"Be Present." Those two words were printed on a shirt that I received after attending Thrive: The Third Metric conference in New York last month. After an amazing, thought-provoking, soul-inspiring and entertaining event packed with some awesome speakers (too many to list!), I was handed a "thank you" shirt compliments of Dolce & Gabbana (fashionable SWAG for sure!). With more than one thousand people in attendance and several variations of what was printed on the shirt, I received the two words that I had been struggling with lately, Be Present. I strive to "be present" with my family, my work, my friends, volunteering at my daughters' school or community events. But, it's definitely easier said than done at times. Yes, to be present really is a gift and one worth giving to yourself and those around you. So, on day two of my visit to New York City, I decided to put my affirmation in action and when I did, it was amazing how my trip started to reveal several happy surprises.
One surprise came from a good friend who just happened to travel from my home town in California to New York City at the same time and was staying at my same hotel. Coincidence? No, it was an affirmation. I have admired my friend's passion, dedication and her self-discovery journey through yoga for years and here she was at the same hotel I was staying for a yoga convention. Yes, it's time to get back to my yoga space and my practice. Namaste.
Then, while doing some sight-seeing, my girlfriend and I thought it would be fun to be in the audience for "The Today Show." We first stopped at The NBC Experience Store to see what fun shirts we could find to wear. While shopping around we met an employee named Albert. What could have easily just been a standard shopping trip turned into a lovely conversation about collecting pins. My friend promised to mail some pins to Albert in exchange for some of his. We were present in that very moment and it turned into actual "presents"... priceless gifts between strangers. Albert then emailed me this note: "You ladies made my day. There can never be enough positive energy in the atmosphere in today's society and it is vital that it is radiated as often as possible." Well said Albert, my new New York friend!
There we were with our hand-made signs (thanks to my little nephew Graham's art supply) and our NBC The Voice shirts ready for The Today Show. The theme that week was "Love Your Selfie." Yes, another reminder that I was in the right place at the right time. I know it sounds silly to include a theme about loving yourself, but for me it was another affirmation in the form of a hashtag. One that even included an impromptu moment to share a "smile" with Al Roker.
When our NYC trip had come to and end and it was time for us to go back to Cali, we made our last Starbucks run (a must-have before flying home!) and I was reminded via my cup to "Live from the heart of yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect." Wow, once again I felt that I was practicing to be present and because I did, I was blessed to receive the signs all around me. Some may say it was the universe, I call it GPS (God's Positioning System). Thank you, Starbucks and Oprah via Teavana "Steep Your Soul" coffee sleeve for that "present" in a cup.
What did this California girl learn from visiting New York City?
Be Present. Love yourself. Be whole, not perfect.
Truly the best souvenir gifts: "presents" that you can share with anyone.