by Dr. Tina Marcantel


california sunset


The busyness of the holidays is upon us. There are parties to plan, holiday meals to cook, gift shopping to be done. It’s a time of sensory overload as we join the jostling crowds scurrying to accomplish their to-do lists, pushing their way through aisles crowded with merchandise.

It is the season for DOING, and it is especially important during this busy time to remember to balance our doing with our BEING.

Practicing the presence of being means we are completely aware of the moment that we are in now. When we focus on this awareness we become the observer of our thoughts, letting them move through our minds without compulsively acting on them. We don’t identify with our thoughts—that is to say, we recognize that our thoughts are simply ideas passing through our minds and don’t necessarily represent our true selves. This attitude brings peace to the body and mind.

Being mindful of each breath and being aware of everything the body is feeling at a given moment is a tool that keeps us focused on the presence of being.

Why is being in the present moment so astoundingly healthy for us? Because it frees the mind of compulsive thoughts, and when we still the mind we gain both emotional and physical benefits.

1. A calm mind calms the nervous system, lowering the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol that makes us feel anxious.

2. Presence of being assists us in the awareness and enjoyment of sensory perception. When I am present I taste, smell, and enjoy all of the ingredients in my food as opposed to gulping my food on the run. I appreciate the touch of different textures of fabric or the velvety feel of a rose petal. When my mind and body are still I become grateful for my own private symphony that the birds perform as I relax in my back yard.

3. When we are in the present moment we listen to others with open ears and open hearts. We are not using our thoughts to judge, but seek the divine essence of the other. Being completely present with another person means we can truly listen—we don’t just hear what they are saying; we feel the intention of their words.

We do not live in the future or the past. It is only the present moment that we have, and each moment offers special gifts that can enhance the joy and beauty of life. Receiving those gifts with gratitude in our hearts truly puts us in the Thanksgiving spirit!