All I Really Want for Christmas Is Presence!

 

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Over the last couple of weeks, I have had countless people ask me what I want for Christmas. My answer has baffled and angered a few of my family members and friends. My response has been direct and simple – nothing but your presence. Even at the present moment, I can think of nothing being more desirable than the present of presence. There are people who lack basic necessities throughout the entire world and I know that I am not lacking a single one. I have a home, clothes on my back, food in my cupboard and refrigerator, a vehicle, and even some luxuries that serve a purpose but are not necessities.

The one thing that I find many people lacking in this technological age is a lack of connection to each present moment that we walk through on a daily basis. How many times have you went out with friends to dinner and discovered that each of you spent a significant portion of the time checking messages and social media on your phone or cool tech gadget? If you are honest with yourself, the answer is yes for most of you. Do not misconstrue my personal affinity for technology. I enjoy it like any twenty-something living in the current era. However, over the last year, I have tried to challenge myself to power off my cell phone, unplug my computer, and shut down my tablet to rest in nothing more than the present moment and in the company of whoever I am with at the time. Unplugging from the technological comfort zone is not an easy feat. Nevertheless, I believe that it is necessary to do so, if we want to retain our collective and individual personal sanity and preserve the sanctity of our human connection to one another.

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Instead of focusing on the accumulation of more things that you do not need for the holiday season, enjoy the mere presence of another human being. Make it a priority to create a series of beautiful moments that you are able to reflect on throughout your life. Trust me; time is not something you can regain. I would rather look back on my youth as older woman and remember great memories of engaging in improvised activities and behaviors with my love ones. Seriously, who wants to look back and realize that precious time was wasted mindlessly scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed, checking out random funny memes on ifunny, or taking Buzzfeed quizzes.


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Suggested List of Holiday Activities that Encourage Presence:

  • Volunteer – Help out a local community organization with a clean-up project, assist with cooking and serving dinner at a local community kitchen, etc.
  • Help Someone You Know – Offer to assist them with a holiday project, dinner, etc.
  • Go Outside Alone or with a Friend– Take a hike at a local park, explore a local farmers market, go on a bike ride through your community, etc.
  • Participate in a Group Activity or Sport – Participate in a holiday potluck, plan a fun group activity such as ice skating or bowling, host a DIY holiday craft party, etc.
  • Engage in Dialogue without Modern Distractions– Have an actual conversation with someone without glancing at your smart phone for a change – including people you know or a friendly stranger at your local coffee shop
  • Spend Quality Time with Your Significant Other – Find time to let your special person know that you value their presence in your life by spending meaningful time around your respective schedules
  • Smile – Seriously, find time to smile just because you are breathing and above the ground. It will influence your outlook and perspective in a positive light.

In the words of The ManKind Project, “Make sure your holiday to-do list puts the important things first!” Above all, eat, drink, and savor life by appreciating the amazing present that is presence over the holiday season.

Until the Next Post,

Janece

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Day 9: Let Go of Fear to Find Peace and Purpose

 “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” – John Lennon

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Can I be honest and let you in on a secret of mine? I am terribly afraid of heights despite my love of flying in planes. If you place me on a high balcony overlooking a scenic view, I will likely proceed to feel sick to my stomach and potentially pass out. However, I decided to go zip lining with my brother side by side from the 50 mph, 82 feet tall and 1,300-feet long Kaul Adventure Tower zipline at Red Mountain Park. 

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The hardest part of this adventure was letting go. I really wanted to climb back down the tower after making it to the top but something in my gut told me to go for it. The 82 feet drop from the top of the tower zip line was the most exhilarating and freeing experience that I have had in a long time.

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Despite my apprehension, I found the internal strength to abandon my fears to literally take a leap of faith from the zip line platform. In my opinion, faith is the most powerful thing to embrace in times of uncertainty. Fear should never drive our actions. Anytime fear strikes me, I find a way to muster the audacity to move pass it to find peace and purpose  in the midst of any challenge I face. Letting go from an 82 feet tall tower only reaffirmed my personal faith and determination. It reminded me to continuously challenge myself each day and to embody the positive force that I hope to see in the rest of the world.

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Until the Next Post,

Janece

P.S. Check out Red Mountain Park’s website if you want to find information about the attractions and hiking trails at the park: http://www.redmountainpark.org/