A Present: Presence In Life’s Moments, Conversations And Relationships

Belinda and I here present our slightly different takes on that oh so simple, but oh so complex topic – presence. What it is and what it means to us. In life’s moments, in life’s conversations and of course in life’s relationships.

The Charisma take and the Idiot take on the moment and being in it, or not 😀


This is the first in my “Team Charisma World People” guest blogger series. Belinda’s done me proud, thank you Mrs Idiot … and your “Mr Lion” art, what can I say, awesome, if I could like him twice I would 😀

Belinda’s been blogger friend of mine for a while now. She in my humble opinion is a very talented writer and artist, and a pretty cool human being to boot. So I’m very happy to have her write for us, her art was an unexpected bonus.

What it’s about :

Topic : Presence
Style : Collaborative creative writing
Guidance : Write creatively about our experiences of what presence is. To be drafted without seeing the other’s draft. Final edits allowed after seeing each other’s pieces.

Our hope – to give a masculine and a feminine perspective for completeness and to provide contrast. Team work, as in “Team Charisma World People”.

The dictionary definition :

1. the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present.

So without further ado, and of course – ladies first …

BELINDA – Idiotwriter

If I cannot focus on you then I cannot hear you. I can read your words or have them enter my ears… but I am not having a conversation with you. I have not felt you and it may feel like a one way relationship. I may find myself asking – WHO are you? You nor I are in that moment. I am not present with you, with who I am, nor you with me and we will not be able to know how to relate to each other.

What is it you are saying without the words you speak or write, the art or music you create? What is your mood, your wish, your desire…your motivation?


Ask yourself when creating or in conversation:

Who am I? Why and how do I want to create this conversation?
Why am I here?

I cannot read you well, unless I am fully engaged in THAT moment in time – with you.
It is your presence in that moment that speaks to me. If you or I are not present, focused, and tuned in to the ‘conversation’ taking place – it is purely information drifting across as sound-waves, keyboard characters, or images.
They may impact me in my own way, but will they impact me in the way you wish them too?

Will your message reach my heart and soul?

What do we do with information?

It can teach matters of intellect, but it cannot teach matters of the heart. If I cannot feel it or taste it to absorb it and process it – I cannot understand it with the parts of me that matter in creating connection between human beings.

We can exchange information in so many ways, but truly if the understanding is not available to us, we are less likely to learn. In Mathematics or Science (or any academics) when we understand WHY, we understand clearer – HOW.

If you write without your heart and soul – your words may be clever – but they may not be felt, nor understood in the context you wish to convey them in. If we do not know the WHY, the HOW is so much harder to pinpoint. If you are not fully immersed in your words as you speak them or write them, knowing WHY you do so, I may know what you are saying, but I will not relate to you on a human level, UNDERSTANDING YOUR ‘WHY’, the ‘HOW’ to interpret them in context is near impossible – there will be a distance between us, a missing piece. Aspects of your intention in the words you give will be lost. I may misinterpret the meaning you wish to convey. I may misread or misunderstand the intonation, whether verbal or read. I may see your artwork or hear your music, and I may misinterpret angst as violence or sadness as cynicism, or joy as superficial… I need to KNOW you better to understand what your creation means.

Artists, musicians, writers… know this. It is often the case that these creative people in general will find their most loyal supporters in those whom they have taken time to get to know, or who have taken time to get to know them. WHAT do they represent? Is it relatable? Is there a meaning?

DO WE UNDERSTAND WHO THEY ARE? Are we able to engage in their creative gifts and appreciate and enjoy them, allowing them to touch us and move us?


How do we grow the ability to be able to connect to someone- even if they are unseen as we do so very much on social platforms?

We think on them – we see them as they write or create. We read their words and hear their voice by simply knowing they are real and have breathed life into the words (or artworks or music) that appear on our screen. We become involved! We maintain curiosity about each other – WANTING to learn about new people and outlooks and ideas… and dread missing the opportunity to do so.

We become – PASSIONATE, about each other and our connectedness as human beings.

If we translate this WHY and HOW of connectedness to knowledge and wisdom of understanding the ebbs and flows of our universe – this creation we live in, what it teaches us is reversed to our relationships within it:

When we understand the HOW… we begin to know the WHY, which allows us to learn the WHY of our place here and the HOW of living within our world in harmony with ourselves and others.

All that we have to do then, is find the WHAT and WHEN? (No small feat then!)

It surely is not a mystery that we are all connected to each other?
We started out in the same place – interspersed across the universe, or from the dust of the earth, or the breath of god – or simply the same DNA. Whatever your belief – it is evident we are related to each other, we have something in common. I am a part of you and you are a part of me… we are all human beings… but if we do not know or see this dynamic and beauty of our separate identities with our gifts and roles and see the unity within it  – we cannot feel it – therefore – we cannot hear each other… it becomes a noise… I to you, and you to me.

You cannot force someone to stop and be present and listen to your place in their lives. You cannot insist that they hear you so you are not just words or an extension of them… but if you really want them to connect in some way with you… it begins with you… you must be present to them.


A hard place to be sometimes, because when we are present in the moment with someone – whether virtually or beside someone, we CAN feel them, we CAN be moved by them… and we can feel and hear if we are a voice to them – or simply – noise.

Don’t let people be your background soundtrack – draw close – hear them. Because if you want them to be present to you, and hear you and feel you, you need to allow them to feel your presence too. You will be causing them sadness beyond belief if you wish (or demand or manipulate) them to be present for you, yet – treat them like noise. They will feel it and slowly they will withdraw until all you are to them… is just a din to be drowned out.




Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.
– Don Charisma 2014

There are many variations, and authors – it’s the thought that counts !

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
– Buddha

A high ideal is “being present” or being “in the moment”, is great, for some people, some of the time, but not all, and not all situations. The past and the future, are important too, so balance is key here. The realms of thinking, planning, doing etc are important for all of our lives, and not to be dismissed merely as “obstacles of being present”. Or put another way perpetually being in the moment whilst constantly dodging, deferring or passing responsibility, may seem blissfully carefree, however the rub is constant powerlessness, neediness and helplessness.

So, balance, I said that already.


Presence Is A Gift, Not Something To Be Demanded Or Expected Of The Other

When demands for emotional and mental presence are being made, it can come off a little bit self-interested on the part of the person who’s demanding such presence. Questions like these arise :

Why do you require me to “be present” with you right now ?

Are you so insecure in your own “moment” that you require others to be in that moment too ?

And, isn’t that a little controlling that you get to say when I have to be present with you ?

I’m sure cynics are further ahead than me on this, and have spotted other angles of why a person would demand, and perhaps try to force another’s presence … My conclusion was/is simply that when I’m present and not present, is entirely my business not that of others to decide for me.

Group “presence” should be a voluntary act – we’re present in the group, because we want to be, authentically present, rather than forced to be present.

That’s true in a world of ideals. In practical terms though, often not. People have jobs, and have to have some kind of presence for others in order to carry out their work. Customer/client facing jobs more so than others, but almost all jobs I’d say have an element of having to be present for others, and not necessarily on our own terms. Don’t attend the meeting, and you’re fired, no job, no pay, no money, no place to live, etc. C’est la vie, I guess !

Why talk about the negatives ? Ignorance or denial of the negatives, can be an obstacle, an obstacle which can’t be overcome if we don’t know of or we deny the existence of. What springs to mind is -“Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results” … isn’t that a definition of insanity ?


So what’s so great about “being present” or “being in the moment” ? Challenging to describe to someone who isn’t/doesn’t/won’t venture(ing) into being present. Poets throughout the ages make a fine job of expressing what occurs “in the moment”, along with many spiritual texts. Presence is nothing new, in fact it’s as ancient as it gets.

If I had to define it, I’d say it’s about thinking less, and feeling more. In some moments, one might experience profound inner peace or deep inner joy. In other moments, it could be quite the opposite, utter turmoil, which is probably why we often opt to escape the moment, in one way or another.

Some also find the moment in things like creating art, making music, writing, dancing or being outdoors in nature. Simply, they become what they are doing – be the music, be the dance, be the writing or just enjoy being in a park, nature reserve or the top of a mountain. Passion, enthusiasm and intensity of focus are often involved. Sometimes stillness and relaxation. Sometimes being with others who’re already in the moment.

Blogging I find can bring me into the moment, intensely focused on creating. Just as much as can a relaxing walk on the beach or the company of a good old friend … amongst many other things …


Spiritual practices from almost all religions, including prayer and meditation, may lead to a more present and in the moment experience of life. However just because we pray or we meditate doesn’t guarantee a life filled with happiness and inner peace, nor do these things in themselves necessarily bring inner peace and happiness. The illusion of “doing meditation” in order to be blissfully happy whilst doing it, is just that, an illusion. The point has obviously been missed that meditation is spiritual “work” and not done merely as a pleasurable pursuit one puts down when it’s “not fun anymore”. Same I’m guessing for prayer. A “strong determination” – persistence and patience, is required.

So what does bring inner peace and happiness ? Who can say really, inner peace and happiness look different to different people, so it’s subjective, it’s a slightly different animal for each person. It is however quite widely accepted that things like seeking truth, knowing oneself, taking responsibility for oneself and aiming for right action or virtue, are the keys for some people. I’m familiar with Buddhism (right action) and Christianity (virtue), presumably other religions such as Islam and Hinduism have similar principles for right action/virtue.

I watched the movie “Boys N The Hood” (1991) recently, it’s now on my favourites list. The father gets passed the responsibility of taking care of his ten year old son, in order to teach him to “be a man”, a responsibility his working mother doesn’t feel qualified for. Mainly what the father teaches, is the boy taking responsibility for himself, his environment, his home, the other factors in his life. Things like a diligent work ethic, and ultimately what the film is about, coming to terms with the most frustrating things that happen to us in life, and dealing with them in a healthy way. Long story short (watch it yourself), the boy becomes a man, and makes his own decision to stay out of vendetta that leaves some of his friends dead. The path of taking responsibility for himself in his life, rather than self-destruction.

So why do I mention this ? Taking responsibility for ourselves, is one of the keys to inner peace and happiness. “Keys” not inner peace and happiness itself – there can be much turmoil, difficulty, hardship, challenge and struggle in taking responsibility for ourselves, but the end game is in fostering more inner peace and happiness.

So what of the past ? The past happened, it doesn’t actually exist anymore, except in memory, and perhaps in writing and photography, some “capture” of the past. Somehow, someway, the difficult aspects of the past we need to come to terms with, accept, learn from and ultimately put behind us. Obviously there are positive things that happened in the past too, these memories are just, if not more important than the negative memories of past.


And what of the future ? Well, no one knows exactly what the future holds, it’s a mystery. We can plan for it, we can dream about what it’ll be like. But sure as eggs is eggs, it’s possible and probable it’ll be different from what we expect. What we do in the present, and also have done in past can have an influence on the future, however it doesn’t define it. What does define it is what we do and who we’re being in the present, so, this is perhaps why such a big importance is placed on “being present” and “in the moment”, and taking responsibility for oneself.

A Successful Life

A successful life is about the quality of what we feel, not what we have or what we get. The present, the gift, is on the inside of us – the quality of our thoughts and feelings, the magic and inner beauty that I reckon most of us possess, albeit a diamond in the rough sometimes.

The mind is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity… The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.
– Samuel Johnson

Happiness and inner peace, they come, they go – a key factor in being happier and more peaceful is self-responsibility. It’s not hoping that someone or something else will make us happy – that’s pushing the responsibility onto someone else or something else, when in fact it’s not their responsibility. It’s not wishing that the past was different or better, OR that the future will be plain sailing, with lottery win after lottery win – that’s probably just delusional. So where does that lead us – right back to the present moment. Back to reality – right here, right now.

ULTIMATELY – The truth is ultimately up to you to decide. “Know thyself” they say 😀

Don Charisma

(ERRORS AND OMISSIONS EXCEPTED … Photos courtesy of Pixabay)

Comments are invited

Don Charisma Warning Improvised Writing

Comments are often welcomed, provided you can string a legible, relevant and polite sentence together. In other cases probably best shared with your therapist, or kept to yourself.


80 thoughts on “A Present: Presence In Life’s Moments, Conversations And Relationships

  1. Reblogged this on Watch and Whirl and commented:
    I read this when I woke up this morning before I even got up out of bed. Then I read it again. This is what I have been telling people in my life who have no concept of how to communicate, or even care to find out how to do it. It is so much easier to not try. No one talks. Not really. There is really only one person who knows every single thing about me because she listens and doesn’t judge, and that is my mother. I am so fortunate. They are in their own little bubble they don’t want anyone to break. Go about your day. Pretend everything’s okay. You know how so many people you know ask you how you are doing and you say okay? And you’re not? But you don’t tell them because you know they don’t really care? I’m not talking about the girl at the grocery store. I’m talking about your “friends”.

    I communicate through written word and I use usually use a thousand words when twenty is all the other person can comprehend. I can’t really talk about how I feel because after ten words the other person is too busy trying to think of a retort to actually listen to what I’m saying. Because of this, I write. I get to think about what I’m saying and try to write in a way that the person, or persons, can understand. My mother recently told me that I scare people because my writings are too intense. They don’t know how to respond. I was told that I should be lighter – and shorter. I find I can’t do that. I can’t change the way I communicate because someone only has the capacity to talk about the weather and their children. I’m not interested in a relationship of value if the talk never gets below the skin. So many people don’t really “talk”, even to their “best friends”. By talking, in my case I also mean writing. If I have something to say, and you can’t be bothered to use any kind of communication to find out who I am, then what value is that relationship? The kiss kiss, hug hug at family gatherings with people you don’t see until the next family gathering is not my idea of having good friends. But I find that most people in families aren’t very good friends with each other either. And when I try and get blown off I get upset. If you don’t like each other enough to talk to each other between Christmas and the 4th of July, well, that’s pretty boring. It’s a complete facade. We laugh and joke and pretend all is okay, but it isn’t. Probably never will be, either.

    Four years ago I moved from Key West to Pa because I a severe illness and needed a liver transplant. I thought I would have a loving family that would help give me support. What I walked into was the complete opposite of that and at times made me regret moving back home into a place I had to once again experience snow!! I hate cold!

    I had to do a lot of “soul searching” to examine who I was and why I operated on a completely different level than most people I know. I really started watching people and the behavior. What has helped has been 26 years of practicing Nichiren Buddhism, http://www.sgi-usa.org

  2. No No No! My reply disappeared when I was checking the box to notify me of new comments. All of my well crafted sentences of communication have disappeared into the universe. {sigh} You should know by now that I never leave one liner replies to anything if a comment actually spurs me to write. But… here’s the most important thing I was trying to say: You’ve come to my blog at My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison at http://www.mynameisjamie.net I recently began Watch and Whirl at http://www.watchandwhirl.wordpress.com because I needed to have a place to write about things other than prison life and our injustice system – a place to reblog other special blog posts, and this one has spurred me with enough to say that it would end up being another post. So… I am reblogging this now with my response coming after I write it. Whew! I’m not going to try and check the damn box this time. It doesn’t like me today.

  3. Don, if you know anything about me yet it is that I don’t leave one liner replies to anything. If a post affects me, and this one affected me so much because it is part of a very long attempt at communication with people who have absolutely no idea what I’m trying to tell them. What you both say is what I’ve trying to explain. But this is NOT my reply to this post. If I replied here about what I think it would be another post in itself. So . . .I’m going to reblog this on another blog I recently started called Watch and Whirl at http://www.watchandwhirl.wordpress.com and put my reply there. I will post it now, but my reply won’t be there instantly. I need to think about it, chant about it, do my thing. It will be my afternoon undertaking. I wanted to start another place to write about the things that mean something to me that do not have anything to do with prison life or our injustice system that I write on My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison at http://mynameisjamie.net. I wanted a place to reblog special posts.

  4. Your version attracted more my attention since it was more from the heart.
    And I loved reading about hopes. Easily hoping that something will get optimized in the way we dream of is sometimes disturbing our awareness.

    1. We’re both from the heart, our intention was that one or the other’s writing would resonate with different people … so a similar message in different ways, from different perspectives … a bit like the way we normally learn through seeking varying sources of information/wisdom, in order to come to our own conclusions 😀

  5. You both seem to have come to a deepening understanding of who we are and what it takes to connect with each other. Much wisdom – about 640 dog years collectively. Absolutely brilliant conversation.

  6. Call me selfish and/or anti-judgers, I am. But the first thought in my head was why would you want in my life? Good post.

    1. LOL … thanks … Why would I (or Belinda) want “in your life”, I’m taking to mean why would we want to get to know you ? … I think I indicated above, we’re all talented, skilled and have inner beauty, so it’s enriching to know others. I learn and become more than I was through some of my relationships … and as Belinda said, it’s enriching to REALLY know others, and not so much if the other is only present via obligation or their perceived need or want, OR not emotionally present at all …

      1. Unless of coarse you have therapy issue has your blog states? Very conflicting to control the constructive in criticism.

      2. You say you’re an advocate of constructive criticism. So you won’t mind me correcting your spelling and grammar. After all, to leave sentences ambiguous, it’s not possible to make a “constructive” criticism in the first place. In order to be constructive, it also needs to be understood by the person who’s your intended recipient. If it’s not then that’d just be random gibberish.

        “Unless of coarse you have therapy issue has your blog states?” …

        coarse – 1. rough or harsh in texture. 2. (of a person or their speech) rude or vulgar.
        of course – Used to introduce an idea or action as being obvious or to be expected: eg. “the point is of course that the puzzle itself is misleading”

        Also “has” is incorrect grammatically here, it should be “as”.

        So a more grammatically correct sentence with the spelling corrected would be :

        “Unless of course you have therapy issue as your blog states?”

        Also I fail to see what’s constructive in your attempt at character assassination of Belinda, with your reference to her blog. Seems a little petty and uncalled for, as both of us answered your comment in a polite and positive way, even with the ambiguity in your original comment. I assume you’ll take this also as a constructive criticism.

        “Very conflicting to control the constructive in criticism.”

        Conflicting for whom ? I don’t feel any conflict, nor I’ll warrant does Belinda. Neither of us is/are/were attempting to control the constructive in criticism. Anyway, there wasn’t a criticism in your original comment as far as I could make out. So that’d be you with the unresolved conflict. Again meant purely as a constructive criticism – Your comment says more about you than either of us.

        Constructively for you, you need to improve your grammar and spelling, in order to be making constructive criticisms. Pettiness also for most isn’t seen as “constructive” either. Generally the assumption is that pettiness stems from inferiority or an inferiority complex.

        Lastly I’ll draw your attention back to the “Comments are invited” section above in our post, SIMPLY – “Comments are often welcomed, provided you can string a legible, relevant and polite sentence together. In other cases probably best shared with your therapist, or kept to yourself.”. I’m failing to see which part(s) you didn’t understand.

        I’ve already answered nearly 100 comments today (3 hours spent, so far) and it’s Christmas day. Frankly I’ve got better things to be doing with my time, than explaining all this to one single commenter, on a day that should be a rest, a holiday, a celebration 😀

        Merry Christmas


  7. An outstanding undertaking, one that illuminates great sensitivity and profound thoughts of one woman and one man and offers opportunities for everyone to consider: how can I be present in someone’s life and what will I do to make it better?
    A lovely conclusion to this year and a sublime opening to the next. Thank you both for this post.

    1. Thank you so much for your insightful and thoughtful comment! Very kind of you – may your year be filled with the presence of beauty in all forms it keeps – (and a few presents thrown in too! 😉 )

      1. Love this reply! Witty, funny, and hopeful.
        I hope you and Belinda and all your loved ones enjoyed a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to a New Year of blessings, peace, and health.

    1. Thank, very kind 😀 … the original post I said I’d contact you by email … sorry, it’s been a bit hectic with one thing and another, I’ll drop you one over …

  8. What an excellent idea, and a very good choice. I hope you both argue well and I look forward to reading your work. This isn’t going to cause a curtailing of “Women are crazy” is it? I hope not. Anyway, congrats to you both for the change, I hope 2015 proves to be a success for you.


    1. Not sure that anything could curtail “Women are crazy” … still stranger things have been known !

      And thanks very kind … as for arguing, dunno, I’ll let Belinda answer than one … I’m taking the 5th 😀

      Happy holidays, and thanks for dropping by Rich …

    2. Thank you, Sir, for your mentioning the ‘women are crazy’ aspect – curtail we shall never, possibly mildly hinder in certain spheres 😀 Over and above this, I believe I shall be taking that 5th Don is opting for 😉

      Happy Holidays to you – and thanks so much for your kind comment!

  9. Wow, that is rather profound! It is interesting to see the male and the female outlook. The female, Belinda, acknowledges the interdependence of humanity. The male, Don, retains a certain independence to his presence. Nicely done! Merry Christmas to you both.

    1. It really was pretty cool how it turned out like this Leslie 😀 Glad to have been able to do this with Don! I imagine different perspectives make for more interesting times hey!

  10. Reblogged this on Idiot Writing and commented:
    Collaboration with Don Charisma – an excellent person to work with – I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thanks so much Don for your time and patience! 😀
    Please come share the moment and leave your thoughts and ideas on the complex subject of being present in our lives, in our moments, and within our relationships.

  11. I love this style of co-writing!
    Both of you are great writers, taking a simple (yet as said, complex topic) and making it your own from perspective… I adore how you’ve both come to similar ideas with totally different approach.
    Very intriguing read, and well enjoyed. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, very kind 🙂 … Belinda’s a pleasure to work with, so it makes it a fun and enjoyable project … and I’m exceedingly happy with how this tuned out … go Team Charisma 😀

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