As I looked out at all the parents videoing their kids during a performance at my son’s school it occurred to me how being present is one of the big challenges of our times.

Parents were determined to preserve their kids performance. This is presumably so they can watch it again and again, and also share it with family and friends. But in doing so they are distracted from the here and now. They are not in the present and able to take in this wonderful moment. They can’t feel it, sense it and just enjoy it. Their minds are two or three steps ahead.I’m not bringing this up in any self-righteous way. I’m as guilty of it as anyone – staring at my phone, checking emails, taking many more pictures than I need, distracted by some movement or sound. It’s not a side of myself that I like.

Does it really matter? Is this the way of the world now and I should just get over it? Perhaps we can more productive and fulfilled with all this multi-tasking and this amazing computer in our pocket? I’m not so sure.

I think being present is the highest state we can be in. I really struggle to get there myself so maybe that has made me appreciate it that much more when I do. When we are present we can concentrate, we can perform to our best ability, we can engage with our surroundings, we can listen to people, we can feel, touch and see. I would argue that it’s a deeper, more meaningful and ultimately more fulfilling place to be.

Being fixated with our devices and trying to do several things at once is like fast food. It can be exciting but it doesn’t fill us up and is certainly not memorable. It doesn’t give us the nutrition that we need. It can also be bad for our health!

I don’t know what the answer is to this. It’s something I think about allot without really doing very much about it. But I would like to change and I’m going to continue to try. I’ve banned my phone from the bedroom. I’ve never used it at the dining table. I’m determined to take in the special moments with my kids before I try to record them. I’m trying to notice and take in my surroundings more. I’m trying to do one thing at a time.

It’s a process but I’m sure that being present is a special thing and i want to work hard to get there as much as I can…