Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year!! It’s like an opening in time and space when we all come together and remember the truth of who we are: a people longing to believe in magic, in goodness, in hope and eager and yearning to do better, to be better, to love greater. But you know how this goes. Just over one week in and we’re all already feeling the pull of the commercial undertow. How can we fight it and win?
If you’d like a magical reset button to bring back your Christmas cheer, here’s a simple task I encourage you to practice daily. It’s a mindset, an awareness and it’s the best gift you can give yourself and others. Be PRESENT.
In all your tasks, in all the days ahead, be mindful of where you’re placing your attention. Resist the urge to be distracted by your ‘to do’ list. Resist the activities that make you feel rushed, harried, stressed, in fear. Focus on the beautiful, shiny moments in front of you – or create some.
Unless you are completely alone, stop watching the JibJab dancing elf videos from friends. Resist the urge to check the latest posts on Face Book, Twitter and Insta. You don’t need to know what everyone else is doing. Look up. Be PRESENT.
Instead of stressing over the cookies to bake, invite your children or a good friends over to help. See how much attention you can give to them, recalling favorite memories, sharing stories. Honor how much they mean to you, the space they hold in your heart. Ask questions and listen for their answers. Be PRESENT.
Instead of tossing a dollar in the hand of a hungry stranger and rushing off, pause and make eye contact and remember to honor their humanity. Show them dignity. Be PRESENT.
Instead of dreading your trip to the mall, decide that this is your chance to show the frustrated masses the warmth of this season. Play a game and see how many people you can get to smile simply by saying “Merry Christmas!” with enthusiasm and purpose. Notice their response. Be PRESENT.
In everything you do, change your language from “I have to…” to “I get to do this!” and recall why you are sharing in the first place. You get to celebrate the love you have for family members through the giving of gifts. You get to reach out and remember friends far and near with cards. You get to show gratitude to your child’s teachers, your gardner, your postal worker, the dog walker. Think of how much these people help make your life flow with ease. Reflect on their self-lessness. Be PRESENT.
This is a time when we celebrate the birth of someone who was and is always present. Who taught our world to be still and to know what really matters, from the heart. His birth is the greatest gift our world has ever received. His teachings encourage us to believe in magic and hope and a world run by love, not fear. And whether you’re religious or spiritual or undecided, I think you would agree that following the finest example of love is always our highest choice.
Everthing you wish to experience, to have, to feel can be yours this holiday, it starts here, now. Be PRESENT.