Gift Your Presence to Someone this Holiday!
It's amazing that the change in the calendar can bring about such a collective change in moods. 'Tis the season," of many things. Things like decorations, libations, celebrations, and giving.
When I was young, the thoughts of Christmas excited me as much as they did any kid. Like most children, I loved getting presents. And, probably like many adults, that want for gifts faded as the years passed.
My adult excitement for the Holidays was driven by gift-giving, not getting. To give a gift gave me, and still does, far more joy than receiving one. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I was a lousy gift-getter for many years. I didn't want a gift from anyone. It almost made me uncomfortable.
Then some years ago, I became aware of a critically important aspect of any gift exchange. If I enjoyed gift giving and my level of enjoyment was commensurate with the person's joy receiving the gift, I was cheating others. By not being a good gift-getter, I was lessening the experience of the person that made an effort to present me with a gift.
This change in perspective brought with it a shift in emotion. I focus my attention on the gift giver rather than the gift. My appreciation for the time, effort, and even possible sacrifice someone has made to present me with a gift brings a new level of gratitude. Not so much for the gift but for the giver. This attention requires presence.
To be present requires stillness. In these long Silent nights of December, my wish is that you find some stillness. And from that stillness, your presence is a gift to someone else. It's one of the greatest gifts we can give and one of the few where the giving can be more rewarding than the getting. It's why they probably call it being Present.
Cheers to a joyful present and a well-remembered past.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!