” I am rich, I have no money, this does not make me ashamed.”

Getting to the bottom of your holiday budget, and feeling like you have so much more to DO, BUY, GIVE?

Before anything else, check out this beautiful song by Neal and Leandra titled “Rich.”

…Feeling better yet?

Let me be totally honest with you. I love giving gifts. I love giving gifts to the point that I can’t help but spend more time and money than I should to find the “perfect” thing for those that I love. There’s nothing more special than receiving a thoughtful gift, that is more than you could have ever wished for, is there? And being the one who gives the gift that brings light to the eyes, and maybe even tears is even more gratifying, isn’t it?

What is it about those kinds of gifts that makes the difference? It usually isn’t the gift itself, it’s that there was a listening, a deep listening that happened; a desire was heard, not in a material way usually, and that desire is embodied in the gift. So what I’m thinking is, the greatest gift that we can give this holiday season, and EVERY DAY, is the gift of listening. To each other.

How often in conversation are we already formulating what we want to say, or need to say, while the other person is still talking? We see their lips moving, we hear the hum of their voice, but we are so excited to speak that we forget to honor what they are saying? How often with children do we tell them what they want, how to act, how to please us, without asking them what they want? We assume that because they are small they do not have the ability to know things for themselves. But we treat each other as adults the same way too, don’t we?

And what about the way we treat ourselves? Are you listening to your body and what it is telling you to do? Or are you driving your body along like an inanimate vehicle of some sort that should just work for you the way you want it to? And why are you wishing for a convertible, if you’ve been blessed with a reliable station wagon? If you practice yoga, when you roll out your mat, and step onto it, where is the experience coming from? Are you clay that is being molded by the teacher’s instructions, or are YOU the artist, creating your experience from the inside out, by listening to your body, noticing your thoughts, noticing your feelings, and allowing the wisdom of your breath to soothe you and relax you?

The hardest part of developing awareness, is that as it grows, so do we. Growth isn’t always easy, and it’s not supposed to be. But it’s always worthwhile. So instead of staying in the small bumper car circles of whatever patterns or habits you had yesterday, why not just get off the ride, and find the mountains, or the stream, or whatever it is you need to nourish stillness and peacefulness? The earth is underneath your feet, waiting for you to remember, waiting for you to breathe out, over and over again, until you relax enough that you will notice that you are also breathing in.

Our breath is the greatest mystery, and gift of our life. In these next few days and weeks, let’s all remember to use our breath to guide us into stillness; when someone has something to say to you, feel your feet, allow your breath, and let them speak. This is the greatest gift you have, your presence, for yourself and for the world. Bless you bright lights!

…And here’s one more song to remember the gift of our breath this holiday season.

Om. Amen. Hallelujah.


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