Finding Presence Under the Tree.

October 18, 2021

Finding Presence Under the Tree.

May 29, 2023

I can be a maniacal multi-tasker. Some of it is due to overcommitting myself. Some of it is the adrenaline rush of seeing how many plates I can spin at once. Of course, if I am completely honest, some of it is an unconscious desire to distract myself from what's really going on in my life.

As my old friend Jack says, "Chip, what are you pretending not to know?" When I'm in full busy-ness mode, I'm pretending to know very little as there's no time.

No time for the present moment.

Of course, the opposite of presence is absence. Now, if you told me I was frequently absent in my personal or work relationships, I'd be pissed—partly because I don't believe that's true and partly because I know it is. And, yet, I yearn to be more present in life. Somehow, life feels so much more serene and clear when I'm living in the moment.

One thing I've learned about connecting with indigenous people in Mexico or New Mexico is that they often see only the present. They're not fixated on the future or what's happening next. They're fascinated with what's in front of their noses—whether it's a technicolor sky or an emotive family member. They seem to always be present.

When I asked my favorite shaman, Saul, about presence long ago, he said, "find presence under a tree." And this from a Jewish shaman. I teased back, "I didn't know you celebrated Christmas?" Saul smiled at my cheeky evasiveness, but he knew I knew what he meant. Quiet and calm were waiting for me in the solace and beauty of nature. We just had to make time for it. To sit with it. To let go and pay attention to what matters.

I have taken Saul's words to heart, especially when I resist the most and can feel that racing and compelling urge to do more, go more, and be more. It is my cue to immediately put a little "spying on the divine time" in my calendar. I call it multitasking with the desert, the ocean, and the stars. I do it until I am breathing slower, walking with less drive, and until I am where I need to be—fully present within myself. I know that only then will I be fully present for my family, friends, loved ones, and my work, and for all who come into my life.

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