At this time of the year my thoughts turn to the depth of connection with my family and friends. The holiday season is fast approaching – and despite not growing up with a tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in Australia – I love the sentiment of gratitude and the celebration associated with this Holiday. In fact it’s such a special tradition that I’m inspired to make gratitude a part of my every day morning practice!
Around this time of year I make my way back to Australia to be with my family and friends for the Christmas and New Year season… And enjoy a little extra boost of sunshine and warmth here in the Southern Hemisphere and a break from New York City’s winter months that are fast approaching. For months I anticipate and strategize across the hemispheres about the get togethers with those I am grateful to call my friends – some of whom I have known since my childhood and others who are new to my circle. The same degree of planning comes up ahead of any impromptu trip and becomes one of the most anticipated parts of planning any itinerary.
I am inspired by how my circle of friends has widened over the years, spanning continents and generations, reminding me of how life long friendships were brought to life through a personal connection, or a shared experience. This is partly possible due to all the technology that’s available to keep us connected in our increasingly virtual world, though nothing can compare to the friendships fueled by meeting “in real life” in person or – when busy schedules or long distance prevents that – a voice or video call. It takes a dash of thoughtfulness and a sense of care to keep those friendships alive and flourishing over time.
During these gatherings I am reminded of how important my friendships are to me and the surprising ease of picking up a friendship exactly where you left it – even if decades have elapsed or thousands of miles separate you – with those who know you oh so well!
I also realized that over time we truly don’t change the essence of who we are – though each of us matures and evolves over time and are shaped by the personal struggles and successes we experience. Being with these friends helps me remember and reconnect to the essence of who I am – I can’t think of a more inwardly blissful state of being.
So this season I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for those with whom I am honored to call my friends: Thanks to each of you for being exactly who you are and for inspiring me to be me every day!
How about you: How will you cultivate your friendships this holiday season?