During the holiday shopping rush, finding that ‘perfect’ gift has the potential to create some significant anxiety, unravelling our best intentions for a merry and happy holiday season. It can result in sleepless nights, endless wandering through retail outlets, frustration and for some, ingesting large doses of antacids.

But perhaps this season we can employ a change in perspective: there is always one gift that is immediately available, and by giving it, we actually give to ourselves as well. Because we are all interconnected, each of us is the gift we can give to others.

It is not what we have, or even who we think we are, that matters. It is what we give of ourselves that has the biggest impact on others’ lives. And I’m not reflecting on what we are able to provide – but on that which is deep inside us all: our spirit and the capacity to live life with an open heart and an open mind; the ability to embrace others, without reservation, question or judgement and to create a place of respect, equality, safety and freedom.

The best gift, our greatest gift, is giving that which brings joy, peace and kindness to those around us.

We can do that by recognizing that at any and every moment, we have a choice that either leads us closer to that giving spirit or further away from it. If we continue clinging to anything – anger, anxiety, expectations or possessions – we cannot fully give of ourselves. Paradoxically, the more we push away from being gentle, open and kind, the more closed off we become to the true spirit of the season.

This year, let’s try giving the following gifts to those in our lives:

Listening without judgement or commentary.
Gentleness and patience when things go off the rails.
Forgiveness, by leaving the past where it belongs – in the past.
Respect, by embracing differences that allow equanimity and justice.
Reaching out to let someone know they are not invisible, but just as important and valued as we wish to be.

Little things can make the biggest impact in someone’s life – whether a friend, a family member or a complete stranger. Sometimes it just takes a smile, being a little extra patient in the crowded parking lot or allowing someone who is struggling to go ahead of us in the long line at the check-out or in traffic.

When we live with open-heartedness, we begin to see, regardless of the season’s hustle and bustle, an inner peace that envelopes others with immeasurable comfort and joy.

In each and every moment of this holiday season, let’s ensure that our spirit reflects an open mind and heart and becomes our greatest gift to ourselves and others.

Breathing in, I choose to draw closer to spirit and have an open heart.
Breathing out, I let go of anger, anxiety and expectations of myself and others.
Breathing in, I open my heart to the infinite possibilities of being a gift to others.
Breathing out, I extend my love and compassion to everyone I meet.

Paul Kenney,

Edited by Jeff Potts,

Daily Zen.

Author Bio -A devoted meditator, Paul believes in the integration of mind, body and spirit as necessary for healing and bringing about physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness.  Through meditation, he believes anyone can develop the ability to be heart-centred and live in gratitude, joy and peace, despite past or current trauma and life struggles.
You can read more articles by Paul here.