It’s been quite a week. Omicron, the latest version of this hellish Coronavirus, is wreaking havoc on everything. It’s exposing global inequalities (yet again), it’s demonstrating our seeming inability to roll with the punches (while it’s convenient to rail about the incompetence of our governments, it appears that human ineptitude is universal in the face of this–no one, but NO ONE has gotten it right), once again our education system is in a state of upheaval (if I hear the word “pivot” one more time as it relates to the delivery of curriculum, I’m going to throw up), and we’re worrying about whether any and all of our holiday plans should be scuttled. So, this Christmas Eve, I am just trying on this: being present.

My gift to myself and my loved ones is my presence, not just physically, but emotionally. And not giving in to despair and ranting, but to listening, to generosity of spirit. There is much to be grateful for. We are living in a country where we are able to at least get access to vaccines and other medicines if we want them (let’s leave out the chaos of the rollout of such things for now). We have (many of us) access to rapid tests to ensure it is safe for us to gather in small numbers with those we love. I am about to go do a singing job with wonderful colleagues, in a piece that is all about forgiveness and atonement. It’s been postponed for almost two years, and now it looks as though we’ll be able to go ahead with it, albeit with quite strict protocols. We are learning to live in this new world.

Yes, there is inequality, there is suffering, there is mistrust, greed and injustice. I am going to be present with all of it. I am going to be present with what is right here in front of me, the good, the bad, the ugly, and also the very simple and beautiful. Present with the new-fallen snow. Present in the making of the tapas for this evening’s family Christmas celebration. Present for the phone calls with loved ones across the globe. Present with just looking at this lovely little holiday scene my very creative mother assembled, complete with a felt reindeer family. I am also present with all my feelings, including the ones that are uncomfortable and hard. And letting them move through me.

This holiday season, dear readers (all 7 of you! Thank you for reading!), I wish for all of you to be present for yourselves and those you love. Breathe, sing, eat, enjoy, laugh, weep. The whole 9 yards. These are the everyday joys and trials that make a life. The gifts of Christmas presence. Namaste.