Take the NO PHONE pledge: 

“I will put down my phone this Holiday for ___ hrs a day to be fully present with those I love.”

Express it out loud, making a commitment and consider putting it out of sight on silence. Then turn toward your friend or family members who are present or afar (on the phone or video). Look them in the eyes; listen with intention; let go of your expectations; be curious and give each and every one your unwavering awareness. 

Observe what this approach does to your experience moment-by-moment — notice the sensations in your body, the emotions, and the interactions. You may find that it expands and deepens your connections, as well as your sense of the memory after the moment passes. You’ll likely discover that presence is one of the most precious gifts we can give and is needed more than ever. Our presence adds far more value to both our lives and the lives of others than any material object can.

Most of us would like to think that we are present in our daily lives, but the truth is that so many of us live a far distance from ourselves and from our experiences. We often operate on a sort of autopilot of thoughts, feelings and behaviors not just in the midst of our daily lives, but even more in the face of those who matter most to us, our loved ones.

With the simple and repeated practice of awareness, we can give presence to everything the season brings — from warmth and joy, to difficulty and tension — without needing to change or fix anything. We may find that being better connected to the moment in this way, a better connection to our self and to our family and friends begins to grow and flourish.

Mindfulness is not just a gift for us individually, but collectively too. In these challenging and turbulent times of division, discord, and the pandemic, mindfulness has the power to reinforce our shared humanity. The individual is reflected in the collective that is, when we develop deeper understanding and acceptance, through mindful attention and a more compassionate connection with ourselves– this becomes mirrored in our interactions with those around us in the collective. It’s contagious. However, just like a virus, some people are more immune to spread than others, so practice patience, nonjudgment, and don’t give up. Take this pledge and lead through example not by issuing “orders or demands.” Simply taking the action and genty inviting others to join you if and when they choose gives others the freedom to choose that can lead to greater appreciation and commitment.  Don’t become the mindful police: Keep your eye on your behavior and intention to give the gift of MINDFUL attention and let us know what gifts it brings to you and others around you this season. 

Want to learn more about mindfulness? Get more intensive training? Check out the virtual offerings and consider giving yourself the gift of mindfulness in 2021. 

www.sacredtreehouse.org

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