Being Present is the Best Present You Can Give

Dec 11, 2019

Being Present is the Best Present You Can Give

The celebration of Christmas, which used to hold spiritual meaning, is now supplanted by parties, shopping, cooking and present wrapping all culminating on one or two days blow out. In Christmas’s past, when my children were little, I was a full participant in the madness. Both my husband I worked and somehow, we sandwiched all the preparation for Christmas in between the usual cacophony of our daily lives.

An Old Story

We celebrated Christmas on the eve before, a borrowed tradition from my German background. So, there we’d be, all dressed in our finest, the girls with new frocks, some years, ones I’d sewn myself. The cards were sent, the house all tidy, the duck roasting, the presents all wrapped under the tree, and maybe a few additional friends or family in attendance. Usually by this time we’d have a glass of bubbly in hand and he and I would look at each other over the hubbub – a look that said, “I can’t believe we made it!” It felt like a marathon! And we could barely enjoy it, we were so wiped from it all by the time the day arrived. At some point, we’d laugh about it and say – “Really, let’s do it differently next year” – but somehow, we did it again.

Time Passes and Change Happens

Many years have passed, fortunately more sanity now reins for me at this time of year. I look back and wonder who and what was driving that ship! A lot of inherited images and expectations about what was required to have a “good” Christmas.

These days my one wish for the season is to be a grounded presence wherever I show up. Granted my life is simpler now, but I’ve also made a concerted effort to fashion the holidays so that I can truly enjoy what I choose to do. I keep my spiritual practices going during these days. I tune into the cycle of nature – the dwindling light, the hunkering down energy of the season, and insist on no rushing. I love the symbolism of finding and being a light in the dark.

Slow is Fast and Less is More

I borrow from the pleasure work. The main motto being, slow is fast and less is more. I’m not seduced by those images and expectations anymore, but tune into what is really important to me. It’s self-centred in a way, but on the other hand it’s not.

I believe I contribute to my surroundings by showing up present. In this state, I can really receive people and what’s offered. I no longer expect outer circumstances or people to fulfill my holidays.

Change Takes Time.

Change takes time. It also takes intention and envisioning a new way. If we’re fortunate we have the time. If we’re aware, we can fashion our lives like works of art, fine tuning season by season.

I wish you the gift of presence this year and always. May your holiday season be merry and bright!

Next entry: When the Road Gets Rough

Previous entry: Noticing is Everything

Madeline combines her experience as a gifted teacher and facilitator with her exquisite sensitivity to guide us into unlocking pleasure. In her gentle way she helps us to make friends with our bodies, softening the places where we feel resistance, shame and pain and learn how to tune into the myriad sensations of pleasure. She embodies her teaching and the expression of her own pleasure is contagious. Madeline creates a safe space to (re)discover that we are wired for pleasure and can overcome the negative conditioning of fear, trauma, and messages of “not good enough”.

Ingrid Schirrholz, – Senior Faculty. Pathwork Vermont, Burlington, Vermont