by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW
Have you noticed that Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year? I noticed this over the weekend. I was doing some shopping at my daughters’ favorite craft store and observed the employees, all decked out in their Halloween costumes, assembling Christmas displays. Thanksgiving décor was on sale, even before this holiday has passed! A couple of weeks ago, I was walking into Costco, when one of my children exclaimed, upon seeing lighted trees and reindeer, “Mommy! It’s Christmas—I didn’t even know it was time!”
I have to admit that I’ve been slightly bothered by these experiences—there is so much pressure from culture around us, which includes all the marketing efforts of retailers, to look toward the future and be distracted from the present. Going beyond this holiday phenomena, this reality shows up in other areas too—there is a tendency to feel unsatisfied with what we have and feel pressure to move on to the next thing, whatever that might be.
It’s challenging to fully experience, value, and feel what is going on right now when there is this kind of mentality all around us. Sometimes it is difficult to face the present because of pain or hurt, and so we try to become distracted from it or become occupied in something that keeps us from feeling these hard emotions.
What is it like to experience the present for what it is? I think that there is a lot of opportunity to experience the richness and wealth of relationships, of the seasons—sights, smells, tastes and of opportunities for connection around us when we can just stop…and be fully present in the moment that we are in.