The Most Expensive and Valuable Gift is Presence

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As the holiday season is upon us and buying presents is the norm; I would like to offer an alternative idea: that the most expensive and valuable gift is presence. How would this holiday (or your daily life) change if you invested more presence in your self and those you love?

Can you name that feeling that happens when you are fully in the moment, away from a screen and simply present? They are rare in our tech heavy busy lives. Me too, and I make it a practice.

In my twenties, I studied yoga and meditation, both which cultivate intentional awareness and presence. In my yoga practice I feel in love with the expereince of incense, Sangha, Indian music, and bringing my attention into my physcial body. In meditation I practiced cultivating my undivided attention on my breath and dis-identifying with my mind’s thoughts. I am no expert at either of these, but I tasted enough presence to fully understand how valuable it is.

Then I became a mom and was shocked at the demands on my undivided attention. I remember breast feeding while scrolling on my phone and realizing ‘what am I doing?” I started a new presence practice, being present with my little one.

As I entered the parent world, I watched fellow parents pacify their kids with screens and sugar-flour snacks, buying them some time to not be present with their little one.

We chose to practice screen time regulation both of our own and hers. There were many times where we felt the temptation of pacifying her, to solve her need for attention with a screen, and not doing so required more of our attention.

Giving my little one a large amount of my presence has made me realize just how expensive and valuable is presence. It is the most valuable gift that I give her, my partner, or a loved one on the phone.

Actionable Presence Building To-Dos

  • Turn off notifications, limiting the attention interrupting dings

  • Plan screen time and stick to your plan

  • Breathe into your belly and feel your feet on the ground

  • Allow and accept the hard moments of life without using distractions to cope

How rich do you feel when you get undivided attention and full presence?

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