As most of you will know, a cornerstone of our work at Evolutionary Intelligence is practicing the state of Presence. I am constantly surprised at how this simple act can have such a profound impact on our personal and business lives.
On a personal level, it has been a lifelong quest of mine to become more present to those I am with in any moment.
I was recently invited to speak to a leadership forum in Sydney about Presence and the value of it in business. I was really drawn to share my own personal journey around presence and would love to share some of that with you.
I spent the better part of 18 years as a professional dancer and 10 of those performing a style of dance called adagio. Adagio required me to be absolutely present – my partner’s life depended on it. I was responsible for carrying her high above my head, and any false move would have had big consequences. It was during this time that I started to get a sense of the different levels of presence.
My partner Melinda and I worked together in Paris and we ended up performing the same routine over 1400 times. I could divide those performances into 2 categories: Those where I wanted to get it done and reach the end quickly, and those where I was absolutely present and in the moment. I noticed that those times where I was fully present had a very different feel and it felt like time opened up and there was nothing else in that moment but Melinda and I. I was unaware of the audience (of 2500 people every night!), or any other distractions. The feeling was of complete connection to what I was doing and who I was being.
When I retired from dancing I wanted to learn how to find this level of presence in my daily life. Up until that stage it felt like it just happened to me, rather than me being able to create the experience.
I went on to study psychotherapy, which taught me the mechanics of presence – but I felt there was still something missing.
It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to learn from Frank Ansell, indigenous elder and healer of the Arrernte people of Central Australia. Frank guided me to experience the state of Dadirri – and finally I felt I really understood and could embody it.
Dadirri can be described as a state of deep listening, deep connection and the place where healing begins. This state allows us to access our deeper wisdom and to truly be present to what is in front of us in a given moment. We are able to connect to our mind and not just our brain. Our mind is the combination of our gut, heart and brain.
When we are able to access all of these aspects of ourselves through the state of presence, we fire up the internal wiring that lies dormant within us for most of the time.
Through the activation of this wiring we are able to create a different state of being for ourselves, which creates a different space from which we connect with others.
And when we choose to be fully present, we view the world in a more holistic and connected way, which informs the decisions we make at work or at home.