Tag Archive | Presence

On Beauty and Templating 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Last time [<link; medium read] we talked about your template for beautifying the moment. 


Can you simplify it? For instance, what would it look like as a triad?”

“Something like this:

Triad for beautifying the moment

The triad is:


Viewed through this lens-model, you can beautify the moment in several ways:

Doing meaningful things (Doing/Meaning)

Doing things meaningfully (Doing/Meaning) – imbuing what you’re doing with meaning, whatever it is, eg by connecting it with your purpose

Doing things mindfully (Doing/Being) – being present in what you’re doing

Doing things mindfully and meaningfully (Doing/Being/Meaning) – being present in what you’re doing, and imbuing it with meaning

Being – simply being, without doing anything

Being meaningfully (Being/Meaning) – simply being, and connecting with your purpose, and/or with some higher reality

We can think of imbuing something with meaning in the moment as Connection.”

“Any insights?”

“I realize it’s important to maintain a balance between being and doing. I have a (maybe slightly compulsive) tendency towards the latter.

I now realize how important it is to create more space throughout the day to simply be.

On Presence and Specificity 2

Whenever you start a practice always spend a moment connecting with yourself. (Aadil Palkhivala)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“We’ve talked before [<link; short read] about creating an actionable map for the practice. 

The next step is to simplify it and create an actionable step-by-step structure. This is an iterative process. The goal is to condense it as much as possible.

You can use questions to guide you in this process. Such as:

What’s the most powerful representation of the practice? (One Thing model)”


I see Presence as beautifying the Moment.

“What’s the essence of the practice? (One Thing)”


“What’s the step-by-step structure of the practice? I like to express them as verbs.”


On inhalation:

Center, focusing on your Heart.

Connect with yourself. 
Feel the Connection.
Feel your beautiful body.

I love you Danutzu.
I love you Dani-who-I-was.
I love you Dani-who-I-will-be.

On exhalation:



Send love to three people who have touched your life in some way, the first ones who come to mind. (Improv)

I love you x.
I love you y.
I love you z.

Thank you.

Feel the (Inter-)Connection.

Picture yourself as the Sun. Gradually expand with each exhalation, sending love to more and more people, until you reach all humanity.”

“It’s a good idea to also create a minified version of the practice for when time is limited.”

Painting with Meaning 4: Representation-Stacking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“We’ve talked before about beautifying representations [<link; medium length]. By making an activity more meaningful, you can make it more attractive, hence more likely to engage in it.

One way to do it is by stacking representations – what I call representation-stacking.”

“Can you give an example?”

“Think of your Presence practice.

In order to deliberately practice something, you need to think of it. You activate it with a thought. 

The likelihood of regularly engaging in it depends on how meaningful it is for you. 

Why are you practicing Presence?”

“Because it’s beautiful.”

“In this case, you can activate it by thinking ‘Beautiful Presence‘ instead of just ‘Presence’, thus connecting it with the meaning of it. 

Another question to ask yourself is:

How do you want to practice Presence?”


“So you can think of it as ‘Joyful Beautiful Presence‘. This is the stacking part.

As a side note, you can add more nuance to it. Beauty, for instance, can answer both the Why and the How questions. Beautiful Presence can refer to both the beauty of the practice, and to engaging in it beautifully, aestheticizing the practice. 

Representation-stacking is a process of selection and amplification. Making an 80/20 selection of the representations that are most powerful for you, and sequencing [<link; short] them to make them build on one another, in order to amplify their effect.

For instance you can end up with something like ‘Loving Playful Grateful Beautiful Joyful Sacred Presence‘. It’s longer, but if it makes you always remember the essence of practice, it’s worth it.”

On Motivation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“In my experience, motivation waxes and wanes wildly, from day to day and throughout the day. Metaphorically thinking of it as a Fire, how can I keep it constantly burning bright?”

“That takes constant work. Rekindle the Fire every single day. And it’s not enough to do it just once in the morning. Keep doing it throughout the day.

Connect it with your Presence practice. You are monitoring the fluctuations of your internal state as part of the practice. Think of it as one more parameter to monitor.

You could even ask yourself:

How’s my Fire?

You don’t want it smoldering.


Bring to mind or journal on the Macro level, and reconnect with your deepest Why.”

On Presence and Specificity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize Presence?”

Be specific. [<link; short read]

Get clear on what you mean by it. For instance, what’s the relationship between Presence, Mindfulness and Awareness?”

“All mean the same exact same thing.

“Which means you can use them interchangeably. Why do you prefer Presence?”

“For practical considerations. It’s shorter to pronounce.”

Get clear on what the practice is.

Whenever you THINK ‘Presence’, what specifically do you want to DO?

Create an actionable high-fidelity practice-map.”

“Something like this?

My Presence practice-map


What do the colors signify?”

“The brown nodes are the actionable-components.
The pink nodes are representational-components [<link; medium read].
The green nodes are macro-components of the practice.”

“Now constantly ask yourself:

How can I simplify it?
What can I eliminate?

Values as Practice

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

Values are a practice.

“I’d add one important detail:

Values are a mindful practice – which is to say, a deliberate practice.

One aspect of it is recognizing (and celebrating) opportunities to practice. Whenever you have the opportunity to embody a value, say, Humility, you can actually say to yourself ‘I’m practicing Humility‘, or simply ‘Humility‘. You’re thus actively using your values as guides.

Another aspect of it is creating opportunities to practice. This means asking yourself:

What’s the practice?
What specific things can you do to practice value x?

Let’s take Gratitude for instance. The practice might be saying to yourself ‘Take NOTHING for granted‘, saying ‘Thank you‘, and thinking of something or finding something around you that you’re grateful for. Or picking anything around you and finding something about it that you’re grateful for.

Or let’s take Love. The practice might be saying to yourself ‘I am Love‘, expressing love to the present, past and future versions of yourself [<link; medium length], and then sending love to the people you care for most. You might then even use Big Thinking [link; medium] to send love to all humanity.”

Reclaiming Life

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“How can I increase life-density[<contextual-link; medium length]?“

“One way, as we’ve talked before, is through life-stacking[<link; medium]. 

Another way is through what I call life-reclaiming.”

“Like reclaiming verbal-empties [<link; short] and such?”

“That’s one aspect of it. Another aspect we might call reclaiming behavioral-empties.

Habits are paradoxical. 

On one hand they are essential to our growth because they automate behavior, making it effortless, which frees up mental-space, allowing the full expression of genius.

On the other hand, habitual-behavior has a tendency to vanish into mindlessness (and joylessness). Bringing mindfulness back into (most of) them is another important component of Artful Living. You might think of it as habit maintenance.” 

“Life maintenance even.”

“Another aspect we might call reclaiming transitional-empties.

Imagine you’re absorbed in an activity and suddenly feel the need to go to the toilet. You’ll likely mindlessly rush to get it over with, so that you can quickly return to what you were doing. This is an instance of what I call transitional-time.” 

“Makes me think of Robert Greene’s distinction between alive time and dead time.”

“That’s a beautiful distinction. In my view, alive time has to do with how Joyfully Present you are in what you’re doing

What I call Joyful Presence is a combination between Presence and Meaning.

You can be Present when doing an unpleasant activity, and that’s wonderful.
Being Joyfully Present means being Present and making the activity Meaningful. This is a creative process.

Transitional-time is often dead time, time perceived as keeping us away from something.

Artful Living means deeply realizing that all time is precious, and coming up with creative ways to turn dead time into alive time. 

The example with going to the toilet is also an instance of what I call transitional-space. The default is to walk from A to B.

What if you danced from A to B?

Artful Living means coming up with creative ways to make use of space and integrating movement into your life. 

Another type of transitional-empty has to do with what I call transition(al)-points.

You do activity A, feel an impulse to do activity B and immediately give in to it. The switch from A to B is a transition-point.

Any transition-point is a decision-point. Mindlessly giving in to an impulse means skipping a decision-point.

In an important sense, reclaiming life means reclaiming decision-points and artfully using them to EVOLVE.”

Habit Seeds

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

When installing a habit, it’s important to start small, and to make it fail-proof. You want to identify the smallest possible unit of the habit that is too small to fail – the atom, so to speak.

You can think of these tiny little habits as seeds that you can nurture and grow.

The best soil for new habit-seeds is the already existing structures – like other habits.

This way, engaging in the old habit becomes a trigger for the new little habit.”

“So, using your model, there are different types of seeds, which grow different types of habits. 

A 1-burpee seed will grow into a 5-burpee seedling. 
A 5-minute writing seed will grow into a pomodoro writing seedling.”

“You could say that.”

“What if you had a universal habit-seed that could grow into all others?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“As we’ve talked before[<link], the atom of the Meditation practice is 1 mindful breath. I call it the 1-breath meditation.

The universal habit-seed could be 1 breath. Let’s call it the mindful habit-seed.

This way, you turn the process of habit creation into Presence/Mindfulness practice.

You can start by planting mindful habit-seeds into key existing habits. This is a meaningful practice in itself. However, at a later time, you can grow these seeds into new mindful-habits, or use them to reclaim existing habits, that is, to turn them into mindful-habits.”

On Presence and Decision-making

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I practice Decision-making?”

“We do many things on auto-pilot. When we do something without thinking about it, we bypass a decision-point. 

Every decision-point is an opportunity to practice Decision-making and Presence. 

Notice decision-points throughout the day.

Pause at decision-points, slow down, breathe

You’re thus creating space to ask:

Is this the best decision?
What is [the best decision]?

1-minute Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The goal of the 1-minute meditation is to focus on your breath for one minute.

“What’s the benefit of meditating for just one minute?”

“A lot can happen in your mental-space in just one minute.

The 1-minute time-frame is deceptively small. When you use it to frame your meditation practice, time seems to dilate, in the same way putting your hand on a hot stove for a minute seems like an hour. I call it subjective-time. You can have a deep practice session in just one minute. 

And there are other benefits. It’s impossible not to find time for it. It makes it easier to get started. However one of the main benefits has to do with Deliberate Practice

You can string 1-minute micro-meditations one after another to form one continuous block – what I call modular-meditation [<link; medium read].

Let’s compare a 10-minute meditation with a modular-meditation consisting of 10 1-minute micro-meditations.

The essential unit of effective practice is the quality-rep(etition) – or, as I call it, the beautiful-rep. The more beautiful-reps you can get within a certain time-frame, the more effective the practice. Using the density [<link; medium read] model, we can say effective practice is denser.

During a 10-minute meditation, it is possible for your mind to wander most of the time. That’s a low density practice.

The 1-minute micro-meditations structure your practice. You can think of them as checkpoints, which bring your wandering mind back, ensuring a higher density practice.

You can think of each 1-minute block as a bigger rep – 1-minute-reps. What the 1-minute-reps offer is fast feedback. Once a minute passes, you immediately know if it was a quality-rep or not.” 

“A quality 1-minute-rep is one in which your mind did not wander?”


You can even count them, just like you might do with breaths.

Another approach I use is to aim for just one quality 1-minute-rep. Once you get it, you’re done. If you don’t get, add another one, and another one, until you do get it.”