Louise Stanger is a speaker, educator, licensed clinician, social worker, certified daring way facilitator and interventionist who uses an invitational intervention approach to work with complicated mental health, substance abuse, chronic pain and process addiction clients.
As I approach the New Year, I have discovered that once again that one’s walk and one’s talk are inextricably tied together, and being present for those you love and care about takes precedence over all.
As many of you who follow my posts know, my husband and I journeyed to Bhutan this fall where I have written “pure intentions are cherished.” What I learned in the quiet of my travels is the beauty of how life and death are inextricably woven together and that the dead are revered by having 108 white prayer flags saluting them in the wind.
In Bhutan there was a calm and serenity I had never felt before, especially as I sat inside of Tiger’s Nest listening with eyes closed as monks chanted their soft prayers. This was the culmination of our trip and I new it was preparing me for something though I did not know what.
As it turned out I am no saint, just an ordinary woman who was able since I walked this path before to be present when two dear friends witnessed the passing of their loved ones. The noise of heavy breathing and the death rattle chanted in my ears as I was present to help them weather their storm and afterwards in my mind’s eyes planted 108 prayer flags in the wind for their loved ones.
I realized in those moments what truly being present for another meant. This helped me to recall, in my exhausted, shell-shocked state, all the other deaths I had experienced - mother, father, stepfather, a husband, an infant son. I retreated into my famously coined state "non-intentional emotional unavailability" to those who truly care about me and my family.
The rush of feeling overwhelmed me, and I became grumpy and stirred. So for 2018, there is no big fan fare, no litany of to-dos, rather my goal is to be present for my husband and my family and myself. To look for goodness in everyone I see and the clients I work with. To be present in conversation and to be loving in my work, especially when coaching clients, providing clear and purposeful solutions for health and happiness in the new year. For as I learned on my auspicious journey, life is fleeting and happiness comes from within.
What does being present in 2018 look like to you? How can you practice to be more present in the moment in the New Year? Please leave your comments in the section below.
To learn more about Louise Stanger and her interventions and other resources, visit her website.