The Gift of Presence

Whilst we become event more frazzled than usual at the end of the year, Olivia Horne, &Breathe's Resident Happiness Coach, shares how to slow down and be, just be, present.


Less doing, more being
Less rushing, more rest
Less clutter, more clarity
Less gifting, more presence.

In this constantly switched on world, and at this crazy and consumerist time of year, let’s take a moment to consider ways that we can channel our time and energy into the things that really matter. 2016 has been a helluva year for many reasons. Now let’s look forward to a bright new 2017, embracing all that it brings.

But what about all the shiny distractions – how are we supposed to choose what to focus on when all is not particularly calm, and all is much too loud and bright? Something that will nourish us enough to actually enjoy a few moments in amongst all the festive madness? Well it’s not time spent regretting yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. It’s not energy spent trying to fix or change of control all the millions of tiny pieces of our lives – especially the stuff that doesn’t even belong to us. It’s not a constant striving for more, new, different or the latest non-existent perfection. And it’s not reaching for your phone with the seemingly uncontrollable urge to fill every moment of stillness or silence.


It’s just showing up, here and now. Showing up, paying attention, and being still for long enough to create some space for the now and the new. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a formal practice, and certainly if you wait for the perfect moment to arrive, it’ll never happen at all. There are opportunities for mindful moments all day, every day. It’s looking around you, wherever you are, and taking in the view. It’s making eye contact (remember that?) and smiling at someone. It’s listening – to your environment and to your kids. It’s listening to your heart and your gut, and to your own internal dialogue (and asking it to be kind – not just because it’s Christmas). It’s pausing for just a few seconds to feel the textures of your clothes, the water in the shower, the floor under your feet.  It’s smelling and tasting the food on your plate and in your mouth. It’s realising that there is a whole world of HD, right here waiting for you, #nofilter. And it’s feeling grateful for all of it.

Wherever you are, be all there.
— Jim Elliott

Closer to home at this time of year, it’s time with loved ones, (and sometimes very necessary time out from loved ones too!). It’s time spent reflecting on the year and all its wins and losses, successes and failures. It’s allowing yourself to feel pride for the successes, considering what wider impact they can have in your life. And it’s forgiving yourself for the failures, deciding to stop dwelling and learn from them. It’s energy spent focusing on your own needs and making some commitments for the new year to really honour them. It’s remembering that you can’t pour from an empty cup – you owe it to the whole family to find ways to fill yours. It’s putting your phone away for a bit every day and just feeling what it’s like to be together. And breathing. Remember to keep breathing.

When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?
— Thich Nhat Hanh

So who will you give the gift of presence to this year? It says “I see you, I hear you, you matter”. It’s simple, it’s free, it’s here, it’s now.

Merry Christmas, Mamas

Olivia Horne is &Breathe's Resident Happiness Coach, because finding your best you is about the mind as well as the body.  She also offers one-to-one coaching and small group meditation classes in London, find out more here and here.
At &Breathe Postnatal we run retreats and events specifically designed to to help new parents come up for air. Check out our week long retreats in France and our 24hr retreats in the UK