Be in the Present

December 20, 2013

shutterstock_89242903If you celebrate Christmas – or if you are like my family and celebrate a little of everything, including 3 birthdays – you are likely in the throws of shopping, wrapping, baking, card-writing, list-making, elf-moving, school program-attending and all of the many joys of the holidays! Next week you will be awakened at 5:45 AM to the ultimate joy of your children jumping on your bed, begging you to get up so they can open their presents. When I was little, we were made to stay in our rooms until the unbearable hour of 8:00 AM before we could come down the stairs to see the results of Santa’s nighttime escapades! That particular rule has never worked for my kids…

But in the midst of the sticky, candy-cane fingers, battery supply checks and endless questions of, “Is Christmas tomorrow?” consider taking a minute to remember the present. Not the presentS but the present – as in RIGHT NOW! While your kids are tearing open the LEGO sets and rainbow looms, here are a few tips to keep you in the moment –

· Notice your own feelings. Are you irritated that your kids are already fighting over who gets to play the new X-Box One? Is your mother eagerly reminding you that your children have too many toys? When people frustrate or aggravate us, it’s often because we are focused on what we want, how we think we should be treated or how we want everyone else to act. Try to focus your feelings on what the people around you need or want – in the moment.

· Let go of the desire to control. Did the beautiful holiday morning brunch go untouched and unappreciated? Do you hate tinsel but your entire family insists that your tree be completely covered in thick clumps of it (this is particularly personal to me)? Stress comes because we want to control how things go – which we really can’t. Practice not resisting what happens but being happy no matter what happens – in the moment.

· Appreciate the little things. Are you sitting anxiously, poised to pick up the scraps of wrapping shutterstock_166870709paper before your 1-year-old eats it? We get anxious because we wish things were different sometimes. But things are pretty amazing just as they are, without being different. Turn your attention to the joy in your child’s face, the warmth of your fireplace, the beauty of holiday lights – and even the squabbling video gamers and the tinsel!

Appreciate the moment – and stay in it, because it will disappear like the twinkle in Santa’s eye!

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