The Gift of Being Present

youarehere

The gross anticipation of a new year may be a false promise of a new start. 

The holiday season may fill you with a child-like anticipation of opening up a new gift. Will it be what I asked for? But, before you unwrap this new, exciting gift, it sits like a beautifully wrapped promise under the tree with a big shiny bow and the hope of a dream fulfilled. Maybe you’ve worked all year to secure your place on “the nice list” with the hope of enjoying your reward and now the anticipation of opening it and making it yours is almost too much.

You toast with champagne on new years eve and feel the buzz as you anticipate the countdown to a whole new year filled with promise and new beginnings, but then you wake up hungover to the same life you left the night before realizing that you are only one day older and the same old effort is not somehow all of a sudden enough just because the calendar has flipped.

I have yet to see a task too simple for people to complicate. I see people putting a lot of energy into making things hard instead of letting them be simple.

I do think this new year is a gift. When you open a gift, if you think whatever is contained in that box is going to change your life, then you have already set yourself up for failure. My problem is that gifting all of this “stuff” is not a gift at all. Maybe this year we can consider gifting time and experience instead. But why wait? Why does the calendar have to dictate when we decide to make a fresh start and give each other a gift? I would rather receive a thoughtful gift on a random Thursday that has deep meaning and love than a diamond necklace on a holiday, but that’s just me. I would much rather be given the gift of my loved ones being present.

We are the ones who give meaning to our lives, we shape our own reality. This year, take control and get better at making your life good. Become a master Storyteller of your own story. Whatever you do, just be, right now. 

photographic reminder above courtesy of pippalou from morguefile.com

The Gift

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Six years ago today my life changed for the better. My identity was redefined and I became a new kind of person. Six years ago today my oldest daughter was born and never before had I felt the kind of love that I now enjoy everyday of my life. Grateful doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel about being a Mom.

So we celebrated! My girls and I got all dolled up and headed down to The American Girl store to have a day of sweetness and suspended disbelief. They each brought their treasured doll along (all four of them in matching outfits) and we treated them to a day of beauty, shopping and fancy dining. Oh yeah, we totally did. We made hair appointments for the dolls, bought matching pajamas for my girls and their dolls and had dinner in the cafe where they have highchairs and table settings for the dolls. It was ridiculously indulgent and my girls were so happy it looked like their cheeks may have been sore from smiling so much. That store is genius. The level of cuteness and happiness was off the charts and that’s a Mom-win.

While I was there, I began to notice the messages that were not-so-subtly being shared. I looked around at the displays of historical dolls positioned in installations of inspiration and noticed how empowering this experience can be for little girls. Written all over the walls were words of wisdom and historical significance such as….

‘Today I’ll use my heart to heal others’

‘Hope keeps my chin up. Family keeps my heart strong.’

‘Good friends are worth more than anything money can buy.’

‘Women fight for the right to vote’

‘Celebrating girls of yesterday and tomorrow’

Between these lovely messages,the dolls arranged in scenes of positive connotation, and the priceless hours of imaginative play that I knew would be born from this experience, I felt like I was in Mom heaven!

And as we left the store, I rode down the escalator with a daughter on each side of me and passed a huge message on the wall that read:

Shine.

Imagine.

Explore.

You can do anything!

When I read it aloud to my girls, I felt like this day had been as much of a gift to me as it was to my daughter for her birthday. I’m grateful that I can give my dolls a day of fun and insight that establishes a hopeful outlook and continued playful fantasy well after we bring our treasures home. What a wonderful gift.

Happy birthday Sweetheart, you make my life better.

Plateau Busting Purple and Orange Clouds

sunset greyerbaby

I love sunsets.  I love that time of day when the energy and hurried rush of the day begin to calm, the sun drops down in the sky and light begins to fade.  It’s that nightly curtain call that gives me time to take a breath and delight in the majestic splendor of the sky as it changes colors and dims.  This is my favorite time of day to be outside.  I love being able to sit quietly as the sun sets and let my mind wander as I revel in it’s beauty and let go for a while.  I like to slip into my thoughts and recommit to being kind to myself.  I enjoy listening to music, sitting in deep thought and letting the light disappear around me.

It’s been a while since I sat and enjoyed this time of day the way I like to.  Last night, I happen to be outside at twilight and I realized how long it had been since I took a moment to enjoy this opportunity, reflect and slow down.  So I did.

As I looked at the sky of purple and orange clouds, I realized that I have slowed down on my journey, even hit a plateau.  I longed to feel lifted and inspired.  I started to think about what this could mean for me and why I may be feeling this way.  There could be a lesson here for me.  A spiritual plateau is a place to rest.  Or, it may be a test.  It can be a time to stabilize, absorb, collect, receive and integrate all that I have learned.

I’m hoping to catch my breath and push farther for greater growth after this rest. But rest is also important.  I want to keep growing, use the tools and be in the moment. Resting doesn’t have to mean slipping backwards, it presents a chance to practice what we have cultivated.

Feeling a spiritual plateau can present a great opportunity to take a look around.  Maybe you are coming up against something you have dealt with before and have never been able to push through.  Are you feeling stagnant against familiar road blocks?  Maybe now you have more power to break them down. The journey continues, so break them down or move them aside this time.  See the opportunity and push forward, don’t let it pull you under. Your hardest challenges present your biggest opportunities for growth.

And then I started to imagine myself on the other side of this plateau.  Where am I going and what is next for me?  I started to feel a bit of inspiration and anticipation… could just recognizing the plateau be enough to move past it?

Today I played tennis for the first time in a few weeks.  I’ve been taking lessons for a year now and today was the first day of the new session.  It was good to feel my strong legs under me after not playing for a while.  Last year when I started to learn the game I felt nervous and clumsy, but today I felt strong and ready to play.  At the end of last session I was feeling frustrated, like I had hit a plateau.  So, as I started to volley, I recalled my thoughts from the night before about how I was feeling spiritually stagnant.  I started to realize the parallel between my physical game and my mental game.  So I took a moment to visualize myself playing well and set an intention to use thoughtful and mindful swings and volleys.  I took my time and followed through each shot.  The lessons I had learned over the past year all seemed to click and flow and I played the best tennis of my life.  I’m still a beginner, but I felt a confidence today that I haven’t felt since I started playing.

I broke right through my plateau.

So I’m riding the wave after my tennis lesson today, it was a nice little boost for me.  I needed that.  And now I’m feeling more open to receiving what is next for me on my journey.  It’s up to us to see the possibilities available and only you can create opportunities to see things in a plateau busting way.  When you feel stuck or stale, like you need some inspiration, just look around and see it… it’s all around you waiting to be discovered.

Every evening gives you an opportunity to reflect.  Every day is a new chance to renew a promise or redefine your path.  And, every morning is a gift.  Tear off the wrapping and get excited to see what’s in store!  How would your life be different if you started each day as if it was going to be nothing short of amazing?!

myhappypromise

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