"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence"
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
A rare note from the inner cheesy little Rosie 🌹 Inspired by a melting 4.5-hour talk with Huong the coach.
Recently, I could finally convince my Dad to try out a 10-day Vipassana meditation course, where you become a full-time meditator with 10 hours of "work" every day. He'd got annoyed a lot of times as I wouldn't stop bringing up the topic for years, but too bad, he brought up a dai-nhách daughter. The day he made it to the course, I jumped out of joy. As my dad's body was not in its best condition after some critical operations, he had to try three times as hard as a normal young person would have to. For that, I admire him and am proud of him. On coming back, he’s been meditating every night for 20 minutes, for just simple inhales and exhales. As a reward for my years of being a đỉa, I won myself an ally. I can connect with him much better these days compared to before. We're both trying to be more in the moment, listen to each other more attentively and minimize our subconscious general complaints about life, making the home air a lot more breathable.
During the recent trip to Da Nang with my favorite SSEAYP gang (somehow including Tonie), he surprised me. In our previous trips together, one of the things I couldn’t stop my eye-rolls at him was his attachment to the phone. Like, he would pick up the phone every 5 mins to check whatever it was on it and left me people-watching alone in the endless Disneyland queues. He evolved, though! In this trip, for a whole seafood section, he kept his eyes fixed on the food and his fingers busy nạy-ing, mút-ting, chấm-ing, nhai-ing for almost 2 hours straight, not touching the phone for once. I noticed and almost wanted to throw a party to celebrate it. At my comment, he smiled wide and said: "I’ve been trying hard nha mạy! I’ve put on “Do not disturb” mode on weekends for months now. I really worked on it". Oh boy, was I touched! Thanks to that newly-earned mindfulness, Tonie became sensitive enough to know when I was having my emotional shutdown to offer a listening ear. Come Tonie, me give you medal! 🏅
One of the sexiest acts I've seen is someone turning the phone's screen down to the table when a notification suddenly shows up on the screen, then focusing back on the ongoing talk, in less than a sec. Or even better, not having the notification mode on at all/ not taking the phone out from the beginning. I've seen that in a few of my friends, then started to slowly pick up the habit. It's always comforting to get an unspoken reminder that you matter, at least to the person in front of you.
Okay so it's both a blessing and a curse when you're born with a dancing heart, meaning with lot of emotions - I heard them say and kinda agree. I'm also "granted" with a pretty active, passionate brain that loves to analyze every single piece of information coming in its sight. I try my best to make both a blessing. But when your brain and heart are constantly in a debate contest, each trying its best to be heard, it's a challenge everyday to stay mindful. It gets tougher on days of overwhelm and off-balance, or when you notice how effortless it is for others to deal with their emotions and express themselves. Sometimes I wish there's like a Mute button to push whenever any of them are too loud. But since there ain't such thing (yet), I've learned ways to manage it, like writing everyday. It's my favorite part of the day, when I can just sit down, turn down all kinds of noises, pick the colored pen I feel like and pour out my thoughts and feelings onto paper. That way, I get to know myself better bit by bit through taking a close look at each anger and frustration, each laughter and joy. That's how I offer myself the "presence".
Things do get out of hand sometimes though. Those are often the times that remind me of how blessed I am to have my friends around. I can't thank them enough on the meet-ups, the midnight calls, the pop-up online Tarot session or the lunch in-between a hospital visit. Yes, among 7+ billion humans on Earth (excluding robots for a reason), there are people that set aside time to listen to my stories down to details, offering comforting words or jokes when needed, even flying over to see me in person just for a real hug. As a functional human with flaws, I can get greedy sometimes and keep asking for more. But in the end, I'm still well aware that each piece of quality time that people make for me is a real blessing. So here's to the ones that have been with me through ups and downs and recognize yourself up there, thank you! 🎈
"As painful as they are, those holes we all have in our hearts are what truly connect us to each other," Michelle Obama once put it. But as the world is not always an easy place, people often cover up their vulnerabilities, meaning their "holes", with layers of walls, in forms of jokes, indifference and smiles; making moments when they actually show their real self become so fleeting and delicate. If we don't pay enough attention, who knows what pain we might have helped soothe, or what hints we could have used to connect to each other.
That being said, not all conversations have to be real deep or meaningful. The whole world don't need just Adele to make it a better place. Light chats have its role. Also, it's not healthy to expect the so-called presence from every single person you meet. In my experience, it will leave you devastated. It's just, in time of pain, a real presence can actually shorten the recovery period; in time of happiness/ excitement/ love/ win/ joy, a genuine presence can help save the moment right into "core memory storage" (term from Inside Out movie); and in time of confusion, which is no stranger to millennials, an attentive ear will really help one to unload their feelings and see their picture more clearly for themselves.
So note to self, or to those who might need it: If you manage to stay in the moment with someone and be really there there with them, even with yourself, especially with yourself, it's already a success. Your presence can heal.
Why am I writing in IELTS style with IELTS vocab and structures here? :))
Anyway, that's my inner little girl running the show up there, thanks for showing up sweetie 👀
Have a cool day!