Mindful Monday: The Greatest Gift of All
Happy holidays! I know this can be a busy time – last minute everything! Hopefully you’re able to enjoy a few moments of mindfulness in the midst of it all. One way I do this for myself is through reflection and bringing my focus back to what’s really important to me.
What keeps coming up for me is being present, being of service, and the gift of giving.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Saint Francis of Assisi
I was fortunate to have been raised by two parents who modeled what it is like to give and be of service. They did this year round, not just at Christmas, but this season holds some particularly special memories.
For as long as I can remember, every Christmas morning my dad would dress up as Santa Claus and go to the children’s hospital to hand out gifts. When I think of this beautiful act, it touches my heart so deeply. My dad passed away over a year ago but I still feel his loving presence and remember his goodness. It’s not just what he did but how he made people feel that is remembered.
My mom’s tradition for years and years has been to bake these incredibly delicious coffee cakes and then deliver them to friends & family with my dad. At the age of 85 she is still going strong - and her coffee cakes have become a tradition on Christmas morning for so many families. The main ingredient? Love.
At Christmas dinner there was always someone (and still is) – sometimes more than one person - invited who may not have had a family to go home to. They became part of our family celebration and their presence was just as much a gift to us.
These memories are an inspiration to me and I know, when I am focused on giving and being of service, I feel the best.
One of the biggest gifts for me this year, and for the past several years, has been volunteering at a recovery home for men. I offer meditation classes. These men have hit rock bottom, and yet through their spiritual program called the 12 steps, they are discovering hope, a different way of living and feeling a peace within for the very first time. I have never met men who are so willing to be open and vulnerable amongst each other. Every time I leave I feel amazing. Sometimes it brings me to tears.
So in this time of giving, let’s try not to place all the focus on how many boxes are under the tree but instead, on what we have to give of ourselves; our presence in the lives of those we love is the ultimate gift this season.
Best wishes to you and yours!