The video below is the song “The Present,” written for my son on mindfulness and the temporary nature of life. It is my entry in the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest.

Focus on the present for more wellness - Tiny Desk Contest entry

When I was younger, I used to write and perform music with my dad. This started when I was 14 years old. We wrote and recorded two music albums while I was in high school.

Once I got into college, it got harder to write and perform together. Life got in the way and different things became priorities.

Learning to focus on the present

It was only after I lost everything in 2013 that I had time and creative energy to spend on music once more. At that time, I needed to work through all the mess in my life and ground myself to something that was bigger than me -something worth spending time on. I needed to reassert my worthiness, accept where I was, and forgive myself.

In the midst of that process, I found myself really drawn to the time I had with my new son. My little boy was so vulnerable and sweet. He brought me joy and the time we spent together gave me the sense that it was okay. I may not have been able to give him much at that time, but what I could give was my presence. I could be fully present and enjoy that gift of time we had together. It was being a mother that taught me how to focus on the present, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Writing “The Present”

This song was written for my son about that time. It is all about focusing on the present and the joy and freedom that comes with being present. While it was written several years ago (in the middle of that difficult time) it was never recorded. It felt like now was a good time for us to enter it in the NPR Tiny Desk Contest (watch and share the NPR entry here) in order to get it out into the world, and hopefully speak to others’ experiences. I wrote the melody and lyrics, while the guitar part was written by my father. I hope you enjoy it and if it resonates, please share it with someone who needs this message. Thanks for listening!




Alexis Donkin
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Focus on the Present for More Wellness [Video]
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