I often get the question about how I started on my “path” towards presence. My answer is “when I got Bell’s palsy.” Bell’s palsy is a virus that paralyzes one side of your face and when I woke up one morning in 2009 unable to drink, speak or smile, at some level, I knew my life of pushing through on autopilot was over.
You can read in detail about my wake up call in First for Woman’s article called, “I was so good at ignoring my mounting stress. Then, it took over my face.” Life has a way of getting your attention and for me, facing the fear of my face being permanently paralyzed (which can happen) was enough to scare me into a new level of clarity. My path of learning about presence has been rich, full of twists and turns and plenty of scary moments, but when I look back on my journey I’m forever grateful for how life got my attention.
Bell’s palsy didn’t instantly force me to become and stay present. Instead, it helped me stop, rest and have the (albeit forced) space to explore other options than just powering through my life. What would it be like if I honored and listened to my body’s wisdom? Who would I be if I weren’t powering through? What would life feel like if I could really be with my family in ways that felt truly nourishing? These questions led to bigger and bolder questions and ultimately to me taking courageous action to radically shift my life’s priorities.
In my new book, Drop In: Lead with Deeper Presence and Courage, I share my personal journey, as well as other people’s stories about how they were drawn to being more present. Throughout the book you’ll be reminded that being present isn’t about being blissed out all the time. Instead, it’s about being aware of your body sensations, emotional responses and thought patterns enough to choose how you want to respond to your world. For me, my path back to presence has led me to a deeper sense of clarity, purpose and courage. And all of it is available to you as well…and hopefully you get to keep the use of your face as you engage on your epic journey.