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Being Present

“Everything’s there for me, but me.” This was the intriguing opening statement* by a client during a recent coaching session. Being able to express the fact of personal absence was an eye-opening leap of clarity for this person.

The words made me realize how often we go about our lives missing in action—not being present—oblivious to the very people and circumstances around us that are beacons, guides, wake-up calls, unheralded bringers of gifts, insight and wisdom. The following poem speaks to this curious predicament of presence. Written by the esteemed poet David Wagoner, it is aptly named “Lost.”

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you / Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, / And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, / Must ask permission to know it and be known. / The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, / I have made this place around you. / If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. / No two trees are the same to Raven. / No two branches are the same to Wren. / If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, / You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows / Where you are. You must let it find you.


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