Presence instead of Presents

Date night?

For you, my dear
Presence is the gift.
My heart is here.
My thoughts not adrift.
I pack away
The source of distraction
for a pause of play
and intent interaction.
For if all were amiss
And this moment passed
The devices are cold
My heart would not last.
Presents are things
Of which I’ve no need.
Your presence it sings,
my heart is does feed.
-Heidi Forbes Öste (2012)

The house is prepared for the holidays. We settle in as the snow begins to fall. It’s the time of year again where the wish lists come out and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions start buzzing. There is only one gift that I wish to give and to get for my family this year: Presence.

All too often we find ourselves with iPad or phone holding our concentration. From the breakfast table to date night, there never seems to be a sacred moment without it. We used to say the world would not stop if we disappeared. Now each vibration causes a habitual pattern of thought even if we do not respond be checking to see the source. Most times, we cannot resist sneaking a peek just to make sure it is not “critical.”

Each year we struggle to find ways to reconnect, to discover who we are and where we are going. In our over-connected lives this often means one thing: remote location, no wifi. I look forward to a pause in the buzz. I long for the uninterrupted conversation, thought and silence. I crave a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach, a game of cards, a snuggle in a hammock, sharing a nice bottle of wine with presence.

I hope you all will consider giving and receiving presence and the value of that gift. Extend it beyond your family, as you go about your holiday parties. Ask about people’s passions and take the time to listen with presence. You might be surprised what you learn. It might just be a present in itself. How will you share presence this holiday?

This post is dedicated to Björn; my hero, partner, playmate and champion who I look forward to sharing presence with.

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Sharing of Self

I am reminded today of the challenge of balance between those whom we love and that which we love to do. I am truly passionate about my work and that makes it a pleasure. So much so, that I often get deeply immersed and lose track of time. It is a luxury to be able to do so. I often get so absorbed that I miss the little moments that pass by me, both good and bad.

I find great satisfaction in the genuine smiles and laughter of my children, and myself. It is far too rare that we catch ourselves in that intense, unavoidable belly laugh that comes from the soul. It warms the heart and brings new life to everything around it. I was blessed with a moment such as this as a started my day bathing in the Öresund Straights with my six year old son. As I arose from the water with seaweed on my head, he reminded me to laugh at myself and enjoy the silliness of the moment. Continuing my day with a smile on my face and a lightness in my heart, I am refreshed. I can laugh at my silliness and enjoy my seriousness. I am inspired by the women I interact with, the winks, the struggles. Thank you all for being an inspiration.

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