A Holiday Gift to Myself: Presence
As Christmas descends upon us, it’s often a mixed bag of anxiety, hope, and nostalgia. With each passing year, I find myself feeling more nostalgic for Christmases Past, and probably some that never existed. I understand that I’m trying to tap back into a feeling I once felt, years gone now; and now that it’s gone, I have elevated it to something that was “magical.”
Could be that with my kids beyond the age of Santa, or the fact that my beloved Grandparents are no longer here, I’m focused on places that don’t exist in my world anymore, only in my memories. This pulls at the heart strings and takes me out of the present moment. In the past, I’ve certainly countered this lack of presence by overindulging in presents. Pretty common, right?
Christmas is touted as a season of giving, a season of magic, a season of miracles, and for me, the aesthetics of Christmas are intoxicating. I love the IDEA of Christmas, though I am a retired Catholic and don’t feel a religious connection, but rather a longing to live about 5 minutes of a Hallmark Christmas movie. (After 5 minutes I’d probably get on the train back to the big city and the anonymity of big city living).
My goal this holiday is to be focused on presence. I want to invest emotionally and energetically in the people who matter to me, the ones I don’t often make time to just sit with. Three hundred and sixty three days out of the year, my routine is to be focused on work, never really present for very long, pulled in different directions. This time of year, for a few days anyway, my work commitments are lighter, the sky is darker, and the house brighter. This is when I allow myself the luxury, the gift of presence. Moments of simple conversation, leaving my day-to-day identity aside, allowing the outside world to do its thing while I tune out and tune in.
Rather than attempting to relive a time that once was, or longing for things that just aren’t…I’m focused on expanding my heart, turning off my mind, and simply being with people I love. Just being. Maybe I’ll cook up a storm to make the house smell nice, or maybe I’ll make those desserts, since I don’t believe in calories in December. Maybe I’ll drink too much coffee and tell ridiculous stories, or maybe I’ll just sit and be present while I get to witness others being their authentic selves. And I’ll try and remember these moments, be fully engaged and present, and maybe this year my heart will grow three sizes. Who knows, but I am sure of one thing…and that is that time and energy are our most valuable currencies. I’m going to invest mine in events and people that matter to me, and enjoy this moment, not projecting into the next, and not focused on those moments that have long ago passed. Presence over presents – my goal this year.
Anyone reading this, please give yourself the gift of acceptance, of patience, of compassion, and of presence. This might be the one time of year we’re truly open and ready to receive. I wish you wellness and warmth, and a full cup of your favorite beverage.