Lately I've been overly aware of how bombarded we are with society's messages that Christmas will be truly special if we give the right gifts or have the perfect decorations to go with perfect tree! Seriously?! There has to be more to the holidays than tacky decorations we'd never have out any other time of the year, expensive gadgets, and dead pine trees! So what is the true meaning behind the Holiday Season in these modern times? Aside from religious ideas, some people would say the holidays are a time to take a break from usual work routine to spend time with loved ones and friends. Some would say it's about sending out a ton of holiday cards to people we haven't seen in forever to wish blessings for the upcoming year. And others would say its about the gifts. Or maybe its all of the above. But what do all of these things have in common? What is the underlying essence behind all of these acts? The attempt to connect truly and deeply with another person. What a beautiful opportunity we have. Nationally we have a holiday where some of us are given the time off from our daily routines to reconnect with friends and family in so many ways. The acts of giving and receiving have the potential to compliment and enhance relationships through displaying our thoughtfulness and commitment to one another. It also allows us to take the time and energy to show people how much we love and appreciate them. However, as wonderful as gifts can be, the giving and receiving of physical objects are only scratching the surface of our capacity for deeper and more meaningful connection. True connection are the gifts of ourselves in thoughtfulness, attention, understanding, participation, energy and love. Honor your commitments to one another. Listen with empathy. Put yourself in another person's shoes. Truely understand another person while offering compassion, forgiveness and love; while also being true to one's self by speaking and living one's own truth in a gentle, peaceful and loving way. I challenge everyone (including myself) to go deeper in giving this holiday season by offering the gift of yourself in allowing for a deeper connection in whatever forms are presented to you.