The greatest gift of love you can give to others at Christmas is to be fully engaged and lovingly present with them. To receive this is also a treasure. However, not everyone gets to experience this loving connection and Christmas can sometimes be fraught with stress and strained relationships.
So I want to share with you 8 effective ways to bring the Gift of Love to your Christmas.
It’s time to let-go, loosen up and take a holiday. Join in the party, or make your own, even with two people. Celebrating is like love making as it requires us to let go of our boundaries, be vulnerable and open up. Delight in being deliberately more wild and sharing your heart freely. How do you like to celebrate?
2. Prioritise intimacy
At this time of the year we can get stressed trying to live up to crazy expectations that leave us feeling a lack of intimacy. Instead, think about what and who you value and love, and what you love to do with them. Cooking delicious meals for your beloveds? Having lots of great, noisy sex with your partner? Or an extreme sports adventure with your kids?
If you value and protect who and what brings the most intimacy to your life, and prioritise it, this will increase your happiness immeasurably. And this means pausing, breathing, choosing moment to moment. Say ‘I’ll get back to you’ before you commit to things and take time to consider what matters to you the most.
3. Turn it around
At Christmas time we are flooded by the media with the ideals of the perfect family, happy days and fabulous relationships. The reality is many people are lonely at Christmas, fight with their families, or exhaust themselves trying to get it right. Depression can take hold and escalate.
If you are struggling this year, you can and must turn it around. Change the picture. Let your friends or family know what you need. Ask for help. Join a gathering or start one yourself. Any little shift you can make will be significant, and will open the door for love to waft in. As the Dalai Lama says, ‘Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.’
Book in for a course or workshop in the New Year that advances your growth. Even a simple thing like listening to music that is personally nostalgic for you can boost your mood and feelings of loving connection to others.
4. Savoring the Love
Recent brain research shows that savoring even one loving moment in our day rewires us for happiness and increases self worth. Dwell on these moments at Christmas holiday time, expand them and literally breathe them in. When you notice something wonderful happening, don’t rush though it, stay with it a little longer to savour it. Even thinking about a loving memory can make a difference to how you feel. Start now!
5. Give your real ‘gifts’
How can you gift others this Christmas? The best present you can give is yourself. Perhaps through deep listening and clear presence, a poem, dancing or a kind word or gesture. It’s your unique contribution that matters, not the amount of money you spend on gifts. When giving presents you can also make that a deep experience by tuning into the person and giving them something that stretches them in the direction of expanding their masculine or feminine essence.
6. Breathe deeply
The breath is our life-force. When stressed we contract into shallow breathing mostly in our upper chest. This can make us more anxious or disconnected. Focusing gently on your breath, expanding it fully in your belly and chest, will allow your breath to go deeper. You will feel more, but also be more resilient. This will come in handy when your uncle is drunk and deadly, your kids are tired or you have had one too many cocktails. Breathe!
7. Say yes to what is!
What we resist tends to hang around so if you find yourself gritting your teeth over the commercial jingles, supermarket queues or family squabbles, then practice the way of the Tao. Be like water that flows around obstacles and keeps swishing its own merry way so you don’t become stuck or frozen in resistance.
8. Above all, express love. Really…