~ on giving and gifts ~

Today I am sitting with the awareness of endings.
With the feeling of finishing.
With the truth of completions.

Our calendar year comes to a close.
Solstice is but a breath away – the longest and shortest day and night, draw nigh.
It provides a place for natural pause and reflection.
A sacred space to stop, to bring our awareness back to the ever gracious moment.
It invites us to suck a long, slow breath of sweet life into our lungs. To hold it, relish it, appreciate it for the gift it is, it gives.
And then to exhale any tension, worry and pain we may have accumulated, created or carry in our bodies and our hearts.

These precious moments can be lost beneath the rush, the crush of commitments and holiday expectations. They can be swallowed by the swirl and frenzy of ‘snapping up bargains’ and seizing last minute ‘stocking stuffers’.
We can easily lose ourselves in the fast-flowing stream of sales, celebration and sensationalism.

This year I am choosing to do it differently.

There will be gifts and gatherings.
And there will also be time for many gentle breaths.
Times to reflect on the greater gifts I have received throughout the year and in my life so far.
Time to appreciate, to be grateful for those that I am graced with every day – my family, my friends, my health, my life.

For I am watching – with wonder, awe and much pain – others who are ageing, unwell and passing over.
Those for whom the simplicity of breath, the gift of comfort or sleep is not a given, nor at times, even possible.
Others are facing major family upheaval, financial burdens and fear for their fragile and uncertain futures.

If we have not already visited these places in our lives, a time will come when we too are tested and tossed into the deep waters of hardship and loss.
No amount of Botox or insurance will save us from the inevitable onslaught of time and it’s truth.

Where ever we sit in the world, whether it is with the searing heat and sultry summer storms or tucked away in the quiet, still cocoon of winter, may we stop for just a few moments and give thanks.

May we be grateful for all the gifts and great things that already exist in our lives.
May we pause and appreciate all the problems that we don’t have.
And may we extend some kindness – of heart and of action – to those who are experiencing hardship, fear, grief and loss at this time.

For regardless of our beliefs, backgrounds, behaviours or bank accounts, we can all, always, use a little extra love.

(C) Chandu Bickford

Artist credit Bibbie Friman