The Gift of True Presence

In November in the northern hemisphere, evenings come early and the chill is taking hold. The first snow brings a hush to the land. And so, the natural world ushers us inward towards stillness, towards silence, towards presence within. 

This is the gift the season wishes to give us, a gift that is not easy to receive as the preparations for the holidays gear up. New fashions, new makeovers, new must-haves are, thanks to Amazon, just a Google away. Whether online or at the mall, the sales and colored lights clamor for our attention and call out to us with the promise of joy. 

The fulfillment of that promise, however, is in the care and consciousness we bring to the gift giving experience. When we choose a present for a loved one, we can take a few extra moments to get in touch with who that person is and how they matter to us. We can bring our attention, our full attention, to them as they read our card, to the way they unwrap the present, the expression in their eyes when they look up at us to say thanks—these are the moments where joy happens. 

When we’re the one receiving a gift, we can be thankful and, if we’re really present, receive it twice. Once, as the gift we hold in our hand—a sweater in our favorite color, an essential oil, tickets to the theater—and second, by feeling the love, care, respect, admiration or tenderness expressing itself through that gift. If we pause and let ourselves in on how we are cherished and how we are held in other people’s hearts, a healing comes; a healing that makes room for more joy. In turn, we can spread that joy by not only expressing our thanks, but by sharing how this new gift will be part of our life and how it will make part of our day more nourishing.

Of course, some of the gifts of the holidays come in the special meals we have together. We can invite each other to share some highlights from the week or ask for support for challenges we’re facing. We complete the circle when we savor the flavors, smells, and colors, and reflect on the divine intelligence involved in the creation of the food before us—what magic in the orange of the sweet potato, what miracle in the green globe of the pea, and what majesty in the fat leg of the turkey. 

All of the parties and gifts and food aside, each day we can take a few silent moments to appreciate whatever it is we see. Maybe it’s the delicate lace of snow on the tree branches, or maybe the houses strung with lights, smoke rising from the chimney. Maybe we can let the view down the street lead us to a sense of the larger whole, while still retaining a feeling of being touched by each part, down to the infinitesimal. Awakened as pure presence, we can allow joy to arrive complete, throughout and light-filled. 


Peter Kime, creator of Raydiant Pathways, is a Raydiant Life Coach with 27 years of experience helping people connect with their own inner wisdom and strength. He specializes in providing energetic-somatic healing, spiritual guidance and support for individuals seeking to create a joyful, fulfilling life. Call Raydiant Day Center at 847-869-6477 for a free initial 20-minute phone consultation. Location: 1400 Greenleaf St., Evanston. For more information, visit

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