I thought our intention for this coming week would be centered on meal planning or cooking with healthier ingredients. Those types of goals are important, but through our intention to celebrate during our family meals, it became clear that presence is at the heart of the party. Showing up, staying engaged and being real.
Maybe you've been at a party, and even though the celebration part is happening, you don't feel a sense of engagement or truthfulness, from yourself or the people around you. I have to confess that I've been both disengaged and disingenuous way too often, particularly during the past year. Instead of facing uncomfortable realities or situations, I tend toward denial and avoidance.
Everything is fine. Where's my iPhone?
I'll give myself a little credit: I believe that I'm getting better at being present. I'm getting better at it because I have the chance to practice every day, particularly when I'm with my family. I'm learning that presence doesn't mean presenting a perfect facade. And I'm learning to give myself a break when I fall short.
At dinner tonight, we were all present. We brought silliness, impatience, laughter, spilled water glasses, complaints about beef ravioli, fights over seating arrangements, scatological humor, and a lot of love. Everything wasn't fine, but I didn't retreat to my iPhone. We all showed up to the party, and it was a come-as-you-are event.
What does being present mean to you? How does being present affect your family meals?
Elise Roth Edwards writes, paints, makes stuff and asks a lot of questions in Denver, with the help of her two kids, her husband and a growing crowd of friends and neighbors. You can read more about their experiments and adventures at her ever-evolving parenting blog, The Family Lab for Inquiry and Play.