Holidays and "Frantic" Are Not Synonymous: Presents & Presence

30 November 2009 1 comments

Where I live, the traffic has already gotten worse.   

It starts so early.   Even before Thankgiving the roads became congested.  Now all day long they are full.  Every year I wonder: "where are they all going"?   What could possibly be so important that more and more people are rushing around, trying to get "it" all done...
Whatever "it" is.

Perhaps they are short ingredients for their baking, a few lights for their tree, a gift for their secretary, stamps for their cards...rushing, rushing and rushing.

Of course we don't want to leave anyone out.  After all, this is the season of "giving".   We want others to feel appreciated.   We leave a card for the mail carrier...with a little money....a bottle of wine perhaps for the UPS delivery person and cookies for the bank tellers who always serve with a smile.   Plus, we don't want our loved ones to feel "less than".   

But why the compulsion to gift so much?   

I suppose what I am really trying to say is: "why does it have to be so perfect -- and why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to make it that way?"

An earnest look, a strong hug, an good-old-fashioned pat on the "I appreciate you", an "I love you" regularly...if we do not do this then does that mean that you have to "make up for it all" once a year?

I talked to someone recently who told me that all she really wants for christmas is for her husband to pick up his socks, help with dinner and dishes.   To listen.

To be "present".

Deep down, all any of us really wants is each other.  

What if we were "present" for each other, attentive to each others' needs.   What if we 'showed up' for the people in our lives -- would their expectations of "once a year gifting" be lower?    

Would we have to be so frantic?     The state of "being frantic", I am sure you know, is not good for your health.  When we are tense, we sleep less, we drink more, we eat more.   Come January 1st, we think "oh my, what have I done?" and we run to the gym to undo the damage, the sequelae of "being frantic".

To change this cycle is quite novel.  People -- as it turns out -- are more important than things.   You do not need to "rush around".  Step off the carousel.   Sit in one place.   Count your blessings.   Bless the people around you.  Show up for them.  

Be there for them.

Of course, others' expectations may still be high (thanks to our marketing industry) but if we can retrain ourselves to pay closer attention to the people in our lives...then perhaps we can all enjoy a warmer holiday.   

Perhaps our hearts will open a bit wider and perhaps, by honoring our health, by honoring each other, by being grateful --

We will finally understand that the very best present is presence.



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