I cherish the opportunity Christmas brings for me to build relationships and meet more people.
The month of December can be a great month. The gradual incline towards the festive season is one that brings a great deal of excitement to many, the approaching holiday, maybe a trip away, a few big parties and sometimes lots of drinking. I’ve noticed people who usually don’t say anything or only give a passing glance, say “hello”. I’ve also noticed people who quite often just give me a nod when passing in the corridor but surprise me with a question like “what have you got planned for Christmas?” Come January, I see we often retreat and withdraw back into the ‘grind full existence’ – so what has happened?
For those interactions where we exchanged an extra smile, nod or extended ourselves to make a passing comment or brief exchange before the break, I now have a point or marker that I feel allows me to continue with the relationship.
For me it’s wonderful to hold that point when the post holiday emotional retreat comes, and the so-called mundaneness of life kicks back in. So my gift is now the nurturing of the initial hello or pre-Christmas smile. It is a pre-Christmas effort toward me returning. I can continue from where the relationship reached and for that I’m very grateful.
I was once waiting for the high of Christmas and wanting to escape and splurge on anything that took me further away from myself. The development of my Livingness by re-connecting to myself and thereby allowing deeper connections with others that I have found through Universal Medicine has provided me with the tools to tackle life with joy and a fulfilment that is overflowing.
So yes, I love Christmas, but now for a very different reason — the opportunity to build relationships with everyone I meet.
By Matthew Brown, Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia
The ups and downs of life are a normalised part of human life which we feel innately is not true to our body or our essence. The answer to living a truly consistent life comes from living the essence.
It is like we have accepted that life is very intense and a struggle and so we live in a way of ‘battling’ with this instead of going about life a different way, surrendering to something deeper within and recognising that there is a consistent joy that can be lived each day.
Matthew, this is very gorgeous; ‘So yes, I love Christmas, but now for a very different reason — the opportunity to build relationships with everyone I meet.’ I love how you embrace the Christmas period and make it about people and connections, very inspiring.
Opening up instead of re-treating back into our shells should be the way that all relationships develop. This is because of the way we express to each other with love brings in a deepening of our evolution.
When every day becomes the same day then the joy of living with our divine connection brings us closer to those we interact with.
This is so gorgeous Matthew. It is inspiring to feel you honouring the connections made along with honouring the value of the connection itself. This is precisely how we restore trust in our relationships throughout humanity, through being open to sharing ourselves and building loving connections.
I like this part about connecting with other people during the Christmas festive season. It reminds me of the common experience of human life that we all share.
I agree with you Matthew. I have found people are more open to connect, and certainly a time for giving and sharing some moments together. I am with you also that the consistency of Joy I now live through The Way of The Livingness is all year round.
Agreed Rik, The Livingness brings the same day every day no matter what the day so each day is a celebration of true connection.
And if we then don’t reserve this greater openness just for Christmas but are open and welcoming towards others and nurture these relationships, however fleeting the encounters may be, our day to day life would be much richer and more fulfilling.
I agree, people are often a bit more open during this period and are more willing to stop, open up and have conversations. I love the opportunity that this offers as it is a time of coming together and deeply appreciating each other.
I love the stillness very early on Christmas morning when the chaos and buzz have come to a halt and the human world takes the time to breathe in and be in repose, even if fleetingly.
I have been stoned walled by a colleague of mine for years I am always the one to initiate the conversation, I took everyone at the home office some Scottish Shortbread as Christmas presents to say thank you for all your help during the year. One of the members of staff came and told me how much they enjoyed the Shortbread biscuits they said they had not had anything like them before. And the other member of staff who always stone walled me piped up and said she thought they were lovely too. I take this as a break through even if she didn’t talk to me directly she was gracious enough to say how much she enjoyed the treat.
Great how you use the opportunity of other people being more open at this time of year to build on the relationships subsequently – a truly positive aspect of the gift of Christmas.
This is true, ‘the opportunity of other people being more open at this time of year’ and is something to appreciate that we have this opportunity and that we embrace it, a true Christmas gift.
The gift of connection – a gift that keeps on giving.
Xmas has never been a time of year that I enjoyed whilst in the UK, I worked on the main streets of london and the commercialisation was horrific to say the least. But now I love having friends and family over for a meal when you know so many are doing the same thing, in it together sort of thing. We don’t actually need this to bring us together but until we are living with a lot more harmony this will be our reminder of what is possible when we open up and let ‘strangers’ in.
What a great conversation Matthew, I hadn’t considered Christmas as a benchmark for a new normal but you are right, in terms of the potential for relationships everyone is far more open. Perhaps the low of January is that that goes away and seems to get put back in the cupboard for another 11 months.
Christmas is here again and there is definitely more footfall in the shop that I work in and the takings reflect the rise in customers coming to buy goods. People are not buying mainly for themselves but are thinking of friends and family and some are making gift boxes to send abroad for those who are “less fortunate”. There is an atmosphere of supporting each other to get whatever is needed to make this time the best it can be. As you say there is a potential here to build on this way of being and not fall back after Christmas to old patterns of isolation and disconnectedness. It is also an opportunity to see where we were at this time last year and appreciate how we might have changed becoming less judgemental and more open and willing to connect with others in absolute equality.
I enjoy the Christmas season too, because I find it is a time when people slow down a bit, and there is more opportunity to connect more deeply. I enjoy the conversations, work lunches and chances for people to come together more.
If it’s possible for that extra smile or conversation before Christmas then it shows we can do it. So why wait or withhold that openness for the seasonal period? From experience it’s exhausting holding back our pull towards each other.
Great to come across this blog now as Christmas cards and decorations are coming into the shops and many are complaining that it is so commercial. I feel inspired to share myself more openly when these conversations start to come up and allow for a deepening of relationships also.
I have worked many a Christmas and I have loved it, in the health and social care industry with such shortage of staff already, come Christmas some places find it really hard to find staff to work over the festive period.
That we think we drop back into the mundaneness of life after Christmas illustrates that we do not consider the potential of every day to be equally awesome.
What a gorgeous way to appreciate this time of the year Matthew. I love Christmas because this seems to be the most common time of the year when we make the effort to get together and connect. It makes me wonder why we don’t make the same effort every day of the year?
Yes, people are more open and vulnerable during that time.
This highlights the fact that there are no ‘special’ days to wait for, so we then can begin to connect with another openly, and share ourselves with honesty and love. It is interesting how we reduce ourselves to only being this way for one day only that is approaching, when there are 365 days in the year that this can happen. Imagine if this was how we chose to be every day, the quality of relationships that would develop, and the gorgeous connections that would enrich our lives. When we are open to it, there is so much we can share and learn from each other, and at the end of the day it is how we truly grow and evolve as a humanity.
Thanks Matt, and whenever we take the opportunity to build a relationship with someone new, it really is like Christmas… It is a gift for everyone
That’s super cute – every new relationship or moment where we meet someone is like Christmas, or actually it could be even better than Christmas – a bit like a gift that never stops giving.
It is a gift for everyone Chris. I love how you have highlighted this. We all receive an incredible gift everytime we meet someone. Do we accept the gift – the potential of the relationship, even if it is for a fleeting moment, or do we push it away?
When you work in retail you quickly come to realise that not many people actually enjoy Christmas, it’s a massive strain on them both financially and emotionally. If we took it back to it simply being about our relationships with people then it would alleviate the pressure so many people place themselves under and it could actually be enjoyable!
Your observations are so very significant Matthew. Why, when it actually must feel great to be more open with each other at certain times – e.g. Christmas, or when events such storms and weather wreak havoc on our community… why do we not truly cherish how great it feels to let each other in more, connect, offer warmth, love and care?
The ‘retreat’ as you’ve termed it is actually very exposing – in the routine and ‘same old’ in which so very many live, and accept as ‘normal’. I also well recall the more ‘up’ moments around Christmas, the relief sought in having a break from the usual routine, the specialness of choosing something particular as a gift for those close… But my life has changed, and joyfully so…
The truth is, it is via our own choices that we may live a consistency of love, openness, care and warmth in our EVERY day (not just a few…) – and as you’ve shared, allow this consistency to be what meets others, what holds concern for how they are, and joy in the simplicity of even a brief moment of connection. Lord knows, the world needs such openness and connection from us all, and deeply so.
There’s something about Christmas that inspires us to be a bigger person, to look kindly on others, to appreciate our life and all we are given. Yet this all gets turned off like the Christmas lights when it’s all over. If those things are truly good, why do we limit ourselves to just a few days a year? Your words here Mathew remind me how I still tend to make Love an occasional way, instead of embracing it as my everyday. Now this constant way of being seems like a real present to me. What a cracker of a blog.
It is interesting that many people seem to need an excuse to be more open and to connect to each other.
Mary I agree it’s very interesting – could it be that this is actually, truthfully what people are looking for but they are afraid to really go for it?
It is also valuable that they do so when they feel safe(r) to do so.
Thank you Matthew for sharing your experience of Christmas and the opportunity it brings to you of sharing the openness with people at this time, I too have found this to be where people are more open, this sharing is the real joy of christmas.
We can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the festive period, there is no escaping its all around us. It feels for some people Christmas is permission to open up to people, there is this stop moment to say hi to strangers – I had not see that perspective of Christmas, thanks Mathew
I love it – perhaps that is why we “wish it could be Christmas everyday” because everyone is more open and there is a sense of the brotherhood and collaboration that’s possible when we all work together and recognise that we are all in this together. From that perspective, it could easily be Christmas everyday.
Christmas has become so flat and two dimensional to me that it almost passed this year without me noticing it, one thing I do love though is the fact that suddenly people you don’t know are willing to talk to you, imagine if this openness passed into January and we started to discuss not just presents and Christmas dinner but important stuff too, and in that begun to truly support not just those closest to us, but anyone who needed it.
Everyday can be a joy when we live with the gift of ourselves. I used to buy into the mentality of work days being different to holidays and the outside world dictating how I feel. Now I know everyday can be in the same joy of being connected to myself, and whether at work or at home I can have the same quality of presence. What I have learned is it’s who we are and being in connection to ourselves that brings joy and meaning to life, not clocking on or off work.
Last year, in our family home we decided to not have a Christmas tree. This came about from a conversation around the dinner table where we realised that the way we live with eachother each day already felt like Christmas all year, and as much as a twinkling tree is lovely to have, we did not need it to tell us that we are a family, and we would rather have spent the money on something else. This was beautifully confirming of us as a family and also of how mature and wise children can be when given the opportunity to truly express themselves.
To live every day as if it is Christmas shows a deep level of appreciation of each other and the gift we have to be here this time around. Children live with this wonder and appreciation till the reflection is something very different and what inspires me about your comment is that you must be showing them a different reflection for them to have felt they could share that.
What I love about your comment is that children feel that right from the get-go, the appreciation of being here and the wonder of relationships, yet the reflection they are offered, more often than not, doesn’t match what they are born with. What I love about your comment is clearly you have offered your children the opportunity to share what they know to be true about every day, not just special days.
Yes Christmas is an extraordinary opportunity when one really understands about connection and the potential that we all have… Our community choirs were invited to at least six different events to sing carols….my usual cup of tea so to speak when it comes to music… But the joy that was there in the congregations and in the participants was an absolute delight to behold and very inspiring.
It is important to spot those moments when we really Connect with each other, because this creates the foundation upon which we all live.
I found recently that the month of December was more stressful and un-enjoyable than the feeling of starting the new year working and re-comitting to everything. There is something that every new year teaches us, that we live in cycles and there is in fact no end.
Having that initial openness with a person helps support that relationship to build further. This I am experiencing more and more as I open up to people. I may have met the person only once before but the warmth between us is tangible.
It’s so easy to slip back into our caves and withdraw from the connection we have felt with others – not just after Christmas but any time of year. But it only takes one of us to choose to build on this connection and relationships will start to blossom and deepen.