The most important gift you can give to your loved ones won’t be found at a store or fit into a box. Offer peace to yourself and others this holiday season. Be generous with your presence.
Holiday stress can leave you harried and grumpy. The to-do lists and busyness can be overwhelming. Or if you feel lonely and disconnected, it can be especially painful to watch those around you soaking up holiday love and joy, while you feel parched.
Make this season about connection – first with yourself. Being present means inhabiting yourself, reconnecting inside of your body, your mind, and your heart. When you find yourself feeling agitated or weary, pause and take a deep breath.
Relax physically. By exhaling all the way out you send a calming signal to your body. Scan your body and release the tension in your face, especially around your eyes and jaw, in your shoulders and neck, and in your core. Next, move your body, maybe by just stretching your eyebrows up and down, by yawning, or by getting up to walk across the room. Use intentional movement as a reminder to reset yourself physically and emotionally. Bring a soothing image to mind. Imagine the warmth of a roaring fire or the mesmerizing flicker of a candle’s flame. Picture a loved one smiling at you or the sensation on your fingertips of petting a soft, fluffy puppy. As you calm yourself using these simple strategies, you wake up the peace within you.
Offer peace to those around you. Exhale while you wait in line at the store so that you can share kindness with the sale clerk. Release tension in your body and mind during your commute so you can greet your coworker, your dog, or your family with warmth.
Bring your full attention to the person before you. Clear your mind, allowing this person to fill your awareness. See the person you are interacting with fresh eyes, notice new details about them. Listen to what they are saying. Create a welcoming space for them to inhabit during the interaction with you. In this age of distraction, receiving someone with warm attention is a special gift.
This holiday season and beyond, be the present. Be present.