The One Gift That Matters Most This Holiday Season
As I try to move down my big, long to-do list this week in preparation for all the merrymaking I will be doing in the weeks ahead, I’ve found myself feeling a bit overwhelmed. Okay, more than a bit. So I have stopped. Stopped to take a big deep breath, to look out the window at the sun streaming in and to ask myself “Why the hurry?”
As I’m sure you’ve experienced yourself, it’s very easy to get caught up on the “do it all” and “be it all” merry-go-round this time of year. They call it the silly season for a reason. Which is why I’ve stopped mid-flight and am writing to you right now. Because most of the time I find that if there’s something I’m struggling with, someone else is too.
So, what to do? First up, is to breathe. It may sound foolish or overly simplistic but pausing and just focusing on the very simple act of breathing can be quite transforming. So how about you do it. Yes…right now. Just follow your breath…in…and out…and as you exhale, imagine all the stressful thoughts leaving your body, your psyche, your spirit and in their place leaving a peaceful quiet and a deep knowing that all is well.
It will only take you one minute right now to breathe in 10 big deep breaths but it will make a difference for many hours to come. I know you have lots on your plate but I also know that you, like me, can spare one minute.
Next up is to ask yourself what really matters to you this Christmas season? Is it to have the best wrapped presents, the most decorated home, the hippest holiday party or is it to truly connect with the people you love most in the world, to deepen the bonds you share and celebrate all the wonderful things that life has brought you?
Presents can be great (really, feel free to send me one anytime you like!) but there is NO greater gift you can give another than your presence. Nothing. It conveys far more than any store-purchased gift can ever do. It makes them feel loved, valued, cared for. In turn it brings more love and meaning into your own life.
So before you press delete and race on through your own long list, ask yourself how much it would really matter if you never got through it. Would the world stop turning? Would your family stop loving you or your friends drop you like a hotcake? Of course not. As you know yourself, it wouldn’t really change all that much. But by letting go having to have it all be perfect, a weight would be lifted from you, enabling you to be more present, more engaged in the moment and more open to experiencing (and giving away) the true Christmas spirit.
Today I am not going to edit this blog post. I am not going to try to perfect it. If there are typos, so be it. If it doesn’t flow properly or make perfect sense, so be it. But if it causes you to stop, to pause, to breathe and to reconnect with what truly matters and to remember the reason for the season, then I am content.
If you have the time, take a minute to watch an interview I did on how to manage holiday stress. Wishing you a happy and holy holiday season. May those you love feel truly loved by you — not by what you give to them, but by who are you being with them. And, as always I’d love to hear your opinion. What strategies or tips do you use to stay mindful of the spirit of this season?