It’s the season of giving.
So we shop.
We make multiple trips to the mall. We trudge through these stores. Offline and on. To find the perfect gift.
The perfect gifts.
For the people in our lives.
I do this. Convincing myself that this is what people want.
Most years, people even tell me. In their own voices. Specifically what they want.
So I get them exactly that. What they say they want.
But people don’t need voices to speak.
A lot of times. People use everything but their voices to speak. And they tell you what they want. Without actually telling you.
I have been getting screamed at, with actions. Right in my face. By people close to me. People telling me exactly what they want.
But I have not been hearing a word of it.
People have been waving their arms. Right in front of me. Signaling to me. That they need more of this. And less of that. Needing better from me.
Yet somehow. I haven’t been seeing them.
Can I be that self-absorbed? That in the reflection of the mirror of which I keep admiring myself. That I can’t see the most obvious of signs?
But I haven’t been seeing it. I push forward with the shopping. Getting people things on their lists. Because they need it for school. Or work. Or to make their lives more convenient.
Sometimes I even go overboard. I go big. And know that I’m going to ‘wow’ them when I give them what I bought.
It’s only when I awaken. That I realize. That the people I’m buying for. That almost every single person close to me. They need nothing that my money will purchase.
Not one thing.
It’s cliché, I know. But it doesn’t make it less true.
That’s when I understand how deaf I have been. How blind I have been. And the depths of dumb to which I can reach.
Like the most awkward of turtle emojis. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. For being this unaware.
I am sorry. For letting all these signs go by without true change. Without a true reaction from me.
How is it that someone who prides himself on awareness and deep thought about life and people and feelings. How can I be so deaf, blind, and dumb?
It’s been a wildly up-and-down last few months. Filled with emotion. Big swings of it. And some of the most brutal stretches. And some of the most amazing stretches. It’s not an excuse for my self-centeredness. For my lack of awareness. I am fully accountable for it all. It’s more just an explanation.
I am here now though.
Really. And finally.
I did a mindfulness mediation yesterday morning. I think it helped me get here.
All day I sat. Feeling my clothes touch my skin. Tasting the flavors in my mouth. Feeling the breath fill my lungs.
It just made me more aware. I saw the expressions on people’s faces. The curves of their mouths. The furl of their brows. I read their body language. And listened to the tone of their voices. I felt their joy. And pain. And angst. And their love. All through unspoken gestures.
I used the gifts that I have been granted. Gifts like compassion. And empathy. And the ability to see out of another’s eyes.
The gifts we have all been granted.
It is just a matter of us deciding to use them.
I realize now that it doesn’t matter whether I buy the crown jewels. Or if I were to just give away snow this Christmas.
Anything material. Will at best. Give only fleeting joy.
That kind of joy will melt faster than that snow brought into a house.
I want to give. I am going to give. Something so much better than that. Something so much better than anything my money can buy.
My real present. Is that I am giving me.
A version of me, who hasn’t fully been here in a bit.
Awake. Aware. Alive. Understanding what the people around me really want. And what they really need.
I hope you all understand the true spirit of giving this and every holiday season. The true spirit of giving people what they need. What they really need. I hope that you spend your time awake. And aware. And alive. With your eyes and ears open. With your brain working. With your heart open. With your head in the right place. Along with anything material that you wrap. I hope you give gifts like compassion. And empathy. And love.
Nothing you find in a crowded shopping mall, will ever compare to those things.
Happy holidays. To you, your families. And to all your loved ones. Whatever it is that you celebrate.