Having just come from a faculty meeting, I’m now sitting in my empty classroom thinking about the whole idea of meetings. When I “meet” people, or with people, I come into their presence – and the word “presence” seems significant there. Truly being in the presence of a group of people means being totally there with them -- in their company, in their circle or set. You might say I “belong” with them. The word “presence” derives from the Latin word for “being”, which suggests that if I wish to be truly present with a group, I should actually be there with them – body, mind, and heart – not miles away on the flights of daydream and reverie. Instead of going over innumerable mental tasks in my head during a meeting – to-do’s, wants, regrets, shoulda’s, woulda’s, coulda’s -- I should actually be present at the meeting – totally, ardently, actively. Unfortunately, I was far from present at today’s faculty meeting. I might as well have been on a mountain peak in Peru. My body was there in its pink shirt and blue bow tie, but my mind and heart were drifting around the universe somewhere. I wasted my time and slighted my colleagues. It makes me wonder how often I’ve met with students in class but actually been far-gone on desires and dreams. Maybe somebody should get their money back.
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