Do you sometimes feel like you’re not really “there”? Not really present? Your horse will be the first to notice. Today, I want to share with you an enlightening realization and some concrete tools that you can use to arrive in the moment, both mentally and physically.
What is presence? To me, presence means that we are truly “there” with our mind, body, and senses, fully aware of where our feet are touching the ground, able to respond (instead of react), and able to “go with the flow.”
A typical human mindset is that we need to somehow create presence (I wrote about this recently). However, our body and senses are always present – it’s just that sometimes we don’t fully perceive it because our mind is caught up in the past or future. So, it’s less about creating presence where there was none before, and more about removing what prevents us from feeling it. Isn’t that relieving? I thought so. – Everything is already there, we just need to see it.
So, how can we do this concretely?
Here are three techniques and ideas that help me let go of thoughts and be more present in the moment, whether I’m with my horse or not:
1. Feel the ground beneath your feet
It may sound too simple, but it’s very effective: Tune into your feet. Right now. How does the contact with the ground feel? How does it feel to be supported by the ground? Are you allowing yourself to fully step and evenly distribute your weight with each step? You can also take this idea with you, for example, on a walk with your horse. You can even write the quote “Be where your feet are” by Scott M. O’Neill on a piece of paper and hang it somewhere you often look.
In yoga, breath is considered the bridge between the mind and body, and for good reason. It is one of the best entry points to our nervous system. Here’s a concrete exercise you can try: Take a breath and feel it filling your upper body, perhaps even down to your pelvis. Hold your breath for as long as it feels comfortable. Slowly exhale until your lungs are empty. Repeat 3-5 times.
If you like, place 1-2 hands on your upper body while doing this exercise.
3. Close your eyes and feel
Close your eyes and focus on one of your senses. For example, you can place your hands on your horse’s fur and practice “seeing” with your hands what you feel. You can take an essential oil or something else with a pleasant scent in your hand and concentrate only on smelling it. Or you can focus solely on hearing, for example, by sitting next to the horses while they eat hay, which I like to do. It often helps to set a timer for, say, 5 minutes, so that you can truly let go during that time.
These are things I do to bring my mind back to my feet. I’d love to hear how they work for you, too. I always enjoy hearing from you.
…And if you come home at the end of the day and realize with a tinge of sadness that you’ve been running around all day and somehow didn’t feel so present, take a moment and mentally relive the best moments of the day. The conscious experience can also be practiced and trained like a muscle, even afterwards. Each time you focus on what you want, you help your brain understand that it’s important to you, making it easier to perceive it next time.
If you would like support with this, for example, because a certain issue keeps coming up for you, feel free to reach out. Thoughts that continue to pull us out of a sense of presence often carry a message from our subconscious. (More information on this in the recent blog article). It can be helpful to take a closer look with the help of someone with a neutral perspective.