RYAN ALTMAN

🎁 Embrace the Season: 5 Heartfelt Gifts to Nurture Your Inner Self

This time of the year is supposed to be the happiest, but the truth is, it’s usually one of the most stressful.

The litany of parties, get togethers, family events, gift buying, and cooking adds up real quick.

We get stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed by the obligations and ‘fun’ weΒ shouldΒ be having.

There’s definitely fun to be had, but it’s usually only a side dish to the main course of holiday fatigue.

Anyway, we all love giving and receiving gifts this time of year.

Usually, we give gifts to others.

Sometimes, we’ll even gift ourselves something too.

Maybe a massage, or a special treat, or something we’ve had our eye on all year.

To combat the stress of the season, I want to share with you a few gifts you can give yourself from yourself.

They aren’t physical gifts. They’re inner ones.

These gifts are mostly reminders; reminders about what’s important to the season, and things we can easily lose sight of during the busy-ness of this time of the year.

Here’s 5 heartfelt gifts you can give your inner self this holiday season:

1. The gift of gratitude

β€œWe seem never to know what any thing means or is worth until we have lost it.”
– Albert Pike

This is the most obvious, yet most important inner gift you can give yourself.

We’re programmed to overlook the essential things of value in our life, since they’re the fundamental basis of our lived experience.

We adapt quickly, and in adapting we lost sight of what’s supporting us.

It’s like the bad smell of burnt meatloaf, we smell it for a moment, then our brains tune it out.

It’s the same for all the truly valuable things in our lives.

Until that thing leaves us, we generally don’t recognize its significance since we’re so adapted and attuned to its presence in our lives.

We can fix this problem by actively cultivating attention on the little things that mean so much to us: having a clean bed, a warm shower, clothing to wear, and food on the table.

These are all truly great gifts that would make our lives miserable without them.

Take time throughout this holiday season to be grateful for the gifts that you receive, and for the gifts that you already have.

2. The gift of stillness

β€œRest is the sweet sauce of labor.”
– Plutarch

Like many of us, one of my favorite parts about the holidays is the food.

And no good dish is complete without a good sauce to accompany it.

I personally love making sauces of all kinds.

Dressings, BBQ sauces, remoulades, pasta sauces…

Creating a good sauce is all about balancing flavors.

As we work and toil throughout the year, and especially during the busy holiday season, make sure to give yourself moments of stillness.

Without stillness, the flavor of our activities gets bland and dry.

Flavor is all about creating contrast, and if you’re constantly engaged in activity, there’s no way to truly experience it fully.

Take a pause.

Go to the bathroom.

Go for a walk.

Rest for awhile.

Close your eyes, and take a deep breath between activities.

If you have a meditation practice try to be consistent, even if it’s shorter or fewer times per day.

Be vigilant about taking time to stop, rest and be still, and you’ll enjoy a richer experience of all your activities during the holidays.

3. The gift of presence

β€œThe greatest gift you can give someone is the purity of your attention.”
– Richard Moss

I was going to write this one as the gift of connection to emphasize the opportunity to connect with our families and loved ones during the holidays, but it morphed as I was writing it.

The truth is we’re usually around family members or loved ones a lot during the holidays, but we’re not always present with them.

We’re lost in our thoughts, worried about stuff that needs to be done, scrolling on our phones, waiting for our turn to speak, or wishing we were doing something else.

By being fully present with the people in our lives, we’re connecting with them in the deepest and most profound way possible.

You can start by putting down the phone.

Put it in another room.

Put your attention on your environment and the people in it.

Get engaged with what’s going on and you’ll experience how the energy of presence naturally starts emerging out of you.

See how you can help, or listen, or just be fully present for your loved ones this holiday season.

4. The gift of hope

β€œWe must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s a bumpy time in the world and in the lives of many people in it.

There’s a lot of turmoil and challenge.

We’re in a time of great change.

In order for the changes that need to happen to emerge, we must individually and collectively address the limitations that are holding us back.

We’re all slowly being confronted with these limitations whether they’re found individually in work, relationships, money, or health, or collectively as a global society.

The limitations are painful and difficult to confront, but they must come out or else we’ll never be able to transform and evolve from where we are now.

By seeing the unfolding process with wisdom, we can cultivate hope knowing that the darkness we’re being confronted with is a pathway to light and transformation.

Each difficulty, setback, failure or mistake can be seen as a valuable opportunity to confront our limitations and grow from them, rather than as a punishment meant to set us back.

With this knowledge in mind, we can cultivate hope in the holiday season that whatever we’re struggling with is bringing us forward to a better future.

5. The gift of divinity

β€œChrist consciousness is a state of awareness where we see the divine in ourselves and others, recognizing the oneness of all creation.”
– Wayne Dyer

It’s easy to get caught up in the materialism of the holiday season, and lose sight of its deeper spiritual significance.

While we celebrate the festivities, we can also acknowledge the deeper spiritual truths that the holidays represent.

The divine truth at the core of all religious and spiritual holidays is our most precious gift, one that no other worldly gift could ever match (even a Red Rider BB gun!)

For Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and not so much Jesus as a man, but as a state of divine consciousness which he embodied.

As we go throughout the holiday season, we can remember this divinity within us.

Honoring and celebrating the great gifts of love, kindness, compassion, and wisdom that divine consciousness shines forth into this world, and doing our best to cultivate those same qualities within ourselves.


I hope you have an awesome holiday with loving company, delicious food (with plenty of sauce!) and wholesome moments to enjoy.

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