The best holiday recipe is everything! We are taught that everything in the world, and in life, is this or that— good or bad, right or wrong, here or there. Actually, it’s about both and all. Life and everyone in it is about and meaning — life — a big soup that contains all of it.

We are all good at times and bad at times, right at times and wrong at times. Life can feel great and in that very same moment, some part of it may be uncomfortable or sad because we are missing someone. The trick is in your willingness to embrace all of it without judging your feelings, pushing the feelings into denial or pretending. Stop seeking this and avoiding that. The holidays are a time when we do a lot of that.

We can’t stand Uncle James, but for an afternoon, we act like he is a good guy. We think the turkey is dry but we rave about dinner. We look forward to the holidays but we worry about the money we think have to spend. The problem is when we are into either this or that, we lose the moment. And for that, there are no do-overs. Maybe the best gift we can exchange this holiday season is turning presents into presence.

Are You Truly Present?   by Dr. Dina Evan

When you are truly present, you are able to shift your perception into that of recognizing the gifts of every moment and every person in your life. It could be Uncle James is teaching you acceptance and helping you release your judgments about how people ought to act or who they ought to be. And maybe if that turkey is dry, the Universe is saying you could be more helpful in taking some of the burden off your hostess.

Do you even know what her year or the challenges in it have been like? Once everyone had arrived, in my arrogance, within about ten minutes, I had already decided who I liked and who the putz was, whom I didn’t like. Inevitably, the Universe, the one I had invited to kick my ass, did. The putz became my greatest teacher and the person I just knew would be my best friend was an incarnate of my mother who never was. If someone at your holiday gathering is bothering you — it’s something inside of you getting bothered and it has nothing to do with the other person.

Deep inside you already know we actually do create our own reality and on some level of consciousness, everyone at that table is someone you invited. It might be fun to pause and ask yourself, what am I supposed to learn from this person?
Is it tolerance, gratitude for yourself, who you are and what you know? Is it acceptance, humanity, humility or the skill of allowing someone else to have the floor?

Maybe it’s about you not needing to be right or the most important. Maybe it’s a time for you to actually relax and do nothing! It might even be a time for you to NOT be in charge and just learn to receive. Maybe if you just relax and listen to your thoughts you’ll discover how many are judgmental and how many are loving or conscious.

What ever it is, it’s a good time to remember it’s all about you. What you bring to the table can come from your heart. It can come from your willingness to learn something new about yourself. And if it does, you’ll have a great day.

You may be delighted to find how many gifts have been waiting for you. You may also discover what an incredible human being you are. That’s a gift worth having. Or, you may discover some things you want to change so you can genuinely be the incredible human being you are…and that’s an even bigger gift worth having.

We all have so much to be thankful for during the holidays and the rest of the year. Whatever you do, please remember we are thankful for you. It is a gift to us that you read this paper, and let it touch your heart and mind. We are thankful to be part of this great community that supports and cares deeply for each other. We are grateful for your open minds and giving hearts and we wish you the very best of holiday joy. And, just for the hell of it, try to remember even that big turkey in the room has something to teach you. Enjoy it!

Dr. Evan is a life/soul coach in Arizona working with individuals, couples and corporations.  She  specializes in relationships, personal and professional empowerment, compassion and consciousness. For more information 602-997-1200, email [email protected] or visit