Inspiration #6 – The Power of Presence

So hopefully you’ve chosen someone for your act of kindness and been thinking about her/him. This holding the person in mind part of the theme is important as it helps center your thinking on what will be the most helpful, and appropriate, response. The Power of PresenceRemember, I’m suggesting you not try to fulfill whatever need you’ve determined your friend has. I’m saying to simply provide this person a kindness, something that acknowledges her/his importance and value.

For this week’s inspiration I turn to the outstanding NPR radio program “This I Believe.” The concept goes back to the 1950’s when famed newsman Edward R. Murrow hosted this program in which both famous and ordinary Americans shared their beliefs. NPR brought the concept back several years ago and has an impressive archive of stories, as well as curriculum guides, on its website.

For inspiration, take a minute to read and/or listen to this essay by psychologist Debbie Hall. Entitled “The Power of Presence,” in the essay Hall shares the value and importance of just “being there” for people. She says, “true presence or ‘being with’ another person carries with it a silent power.” That gets at the heart of this theme perfectly. And my recommendation that you first hold the person you’ve chosen in mind starts this “being with” component and accesses the “silent power.” For in first considering your friend you charge your battery and get grounded. Provided you are then present with her/him, what you do as your action is secondary.

Here, as in many things and places, it’s the thought that counts.


  1. Yesterday was my husband’s 70th birthday so now I am ready to report on my idea of seeing if I could get him 70 greetings. Totalling several gifts, one text, many cards, e-mails, and phone calls, my husband had 118 responses by today. I know there are more on their way so the total could get a bit higher. I am just so pleased because it was obvious that people responding got into the spirit of the effort and my husband has been delighted, responding to each message personally. What a nice celebration of this big step into being an elder!

  2. I have a friend here in SLC who is disabled and whose back has really bothered her for the last few weeks and has missed a lot of the classes. She is single and never married. Early this week, she was on FaceBook with a post about going to be “her own Valentine.” She planned to get some chocolate covered strawberries for herself.

    On Wednesday, I was hurting myself after a fall while skiing, but she really wanted to talk so being mindful of her needs, I stayed on for an extra half hour. She told me to come to her house where she had four of the strawberries for me!!! I did and they were delicious.

    On Valentines Day yesterday, I was thinking how sad it must be never to get Valentines cards or gifts. So I bought her a yellow rose, a fresh pineapple (remember the love song from Cabaret?) and a card with a dog motif, since she loves dogs and took it by her house. Since she was not at home, I left it all hanging in a bag on her door. She wrote me later in the evening on Fb saying how pleased she was and that she NEVER gets any flowers!!! Picked right that time….

    1. That is so beautiful Linda!!! And extremely thoughtful of you to consider her on Valentine’s Day. As a (now) single person, I find that Valentine’s Day is a very difficult day. And I’m sure that your kind gesture really touched her.

      I was lucky enough to receive a similar act of kindness. I was feeling very sad on Valentine’s Day (which is unlike me). My brother found out, and on the weekend he brought my 2 nephews over to see me. They had made me a Valentine’s Day card. It was really the most beautiful and thoughtful gesture – I am still grinning thinking of it.

      1. How wonderful of your brother, Megan. I have always been amazed that older people want to live in 50 and older retirement communities with all older people. I am always telling people I want to live in a place where there are “children.” My husband and I just thrive on having new babies to coo over. I am sure your newphews were basking in your love.

        Welcome to the class Carrie. Thank you for your kind words. I was not always a kind person. I give credit to these classes and the influence of Andy.

  3. I am new to the class so hello to both of you. I love, Linda, the idea of 70 good wishes for your husband’s birthday! feel very blessed that the love of my life and I are both people who look for the gift that resonates. It is often not found in a store. We are not big spenders and try to live simply. The idea of asking the people that matter most to be in maximum contact that day is AWESOME! And to both of you, what a Valentine’s Day gift you both are to the world as it is clear that you resonate love and compassion. Blessings on your day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.