Before Showing Up for Presence, You Have to Know It

January 05, 2017

Present In the Moment

On the realisation that I would like my defining word for 2017 to be “presence”, I began digging a bit more deeply on what it really means to be present.

Presence, the way I’ve grown to see it, is this contextual state: the state of presence required over a long, overdue conversation with a friend over coffee may differ from the presence required when you’re having dinner alone at your place. And yet presence, in its most mindful sense, requires the same traits from you on both these situations: you’ll gain so much more by acting curious, eager to pay attention, and by being in an exploratory state of freedom where you’re not really concerned about where your next action should bring you to.


Should is such a douche bag concept, and Elle Luna has said it best. I kept thinking back and back until I could find a time where I was certain I was experiencing true presence, when I really was there, even unknowingly. Eventually my thoughts were flowing all the way back to my childhood, back when I was a boy all about the “now!” and concepts like productivity, time or even meaning didn’t float around in my little brain. Hopefully you got to be there too: in that blissful state of non-judgement where your decisions were taken based on how much randomness they could lead up to, rather than the incessant inner monologue about whether or not they were the most profitable output.

Was that being present in the now? Would my silly 12 year old self come up with this as his definition of presence, and above all, is that the definition of true presence my 29 year old self would like to give?

I think the hardest part about living in the present state is actually giving oneself permission to stay in it; to completely send away the should thoughts, rather than simply embracing the awkward silence of their presence. Because when your I should thoughts take over, you’re acting out of expectations of what you think should happen once they’re fulfilled: and expectations is another douchebag of a word.

My days are littered with them. Small expectations as they may be, but there they are, peeking through the tiny windows of the hours as they mindlessly go by. Can you begin to imagine what could happen if we were able to fully let go of them, right now?

I’d love to be there. I mean, here.

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Written by Ricardo Magalhães who works for the Internet. By day, a front-end web developer with a passion for typography and design. By night, he sleeps. Follow me on Mastodon.