Come on. Ride along with me. I need to pick up a few things at the store. I’ve got the radio playing some nice holiday tunes. It’s a little rainy this morning, so I’m really taking it easy and keeping my eyes on what’s going on around me. I was just thinking about a couple of really great articles I read online yesterday – something from a blog I follow and another from my local farmers’ market association. I need to go back and take some notes. Wow! A lot of people have put up decorations and lights this year. It’s nice to see them on this dim gray morning. I need to add a couple more things to my list. Wonder if Mom needs groceries while I’m out? What?! I’m already here? How did that happen? Gosh, I don’t remember much about the drive over.

Welcome to the world of getting there without being here.

Presence. It’s something most of us could use a little – no, make that a LOT – more of. How often do you find yourself charging through your day on auto-pilot, doing things by rote, marking off your to-do’s only to arrive at the end of the day exhausted, feeling a little empty, and wondering if there’s a way off of this crazy, spinning roller coaster? Probably more times than you care to admit. I’ve been there, done that, and could sell the t-shirts, but I’m learning to approach my days differently. I want to be here now, no matter what I’m doing. Don’t you? So how do we accomplish it? Here are some things that have worked for me:

First, set your intentions. Flying through your day with an endless to-do list hanging over your head takes a toll. Are all of those tasks really necessary? Do you really believe you can do them all today? Make a practice of setting your intentions each morning – make a plan around what you intend to accomplish. Write it down if that helps and as much as possible, stick to your list. Oh, and please be realistic with your expectations. There are only 24 hours in each day!

Second, slow down. Pay attention to how you do what you do. Is it automatic, or is it deliberate? It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle-bustle, full-speed-ahead pace of the world around you and punch that gas pedal to keep up with everyone else. Focus on what you’re doing right now and take it slowly and deliberately. This will bring you back to the task at hand. Finish it, then move on.

Next, breathe. The power of your breath is amazing. As you inhale slowly and deeply, then exhale in the same manner, your body and mind are rejuvenated. You become of aware of your surroundings. You naturally slow down. Take time throughout your day to stop what you’re doing and take 2 or 3 slow, deep breaths. Your innards (that’s Southern for the inside part of you) will love you for it.

Finally, check in. As you go through your day, check in from time to time and see how you’re doing. Are you fulfilling your intentions? Are you slowing down and taking time to breathe deeply? If you find yourself on auto-pilot, come back to this moment. Take a moment to get back in the flow of what you are doing. You may find yourself accomplishing more and feeling better about it.

These are simple steps you can practice right now. What a great present to give to yourself at this busy time of year – presence! What a gift it can be to really experience the joy and good will of the season. Let me know how it’s working out for you. If you would like some additional help, drop me a line at or visit my website at:

Enjoy your day!
Stephanie Marks-Ryan
Holistic Health Guide



Encouraging you on your personal path to better health through
Gratitude. Understanding. Inspiration. Dedication. Encouragement.

Note: No cars were driven during the writing of this post.