Every week, Oprah is setting an intention exclusively for Oprah Insiders, with reflections on topics like letting go, forgiveness, coming into your own, and more. Visit the page with this week’s video on Being Fully Present every day this week for a new dose of inspiration.
Wednesday, April 6
Living in the moment isn’t always just about you! If you’re going to engage with someone else, it’s a good idea to make sure they can be fully present, too. Here, Gayle King shares the simple questions she uses to make sure anyone she strikes up a conversation with is able to give their full attention.
“I’d like to think that I am able to be fully present a majority of the time. I’m not a scatter-brained kind of person, so it’s not hard for me to be and stay in the moment.
Though I will say that sometimes you just want a moment for yourself and someone who you didn’t invite in comes up to you and starts talking. At those times, it can be tough to be fully present.
I remember being on a plane once and the man next to me just started talking. I’ll be honest, I did not want to engage. For the first few minutes, I did my best to stay fully present and listen to him. But after a while, I started checking my phone and doing other things. He actually told me I was being rude! But I hadn't asked to participate in that conversation. In hindsight, I suppose I could have let him know that I needed to devote my attention to other things.
That encounter actually made me more mindful in my everyday encounters. If you’re talking to someone else, it’s not just about whether or not you have the space to be fully present in that conversation—it’s about whether they do, too.
Now, before I start a conversation, I will say, ‘Do you have a minute?’ or ‘Is now a good time?’ I’ll do this if I am calling someone who isn’t expecting my call or if I approach someone without warning.
We’ve all had those moments when we call someone and just launch into a conversation and they have to say, ‘Actually, can I call you back—I’m on another call!’ You instantly feel bad because you didn’t even think to check if they had the time and energy to devote to you.
So I think it’s always a good idea to give someone the opportunity to decide if they have the time and energy to devote to you and be fully present. When you’re able to do that and you’re both able to decide you have that time and energy, your conversation is going to be much more enjoyable.”