The fire is roaring, the twinkle lights in the tree are glowing and the snow is falling lightly and sprinkling every tree with magic. Christmas is in the air and we are only one sleep away! (whoop whoop! *fist pump*) I've been thinking about tradition because well- tis' the season of traditions obviously! Every Christmas Landon and I spend our time at the family cabin that's north of Saskatoon surrounded by family and every outdoor activity imaginable. It's a tradition.
This had me thinking about Landon and I as we slowly adopt our own family traditions. We really love spending time with family and would rather hang out and experience things together rather than any wrapped-gift. We always look forward to making the cold drive home. I love all the noise of a busy house full of family. Landon and I really value our relationships and the time it takes to foster them. Any (if all) relationship takes care and patience. It takes intention, kindness, and attention. It takes curiousity, the willingness to show up and be vulnerable and the courage to allow yourself to be seen.
So this Christmas, even if you are exchanging gifts... BE the gift. Simple simple.
It takes mindful awareness and intention to really allow yourself to be truly in the moment with someone. Instead of getting wrapped up in the idea of WHO YOU NEED TO BE for that particular person, be intentionally yourself. Brene Brown calls that "hot wiring connection" - when you inauthentically create a connection from a place that isn't truly honest and integral to who you are. I caught myself doing this the other day when I was in an uncomfrotable situation with someone I have a hard time connecting with. Afterwards I felt icky. This happens with family and even friends, aquaintences and even long-time buds. We try to "hot wire" the connection so we feel close, validated, and secure as quickly as possible but it leaves us feeling empty, unseen, and like a fraud.
The greatest gift we can give ourselves and to others is to be truly authentically US while allowing ourselves to connect with the people around us. Give gifts that have meaning (sure) because GIVING just feels so darn good BUT give your time, give your love, give your understanding, give your patience, kindness, attention...
We are all hard-wired for connection. We all desire love, belonging, and acceptance. The true gift is you. The time you can give to those around you is far more impactful and long lasting than any item on your Christmas list. No itunes card, Nespresso machine, or Chanel perfume could bring as much joy and meaning in to your life and someone elses like true connection. Help your mother cook dinner, talk to your father about something he is passionate about, share the things that make your heart burst with excitement. Share the gift of joy and give permission to others to show up in the same way.
This holiday season, BE the gift by connecting with someone; a loved one, a family member, your neighbor, your sisters new boyfriend, etc. You will gift them as much as yourself. If you have someone in your family (a second cousin twiced removed or whomever) that you totally don't jive with just ask yourself, "how do you want to feel?" when you are around them and allow that to guide you. I took this little nudge from Canadian guru Danielle La Porte. If you want to feel "comfortable," ask yourself when you are in discomfort, "what can I do right now to feel comfortable with this person?" Maybe it's dropping down your guard, your story of who they are, or maybe it means talking about something you know they are interested in, it could even be a divine guided permission of walking away. Be guided by your heart, from a place that is caring, loving and not fearful or full of negative story-telling. This is a practice, you won't nail it every time and there will be moments you maybe "hot wired" and didn't show up 100% authentically- that's ok. Take notice and try again. When you notice insecurity and fear creeping up on you, take a break and breathe and come back.
Be the gift. The world needs more of that. Share the light that is who you are and have yourself a very Merry Christmas full of delightful conversation and meaningfull connection.