Being In Your Life vs Being In Your Thinking | Blog

Being In Your Life vs Being In Your Thinking | Blog

Don't Study This Moment; Be In It
-Brene Brown

I'm just returning from doing a 3-day staff and leadership training at The Farnum Center. This is a premiere drug and alcohol rehab center in New Hampshire. Every time I'm there I'm reminded of the often underestimated yet incredible power of presence.

There is no greater transformative catalyst than sitting with someone and giving them our presence. 

When I first began to explore how the quality of our minds, in any given moment, shapes our experience, a few things became visible to me.

First off, I realized how much of my attention was pointed in the direction of my thinking. I was giving my attention, my consideration to my thoughts. I began to see this was not the same as being present to the moment, to the person in front of me or the situation. It was being present to thought.

The second thing I saw was how I had a habit of tracking, making assessments, drawing conclusions, studying myself and my behavior. This kept me busy internally. I had a “job” to do.

All of this was done innocently and, in a desire, to do well or to do better in my work and life.

However, what has become more visible is that these were keeping me more in my head then in the present moment.

There is a difference between observing life and being in life.

Once we see this distinction, it becomes easier to feel the difference inside of us. Being in life; being present, goes from a conceptual idea to a tangible feeling. As we get more of feel for the difference inside ourselves, we are often surprised by what begins to take place.

We all have habits of thinking that keep us out of engaged presence. Presence gets covered with our own mental static.

It was a humbling moment, in the best of ways, when I really saw how much of my attention was aimed towards my thoughts versus really being in the moment.

Just seeing the distinction between being preoccupied or giving attention to my thinking versus being present to the moment or the person is front of me has had huge rewards.

Throughout the three days with the Farnum team I heard stories of healing and transformation. All of these had a common thread. The source, the catalyst, the gateway, was presence. Or as they like to say there, “A heart to heart; human to human connection.” That's where we start – with our presence.

Learning to move through our lives and interact with others with less on our minds naturally leads to presence. We don't have to “get present”.

There is no skill needed. Presence is our natural state. 

The way I see it for me is, I used to respect all my thinking. I thought it was the way to new insight, to change, to better performance. So, it got A LOT of my attention.

However, when I started to see the value of a freer mind and its connection to well-being, new potential, fresh thinking and ideas, I started to respect my busy mind a lot less.

I could see that with less of me on my mind, I was naturally more present. And in that presence, things happen.

I started to get touched by life in new ways. I could see that being in the moment, in real-time, left a lovely residue. An imprint.

This is what the Farnum team practices every day. They have story after story of profound changes that take place for their clients from this simple and powerful understanding. And as the health practitioners, the counselors, the staff clearly see – it all starts with their willingness to just BE with the clients.

They understand that where they COME FROM – THEIR PRESENCE – is way more powerful than anything they do or say.

They have seen firsthand how presence is the game-changer. Their words, and the teaching helps, but the source of it all begins and ends with presence.

Presence allows them to see beyond the behaviors, the past, the thinking of their clients to the truth of who they are. To listen beyond the noise and point the client to their true nature. 

This IS the source of transformation and a whole new potential.

Our presence, that essence, is the source of connection and is the source of new shifts and change.

Letting presence be the fuel for the moment, for the conversation, for the activity at hand, produces amazing results.

See what happens for yourself when thought quiets and you naturally fall into presence. You fall into real-time. What happens for you and the people around you?

“There is a difference between observing your life and being in your life.”

Being in the moment, in real-time, leaves a lovely residue. An imprint. It fuels us.

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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at 



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