Yesterday I was in the post office, sending off a package to someone. While waiting in line, I heard the postman behind the counter belt out a sigh of total frustration as he exclaimed, “Christmas is not supposed to be about all this stress!” He was absorbing all the hectic, frantic, and emotional pressure of his customers. Who would better know the spirit of the culture at Christmas than the postman? From behind the long line, I looked at him and exclaimed back with a big smile, “I am not stressed out!” he looked at me like I was on another planet. “You aren’t are you,” he noticed. “Nope, I am giving the gift of presence this year, so I can’t be stresssssssssssssed out to do that. Merry Christmas!” I merrily proclaimed as he smiled and changed his emotional state.
If you want to give the gift of presence this year, take the time to go to another level of conversation.
It might be hanging in there during a conversation, or in my case with my hair dresser, persevering enough to get her to start a conversation. Last week I went to get my hair highlighted and my new hairdresser was silent during the treatment. I am used to some kind of “experience” at the hair salon and getting the silent treatment was not part of a good salon experience! I was reading the wonderful book WILD, and decided to try to crack the ice with her. While consumed with my book, about every tenth page or so I asked her a question. She answered it straight up with no further conversation. Then on about page 50 of my book, I asked her one more question, “So where are you from?” She listed off about four places, St. Louis being one of them.. “St. Louis?” I replied. “One of my best friends lives there.”
Then the torrent erupted. “Do you know about the uranium situation there?” She went on with the deepest passion about how residents in that area are being affected in their health in a bad way. Another Erin Brockovich story. She went on and on and on. Then I understood why. She told me about her family members whose health was debilitating because of the situation. And then the clincher, “My young nephew is dying because of it.” She went onto finish my hair. When I got up, I grabbed her hand and asked, “What is your nephew’s name?” She told me, and I hugged her tight as I prayed, “Dear Jesus, work a miracle in this boy’s life. Do it please!” Knowing apart from a miracle, this woman would be headed down a road of loss and grief I was all too familiar with. After I prayed, she looked up at me with a tear in her eye. And then understanding her emotional state, seeing what was ahead of her, we “bear hugged” like it was nobody’s business. The kind of hug your mom would give you. An exchange of being from the deepest level. In her deep need, I gave her a gift, but she gave me one back: the gift of presence.
It all begins with a determination to start a conversation, and stay there until it goes deeper. In golf, there is a saying called “staying in the shot.” If you want to hit the sweetspot, you have to stay down and in the shot through impact to create a powerful shot. Come up too early, and you hit a glancing blow. To find the sweetspot this Christmas with your loved one, practice going deeper in your conversations. Stay in your shot until you feel the power of spirit-to-spirit connection. Practice with your mailman and hairdresser if you need to. You never know what gift of presence will come back to you!
If it works for golf, it will work for you!