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Measuring Presence

Our family recently visited some friends who own a horse.

Naturally, the conversation about what it's like to ride the horse came up.

Our friend who is the primary rider of the horse, told us that horses are incredibly intuitive animals.

If you're having a bad day and you're trying to force the horse to do things, it very likely won't respond.

In order to ride the horse smoothly, you must check all your baggage at the door, and be entirely present with it.

The horse will provide you with immediate feedback on your level of presence.

This conversation reminded me of why I love using a rowing machine so much.

If you're reading this and you've never used a rowing machine, here is what using one looks like.

From the little I've learned about how to use the rowing machine properly, a concept I've come across is the idea of being connected to the machine.

The more connected you are to the machine, the more power you can generate on each rowing stroke, which means you can often go further, faster.

A rowing machine is not a horse.

It doesn't have any feelings.

Arguably, it's the complete inverse of a horse. It is an entirely rational thing. It is a machine after all.

Yet, the idea of connection with the machine is a very real thing.

I haven't even come close to doing this on a consistent basis when I row, but if I have to describe what this feels like, it's as if you're rowing with your entire body. From your toes, all the way to the top of your head.

The best part about doing this on a machine is that, being the very rational thing that it is, it tells you how connected you are.

Well, it doesn't use those words necessarily, it has its own language—split time, strokes per minute, wattage—but the primary message being spoken by the machine is about connection.

Connection with the machine is a measure of presence.

How smooth the horse ride is, is a measure of presence.

One uses a rational being, the other an emotional one.

Both provide immediate feedback to the one who is seeking to be more present.

If you're seeking to be more present in your life, I'll leave you with an obvious question...

How will you know if you're finding it?

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