viernes, 31 de diciembre de 2010

Love the Present

Love the Present

love_the_present.pngIt’s holiday season in New York and an already fast-paced town has whipped itself into a gift-buying frenzy.

Head bowed against the cold, I nearly missed an intriguing storefront sign: 'Love the Present'. People dashed around me on the crowded sidewalk as I stopped to look. Just a clever play on words, right?

I went on my way, but couldn’t get the phrase out of my mind.

What is a gift? I asked myself. Why do we give and receive? What does it mean to be in the present, and why is it something to love?

I did some research and found that Christmas is just one of many holidays with a tradition of gifting. In fact, out of more than 4,600 religions worldwide, most have a day for giving presents. 

At Hanukkah, Jews commemorate the triumph of the Maccabees by lighting the menorah and giving presents. During the Hindu festival Diwali, people celebrate the return of Ram to Ayodhya by lighting lamps and exchanging gifts.
Eid ul-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that ends the fasting month of Ramadan, finishes with feasting and gifts. Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest honor “potlatch”  — which derives from a word that means ‘giving’ — by distributing wealth among fellow tribal members.

I think it’s safe to say that giving is a natural impulse for human beings and a widespread activity.

So what does all this have to do with that storefront sign? What about the other meaning of love this moment?

I mulled it over for a while and remembered that to love the moment, I have to be in it.

The first step for me is to slow down… to linger... the way I did when reminded by that storefront sign.
My next step is to become aware of my breath: just accept, enjoy, and appreciate it, the way I would a heartfelt gift from a cherished friend. For that is exactly what it is.
I believe that a gift is something purely given, without expectation of anything in return. The real challenge is to receive it.
Now I understand why the sign, 'Love the Present', was so eye-catching. It is here, and now, that peace, love, fulfillment and contentment reside — for me, the greatest gifts of all.

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