It is the time of year for giving gifts.
Most of us have our physical needs met which means it can be challenging to give a meaningful gift (and if you are reading this it is likely that meaning matters to you).
Here are some suggestions:
Give an INVITATION. Meet up with a friend for a walk or a bike ride. Go to an art gallery, a new restaurant, the grocery store. But invite them to share time together. Recently a friend told me that all she wanted for Christmas was more time with me. So I invited her to walk and we walked and talked and reconnected and at the end we set the next two times we would meet for more of the same. Her request for more time really touched me and she was grateful for my making time. It was a gift to both of us.
Give SOLITUDE to caregivers. New moms in particular need time to care for themselves. Time for a shower, a book, an errand, or a workout can be truly medicinal. Give those who spend their days caring for others the chance to care for themselves by stepping into their role for an hour or three. Even better, give CONSISTENCY - a recurring day that they can look forward to and make plans to use. Sometimes it isn't that we don't want to ask for help, it's that we want to do it ourselves and we just need help to make that possible. Friday‘shower hour’ when my kids were toddlers and a friend came by to watch them saved me for sure.
Give COMPANY - In person, on the phone, on FaceTime, there are many ways to connect and keep company. I know that I do much better with someone sitting and talking to me even as I wash the floor or sort my files. In the past I have asked a very organized friend to come over and help me turn my kitchen inside out and put back into new, amazing order that I could never achieve alone. What is your skill? What do you have to offer? How can what comes easily to you be easily shared with someone else? I sorted through 5 years of paperwork and bills while my mom sat on the floor next to me and read a book. I couldn’t have done it without her company.
Give RECOMMENDATIONS - booklists of your top 10 reads of the year, cookbooks, movies, restaurants, destinations, or documentaries. When my sister turned 50 she had a French-themed dinner party. My gift was 50 songs as a soundtrack to the evening; we moved from appetizers to dinner to the conversation afterwards all with a lush French theme. Make playlists of music or videos or even podcasts. There is so much to choose from that a curated version can turn into a great gift.
Give PRACTICE as a means of providing structure for meaningful change (total shameless plug here). www.marthamcalpine.com/thepractices
Giving someone a digital teacher with options as to duration and style can be the way to help them get hooked and get healed. There are 3 ‘flavours’: Rise (to uplift), Focus (to center), Return (to rest and rejuvenate). Each one has 30 minutes of asana, 20 minutes of kundalini kriya, 10 minutes of a breath practice, and 10 minutes of guided meditation that all reinforce the theme of the ‘flavour’. There is a gorgeous printable pdf that comes with each one to keep track of your practice and it includes suggestions for getting started, what if you struggle to continue, and ideas for success. (Many thanks to Jordan Block for production and design support xx)
And to you I offer my favorite cookbooks of the year: The First Mess and My New Roots - both modern takes on vegetarian meals and snacks. My favourite podcasts were "Where Shall We Begin?" by Esther Perel and the Rich Roll podcast. You can check them both out on iTunes and feel free to send me your favorites as well.
Have a healthy, creative holiday and know that you are the best gift that friends and family could hope for. Keep it simple. Take care of yourself.
Much love, Martha
Crystal Crisp will sub for me on Wednesday 12/27 at Midtown 7:30-8:30pm. On Monday 12/25, Christmas Day, I will not be teaching, but Crystal will offer a class at noon at Fells.
January 1, 2018 - Kundalini by Candlelight 6-8pm Federal Hill is an annual chance to start the year with clarity and light. We practice only by candlelight and the first half is to release 2017 and the second half is to invite 2018 with a creative, curated intermission. Look forward to seeing you there! Register here.
Wanderlust book group At Federal Hill, noon-3pm for 8 Saturdays in a row starts Jan 13, 2018. This is a workshop to give you an overview of the ancient history and philosophy of yoga as well as the modern application and interpretation of its practice. We will have lecture, discussion, writing, asana practice, and the last 30 minutes of each week we will establish and develop a breath and meditation practice. This is such an outstanding chance to expand your understanding of yoga. Suitable for beginners and advanced alike. Come for all of them or pick and choose. Find all the details here. Register here.
Blessed are you
who bear the light
in unbearable times,
to its endurance
amid the unendurable,
who bear witness
to its persistence
when everything seems
Blessed are you
the light lives,
the brightness blazes -
an altar where
in the deepest night
can be seen
the fire that
shines forth in you
in unaccountable faith,
in stubborn hope,
in love that illumines
every broken thing
~ Jan Richardson