Somewhere along the way we have tied love to possessions (look under a Christmas tree). Somewhere we tied how we measure love to the zeros on the price tags of those possessions (see engagement rings). Somewhere along the way we lost focus on presence and focused on presents.
One of the most vivid and painful memories of my youth was standing looking out the window in my living room waiting for my Father to show up for Christmas. He was a solider you see, stationed overseas, and Christmas was one of the few times I would see him. Minutes that seemed lives hours, turned into hours that seemed like days, and then the inevitable phone call and excuse why he wouldn’t be coming that day crushed me. It wasn’t the first time and would not be the last, and it wasn’t the missing presents that hurt me, it was the missing presence.
Presence however is not always a physical location, especially in this world of electronic distractions, busy schedules, political and economic stress. Presence is about make a real, visceral connection to the people in your life. Presence is an action word. It’s about being involved in the small things like cleaning your child’s runny noses for them, to big things like teaching them how to live by living a life of purpose for them.
Presence is however much harder to produce than presents sometimes, especially for men (What don’t you ladies do better than us that doesn’t involve picking up heavy things?) It requires a person to have a strong sense of who they are, what the believe in, and the courage to put those guiding principles into action.
If you are having trouble turning your “presence into a present”, or if you need help turning your good intentions into real actions I urge you to try our 50 days to change your life with simple kindness challenge. It is designed to stretch you out of what is comfortable, and into what is wonderful. Don’t just try it, live it for 50 days and it will be impossible not to be unchanged, touched, and closer to your self and those around you.
A portion of all of our proceeds will go towards funding our special needs martial arts class, that is free to any child in our community with developmental disabilities. That contribution in and of itself is will help to provide not just an opportunity for a child who otherwise might not have the opportunity to train and benefit from the martial arts, but it affords kids and adults from our weekly classes the ability to come in and work with those children and learn the power of presence first hand.