“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” –Simone Weil
With the holiday season upon us, it is a great time to re-think your gift-giving rituals. Instead of trying to find the perfect present, find simple ways to bring your full presence to those you love- truly, the most generous thing we can offer anyone is our undivided attention. Being thoughtful and deliberate about how you spend your time and what you focus on in your most meaningful relationships is where intimate giving begins. Here are three good places to start gifting your attention:
1. Light of Undivided Attention
Even the most sparkling jewels don’t compare to the feelings of intimacy that are generated in the light of one’s focused attention, which explains why most people cannot distinguish between the experience of being deeply loved and being deeply heard, felt or touched. Our most cherished memories- the ones that make up the stories we share many years later- are rarely found in a box, but rather are captured in the moments when we offer our full presence to the people we love. Whether sharing a hearty laugh or creating space for someone’s grief, true connection redeems us and makes us remember what holidays are for.
2. Slowing Down Time
One way to expand your presence is to slow down the bustling holiday schedule and consciously add in more time for intimate fun and simple pleasures with your partner. Exchange one holiday party for a walk in the snow, or an evening of take out and a movie. Although it is a bit counter-intuitive, recent studies have shown that it is in showing up and celebrating together that one generates more stickiness in loving relationships- rather than just being a sounding board for the hard times. We need to have fun together to remember what actually drew us to the partnership in the first place. Too many relationships suffer from the shrinking amounts of time we spend together without digital distraction, or the continuously increasing pressure to do more- especially during the holidays. Deliberate acts of letting go of the need to get things done and creating more opportunities to laugh together, experience nature, or eat something new is how we speak love with our attention.
3. Live Sensuously
Another easy way to remember your intention to give your presence is to live sensuously. By bringing as many of our senses as possible into a moment, we provide more sensory data for our brain to process, which in turn creates the mental depth to transform every moment into a treasured memory.
Additionally, the most powerful way to quiet a busy mind and bring your self back into the moment is to rely on your senses. Sensuality is the cornerstone of a healthy libido response and provides the tools for a passionate connection to life. When we simply harness and focus our attention on the smallest of sensations, the holidays become a sensual plethora of indulgences. Taking the time to deeply inhale the scent of a freshly cut tree, holding hands in the dark under twinkling lights, tasting for the over-sweet flavor of eggnog or hot cocoa as you sip it- all of these experiences will help you to savor the warmth and magic of your physical intimacy.
Suddenly, the smallest gestures have new meaning. Feeling the delicate textures of skin on skin, the weight of a hand on a belly- these intricacies have the ability to stop time. Running your fingers through your partner’s hair or tracing their face with your lips. Giving these moments our full attention speaks love and will create some of the warmest memories of the season. Sensuality is the language of our most intimate communication, which, with focused attention, invites you to become an artist with your kisses. With or without the mistletoe, our kisses have the ability to communicate our deepest feelings, desire, and intention, better than anything we can buy or even say to those we love. This is because kissing consumes the present moment and saturates our senses with the fullness of each other.
So, this holiday season, let your giving come from your heart and don’t spend anything more than your undivided attention. Everyone will be enriched beyond measure.