Christmas Presence: The Gift of Mindfulness

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

Make a pledge to put down your phone this Christmas and be fully present with those you love. Look at them in the eyes; listen with intent; abandon your expectations; stay curious and give conversations your unwavering awareness as they unfold.

Observe what this approach does to your experience moment-by-moment -- you may find that it expands and deepens your connections, as well as your sense of the memory after the moment passes. You’ll likely discover that presence is one of the most precious gifts we can give at this (and every) point in the year, and adds far more value to our lives than any material object can.

Most of us would like to think that we are present in our daily lives, but the truth is that so many of us live a far distance from ourselves and from our experiences. We often operate on autopilot patterns of feeling and behaviour not just in the midst of our daily lives, but in the face of those who matter most to us, our loved ones.

As a season of unity and connection, Christmas lays the ground for interaction and gives us an opportunity to put our mindfulness in motion. With the simple and repeated practice of awareness, we can give presence to everything the season brings -- from warmth and joy, to difficulty and tension -- without needing to change or fix anything. We may find that being better connected to the moment in this way, a better connection to our self and to our family and friends begins to grow and flourish.

Mindfulness is not just a gift for us individually, but collectively too. In these turbulent times of division and discord, mindfulness has the power to reinforce the shared humanity that holds us all together. The individual is reflected in the collective, and when we bring awareness to the way that we relate to ourselves individually -- that is, when we develop a deeper understanding of and more compassionate connection with our self -- this is mirrored in our interactions with those around us in the collective.

Mindfulness begins individually, on our own terms, but if you like the idea of giving it as a present, you can browse our shop here for a selection of electronic gift cards for training -- workshops and courses, as well as books. Whether you want to help a friend or family member cope better with stress and anxiety, introduce them to ideas of self-care and compassion, or more broadly, live a life that is fuller and freer -- mindfulness gives us skills that last a lifetime.

For more mindfulness tips and ideas to inspire calm and presence over the festive season, head over to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels!

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