Chalkboard in my Kitchen: "...the best gift is to BE PRESENT"
Each Christmas seems to be more hectic than the one before. The holiday season is stretched from mid-November to the first weekend in January, so it now includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. My weekends become a whirlwind of family dinners, gift buying and giving, parties, performances and community activities - it’s easy to lose the spirit of the Christmas season. For my seasonal message and as a reminder to stay focused on those near and dear to me this Christmas, I wrote “Sometimes the best gift is to Be Present” on the Chalkboard in my Kitchen.
As my calendar fills with engagements, sometimes I can become so stressed with all the events I am supposed to attend and all that I need to complete. I can find my mind wandering to the next event, or planning what I need to do next for the holiday instead of paying attention to those around me. Adding to the personal disconnect that many people feel during the holidays, everyone seems to be constantly “connected” instead to their smart phones and social media. Each move, party, and dinner is documented and posted. Everyone scanning their phones to look for the latest Tweets and updates. People opt to converse over social media even when the other person is just across the room.
Being present is a e I am.ring to the next event, or planning out what I need to do to get ready for the holiday instead of staymindfulness that means you are fully focused and fully engaged with the moment at hand. Thoughts of other activities and worries about your own holiday preparations are banished from your mind as you solely concentrate on the person or events in front of you. Being present means that you turn off electronic devices, unplug from social media, and actually enjoy the moment instead of simply recording and sharing it. To be present, you must look at the people around you and share with them instead of looking at your screen and sharing with the world.
These days it is easy to allow ourselves to become distracted. We have all seen the cartoon of the family sitting down to dinner, ignoring each other, heads bent over something. Writing on my chalkboard is a reminder to me, and to all who read it, that we need to take the time and effort to make sure that we are being present. You may find that the moment of human connection is the greatest gift you may give a person this season.