Make Room For The Stuttering

The Essence of Presence

Posted on: September 17, 2009

Presence is extremely important in our everyday lives. It is when we are with someone fully, paying attention only to them, listening patiently, allowing what ever needs to happen, to happen. It is rare to find people able to be present with someone else, especially in our multi-tasking worlds.

How many times have you been on the phone with someone and heard the tell tale tapping of the keyboard? Or been face-to-face with someone in an intense conversation and they answer their cell phone? Or in that same conversation and the listener has that blank look about them, like they have no idea what you just said?

To me, presence is special. It says that the other person is with you, respects you enough to put everything else aside and is connected to you. How do you know when someone is present? I can always tell.

My emotions have been seeping out more and more lately. Uncomfortable for me sometimes, so surely uncomfortable for the other person. Here’s some examples.

Last week, I was talking with mentor J and hit on something painful. My tears started to flow. He did not say anything, just maintained eye contact and silently passed me a tissue. I could see his eyes getting moist too.

I was on the phone yesterday with a close friend and got caught in a pretty good stuttering block. She did not interrupt, attempt to finish my thought, or make any impatient sounds. She just stayed with me, for as long as it took. (And it seemed forever, although it was only seconds.)

I was out to dinner about a week ago with a close friend and we were recalling some of the moments that we have shared. She got teary and choked up. I said nothing, just leaned in a bit and smiled, and listened. Her tears subsided and she looked at me and smiled. We said nothing , but both understood that presence.

I know I need unconditional love and support. We all need that. It is one of our most basic of developmental needs. Unconditionally loving someone includes being present with them at those key moments. It also means sometimes just being silent in the moment, and letting us both absorb what presence really is. The essence of presence is just that – silently sharing those moments that matter the most.

What does being present mean to you? Can you recall the last time you were really present with someone? Or someone was present with you?

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2 Responses to "The Essence of Presence"

I seem to remember you telling me once that my eyes were very intense when we were talking over Skype. I was listening to you telling me something very important. And all my attention was on you and what you were sharing. Is that what you mean?

I try my best to listen and be present with each and every one of my students every day. Although I don’t always succeed with everyone, I know it’s important to the ones I do.

I think my friend L is the last person who was really present with me 🙂

hi again Pam
i just read another of your posts, it was very telling. because i think thats half of all our problems in our family. we just didn’t get enough of that darn unconditional love!
Thats probably why half of us were in these crazy messed up relationships. We couldn’t figure out how to get out of them, and we worked our brains to death just to be free. Now one or two of us are very uncomfortable living alone and in our own skins. And thats tough, huh?
I don’t think you will have this problem. I know the difference between alone and lonely, and I so appreciate coming home alone at night and its quiet and peaceful.
So Pamela, keep it real, keep it moving, keep it going. I know you will. Love you, bye bye.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.