You find the greatest gifts between the words in the silence and in the midst of a lightening stroke of awareness. It’s between the aisles at Costco and in the parking lot at Toys R Us. It’s in that moment that you realize that nothing you can buy; nothing material you can touch matters.

Perhaps it’s having passed the speed limit in age. Or it could be having, as we all have, life altering challenges to over come, or maybe it’s simply sagey wisdom arriving. However, my sense of value and reverence for the gifts in my life, have changed dramatically. I am always reminded about what matters during the holidays. It’s so good to know the blessings in my life are not at Macy’s, Needless Mark-up or even my favorite Internet shops. They cost nothing and they are much closer to home.

Consider these:

Helen Keller once said…Tolerance or acceptance is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. Life requires this balance and mastery. When you are in this balance, it is as if you are holding, with widely outstretched arms, both ends of this or that, good or bad, love or hate, right or wrong and peacefully being not attached or too focused on either. That’s — an amazing gift of spirit…called grace.
Another fine gift is a willingness to seek out and embrace the truth. Yes, I can see the ways that you were broken, I too am broken, and I thank you for that gift. It teaches me patience, forgiveness and unconditional love. Here is what I am committed to do about my flaw and how can I support you in healing yours? The truth that we make mistakes, are not perfect and never will be is liberating. However, how you deal with these discoveries, is what this game is about. Will you package them up in bows and pretend no one notices?

Will you lie about them, project the responsibility for them on to someone else or will you respond with, “ I apologize. I was wrong and I intend to work on that for myself.”
Some people call me intense. Go figure. Okay so they are right. Most of my clients are referrals who often arrive having been cautioned that I am direct. I admit that is true. I don’t think people pay good money and come to therapy to visit a blank wall or a person who has not done enough healing work to get in the soup with them. If they are going to be courageous and vulnerable, then so too am I. I have deep passion and commitment. I have righteous indignation. Injustice, the misuse of power and prejudice wrap me around an axle. The greatest gift I ever got was the day a client standing in the door way, as she was leaving, turned around and flipped me off with a intensely delivered middle finger. She said, “Nobody ever dared to get to me like that…thanks. See you next week.”
Life is about passion. It’s about not being concerned about what everyone else thinks or who he or she wants you to be. It is about getting all in or you miss the gifts. Unless you are all in, you also deprive the ones you love from the gifts you came here to give them. You can say it in a million ways: Live Loud, Get Present, Show Up, Get all in… but it all boils down to a couple of things. Live your life with purpose and create a life of meaning and passion.

Rob Lowe will tell you, “Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I don’t put it on a platform. I don’t campaign about it. It’s just something that works for me. It enabled me to really connect with another human being – my wife, Sheryl – which I was never able to do before.” True connection with one’s self and another human being is a gift that endures lifetime after lifetime and changes the very fabric of our soul. It’s as important as air and we can’t survive without it. It’s a major part of what we came here to do. No more I love you see you in six months. Deep meaningful connection to others is as important as the air we breathe.
So, before you bustle off to that family dinner you moan about, take a minute to remind yourself, that each person around the table, enjoyable and annoying, is on a path just like you and either consciously or unconsciously, they have chosen bravely to stay and go the distance. They are, yes each and every one of them, is there to teach you something. Perhaps it is patience, acceptance, forgiveness, ego or love. They are the gifts your spirit has called to you so that YOU can find out who YOU really are. And if you want the gift, you don’t get to leave the party before it arrives.

From all of us… a heartfelt Happy Holiday. After all, you are the gifts from which we learn. So, thank you and have that second slice of pie.

Dr. Evan is a life/soul coach in Arizona working with individuals, couples and corporations. For more information 602-997-1200, email [email protected] or visit