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'Tis the Season

The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. And retailers all over America are looking forward to Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the entire year. Millions of Americans will flock to malls and shopping centers, in a buying frenzy to kick off the Christmas shopping season. There is something in most of us that compels to us to fully participate in the holiday festivities. We are sentimental beings, after all. The lights, the tree, the sweet and treats, the rolls and rolls of paper. And the presents! 'Tis the season of giving.

So, I say, let us approach thoughtfully - with wisdom, awareness and joy. Try to avoid the holiday spending lures laid by the big department stores. Malls are exhausting and mind-numbing. And they contribute to the inexorable extermination of small business and artistry. If you are participating in the gift-giving ritual, do it from the heart: 1. Find something unique for those special ones in your life. Find an artist, a craftsman, a builder or maker, whose work you admire and give a one-of-a-kind, thoughtful present - full of presence. Full of love. 2. Give the gift of attention and connection. Give "real time." Your time is valuable, so give it. Plan a special lunch. Go for a walk. Go for a drive down the coast. 3. Give the gift of someone else's attention and connection. This is the nurturing we need and want that we don't always find a way to get. A massage, a facial, personal training sessions, energy work, acupuncture... We in the services and healing arts are happy to make up a beautiful gift certificate that gives your special someone loving attention, and an embracing whorl of well-being. 4. Use your words, your hands, your creative muse. Make something. It's as easy as framing a photo, writing a poem, canning preserves, finger-painting, or baking a loaf of bread. 5. Give the gift of Receiving. Giving and receiving are both generous acts. Don't resist the love and appreciation others show you. Remember how good it feels to give, and give that back to your giver!

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