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Do you know a Goddess
of Transformation?

Each month we'll honor
a woman who has
changed her life or
someone else's. 

Contact me to
nominate yourself or
another goddess
(and tell me why).

The Gift of Presence.

I used to hustle and bustle  to find just the perfect this or that for everyone on my list.

But after taking an inventory of my favorite gifts through the years, I’ve realized the things I treasured most weren’t things.

They were moments.

Like the moments I spent as a little girl with my one-of-a-kind grandmother, cutting pictures out of wrapping paper or picking threads up from her carpet. (Seriously.)

“Ma Lillie” had a knack for turning the mundane into magic. Just being in her presence was a gift in itself.

So were the moments I spent in the garden with my beloved Daddy, planting a tiny pink rosebush together. And checking on it each week to see how much it had grown.

Fast-forward several decades, to one of those seemingly small and insignificant moments that happened just last week.

Instead of rushing out the door the other morning, my husband Will stopped, looked me in the eyes and gave me a giant-sized, totally unexpected hug.

“You’re feeling off today, aren’t you?” he said softly.

You know, we’ve shared a lot of meaningful moments in our 26 years together.

But that simple instance of being seen and being heard (even without words) was truly one of the best.

Everyday, each of us is reminded of the fragility of life, the tick-tick-tick of the clock and how little control we have over what happens in the outside world.

So,instead of just wondering about the meaning of life, what if we created more meaning in our lives?

It doesn’t have to be anything big or dramatic.

Here are some small suggestions on how to give more presence this holiday season:

Unplug and connect.

Isn’t it wild these days how we share the details of our lives with “friends” we’ve never met.  But in person, we connect more with our smart phones than each other?

What if we declared our holidays a technology-free zone? And made sharing a good old-fashioned conversation a gift to be savored?

Enjoy the family drama.

Let’s face it, every family has its crazies. Before the next gathering, remind yourself that “all the world’s a stage.”

So when Aunt So-And-So does that that thing that makes your skin crawl, imagine you’re just watching a show at The Theater of the Absurd.

(It helps to have a “theater companion” so you can remind each other “it’s just a play.”)

The gift of listening.

In this bada-bing, bada-boom world we live in, most of us plan our comeback before the other person finishes their sentence.

Well, what if we all just took a long, deep breath and really felt what the other person was saying. And then took another breath, before sharing our perspective?

You want world peace? That’s a good place to start.

The gift of being.

We humans carry around a lot of judgment. Adding  in all the stress and expectations of the holidays, we become extra hard on ourselves. And each other.

So, try this:

Imagine a great big fire blazing in an imaginary fireplace.

Every time a thought comes up about something or someone being “right” or “wrong,” just toss it in the fireplace.

With each flame, you’re giving yourself and everyone else permission To Be.

Celebrate the present.

It’s easy to get caught up in how things used to be. Or how we wish they were.

But what if we just sipped in this moment, like it was the warmest, richest hot cocoa we’ve ever tasted?

As life changes, it’s hard to let go of the past. But what if we created new rituals for the present?

If money is tight, maybe we take the whole family on a timed shopping spree at the 99 Cent Store.

Or perhaps everyone sits in a circle, passes a candle and tells each loved one why they are a “gift” in their lives.

Really, who cares how our gifts are wrapped?

What matters is wrapping our arms around each other.

Happy Holidays from my heart to yours.

And as a gift to us all, what’s one of your favorite “presence?”

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10 comments to The Gift of Presence.

  • There are 8 children in our family with a 12 year difference from the oldest to the youngest. Although very close when we were young our growing families make it more difficult to stay connected in our 40′s and 50′s. We now have a brothers (4) and sisters (4) night every few month. No spouses and no kids. At the last meeting here is what we did: (very important to do it this way)
    sitting in a circle we choose one sibling and each of us tells him/her something that is special about them and a fond memory. With 8 siblings it is wonderful to have 7 people say kind things about you. This is usually done at funerals and it is so much better to do it to the person’s face. The little fun facts are also great and usually surprising. Being the center of attention for a few minutes with people you love talking about you is pretty amazing.

  • LOVE THIS Wendi!

    So brilliant… so true…so freeing to stay in the moment and be present and share ourselves. Open hearted, open minded, let it go, open the door to slowing down and giving the gift of ourselves…throwing judgement, right and wrong and pressure in the fire!

    Happy Holidays to you Oh You Goddess! XO

    Carolyn

    • Oh thank Goddess for you, Carolyn. It’s so meaningful to me that you should take the time to share yourself here. You know as a writer that we throw these little messages from our hearts out into the world.
      And it feels soooooo good to know when they actually land somewhere! Much much love to you.

  • Wendi – this is such a rich piece, I hardly know where to begin. I love “enjoy the family drama” – once you flip it on its head (and resist the urge to actually flip Aunt Tillie), you truly come to cherish those…”idiosyncracies.” I like to imagine myself sitting in the audience with a bucket of popcorn and my 3-D glasses!

    The “gift of listening,” is also so key at this time. I find people give little hints like little slivers of light into how they are feeling and what they are needing. These are the golden opportunities, when – - by deeply listening and being fully present – - we can connect with each other in such an intimate way to share love, comfort, laughs. Warm and happy holidays ~

    • Dear Connie….I love that imagine of the popcorn and 3D glasses. It really helps, doesn’t it?! Thank you for being so “present” to my thoughts and words. You bless me with the most precious presence.

  • This is such a beautiful blog Wendi. I too used to hustle and bustle to find just the perfect this or that for everyone on my list. I love every suggestion you made here. Much more meaningful! I still do love to get gifts for my loved ones, but it’s without the stress now. I now know that my presence is the real gift. : )

    Thank you for your presence Ms. Beautiful Bloggess!

    xoxo
    Tabby

    • Oh Tabby. Your presence on this journey called Life has been one of my most precious gifts. Thank you for this. It means so much to know that my words resonate. Big hugs. And I hope to see you soon, my dear friend.

  • Victoria

    Favorite gifts of presence:

    Watching my grandpa grin whenever he sees me and begin asking me what I want to eat.

    When my boyfriend and I break out into a “jellybean dance” together.

    My mom’s goofy faces and laughter.

    Watching my grandma cover her mouth as she cracks up from a joke.

    My dad’s singing.

  • I just shared some of my favorite gifts of presence. What are yours?
    Please post below. xoxoxo

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