Where Did You Go?
Has this ever happened to you?
I’m in a conversation with someone and there is just too much going on around me to concentrate and fully focus. Then it happens, they say something that triggers me and I go to a past event in my life. I lose time and I am not present in the moment and I don’t even realize I have left. The other person recognizes it fairly quickly that I am not listening. I’m in my own little world, daydreaming or going through a memory.
“Don, he is just not present in the relationship. He keeps leaving. I mean his body is here, but he is somewhere else and it makes it nearly impossible to have a conversation.”
There are many possible reasons for this and many solutions to being more present, as well.
Let’s remember that no one is 100% emotionally available all the time. There are things that take us to the past or fast forward us. Staying in the present moment is challenging. Yoga helps with that, in that you are asked to pay attention to what is happening right now. Mindfulness and shamatha meditation also call us to attend to the now. Most people are astounded, when they attempt this simple meditation, how incredibly challenging it is.
Now imagine trying to do this and being triggered. I am attempting to stay present in the moment and I get a text from someone that a relative is headed to the hospital. I need to put one of those two things on hold for a few minutes. Do I put the conversation on hold and get back to the person who just texted? I cannot be present to both simultaneously.
Or I am in a situation of high stress and do not want to see a certain individual. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that person. Upon closer examination, it is not them, but it is too late. I have already gotten emotionally reactive.
Or I am a survivor of trauma and there is something happening right now that is reminding me of the trauma and it feels like the trauma is happening all over again.
One of the things that help bring us back to the present moment is our breath. Pay attention to your breath in those moments. Pay attention to body sensations to help you focus on the now. Notice your feet right now. As soon as your attention is on your feet, you have a chance to be present in the moment.
As you are present in the now, watch how much better communication becomes for you.