eyes. “It feels scared”.

“Breathe into that feeling. Stay with it, feel what it feels like.” She encouraged me to stay with the feeling as she read the prompts from her notebook.

I breathed deep and more tears streamed down my cheeks. Insights began to flood into my awareness. I was scared of not being seen, not saying the right thing, not performing, and not being “perfect”, whatever my warped vision of that was. I stayed with this feeling and went into it more deeply, bringing all of my awareness to the present moment. In a flash, I realized I was consumed with the future. I was consumed with how others would see me. My breath began to change and I could feel the scared little girl inside of myself begin to chuckle at the experience. I caught myself completely in future thinking, future projection and future expectation – of myself and others. As soon as I realized this, I was able to bring my full awareness into how I was feeling in this moment. I was back. The fear subsided and was replaced with a strong sense of peace and inner confidence. All would be well, no matter what. My body began to expand and my breath smoothed into its natural rhythm. When I opened my eyes, I felt completely different. My heart was expanded, I felt peaceful and supported. I was present.

Later that evening, I went on stage with no notes and no rehearsal. I surrendered and trusted that showing up was enough. I was enough. Insights would come and as long as I brought my full presence to the present moment and spoke from my heart, people would connect. And they did.

I took the stage with my full presence in the present. I felt more expansive than ever and was overwhelmed in gratitude for the packed house of people who came. I spoke my truth with authenticity, power, and love. I felt amazing and I witnessed the audience connect and light up. It was a vivid, transformational moment for me that has changed my approach to each day that has followed.

“Show up. Respond to what shows up. Embrace uncertainty.” Trust in the process of life.

These are the words on the white board in my office. They have become my mantra and way of being. They have become my daily practice. They have deepened my experience of life’s wonder and have allowed me to trust myself. They have shown me the power of surrender and the magic that unfolds when we have the courage to bring are full selves to each moment.

When was the last time you brought your presence to the present?

When was the last time you fully trusted yourself to show up unscripted and unrehearsed?

When was the last time you trusted the magnificence of life to orchestrate events that serve everyone’s highest and greatest good?

At Plenty, we connect idealists with the resources, information, and people they need to create massive positive change in the world. To be an idealist takes courage, passion, and a willingness to be our full, authentic selves.

If you find that you are too busy worrying about the future to enjoy today's work; too consumed with scenario planning to see what is currently working and what isn’t; or just have lost your perspective, we can help. Whether you have a mission to cure cancer, a calling to end hunger, a vision to replenish the earth’s resources, a passion for entrepreneurship, or a desire to raise healthy and happy children, we can help you find the presence you need to develop strategies that matter, programs that work, and impact that you’re proud of. You are enough and we’d love to help you realize that.

“Show up. Show up to what shows up. Embrace uncertainty.” Trust in the magic of life.

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