In June of 2019, Vicariously Here began as a travel website. It was my second website, and admittedly, I bit off more than I could chew. From the beginning, I think I knew it wasn’t really what made my heart sing.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but much of what I did in 2019 (tidying, running two websites, and implementing nurturing daily habits) was helping lead me to a clearer vision of what I really wanted to write about, which is presence and the art of showing up. I began writing a book. It’s not the first book I’ve started, but it is the one I was meant to write. That, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. I also know I’ll finish it, along with my book of 100 mosquito haiku.
For months I have been reading books about productivity, habits, sleep, conversations, essentialism, deep work, and authenticity.
I realized that all of these had one thing in common: presence.
In order to achieve goals and create new habits, we need to be present.
I haven’t always been the most present person. In fact, I have been one of the least present. Absence is a coping mechanism.
Many of us have very good reasons for withdrawing into ourselves. It’s a survival mechanism that used to serve us well. As time goes on, we don’t know how to reconnect even though we are desperate for meaningful connection.
I don’t focus on the past, but in the spirit of authenticity and because maybe there is a reader out there that needs to know they aren’t alone, I’m going to share something I rarely talk about: my lack of presence was a direct consequence of both devastating loss and abuse. The abuse occurred as a child and teenager. The loss at the age of 10. These were formative years.
There is a path to presence and healing. I’m proof of that.
While I am still no expert on presence, I have found ways to cultivate it. If I can get here, you can too.
It helps that my wife is one of the most present people I’ve ever met. When we met sixteen years ago, I think I accidentally tricked her. I was so captivated by her that I was intensely present. That was so not my status quo back then. I’m still a work in progress and she still gets frustrated by my occasional lack of presence, but I’m working on it. I don’t have all the answers yet, but my focus and dedication to finding them is unwavering.
Why Vicariously Here?
Through the process of creating greater presence and clarity in my life, I finally had a vision. I quickly realized it did not include a travel website. Instead, it was to help people find more presence in their lives.
If the concept of presence feels abstract, I’ll clarify. By being truly present in any given moment and observing our thoughts and actions, we can change both our current state of mind and our future outcomes.
Now, more than ever, the world needs more meaningful connection.
We need more kindness, more understanding, more empathy, and clear ways to develop all of them.
I share the tools, books, and insights that have helped me be more present and that are continuing to enhance my life and improve my relationships. More importantly, all of this helps me be of greater service to others.
Happiness comes and goes, but by becoming better at observing our own thoughts and behaviors, we can live more meaningful, more connected, and more peaceful lives.
While I was contemplating what to do with Vicariously Here after realizing I was no longer interested in having a travel website, I realized that the name was applicable to presence (and a lack of it). Travel is just one of many ways to create presence.
In many ways, we are here vicariously. Our highest, best selves often take a back seat to the selves we allow to be distracted through dozens of vicarious pleasures.
Vicariously Here is both a reminder and an invitation.
If you are a believer that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, then the idea of being here vicariously through these imperfect physical forms might resonate all the more. If not, that’s okay too.
I no longer want to help people travel the world. I want to help them, and you, be present wherever you find yourself in it.
The journey continues.
The first step is learning to Tend Your Own Fire.
One of my influences in finding presence is Adriene Mishler, an online yoga teacher whose tagline is Find What Feels Good. Taking a page out of her book, I’ll end with:
Find what makes you present.
Let’s create more presence together.
Let’s do life better.
Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.
~ Parker Palmer