Give someone the gift of your full presence. So often we pour out words of well meaning. We wish there was some way to help, some advice we could give, something to do or offer up. We desire to please, to love, to give, and yet we hold back. We are only half there.

What better gift is there than being? I think there is nothing more superlative than this. Words are often empty, hollowed out; actions are swollen with appearance; promises build and then crumble. There is an easier way, but somehow we still think too much of ourselves when we are trying to think of others.

 It requires little effort to speak love, to pronounce good intentions. But despite these worthy sentiments, I find myself alone in the company of another, more often than not. I glance beside me to see a face illuminated with the eerie glow of a cell phone screen. Tuning in and out of our shared experience as though a relationship is a radio channel. I speak and see eyes that flicker past me, around me, blankly roving, somewhere else: in a place I cannot be. I am here and they are only pretending to be here. And in such a moment, I who am lonely, I who crave company, love and affection… I want to be alone. I would rather be alone in actuality than alone in the eyes of a friend.

We say we want to help those around us, but there is only one thing that we’re all really seeking, whether we know it or not. Why can’t we simply be when we are together? It isn’t necessary to straddle so many worlds at once, though I know it feels as though it is better to be busy. It isn’t. At least I don’t think so. What is the point of doing anything, if we are only doing; if there is no time for being? The action is an empty shell, devoid of meaning.

Do only things in which you can be. Love by being. Help by being. Speak by being. What good are a thousand well-placed acts if you are not really in them? You are not divisible into separate component parts. You are a human being, full and complete in the wholeness and uniqueness of your identity. Stop trying to stretch this self in pieces.

Give the gift of your presence. Your full presence. I am tired of vacant stares. I want the present. I crave mindfulness; I desire (albeit imperfectly) to devote myself to the moment, every part of me, all of me, without lingering in other concerns in the corners of my mind. We want so much to be great, to be loving, to be right, to be kind, to be good. We want to be something. We are forgetting to be.