R.R. Shakti made an amazing point in her December newsletter. Her words weaved together so beautifully and accurately I can’t even paraphrase it. Read this wonderful teacher’s words below and be sure to follow her for amazing insight on healing and life. Here’s what she said:
“O.k. Picture this:
It is your birthday/anniversary/favorite holiday and your mom/husband/best friend stands at your door with a GIGANTIC gift and a grinning face of joy-filled anticipation.
You say, “No way! I can’t possibly accept that; I’m not worthy.” And then: “Thanks, but no thanks—good-bye,” as you shut the door in his/her face…
Sad picture, right?
But isn’t that exactly like what we do to life, itself, whenever we close out opportunities to receive life’s infinitely abundant blessings?
For many loving people, it is easy to freely give. receiving receiving
But to freely RECEIVE…now, that takes practice!
And that is why I LOVE the holidays.
The gift-giving season is an opportunity to fling the door wide open to every possible gift coming your way. And how you receive the small stuff will determine how you embrace the big, important, life-transforming stuff.
So whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Jul, or the Winter Solstice, allow yourself to embody a beautifully balanced practice of giving and receiving.”
Gift giving and receiving in my family has historically been an extremely fun experience. Our tradition has been to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see what order we open all of our gifts. From childhood through university my parents have still given windup airplane kits, yo-yos, puzzles and remote control cars. Things we actually play with all morning, toys!.
Interestingly, as my brother and I are getting older we find ourselves not needing much and deeply appreciating everything our family has already done and continues to do for us. I live abroad and have to keep a light load, and my brother, an ophthalmologist, doesn’t have much free time to spend on material things. Because of that, our family rule last year was to only give one present and it’s got to be purchased at a thrift store.
It was by far the funniest holiday we’ve had!
As I mentioned in my article How I Retired at 25 and Never Looked Back, I like to think that I practice non-consumerism, which tends to result in a total life-clash during the holidays. Sometimes, it’s weird to receive and sometimes I still feel like I should give… for that reason, I’ve compiled a list of gifts for the holiday grey area and the in-between.
Know first and foremost just that you were thinking of us makes us shine! Sharing a meal together, spending time together, learning from each other and simply basking in each other’s awesomeness is such a gift. Continuing this community is already fulfilling more than we could ask for. Your friendship, support and shared energy already lifts us up so much. Thank you. These things are already enough, here are some ideas if you’d like to do more.
DIY Awesomeness (do it yourself)
Homemade stuff rocks! Some ideas are food, candles, jewelry, organic artisan soaps, Epsom salt and essential oil bath mix. There is nothing better than art or a poem from your kid(s). A letter or a hand made friendship bracelet means something so incredible! Receiving something new that we can hang up in our dwellings and think of you and your family would be perfect! Maybe a hand made scarf, oven mitts, dream catcher or try weaving a basket. I home made clay bowl from my bestie in high school is still one of my most cherished gifts. Years ago I tried cross-stitching an ornament for my brother of the three Wiseman. The instructions made one guy’s sheep herding stick crooked, so I straightened it. Straightening the stick later made it so the same guy’s hand was no longer holding his cane. His empty hand literally turned out looking like the Wiseman was flipping the bird to everyone. With the dynamic my brother and I have, that made the gift even more perfect. I added antlers to the sheep to complete the masterpiece and he LOVES it!
Sometimes with the energy of consumerism flowing more than normal, and cross-stitch errors resulting in unintentional religious profanity, I feel like giving more. Giving something. Shopping for a self-proclaimed non-consumer can be tricky! Even more so if a non-consumer is shopping for another non-consumer. When searching online for gifts for yogis it is still really materialistic. Chances are they already have a yoga mat, plenty of leggings and workout DVDs. Here is a list of unique gift ideas, multipurpose and interactive are key. Hope it helps and post your ideas below!
Mortar & Pestle
This awesome ancient tool is a kitchen must have. Jamie Oliver says it’s the most important kitchen gadget. A Mortar and Pestle is a bowl with a handheld tool for crushing. Earliest accounts date back to 35,000 BC. That’s right, the Paleolithic Era! Many home chefs believe it performs better than a food processor and exposes better flavor. For tea lovers and DIY herbs: Crush cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, cumin, ginger or sage. Meddle mint for Moscow Mules. Make salsas, guacamole, dressings, marinades and pesto. Use for garlic, onion, oregano or basil. The possibilities are endless.
Tibetan Singing Bowl
All peace seekers will enjoy practicing this beautiful instrument. Similar to how some make crystal glasses sing with their moist finger, the bowl vibrates to produce sound when it’s wooden ringing stick circles the rim. Tibetan Singing Bowls are used worldwide for music meditation and relaxation.
Mala Beads & Incense
Mala Beads usually contain 108 beads including a Guru bead. They are used in meditation with mantra to keep track of counting so one can focus on the meaning or the sound of the mantra. They are made of many different natural materials from seeds to wooden beads, and stones.
Book and a Journal
Journaling is a great therapy and practice to experience life profoundly. There are many great recommended reading lists for yogis to choose from. An empty journal is like a blank canvas, ready to be filled with creative expression!
Essential Oils are especially wonderful if your non-consumer friend is into self-healing. Often these oils are used in Aromatherapy or Body Work (new age term for massage), but there are slews of health benefits to experience. The gift receiver should consult a doctor especially if pregnant. Proper research is necessary for correct use to benefit the respiratory system, treat stomach bugs including food born illnesses, serve as pain management tools, and act as digestive stimulants. Also, varieties of essential oils are very comforting during a cough or cold, headache and sleep. Some are antibacterial, antiviral and great for making your own toothpaste or putting on your dog so it won’t get flees or ticks!
Yoga Gift Certificate
Great fallback or addition to the gift giving options above. Your favorite yogi will be thrilled with the gift of practice time.
Happy holidays to all! We are so thoroughly grateful for you, your kind hearts, and wonderful friendships.
Que todos los seres de todos los mundos tengan paz y felicidad.
Love and Light!
Matilda Juliette is a true lover of life. She finds deep happiness in sharing positivity and ideas with others. As an international yoga teacher and writer, her articles can be found at elephant journal and matildajuliette.net. Matilda is also the author of the hit novel Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe – Dating and Sexcapades of a Yogi. You should totally check it out. ;) Follow her for more beautiful short stories, compilations of risky and seductive encounters, oh yeah… and health advice/yoga info/nutrition!
Author photo credit Luna Vandoorne.