“And the greatest gift of all… is love” -Unknown
How we think is not only the foundation of who we become each day, but creates the meaning we take away from our life. Here are three thoughts, which if taken to heart, will gift the quality of your holiday time, offering you the internal space to be truly present, the warmth that comes from being witnessed and the power of your fullest attention.
Suddenly, all of my ancestors are behind me. “Be still,” they say. “Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands…” -Unknown
No matter what your family situation feels like, the fact that you are living and breathing is the result of thousands of loves. Think about it for a minute… Consider the long line of people who came before you, each with their own story, who loved each other, even if only for a moment of conception. All of that love preceded you, invented you. You are a product of the love that transpired over at least a thousand years and probably more. Looking forward to a someday in the distant future, your energy, your inspiration will contribute to the heart of someone you can’t even imagine right now.
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you will leave at every meeting with another person.” -Fred Rogers
Leave it to Mr. Rogers who has been speaking to the child within each of us to remind us of the basic truth of our own loveliness and how essential we are to the whole. My all-time favorite holiday film, It’s A Wonderful Life portrays this deep truth, that we so easily lose sight of the millions of ripples of impact that a single life creates in the world. Our capacity for love and our willingness to bring our full presence to our life and the people in it reaches out beyond our knowing. It eclipses our imagination, reaching people we will never meet.
“And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if were the last.” -Marcus Aurelius
At my worst moments I play this game with myself, imagining this as the last time I will ever speak to the person in front of me, or the last time I will ever walk through this door. What if this truly was the last holiday of your life with the people in front of you? What would you have them remember of you? What would you really want to leave behind? Imagine this holiday as your last and watch it transform your ability to pay attention to the smallest details, to feel grateful for things that previously annoyed you, and to wake up to how many gifts our life is always offering us.