• D Nathan Cieszynski

Be the Present given.........

Today is Christmas. Yes I am taking a few minutes from my cooking on Christmas

day sitting here at my computer. Depending on where you are in the world today, the air might be chilled and the ground white. Or you may be sitting at on the beach listening to the waves of the ocean as they roll in and out, much as the days of this year have flowed. It does not matter where you are today. Today is Christmas.

This is the first Christmas in eighteen years that my husband and I have not exchanged gifts. Even when funds were tight, expenses high, when we had no idea if we were going to make the rent or even the mortgage, we still always exchanged something. It was not the gift that was important, it was the idea of not exchanging something. Christmas was always about getting gifts. That is how I grew up. That was how he grew up. It was not Christmas without the tree, without the presents and without the family.

Over the last few years I have found myself transitioning through a spiritual journey. Understand that material possessions are important, wants and desires need to be addressed, yet the holding onto and acquiring of things just seems less important to me. OK still working on the holding on, but the acquiring more is not a high priority. Now we seek satisfaction in not things, but experiences.

To clarify, I am no Dali Lama, Buddha nor Christ. I have not reached, nor do I think I need to reach a point where my life is free of possessions and creature comforts. I am not into ruffing it, in fact for me this means staying at a hotel that does not place a mint on your pillow. I enjoy my possessions, I enjoy my electronics, I have simply reached a point where I no longer need to have the greatest and latest of everything. I no longer measure my life why what I have, rather I measure my life by what I experience and how I grow.

So this year we decided not to exchange gifts of any kind. Many household have many ways of dealing with the growing list of purchases they must exchange, as families grow larger the list becomes bigger. This year we decided together to experience Christmas as a sacred day. A day to spend together, to share memories and ourselves. Today we chose to be present.

In essence the gift we give to each other is each other, being here in the now. To be grateful for all we have and even more grateful for what we lack. We decided to give a gift that cannot be returned, replaced and will surely not be forgotten.

Our past has not always been easy. There have been struggles, fears and misfortune, yet every storm we have weathered together. Made stronger, wiser and hopefully more understanding and caring of others and the world we share.

As you move through your day, and I hope it is filled with joy and wonder, remember it is not about the gifts, it is about the sharing of yourself, your authentic self and getting to know those in your life. Share the gift of being present in the moment, of loving for the sake of love. Give of your time not your money. Be there for someone who has no one, lend an ear for someone who needs to be heard. Listen not with your ego, but with your heart, with your soul and give them the gift of you. Be open to a different way of life, accepting of what you may not understand. Remember we are all on a journey, walking different paths at different speeds. Allow others their path as you expect them to allow yours.

Merry Christmas, May the love and peace we cultivate and share today give us strength to face tomorrow.

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