Friday, 05 December 2014 12:44

Staying Present: Learning to In-Joy the Holiday Season

By By Meghan Lemery Fritz LCSW-R | Families Today

The holiday season represents light in the midst of darkness, peace, redemption, forgiveness, community and gratitude. It is a time of year meant to inspire us to get back to center, spend time with our loved ones and show our appreciation through gift giving and celebration.

While this is all warm and cozy in theory, the truth is, most people feel stressed, overwhelmed, irritated and burdened during the holidays. A season in which we are called to presence, becomes, instead, about the presents.

This year, I encourage you to do something different. Tune in to the gifts of the season and allow yourself to actually IN-JOY the experience of the holidays fully present and engaged in the moment.

I know you just groaned and secretly sent me your to-do list that is miles long and includes buying gifts for dozens of people and hosting the annual holiday party and cooking a gourmet meal for your family.

The fact is, life is ALWAYS going to be busy. We will always have bills to pay, houses to organize, jobs to show up for and relationships to nurture. The problem is; however, that if we let all of the responsibilities of life weigh us down; we stop having fun and become miserable, negative and dull.

Our focus is constantly future focused and we miss out on the gift of the present moment. Everything becomes about a schedule and making sure we are on time and ready for tomorrow.

A season of celebration soon becomes centered around material possessions and over-committing yourself to attend every party on the block.

Let’s get back to what really matters, and the simple truth of the season: PRESCENCE.

Living a life with presence means that you are tuned in, listening, feeling and enjoying the moment. You are completely immersed in the NOW—no past, no future, simply the NOW. Most people experience presence in highly emotional events such as your wedding day, completing a marathon, birth of a child or death of a loved one.

In these highly emotional scenarios, we are completely present in the moment feeling every emotion and allowing the present to simply BE what it is.  

It is as if time stops and the constant chatter in our neurotic minds ceases. The very experience of living in the present moment and allowing it to simply BE, leaves us feeling refreshed, connected, warm and highly tuned in to ourselves and others. People often describe these experiences as spiritual in nature and we are left with a sense of deeper meaning and purpose to life. We feel more joy and compassion for ourselves and others.

Why wait for the mountain top moments to experience the power of presence in your life? Let’s live in this power NOW.

This season, rather than stress yourself out with the tasks at hand, STOP.

Take a minute to smell the pine needles of your tree or admire the beautiful lights around the community. Instead of going to parties with people you don’t feel connected to, spend time with your family recalling funny stories and good times together.

Allow yourself to experience each moment with gratitude and joy rather than stress and craziness. Let the gifts of the season remind you of what is truly important in life—the relationships we have with each other, our communities and our world.

Let this season be rich with depth and presence. Allow the simplicity of living in the present moment revive you and add more color and sparkle to your life.

Wishing you the gift of PRESCENCE today and always!

Happy Holidays!


Meghan Lemery Fritz is a psychotherapist practicing at Sunpointe Health in State College, PA. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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