The Power of Your Presence

Everyone has it. It is powerful beyond our comprehension. Yet, very few people use it with intention.

We all want to make a difference while on this earth. And we ALL have the power, every single day, every single moment of our day to do so.

What is this precious commodity? Presence. Some call it a good bedside manner, others call it positive energy or positive presence, and others call it just plain love. In coaching we call it coaching presence. I have been an instructor teaching health and wellness coaching skills for almost 15 years, and it hasn't been until the last four of my life with metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that spread and became terminal) that I became acutely aware of its impact as a patient. I've experienced and known of the impact my entire life but the immensity and calling for me to speak of it became overwhelming in this last year because of my extreme experiences at both ends of the spectrum.

How grateful I was for the phlebotomist who came in my hospital room with intention and purpose to do her job with quiet love and kindness at 4am to draw my blood, rather than shouting "Good Morning" to anyone within a mile range and flipping every switch on the wall as every other nurse that week had done. Her intention to hold me gently and tenderly in my fragile and vulnerable state had me lifting my eye pillow to see who this beautiful spirit was. It was a year ago, and I was only with her for a moment but I will never forget her.

Or the pulmonary rehabilitation therapist (and exercise physiologist) who saved my life by just being "with" me in my vulnerability and pain. Having been an exercise professional my whole life- now on oxygen 24/7, and learning to breath, manage pain, fluid, uncertainty, and deal with a completely new way of being in the world, her gentle presence was with me step by step, giving me what I needed in the moment. Her mindful, nonjudgmental presence saved me and gave me the will to keep coming back. Many people don't return. It's not the cheerleader happy, "Hi Ms. Schmid, how was your weekend?" cheer or the not meaning to be, but condescending "Now Ms. Schmid, we need you to do xxxx," with clipboard in tow with a voice for a 2 year old, but the kind of genuine presence that says I get you, and I'm so glad you're here. We're going to get through this together, and I am with you. What is it you need most today? Many times I cried out and suffered, feeling overwhelmed with despair, but her love and understanding kept me going. I wouldn't have gotten the extra year to see my granddaughter be born without it.

Or the simple genuine smile that is given freely with love and authenticity by a check-in clerk, a nurse, a doctor, the valet, the stranger offering help, that makes a challenging day lighter in an instant. It has brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

So no matter who you are, please know, you have the power with each human connection to make a difference. YOU. Yes, YOU. You may be a high powered executive or jobless, with no direction. But what I have learned is that our contribution to being on this earth is valued by these simple things. You can be a life-giving presence to others.

This isn't new age stuff. This is human stuff. In the busy lives we lead, we can acknowledge and honor each human we touch with kindness, with love, and presence by being aware of our energy.

And It makes a difference whether you want it to or not, sadly. Indifference, inauthentic, or negative energy is felt by everyone around you.

That said, we are all human. We are not perfect. I am far from it and know of its importance in being responsible for my energy and presence ...and still forget my impact.

The best we can do is to be intentional and purposeful. It will be life-giving to you and those you touch when you do.

How? Just start by being mindful and present. Look into the eyes of the person you are speaking. Be still. Focus on the conversation. Listen to what they are saying instead of thinking about what you are going to say next. What are they saying? What are they wanting you to hear?

We all want to be heard. We want to know that we matter, that someone is hearing us. That is the greatest gift you will ever give another human being.

Thank you dearest friends, family, health care providers, or strangers for generously giving that gift to me without wanting anything in return. I am grateful and am sending love to all of those that have been so generously loving and kind on this earthly path I've walked.