Updated: Mar 11, 2019
Giving with the other at heart, in mind.
It’s that time of year where the act of giving gets extra focused on. This is an opportunity to step into acknowledging our loved ones with tokens of our affection. I know it sounds corny but the best gift is presence! In my experience there is a yogic skill in giving gifts, and that is to offer a tangible or experience based expression of a deep understanding of our loved one(s). In this way giving becomes an act of connection, and service.
In my home we celebrate solstice, so when giving gifts I feel into what would make my loved one’s life brighter; what at it’s core would make their life just a little bit easier and let them know that I have been hearing them.
Sometimes the gift is obvious, but more often than not I write a card or express my contemplation and meditation on the gift I have chosen. I let them know that this is a tangible or experiential expression of my love for them. This isn’t just a thing, it’s an expression of our relationship and connection (you don’t have to word it that way!). Usually there are tears…(just a warning to be prepared for emotional responses when you start giving from a place of presence), there’s an inherent love and vulnerability in this practice of seeing someone and taking heart centred action.
Of course you know your loved one best but here’s an example of using deep presence for present giving (there’s a practice for this below):
If someone you love experiences stress or anxiety regularly then perhaps a series of private breathing classes (seriously it’s amazing what breathing can do for anxiety and stress) is an amazingly thoughtful gift, or an offer to take over something that causes them anxiety for the next year.
If your loved one is in pain or tension a lot then a series of movement awareness classes could help make this next year a little brighter and lighter. Perhaps a massage or a joint care package that includes rubs, heatable bags, and supplements.
Then I ask myself, would they actually use this gift, would it be of value to them, would it make them light up or offer a sense of relief, or love. I appreciate presents that reflect the presence and uniqueness of the other in my life…so I’ll be offering up two personal presence practices as a present (I love alliteration) in the next two emails. This is just a gift from me to you. These are simple practices but not always easy… I hope you enjoy.
#1) Presence based choosing of the gifts:
Feel into your body:
What are the sensations of breathing that you feel right now – when you inhale, what moves, when you exhale how does that feel. Just be with the breath for awhile.
Notice what you are emotionally experiencing right now and just watch that as you breathe.
*Whenever/if you feel exhausted, overwhelmed or off balance this season, return to this.
We can’t feel others if we can’t feel ourselves. Whenever we feel ourselves we are offering/creating the space for others to feel themselves; most importantly though, being present helps us to understand ourselves better,
As you continue to feel into yourself, feel into your loved one. Feel past their appearance and into their heart. Just noticing and breathing. Ask yourself what can I offer or give this person that would create a feeling of love (or whatever emotion you would like) within them? What have the struggled with this year that I can maybe help them with? What have they mentioned that they would like help with?
Just breathe and feel and notice what starts to arise within you.
* be aware not to use this practice to as a way to judge or give advice to your loved one.
Let your present be presence.
#2) In-the-moment presence with another, lighting up the holidays with your heart
It has been my experience that when we feel heard, understood, received, and not judged that there is a sense of relief; a natural internal lightning up. Things just feel better, lighter…
One of the most healing and helpful things we can offer each other is presence…and one of the easiest ways is to listen to the other – not to respond but to further your understanding of them.
Resist the urge to solve their problems, or give advice (unless they specifically ask for it).
Just feel yourself, breathe and listen to the other. Listen so deeply that you are willing to be changed by what you hear. Allowing them space to be new.
They may be talking to you, and you have to respond but do so as you maintain feeling yourself and the other.
Spread light this holiday season by being present.