“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. ” Jon Kabat-Zinn
In a society that rewards busyness over peace of mind it can be difficult to remember what really matters. Every year I see a meme on Facebook that reminds me of the kind of person I want to be. It suggests your holiday to do list look more like this; BE present instead of buying presents. WRAP someone in a hug instead of wrapping gifts. SEND peace instead of gifts. DONATE food instead of shopping for food. And BE the light instead of seeing the lights.
What seemingly “little” things can you do this holiday season?
What if you were simply PRESENT?
The idea of being “present” may seem vague but it simply means to be fully here in this moment. Get out of your head, forget the “to do” list, quit regretting the past, quit fearing the future. No, it is not hard. Simply take a breath and come back to this moment. Take many, many mindful breaths. You give the gift of someone being heard and validated when you are present when in their presence. If you can come from this frame of mind when dealing with a difficult boss, employee, or patient, a child throwing a tempter tantrum, or a crazy relative, you will have peace of mind.
Monday mornings I used to volunteer to teach mindfulness to elementary students. I was amazed at the children’s ideas on ways they could express kindness. From picking up dropped pencils, to opening up doors, to sharing, to simply offering to see how they can be of help. All simple thoughtful acts of kindness.
Sometimes we think we need to give “BIG” for it to be significant. Or that what we give needs to be concrete or visual for it to matter. That is not true.
What if your boss, employee, or patient really needs a break or has personal issues far beyond average? What if the child that appears to be out of control having a meltdown is simply tired, hungry or over stimulated? What if the crazy relative has financial issues or depression? Would you respond to them differently knowing these things? Why? Why not just be generous with kindness because it feels good?
To be understanding, to offer validation, to give a hug, to smile, to express gratitude, to laugh, to be present, to offer your time, your expertise, your help and your support, and to be present, these are the presents worth giving. Random, simple, acts of kindness.
Be present. Be mindful. Be kind.
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