Your Presence is Required

When my nieces were young, I used to make a game out of giving Christmas presents. I would wrap a box within a box within a box within a box to teach them a lesson in deferred gratification. Now, that they’re grown, my Christmas gift-giving focus is on giving myself presents. No surprises here.  I could always buy myself something big, but I love unwrapping small parcels that I place under my half-size tree. For weeks, I’ll think about what I can give myself.   I want wireless speakers this year (Maybe a splurge). I also appreciate having a stash of fine chocolates, or leggings. There are a couple books I’d actually like the luxury of owning. Maybe a pair of extra warm socks or a subscription to a magazine would be nice.   I feel a special sense of gratitude that I can buy myself most of the things I need (or want), and I like to remind myself that these gifts can be little gestures of love for myself. How about you?   What would you especially like to gift yourself this year?


In 1971, Ram Das put out the book, Be Here Now. A cornerstone principle of Mindfulness, this imperative is the foundation of my gratitude practice. Try taking a pause or two in the course of a day and practice noticing, even mentally cataloging, what you see and what you feel in the moment. Then ask yourself if anything in front of you reminds you of something you love or value. Think about the connection. Not only are you practicing being in the moment. You’re developing what could become an automatic response for returning to a grateful state.

Thinking BIG is Thinking Small

As I’ve considered what I want for myself in the coming year, I asked myself what I’d like to see everyone in the world have (or have more of).  I realized that a way to discover what I value, what would fill me with gratitude, is often the same thing as what I’d wish for those I love.  What would you wish or pray for — for someone you love? For the world?

There Ought to Be an App

It’s hard to believe how connected, how dependent, many people are to their computers or smart phones to organize their schedules or remind them about things. If you were to create an app just for you — that would remind you what types of things you felt grateful for — how would the app work? How can an app really get you in touch with the essence of what you feel grateful for?