Christmas time is synonymous with many different things: excitement; disappointment; love; sadness; giving; receiving; consumerism; spirituality; excess; parsimony; stress; relaxation…the list goes on and on. Each year we have so much expectation, and of course, sometimes it ‘lives up to’ and sometimes it ‘falls short of’ those largely commercially manufactured expectations, that we hold.
We all hear people saying ‘it’s just a day’, in an attempt to diffuse the enormity and weight of that expectation, whilst running around in an attempt to live up to the image of Christmas we have been conditioned to expect by the advertising agencies – I don’t think I have ever seen the normal dysfunction of family life playing out in a Christmas advert, have you?!
Mindfulness is in part, a large part, about realising that we have choice and learning to exercise or live that choice, in a conscious way. For example, we are awake and aware enough to realise that we are expected to be drawn in to the romantic notion we are sold, of an ‘all-consuming’ Christmas. We can willingly succumb, or we can consciously choose an alternative.
Of course, choosing and giving gifts is an absolute joy when we do it with mindfulness, really taking the time to make choices that are heartfelt and thoughtful, rather than feeling it is a ‘chore’ to tick off a long list! When we bring our true presence to the choosing and giving, everyone enjoys it.
Whether we choose not to buy gifts or not (yes we do have a choice!), we can choose to truly ‘be’ with the people we love and are choosing to be with, to give them our undivided attention for the time we are with them, rather than being dispersed and scattered, not really present at all. Giving our presence is truly a gift for our self too, because when we are present, we are engaged, happier and enjoy life more completely.
So, whatever your thoughts, feelings and beliefs are in this gloriously multi-cultural community that we constitute, make time and space for your self and those you love. Do your best to recharge and rejuvenate, and whether you are giving your presence, or presents (or both!), really immerse your self in, and savour EVERY moment.
Wishing you mindfulness, peace and love in each moment and I look forward to ‘being’ with you in 2017, if not before!