Day 86: Presence Day

by ashleighpenrod

I took a yoga class tonight and mistakenly heard my teacher wish us all a “Happy Presence Day.”

It registered quickly that she actually said “President’s Day,” but I like “Presence Day.” I’m taking one starting now. And since it’s already pretty late at night, I’m taking one tomorrow, too.

If you’d like to join me, below is our Presence Day regimen:

  • At three different times throughout the day, close your eyes and take three long, deep breaths. Don’t worry about your emails, your phone messages or the meeting you may or may not be missing. Everything will wait for three breaths. During each inhale, feel the air slowly draw in through your nostrils, breeze down the back of your throat and gently fill your lungs. On the exhale, let your ribs relax and your shoulders melt as your breath softly releases back out your nose. Three times.
  • When you feel the urge to interrupt someone, take one of those deep breaths and be quiet instead (also, unclench your jaw). As the person speaks, try not to think about what you want to say. Just listen. When they’re done talking and you’ve really heard it all, let two full seconds pass before you reply. You might be surprised what comes out.
  • At least once, put your hand on your heart and search for your heartbeat. It’s okay if you do it in the guise of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance—whatever works. But don’t move your hand until you’ve found that beautiful rhythm and enjoyed it for a while.
  • Smile when you don’t feel like smiling. And not one of those tight-lipped everybody-knows-I-don’t-mean-it smiles. A real one. That tiny, light-hearted muscle movement will help you pull back from whatever darkness you’re headed towards and focus on a present, much more pleasant action.
  • Eat at least one piece of fruit and a veggie of your choice. I don’t think I need to explain why this is a good idea.

There’s really no way this can turn out badly, so let’s try it and see how it goes.

Enjoy your Presence Day!