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  • Writer's pictureKim Prendergast, LMFT

A Season of Presence

holiday presence

With the holidays upon us it is a great time to stop and reflect before we get busy with the business of making memories. This time of year we are engaged in dinners, parties, visits, shopping, etc. We may rush from one experience to another, never taking the time to pause and really engage with what is in front of us.

I learned about being present on my yoga mat and most recently I have been revisiting what this means while reading Drinking From the River of Light by Mark Nepo. I highly encourage a read, but be forewarned it is not a light read. One of my take aways is around being fully present in order to receive what is before us. This seems very challenging when most of our modern life is designed to reinforce the opposite. And it is magnified in times of challenge, when we want to avoid engagement with the moment. However, in avoiding the bad we also avoid the good.

So this holiday season I encourage you to join me in seeking to maintain presence every day.I want to feel the warmth around the fireplace, taste the yummy treats, smell the pine, and allow the joy of connecting with my loved ones to permeate my being. In order to optimize the experience of the holidays below are some tips for cultivating presence:

  1. Calendar 10 minutes a day to breathe, meditate, pray

  2. Light some candles and take a bubble bath

  3. Spend some time handwriting some holiday cards

  4. Volunteer at a food bank, shelter or your place of worship

  5. Sing Christmas Carols

  6. Try a yoga class or take a long walk or hike

  7. Spend some time watching nature and mentally, or in writing, record your observations and how that time makes you feel

  8. Plan breaks for self care while out shopping or in cooking

  9. Make different flavor hot chocolates and taste test focusing on different flavors like peppermint or caramel

  10. Open your advent calendar, light your menorah and spend time in quiet reflection on the non tangible gift you receive every day

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season filled with a lot of presence!

Kimberly Prendergast, LMFT is one of the Owner's of Empire Therapy & Family Services. She has been assisting children, adolescents and families in crisis for over 20 years. Kimberly can be reached at 805.798.3723 or

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