More Presence

And I’m not talking about gifts!

Christmas, to me, means love. Whether it’s with family, friends or for yourself.

For some, however, Christmas can mean debt, stress, depression or loneliness, to name but a few struggles that come with the pressure we can put on ourselves and each other to celebrate in the modern fashion. From to cooking up feasts for a whole host of people and making sure you try and complete someone’s Amazon Wishlist, to finding somewhere to go so you’re not on your own (been there!).

I’d like to ask you to turn the word ‘Presents’ into Presence this year. Christmas is a time where we can really take a moment to stop, look around and be here in the moment.

You may be together with all of your friends and family, so take a moment to recognise all of the smiles and hugs and warm hearts. You may be at home with your partner ‘having a quiet one’, with a small roast dinner and some movies (like I am this year). Savour that food and the time you’ve been able to take out to spend with them.

If you’re alone this Christmas (whether by choice, or not), perhaps find someone to talk to. Make someone else who might be lonely feel loved, it’ll warm your own heart too.

But my main point is this; while this is the time of year that all of these situations are amplified, I would urge you to try and hold them in regard throughout your year. Stepping back and taking everything in, gratitude and happiness, and reflecting on your own lives and situations in comparison to others, and have compassion for all.

Regardless of whether you’re going to be with your family or friends, or you’re going to be on your own, why not make a special effort to brighten someone else’s week – remembering that it’s not just one day, it’s a festive season, and it can be tough for some, for some time.

If you are struggling at this time of year, I speak from personal experience when I say that The Samaritans are a great help and offer a friendly ear and kind words, at any time of the year, and any time of the day or night by phone or even by email if you can’t find your voice – www.samaritans.org

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