A mate of mine shared with me a problem he was experiencing. It was his son's birthday and he wanted to give him a present to celebrate the occasion. According to my mate, the problem was that, despite his wealth and the wherewithal to buy whatever money could buy, his son told him that the only present he wanted was his father's time and attention – to be there for him. Stuff, it seemed, was no longer accepted as being good enough.

Being there usually takes two forms – being there for others and for yourself. My friend explained to me that In the morning he was always busy. He never seemed to have enough time: everything was always in a rush. He'd eat very quickly (if at all) while thinking about other things. Sometimes he'd even hold a newspaper that hides his face and the faces of others. In the evening when he came home, he was too tired to catch-up with his son and really hear about his day. According to the father, even though his body was there, his mind was often somewhere else. Rarely was his mind really there with his body.

The son's request brought about a revolution in the life of his parent who found that being

there was an art that had to be worked at. With the help of his son, my friend found that the most precious gift he can give is his true presence – being there.

One of the great things about aging and the freedom and wisdom we'd hope it brings is that being there should be considerably easier – no more climbing the corporate ladder and assorted greasy poles. The focus can now be there there or be being present. But do not be fooled, it can be quite a challenge.

Achieving oneness of body and mind – being there – can take as little as 20 seconds, and everyone can do it, anywhere. All it takes is to be mindful of your breathing – breathing in, breathing out. If it helps, as you breathe in, you might say, 'I know that I'm breathing in!' When you breathe out, you could say, 'I know that I'm breathing out!' And, in the case of being there for someone else, my friend might say to his son. 'My son, I'm here for you!'

Being there for yourself and others can be a simple as breathing. What's stopping you? Give it a go!