Fostering calm presence takes work

By Dave Henning / February 15, 2023

“Whether we are discussing racism, politics, marital disagreement, or church conflicts, orienting ourselves to fostering calm presence contributes toward the wholeness we yearn to experience.  But it takes work.”- Rich Villodas

Rich Villodas concludes Chapter 6 of Good and Beautiful and Kind with three practices for cultivating calm presence.

 1.  Emotional self-regulation.  Pastor Villodas defines this term as the ability to collect ourselves during times of distress.  Rather than function from a place of reactivity.

Above all, the core of self-regulation involves paying attention to our bodies.  Therefore, self-regulation isn’t suppressing or ignoring the very real emotional sensations that course through our minds and bodies.  So, we must train our minds and bodies to resist the forces of our impulses.

Hence, calm presence requires a centered person who assumes responsibility for his/her own functioning with another person.  That keeps us present to ourselves – for the sake of presence to others.

2.  Naming the messages.  This second practice requires us to carefully explore deceptive messages.  Because you need to attain clarity in regard to what is bothering you.  Then you can look at those messages with some degree of objectivity.  Therefore, it’s critical to excavate, behold, and then reject these deeply rooted soul messages.  Or we live controlled by lies.

Finally, before coming face-to-face with someone in conflict, we must wrestle with our own faulty thinking.  That begins the work of cultivating calm presence.

3.  Speaking clearly.  In conclusion, calm presence involves learning how to speak in a way that promotes understanding, healing, grace, and connection.  As a result, that creates the capacity to remain connected to others through compassionate listening.  And to live and speak maturely.

Consequently, Rich exhorts:

“To be rooted in love . . . is to believe in the possibility that we can remain close to ourselves and each other in the most challenging of moments. . . .  our conflicts need not uproot our love.  In fact, these very conflicts can embody it.”

Today’s question: What helps you commit to the work of fostering calm presence?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A bridge to love – conflict”

About the author

Dave Henning

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