I’m single this year, so I don’t have to agonize over giving my partner the perfect gift.
Instead, I get to spend this holiday season giving myself a gift—the gift of awareness.
Every time I step out of my house I am choosing my contribution to the world.
If we choose to step out with our eyes open and mind present, we can clearly see where we can make a positive impact.
The other day my friend was waiting in her car while her partner was shopping in Costco. She observed a truck driving erratically through the parking lot, stopping and starting. In the cab she saw a man violently pulling the female driver’s hair, while a scared child cried in the backseat.
My friend did not sit back and observe. She jumped out of her car, ran to the truck, pounded on his window and yelled at him to stop.
He was so surprised by her that he jumped out to confront her. The driver took that moment to speed away.
The man stood in my friend’s face and yelled at her for interfering. It was, after all, none of her business. She yelled back at him, at the coward hurting a woman.
No one else in that parking lot stood up with my friend.
Had I been there, I would have stood shoulder to shoulder with her because, like her, I’ve stared down an angry man who has beaten me. That man couldn’t touch the soul of my friend. She’s stronger than him. She’s been through it and said, “No more.”
We can jump out of our cars and make a difference. We can call 911, video incidents, make reports. Say “no more” to abuse instead of observing and not getting involved because it’s not our business.
It is our business. And it must stop.
But that’s not all we can do as we practice awareness.
We can really see the homeless people around us. Instead of diverting our gaze to avoid having to say “no” to their request for money, we can say “good morning” and smile at them. We can offer them an instant hand warmer (they only cost a dollar and fit in a pocket—easy to give out) or a gift card for a meal. Even just the greeting lets them know that we see them, that they aren’t invisible.
Or we might see a person waiting alone in a long holiday line. Smiling and saying “hello” or striking up a quick conversation while we wait includes that person in our lives. There are so many people starving for interaction. This lets them know that they are part of something bigger, a community.
Awareness gives us an opportunity to practice our beliefs, to connect with our world and make it a little bit better.
So here I go, gifting awareness.
Author: Colleen Clary
Assistant Editor: Brook Bentley / Editor: Nicole Cameron