It’s that magical time of year again, where it can be so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, and shopping for the perfect gift. Although buying and giving presents can be fun, they can’t compare to giving presence.
Personally, I cannot recall many of the gifts that I have received throughout my life, but I can recall the people and the feelings I felt during the holidays. The best Christmases were the ones where everyone was enjoying the company of each other and making memories in the present moment, without discussing the future or the past. Whether we got presents or not didn’t seem to matter.
Time is an expensive currency because once we spend it we can never get it back. Loving, undivided attention is a rare commodity these days amongst the distractions of daily life. It can be easy to think a store-bought item can be a suitable substitute for presence, but it doesn’t take long before we start to experience emptiness within us. By giving our presence we are giving a gift so unique and priceless; a gift that can’t be returned, broken, lost, or replaced. Not only does it become a perfect gift for others, it becomes a gift for us. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
So how can we really give this holiday season?
1. Set aside the technology.
Technology has the ability to draw us together, but it also has a way of isolating us from the people around us. While we are busy taking pictures to post and share with the world, we miss out on the un-pixelated reality that no camera will ever be able to pick up. Have tech-free time and give your loved ones undivided attention.
Really listen. Not to reply, but to understand. Hold the judgments and interruptions. Judgments close you off, and interruptions show that whatever you have to say is much more important. Both can be demoralizing to the other person. Have patience and listen with an open heart. Take a moment to take in whatever was said before answering.
3. Make eye contact.
Eye contact increases the bond within a relationship. It also allows you to really focus on what is being said, and it shows the speaker that you are actually interested in what is being said. The eyes are the windows to the soul; acknowledge the beautiful soul waiting to greet yours. Empower it with your light and love.
4. Maintain body awareness.
Did you know it is said that 80% of communication is non-verbal? Your body will let others know if your mind is elsewhere. Relax and enjoy the moments you are creating. Your body will naturally follow.
5. Breathe and be love.
If you find yourself becoming distracted by your thoughts, judgments, and emotions just breathe and be love. Focus on your breath to return you back to love and back to the present moment.
6. Get structured and organized.
Create a plan so you know when and how you will be getting things done. Set alarms on your phone to remind you, if it helps. With a plan in place, you will know when you have time to fully dedicate your attention without worrying that you need to have everything done.
7. Make memories.
Embrace your inner child. Be free and let go. Smile. Live every breath as if it were your last. Laugh so much that you actually do end up rolling on the floor.
8. Experience it all through your senses.
See, hear, touch, taste, and breathe in everything as if it were your first time. It is a lovely meditation to ground you in the now and allow you to experience the holidays and your loved ones in a whole new light.
Not enough can be said about gratitude. It has the power to change our moods positively, create happiness, and deepen our relationships. Show those around you your gratitude for their presence in your life through your actions. Actions will always speak louder than words.
If you can’t be physically present with someone this holiday season (or even if you will), creating a gift from the heart will show you spent time pouring your love out for and thinking about them. It shows presence. It can be a letter or a craft; whatever your heart guides you to make.
11. Be present for YOU.
Wake up a bit earlier than you are used to and start the day being present for the most important relationship in your life: the one with yourself. Show yourself some love and devotion and you’ll soon find that you’ll have so much that you won’t be able to help but share it with others. The last thing you want is to subconsciously resent the time you spend with others that you never got to spend on yourself. Take care of you and let love flow.
Every moment is an opportunity to give ourselves spiritually, to connect with those around us in a state of absolute loving presence, while deepening our relationships. Let us not forget the real meaning of this holiday season. May we live in the power of now, creating cherished memories of happiness, gratitude, and love that last a lifetime.
Let’s make spending time a priority. Let’s value giving presence over presents.
Written by Summer Perez. Check out her Instagram @summerperez.