"All there really is to do now, is to be in the present moment."

With the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season upon us, it's easy to overlook one of the greatest gifts we can give to others and to ourselves - the gift of being present.

Ten years ago I learned an invaluable lesson on being present from my seven-year-old son, Sam.

I had recently given birth to our third child, Hannah. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and struggling. Privately I wondered if I was up to the challenge and demands of being a mother of three. Did I really have what it takes, and would there be enough of me to go around?

I was exhausted, overwhelmed and struggling

Especially challenging was the fact that Hannah would begin her fussy period at exactly the same time Sam got home from school. Many nights it continued unabated through homework, dinner and bedtime.

One afternoon I sat down with Sam and explained that Hannah's fussiness was just a phase she would grow out of, and things would return to normal soon. Sitting next to me, Sam was still and quiet. Then he turned to me and said something I have never forgotten. "Mom, sometimes I look at you and you're just standing there holding Hannah, and it's like you're not even really here." As he spoke, his eyes watered and his voice was thick with emotion.

I was momentarily stunned. What he said was true. I had been distracted, inattentive, even mentally absent lately. What amazed me is that my young son -- only seven at the time -- was able to sense this before I was fully conscious of it myself.

Despite our good intentions, we all have habits of
distraction and inattention

That was a powerful wake up call for me, one that I have had to remember and to relearn many times since then.

Despite our good intentions, we all have habits of distraction and inattention. Where do these habits show up in your own work and life? What challenges may be distracting and preoccupying you? Which employees, clients or family members may be sensing your "absence" before you are fully realizing it yourself?

This Holiday Season, give the gift of presence - your presence.

Try This: Think of someone with whom you want a stronger, more vibrant relationship. Picture them in your mind's eye. Imagine the next time you are with them. See yourself being fully present and attuned. Catch yourself when your mind wanders, becomes preoccupied or "checks out." Bring yourself back. Notice this person with fresh eyes and an open heart and mind. Be there.

This simple practice has the power to transform your relationship.

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