As I reflected the other day, I was struck by a family memory. The memory helped me to revisit one of the most important people in the history of my life, my dad. He gave me the ultimate gift, life. Christmas marks the seventeenth anniversary of my dad’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I remember, as though it were yesterday, receiving my dad’s phone call, days before Christmas, to inform me he had been given six months to live.
In reflection of my dad’s passing, I am reminded that the most important gifts I have received are not necessarily the ones purchased, nor have they been received during the holiday season. While the holiday season may inspire, or pressure, you into the act of giving, every day is an opportunity to give the authentic gift of yourself. If you are tied up in bows and wrapping paper, take a moment to slow down and remember, year round, lives a gift that says it all: loving presence.
Loving presence is a quality of being, which allows you to fully attend to another person with love and compassion. When someone holds a loving presence with another, it has a powerful effect.
Creating a field of love is like a mother gazing into her newborn baby’s eyes. It is an energy exchange that offers full presence to another. It says, “I see you. I love you. I honor your existence.”
Like a brilliant orange sun shining through dark grey clouds, loving presence offers a gift that helps another human being to heal, grow, and thrive.
In my dad’s case, his loving presence helped me to fall in love with the outdoors, develop my athleticism, and passion for skiing. I fondly remember snowy ski days when I was six or seven years old, and my dad was helping me to learn how to ski. He would yell, “Ski like a monkey. Ski like a monkey. That’s it! Keep your arms long and loose next to the side of your body. You got it, Al Pal (my dad’s affectionate nickname for me). Way to go! You can do it.”
It’s 30 years later and I still remember my dad sharing his loving presence on the ski slopes. While I have long since traded in my skis for a surfboard, my monkey arms are still long and loose thanks to dad’s guidance.
Never forget the power of your love and attention. It is an important gift you give; it is a gift that says it all.