“Be present”…heard it before.  What does that even mean?  Here I am! How much more present can I possibly be?

Yep, physically I was there. But on and on the mind went chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter….

I really didn’t get this “be present” stuff while I was at the ashram.

And then one day I did. I just had to make time and space for it.

I first noticed the change in the classroom last fall.  Something had clicked.  My students were no longer covertly texting under the desks. They were asking questions, we were talking to each other, I had their attention and they were engaged.

What had changed? Me. It wasn’t sudden, but by degree – small shifts in perspective day-by-day. Even though I was teaching a course that was new to me, I no longer felt the need to obsessively plan and prepare lectures down to the last detail. I had stopped deciding exactly what to say and how to say it before I ever entered the room. I was no longer mapping out the class schedule in minute detail. In short, I had stopped worrying about MY performance.

No wonder my students had not been engaged.  I had not been engaged fully. I had been too worried about being competent, being prepared, being organized, getting the facts right, creating flashy slides, designing assignments. Not that these things don’t matter.  But what’s the point if you’re not fully present at the moment of delivery?

How do you cultivate joy?  Realize this: The past is fantasy. The future is fantasy.  Drop the baggage of fear, avoidance, and pretense.  Arrive in the present and embrace this moment as it is:  Perfect.