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

My Self-Love Top 10

votewithmyfeet

As the Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” I believe he was not just talking about being kind to others, I believe he was talking about being kind to yourself. Kindness has been very much on my mind lately and I’m trying to live what I’m learning and practice what I’m preaching. I’m trying.

Lately life has been a strategic game of priorities vs. enjoyment. I’m trying to get all the important stuff done while still including some fun for myself, not always an easy task. Truth be told, none of this is possible if the self that you use to perform all of these life tasks is not functioning at optimal levels. We need to keep self-kindness at the forefront in order to accomplish anything else. So, for that reason, consider the things that you do to take care of yourself. I try very hard to not allow the self-care items on my daily to-do list be the things that get ignored when time is running short. Always make time for yourself. Always.

So what do you do to show yourself love? Here are some simple things that I do to show kindness to myself that make a big impact on my ability to feel at peace. Because when I feel angry, sad or disappointed, I’m not as likely to show myself any kindness. It’s an ongoing circle and balancing act of kindness, responsibility and effort.

Here are the top 10 things that I try and do for myself everyday…

1. I drink water. I try to drink as much water as I can everyday. The days that I don’t make it a priority, my body feels different and I always regret it.

2. I breathe. I never hesitate to take a moment and just breathe for a bit. I stop what I’m doing, fill my lungs with air and let it out slowly. Breathe. 

3. I play. Whether it’s with my dog, my kids or just being silly with a friend, I always feel better when I let loose and just play for a while.

4. I say no. I don’t let guilt get in the way of allowing myself to say no if I feel like it. I don’t always have to have a good reason, I just have to give myself permission to not do everything.

5. I unplug. I like to put my phone on silent and turn it over so I’m not tempted to check it. Unplugging leads to being present, and being present leads to enjoying the moment.

6. I sleep. 7-8 hours. Every night. Period.

7. I say thank you. When someone does something nice for me, whether it’s big or small, I make sure and say thank you. I make sure and show that I am grateful.

8. I speak my truth. I’m not one to mince words, I tell it like it is. Speaking my truth makes me feel good.

9. I eat mindfully. I pay attention to when and what I’m eating and I make a major effort to be as healthy as possible. It often takes a bit of extra effort, and sometimes self-control, but in the end it’s worth it to pay attention to what I put in my body.

10. I vote with my feet. When I am present it means I want to be there and it shows people that I care enough to make an effort. I show up. Excuses are easy, but when I know it really matters, I make an effort to be there.

What’s on your list? Have you done any of them today? There is still time, but now is the best time. Now.

gratitude to 5demayo for the perfect photo from morguefile.com to show how lucky we are to be able to vote with our feet

myhappypromise

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