Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Gift of Being Present

Every once in a while, I feel the need to shake things up. Even the best of routines get stagnant after a time and benefit from a bit of movement.

This has certainly been the case in my working environment. Sometimes writing with a view is inspiring, other times it's a distraction. The same goes for background music, as well as sitting alone at my desk versus around others at my favorite coffee shop.

Having recently spent far too much time gazing out the window in my office, last week I repositioned my desk against the far wall in the hopes of also changing my mental scenery. It worked, with the sole downside being the office phone's inability to reach across the room. While not a deal breaker, it certainly was an inconvenience given its constant usage.

It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

In the desk's original place now sits a solitary, comfortable chair. There's no way to access the desktop computer while talking on the phone, no internet to browse. No drafts to mark up, no bills to pay.

Just the phone. And a chair.

What at first appeared as an obstacle to productivity has revealed itself to be a facilitator of true connection. Conversations, both professional and personal, have literally transformed now that each has my full and undivided attention. I've been- for the first time in a long time, it seems- really listening and hearing what others have to say. The intention was always there, yet so were other tasks and distractions.

What's more, I now make my way to the phone- both to make and receive calls- only when I'm ready, willing, and really able to be present. Which means I'm not only hearing those on the other end of the line. I want to hear them.

In a world where more- rather than less- is more, the rearranging of my office has been a humbling and important reminder that sometimes the 'old ways of doing things' are still the best. Indeed, technology can facilitate and increase our ability to connect with one another, but not the nature of how we do so. That's still up to us.

The next time you're on a call, wherever you are, take a moment to stop or put down what you're doing and give your attention wholly to the person on the other end of the line. Rearrange your priorities to really be present with the people in your life, whether in person or on the phone. It- and they- are worth it.

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