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On Practicing Presence.

Life is my meditation. Family is my medicine.

Family photograph provided by the author, Jennifer Souiade. Photographed by Katie Donnelly © 2016.

I’ve tried to meditate and I find that when I do, it’s awkward and forced and anything but. I’m still learning what it really means. My cousin calls my kind of meditation jedi- or hyper-something meditation. The idea is that I can meditate on the fly, a minute here, a moment there, renewing and regenerating all throughout the day. I like that. It feels real.

I meditate when I move. When I walk, when I dance. The idea came to me when I was completely present in a yoga class, thinking nothing or being exactly in the moment as it is when the teacher asked us to let ourselves stop thinking… it shocked me back into thinking…

Was I not thinking? How can I not think? I wasn’t, and now I am though. This is so weird and so cool. Okay, darn. Now how do I make that non-thinkingness come back?

Come back?… please?… you-hoo!?… Hmm…. the more I try, the farther I get. Next time. [Release… voilà!]

My kids know when I’m there, present with them and when I’m not. I’ll be swaying with my baby in my arms and when my mind wanders, she whimpers again. When I come back to focus in the now, she releases a deep breath of relief. It’s amazing. Sometimes it’s tricky to stay present — I’ll find myself automatically reading stories about an inquisitive little monkey while my thoughts are far away at work or with a friend. Again, when I realize it, I come back to the story and to stay engaged, I describe what we see on each page, to keep myself engaged and there with them. Look at this yellow leaf!

My grandfather is notorious for making up silly songs to soothe babies, telling them stories with random melodies, and it has always worked — he is fully present to tell such a story. I’ve started it with my girls and it goes something like this and is different every time:

“I love you. You are my baby. And your name is BlahBlahBlah. We are in your room and you are in my arms and you have an elephant rug (faux, of course). I am your mommy and she is your sister, and today we went to the park…”

I realize I still sway when I stand, as I did when my girls were each in my womb. It’s incredibly soothing to flow with the Earth’s vibrations. When I’m in a good space with it, I can somehow hold the energy with my heart and expand it to fill their room with love. It feels like a big green ball of light emanating throughout the space, flowing with peace and love while switching out possibilities for anything but good with positive presence and possibility. It feels really special and the girls become calm and peaceful, even to the point of exaggerated breaths or even a sigh of relief. It’s lovely.

It feels like their little sighs are saying “Thanks for truly relaxing and being here with me, mom. I love you. Now that I know you’re good, I’m going to fall asleep now. Good night.”

“Sigh.” Those little balls of light and love… always teaching me something.


In a conscious effort to transform my life and create a path of the highest integrity for myself to serve others, I created an inspiring environment where kindness, curiosity, ambition and balance are honored. Rewarding these pillars of success creates a ripple effect for our higher good.

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Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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