21st December, 2012
Some believe we inhabit a world of cause and effect, indeed one of the laws of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As one year closes and another one starts to open, many of us will be celebrating Christmas with all its traditions and patterns of behaviour, actions and reactions.
For the ex- retail store manager in me – it is a time to observe shoppers (and I include myself within this) at their best and worst. At best levels of positivity and service are enhanced and the spirit of the season brings with it humour, excitement and curiosity as children watch the towns and villages come alive with glistening lights and baubles gasping in awe as reindeer, elves and fairies parade the streets. At worst patience is lost and cross words spoken as last minute gifts are frantically purchased with some less than delightful behaviour exhibited and disproportionately unresourceful responses obtained. General manners and social etiquette can go out the window with the season of “good will” being left on the back burner in the dash to find “the perfect gift”.
For the home maker in me – in the household it can be an amazing time of fun and connection, where friends and extended families bake together, make crafts and play board games. Talking and laughter can replace television and computer games, with shared memories being created for future years. Do you remember the year grandpa lost his dentures chewing on a toffee? Yet on the flip side in the household nerves can become frayed and our patience with family members can fade as we notice their irritating habits and fail to recognise their gifts (and I don’t mean Christmas presents). Pressure is placed on ourselves to make “everything just right”.
So it could be useful this holiday to remember that in social interactions “equal and opposite” is not automatically the only approach to a world of cause and effect. We have options about how exactly we respond to situations and people (and no response is in itself an option).
It could be freeing to reconnect with the fact that whatever we experience minute to minute we each have this amazing gift of choice in how we interpret what we are experiencing. We each have the capability to control the way that we manage ourselves, our internal thoughts and our behaviour towards others.
We can benefit from pausing and reflecting on the year that has past and being grateful for all the moments of learning gained from moments of bad news and good, sadness and joy.
It can be reassuring to notice that the most important present we receive and can offer is “the present” (this present moment in time). Giving ourselves and each other the gift of time and enjoying a moment of “being truly present” rather than hoping for what might be, or regretting what never was, is perhaps “the perfect gift”.
So my promise to myself and those around me this holiday is to share time being present with you. My intention is for things to be “just right”, whatever that means to you and to make each interaction positive, whether that is a passing warm hello to the postman, or a big hug to a much loved older sister. I will question my levels of respect towards others (and myself) and offer curiosity in the place of judgement.
This blog is for each of the people I have spent time with over the past year. You have been special in your own way. Thank you for making my year with its ups and downs “just right”, because within and through your presence, you have truly contributed. Greetings of the Season to you all.