Well it’s that time of year, when celebrants shop, wrap and exchange colourful presents with dear and loved ones of all ages.
For some people, this season of giving and receiving may be exhausting and stressful — what with battling the crowds in the shopping malls, trying to be eco-conscious yet festive with our gift wrapping, and paying those holiday bills and all.
But why do we give gifts anyway?
The old adage says:
“It’s better to give than receive.”
Yet if there were no receivers, how would the givers get the pleasure of giving?
Many of you may recall the children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It offers timeless wisdom on the spirit of giving, the joy and love it brings to the giver, and the bond it creates with the receiver. For those of you who don’t know the book, it is a parable of an apple tree and her love for a little boy, who grows, ages and changes. In the process of his growth and life experiences the boy sways from early bouts of an intense love and presence with the tree to long periods of absence and sporadic visits filled with requests. Here is an excerpt:
“And then one day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy and she said, ‘Come, Boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.’
‘I am too busy to climb trees,’ said the boy. ‘I want a house to keep me warm,’ he said. …’Can you give me a house?’
‘I have no house,’ said the tree. ‘The forest is my house, but you can cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.’
And so the boy cut off her branches and carried them away to build his house.
And the tree was happy.”
This story teaches us about the essence of giving. The tree gave of what she had to the boy, even letting him cut off her branches, but throughout it all she maintained who she was. The essence of the tree, her True Self — filled with peace, love and happiness — remained ever-present, ever-full, ever-whole. You could even argue that the more she gave, the more her heart grew full of love for the boy, even when he didn’t give her anything else but the existence of himself as a receiver.
So during this holiday season, don’t be too busy to give the gift of who you truly are to your family, friends and even random strangers. Find the time to be still, to connect with your True Self filled with peace, love and happiness, and then give what feels right from your heart.
- Give the gift of your presence to a friend in need.
- Give the gift of a random act of kindness to a stranger.
- Give the gift of YOU to all those you love.
Be thankful that they are there to receive your generous gifts.
…and should you receive a gift, accept it graciously and with an open heart, as the needed receiver accepting the giver’s love.
May you all connect with the peace, joy and love within yourselves, enjoy this season of giving and receiving, and live more abundantly!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL!