My Beautiful Gift to Me
This Christmas, I gave myself a gift. It didn’t come in a box. It didn’t come in a gift bag. It wasn’t even wrapped. It came in my thoughts, or rather, in the absence of thoughts. My gift to myself was the promise that I would not be thwarted: I would enjoy the happiness of the present moment.
This meant that I did not allow myself to turn on the news, to be lured by headlines on my computer, or to give voice to my political opinions. This had nothing to do with “keeping the peace” at the dinner table, as all of my guests were on the same page politically this year, anyway. Rather, it had to do with not succumbing to the tantalizing magnetism of toxic thoughts in my own mind.
The lack of drama was refreshing! I focused on cranberry sauce and stocking stuffers instead of the Mueller report or who will run for President in 2019. An eerie peacefulness settled around me as I relinquished my newly acquired cable news stations and ignored The Huffington Post. I had calm conversations with my now grown children that involved eye contact and had nothing to do with he who shall not be named.
In the course of enjoying my gift over several days I felt less stress than I have in months (perhaps, actually, in two years), even though December is a high-stress month. Instead of listening to the radio while I drove to various stores to shop, I turned up my favorite mantra CD and felt as though I was floating through traffic on a fluffy cloud. No loud voices ranted about walls. No snarky rebuttals. No threats or proclamations of blame. It was damned lovely.
Of course, as the holidays wane I know I’ll return to my natural state of news junkie. But maybe not with quite the same level of devotion. Giving up the news felt a bit like quitting smoking (which I did many years ago). It brought a sense of breathing freely, a lightness, a realization that I create my day—my life is not owned by anyone else.
Ah, peace of mind. Such a lovely present. And it didn’t cost a dime. Come to think of it, my birthday is coming up and now I know precisely what I will give myself.