16 dez 2018
As we approach the end of the year and the Holidays, it’s time to plan our gift lists. We buy presents for the ones we love, the ones who serve us and even for ourselves.
Have you ever thought that the best gift you can give to someone is the gift of your presence? Gifts are important for obvious reasons, as they represent a token of your appreciation. Presents are more than just a commercial representation of the true meaning of the Holidays; they are indeed a symbol of love, gratefulness and care. Therefore, they shouldn’t be replaced by your physical presence – or you could cause some disappointment, especially to the little ones.
What you can do though is work on being more present, on top of the gifts you’ll be giving this holiday season.
Think of the time that you spend with people you care about without being truly present. When you are playing with your child or eating lunch with a friend but won’t put your phone away. This can make whoever is with you feel less important than your phone, your messages, or your Instagram account. Even if you are checking work messages, which would probably justify being on your phone, you can do the courtesy of excusing yourself, so the person who’s in front of you will feel respected.
When you have a conversation and you spend half of the time scrolling on your phone, the person who’s taking their time to be with you may feel neglected. So if you have this habit, please try to put your phone away, on silent, in your pocket, or try to even turn it off and be present. Dedicate your time to that moment and see how you feel. If you do have the habit of being on your phone (or TV, videogames or whatever it is that keeps you hooked on) while giving attention to your loved ones, try to do so without your device. You may enjoy a life changing experience.
Being present brings a sensation of awareness, consciousness and even freedom.
You can also be present with yourself. We tend to be always a step ahead. We are always planning the day to come, a meeting, a speech, an event, a grocery list or even dinner. Now if you try to quiet your mind down and focus on the present moment, you might experience lightness and a feeling of accomplishment.
If you go to the gym and while you’re there, you really dedicate your time to the exercises – versus reliving something that happened or planning something that is about to happen – you will actually get more out of your workout, by being more attentive to your movements and breath, and you will end up getting better results than if you were there just doing it unconsciously.
Same way for a conversation. When you are really present, listening and engaged in the conversation with your undivided attention, you are dedicating yourself to the person who’s talking to you. You will show respect and appreciation, and you will feel a deeper connection, instead of just sitting there and not even remembering what the person was talking about.
With all the advances in technology, it is so easy for us to forget to actually connect with our loved ones. We can be present though, even when we are physically distant. That’s when technology comes in handy. Make a phone call. Texting is convenient, but dedicating yourself to the people you love can be more rewarding. Take the time and call your grandmother, your mother or your daughter. You will make their day. In addition, you will feel good about it as well. Being present is the gift that keeps on giving.
You can exercise your awareness by checking in with yourself throughout the day. When you are in the shower, check if you are really just taking a shower or planning your schedule. When you are driving, check if you are focused on driving or you have already gone half the way and you didn’t realized it. Being conscious makes you more focused and even safer. When your mind is multitasking, you’re more prone to error and accidents, in opposed to when you focus on one thing – that’s when you really pay attention and tend to do things right and to feel good about what you’ve accomplished.
Another opportunity to practice consciousness is during meals. Be mindful from the moment you pick what you are going to eat, until you finish your meal, being conscious of the colors, aromas and flavors. Try to stay away from electronics, enjoy the company you have with you and appreciate every bite, as chewing can be calming and fulfilling.
Meditation is also a great way to bring awareness into your life. You don’t even have to sit to meditate, you can do it as you walk, or start by focusing on your breath. Just be aware of your breathing pattern and you are already doing wonders for your consciousness, you are gradually working on becoming more present in the moment.
During this holiday season, be present. Give the gift of your presence to the ones you love and even to yourself. You will feel proud of yourself and if you don’t do it for your own good, do it for the sake of your relationships.
There is nothing you can do about the past, and the future is yet to come. The present is here, live in the moment, be present and enjoy the benefits that you will start noticing. When you practice self-awareness, you feel more connected, more alive and you open yourself up to your present life and to a beautiful future that is ahead of you.
Wishing you an abundance of health, wellness and mindfulness,