This is a story of heartbreak around the holidays. Take it from me the infinite essence and expression of love doesn’t fit into a beautifully wrapped present.
I was over the moon in love. You know the feeling. I was also doing very well financially. So I showered an array of expensive gifts upon my beloved.
She returned them with a note that she could not live in my world. She was gone.
I was Heartbroken. I resigned myself to never giving gifts again.
The gift-giving holiday season is upon you. You may be feeling pressure to buy the perfect things as a way to articulate your affection and love. Like me, you may also be carrying a myriad of wounds and stories around gifts.
My childhood was filled with associations of love to tangible items. I recall the times when my parents were feeling happy and full of love for me. These times included an overwhelm of gifts, as if I could want for nothing. However, I also recall times when gifts were withheld as ‘a lesson’. That if I had “been better” they would have purchased more things for me.
Alas, this created associations of love to receiving material gifts. I was conditioned to believe that how you feel can be directly translated into how much you give, particularly during the holidays.
As an adult I found the holidays to be a massive burden. I endured weeks of stress trying to buy just the right gifts to express how I felt … not too much, but never too little! This was particularly true in regards to intimate relationships. My body felt an incredible ease during the holiday season when I did not have a partner to buy gifts for. When I was in relationship, the stress began early, and carried through even after.
Yet, it’s not the gifts at fault here.
My hurt, harm and stress around gift giving was from my attempt to use a language of the finite to describe the infinite nature of love. When we associate our love into items, we make love small. We box and suppress it.
Tantra teaches us the nature of love is absolute. We never need to earn it and it certainly cannot be contained.
Our consumer culture, with messages implying that our expression of love is measured in tangible goods, reinforces the limiting beliefs we carry around worthiness.
Love is not something that can be earned, captured or owned.
Instead, consider gifts which celebrate life and it’s rich pageant of experiences. Looking back, how many items do we still treasure versus life experiences and memories we hold dear.
Here are a couple ideas which celebrate the timeless quality of love:
- Take your loved one somewhere unexpected.
My first experience with travel as a gift was on a birthday. My partner gifted me with a trip to Rome! It was a complete surprise and fulfilled a wish I had held for some time.
That relationship ended, but those memories are alive, well and treasured to this day.
We often put off travel, feeling it is too expensive or time consuming, but even a long weekend can create memories which last a lifetime. Often for far less than than we spend on jewellery!
Check out Google Flights for good prices. Enter your departure city and via the map feature you can quickly see cost to arrive at destinations all over the globe. Flights are cheapest when searched for on a tuesday after the weekend price hikes have gone down, as well as when purchased at least three months in the future also on a Tuesday.
- Life is to be experienced so have an adventure !
Sharing a new experience in nature is an amazing way to celebrate life together. Adventure gifts are an amazing way to invite your partner to a life experience they would otherwise never find time for.
Shared experiences that expand our world view, increase our sensitivity and heighten our senses also reinforce the truth that life is to be experienced.
When we offer this to our loved ones we are also sharing a most precious gift of remembering that love is free and that the nature of love supports us in living life. We can drink in the magic all around, and allow ourselves to be inspired by the wonder of creation
You would be amazed how much adventure might be available near where you live or a short drive or flight away.
Eugene Hedlund (Karunesh) is the founder of the School of Tribal Tantra. He has taught transformational arts around the globe since 2008. Eugene is also a sought after tantric counselor who has supported many individuals and couples in their quest to live a fully embodied and empowered life where love and expression are limitless. A popular festival presenter, Eugene has begun to focus his energy on training others as a way to support a wider audience to come into their power and begin sharing their gifts with the world.