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Give the Gift of Presence

Updated: May 14

creating christmas decorations
Holiday Decorating

It’s December. Per usual, I don’t have one holiday decoration up. I have not purchased one Christmas gift, and as I look at my calendar and my bank account, those old familiar feelings of holiday #stress and #Christmas shame start to creep up. You know, the ones that attach themselves to the stories of being the worst parent ever and a hot holiday mess, completely incompetent and basically praying for a Christmas miracle to bail me out.

So, I have to wonder, what are the practices we can do that truly fill us

with the spirit of peace, joy and love. What can I give that doesn’t have to be bought, shipped, wrapped, and placed under the Christmas tree? That isn’t tied to the material world?

I am reminded of some of the teachings in #yoga, about #giving without attachment to the results. What I know is this practice is much harder than it sounds. Of course, I want someone to appreciate the gift I give them! I just roamed around several stores trying to find the perfect gift, the thing that has you written all over it. Something I know you’ll just love!! And because I am a procrastinator, I had to do all this roaming with all the other procrastinators in the area. No easy feat.

So, how can we practice in our daily life? We can do our work. Every day, in the spirit of dedication, doing the best we can, without #attachment to the results. Giving our efforts up to our higher power or our higher selves, allowing for flow and for the universe to work through us. One easy practice, every day, is to smile at a stranger. Look them right in the eye and give them a smile and pay attention to the impact it has on you.

Speaking of smiling, when was the last time you gave someone the gift of your laughter? When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh? Laughter is infectious. It can spread joy in your body, your energetic field, and all around. I realize that not everyone is funny, and some people don’t find humor in life the same way I do. Again, this is why it’s a practice. If you don’t think life is funny, well pay attention to some of the crazy human things you do, some of the wild things you hold onto. Humor is the quickest way to dispel our internal dialogue that wants to keep us small and has us believing that we

are divided individuals and not part of the whole.

woman with mala beads
Happy Woman

When was the last time you really had a ridiculous “grown up” temper tantrum? I once caught myself in the VIP area at a concert, just beside myself that I

couldn’t go dance with the everyone else right at that moment. Wow.

Being able to laugh at yourself gives you permission to be imperfect. When you are imperfect and honor your imperfections, I have found that I am able to radically accept others for who they are as they walk through this messy life. What a gift that is! To hold someone in positive regard, without judgement, knowing they are a creative and resourceful whole person who is getting themself through life the best they can, same as me.

About this mess of getting through life. Is there someone you need to #forgive this holiday season? Is there something you have been holding onto? #Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning. It doesn’t mean to continue to let someone hurt you, and you may have #boundaries in place for a reason, to protect yourself, and these may have to stay.

In fact, honoring your boundaries and not allowing someone to hurt you allows you to be the driver in your life rather than a victim, which makes room for more forgiveness. Forgiveness, it turns out, is really an act for yourself as much as it is for the other person. It makes room for love and for peace. Forgiving yourself is an important practice to be able to forgive others. There is no need to hold onto every single minor infraction. If you have hurt someone, apologize, make it right, and then let it go. To ruminate and live in guilt only deepens the wound and gives energy to the way you didn’t want to act and the thing you didn’t want to do. The mistake you made. So forgive yourself, forgive others, and visualize the way you want to live and be with others instead.

Loving Couple

One way I want to be with others is authentically. Giving the gift of showing up as your authentic self gives those around you #inspiration and dare I say the courage to show up authentically themselves, without a mask, willing to be seen as they truly are, in all the goofiness, messiness, likes, dislikes, struggles, successes. This doesn’t mean you share your life story, it doesn’t mean you tell everyone “just exactly what you think of them.” It simply means you pull off some of that armor. You stand in yourself

and in your truth as an offering, without needing to be the smartest, the funniest, the best, the brightest, the strongest, the hottest, the youngest, the best dressed. You just are uniquely you in all your glory.

Lastly, I think of the present of presence. Truly holding space for another. Being with them in the moment, not worrying about the next thing on the to do list, not ruminating over the past. Just being in each moment of now, being attuned to what the other person is saying and what they aren’t saying, how they are presenting the information, the energy in the words and in the space around the words.

Instead of getting caught up in what you want to say, how you want to respond, the story you have that is related to what they are saying. Can you self-manage? Can you stay in attention? Can you be their witness through the feelings they are experiencing? Can you wonder about the person in front of you instead of the thoughts bouncing around in your head?

While I am not naïve enough to believe that my 14-year-old will be gung-ho about my presence being his one true gift this holiday season, I do wonder what it would be like to tune into the energetic gifts we can give each other and ourselves every day. The ways we can show up for each other, the judgements we can remove, the smiles and laughter we can share.

Well, maybe we will begin to care less about the material items we give and receive, we’ll start to really truly believe and know that material belongings don’t bring true happiness, and we’ll come back the essence of Christmas, Satchidananda, Existence,

Knowledge, and Bliss Absolute, the essence of who we truly are.

We are the light in the darkness.

staring into the light

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