The Gift of Presence at the Holidays
I was born into a family with a mother/son pair of dachshunds named Madame and Louie and later at age 10 negotiated with my father to get a smooth coat female St. Bernard we not so creatively named Brandy. She lived past the time that I left home for college yet when I would visit she always gave me the gift of her presence. You know what I am talking about, unconditional, in the moment, all that counts IS THE NOW presence. Other things came along with that such as fur flying into snow drifts in the corners, swipes of dog drool on my jeans, and a 110 pound animal wanting to sit on my lap, yet what remains deepest in my core memory is the sense of being known, seen, welcomed, and wanted...no matter what.
This season, when the days shorten, the wintery darkness can remind me of being a single mother without money to buy clothes let alone Christmas gifts for my boys. The sense of the season itself is reflective and can cause me to go into worry or fear. What we call in Lightyear being below The Line of Choice. This is exacerbated by the outward expectations of consuming, providing, decorating, and "celebrating" in ways that may not always feel authentic.
Some of you may find that you are stressed by memories of unfulfilled Holiday expectations. These memories can take you out of the NOW and into the past. Some of you may find that you are anxious about the future and what the New Year holds. This will take you out of the NOW into an undesigned and likely anti-vision future. Some of you will attempt to avoid both situations by disconnecting from the energy of the season. This will also take you out of the NOW and into a false or mimic NOW—one without fulfillment, love or happiness.
There is a cure for all three scenarios—presence—doglike, full-hearted,100% committed, validating, life-affirming presence.
How do we bring the presents of presence into our lives, our family, and our relationships?
The way I see it, the "how' we bring presence comes from the "who". What I now do each Winter season is create a statement of “who” I choose to be, no matter what, and ask to be filled with that presence. I use that statement like a seasonal declaration, a song, a tuning fork to keep myself steady amidst the perfect images of dressed tables, lighted yards, and sequined outfits that might wear down my resolve and leave me in a tumbling spiral of comparison.
Speaking of my childhood furry friends, I have heard people say Dog is God spelled in reverse. Julie Cameron of the Artist's Way says that God is Good Orderly Design. I have found that the creation of a holiday declaration is to lay a foundation of “Good”.
Here are some examples of seasonal declarations Lightyear participants have created and used in past years:
I trust these waves
I can be in the moment and enjoy it
Allowing myself to be who I really am is my Christmas gift
I connect to my unique place on earth
I hold the space of the heart of Christmas
I receive all that is mine by Divine right and share my time generously
I am the gift and the giver
I radiate love and understanding
Humor lights my Winter
My presence is a present
The "Orderly" part is keeping the "who" simple and available so you can live from it and remember it. For instance tell friends your holiday statement, write it in your notes on your phone, put a sticky note on your mirror, send yourself an early Christmas card.
The "Design" part is to take a look at your relationships and see where you want to "spend" your time and when you do, bring your presence. A lunch with a parent, a call with a friend, a card to a neighbor, a pot-luck for no reason. In this design also create time for yourself to love and guide yourself, to become your own best friend, to be held by your own fascinating vision and goals and challenges.
Join me for a guided meditation to take your presence even deeper.
Thanks and Love,