Gifts.

That’s the theme for this month.

That’s easy. I love gifts.

I love the whole idea of gifts –

the giving, the receiving, the shopping, the making. I like surprising people and thinking about their expression when they open something. And I like it when I’m given something, too. All of it means there’s lots of love and thoughts and consciousness going around. 

So, I start thinking about the gifts I’ve received…

When I was little a giant Pooh Bear in a homemade house (yes, my mom was incredibly imaginative and she never saw a “box”, instead she saw a home), my first Tiffany’s gift (talk about boxes- how iconic is that little blue one?) from my husband on our anniversary, a beaded necklace from my daughter that I wore almost as much as the Tiffany gift, a coupon book my son made me, that I have never used because who can bear to part with a coupon that reads “put your head down and rest”? All amazing gifts.

Then I started to think about more intangible gifts…

The gift of purposeful work, the gift of compassion that I have both given and been a recipient of, the gift of nature and how a walk up in the hills or a glance at the moon can calm me, and perhaps the greatest – the gift of companions and the love I share with my friends and family. I could write for days on all this. 

But instead I land upon perhaps the most challenging idea of gifts for me.

The gifts I have given myself.

Full disclosure – I’m not as nice to myself as I could be. I have berated myself for mistakes and perceived lost opportunities. I have called myself names about my shape and/or my way in the world. I sometimes don’t truly uplift ME.

 So, after a good amount of soul searching here’s what I’ve got:

 

Four Gifts I’ve Given Myself

 

1. Staying in touch and committing to people

I am proud to say that a lot of people in my wedding video from 30 years ago are still strongly in my life today. I have truly beautiful people in my circle. My family is not perfect but we are committed to listening to each other and sticking with each other for the long haul. My friends know that I am just a phone call away and that I will pretty much drop anything to be there for them. This one might be the easiest gift for me to truly own.

2. Accepting that I’m good at things 

Not everything… but yes, some things. I’m good at organizing, cleaning and straightening up (from desks, to kitchens, to this website). I’m good at auditioning for acting parts… meaning I don’t get every role I audition for but I have really calmed down on taking it personally. I’m good at making people feel welcome. We have a fair amount of guests at our house and I like them to feel cozy and happy. So yes, even though there is a voice saying I could be BETTER… I can own the gift and accept I’m good at things. 

3. The ability to work hard

My mom used to say that I’m like a “dog with bone”. I do not let it go until it’s done, complete and finished. For a long time I was hurt that she said that – but now I think it’s sort of a compliment. I step in if I see something needs to be done and I just put my head down and I do it. This gift has allowed me to do things I am very proud of – VIPHS, insidewink, Coming To – all things that I stuck with and saw them through. Good gift.

4. This article or the awareness that a pat on the back is deserved

I’m surprised I wrote this. I’m usually shy and embarrassed about this stuff, so if you’re still reading I’m very grateful. This has definitely been a gift and I share it in the hope that you will take a minute and give yourself a gift this holiday season. Become consciously aware of  your true “good”… I know there is something you have given yourself and would love to hear about it below.

 

Have a happy holiday season.

Alison Martin

Alison Martin -- wife, mom, Emmy-award winning actress, writer, chocoholic. Bronx Italian, daughter of Pultizer Prize winning reporters, who also identifies as L.A. Irish. Shout outs: Dan, Emilia, Brady, pooches - LuLu & Ted, friends, Mother Earth, serendipity, peace, VIPHS, Boldfaced Secret, living life like your socks feel real good.

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