You may already know this about yourself, but for me it came as a surprise: I don’t really enjoy shopping. Admitting this publicly is the first step for a fuller life, I am sure, but I haven’t figured out what the second step would be quite yet. I’m a patient woman, so I’ll continue to work with that. This being the season of giving and shopping puts me in the position of making a choice: either make myself miserable over the process or find a way to enjoy myself while performing due diligence.

My way of handling this is to start way in advance, thinking of the people I love, what I would like to discover as my Christmas gift for them. I consider myself a clue gatherer more than a shopper, seeking information from confidential sources that will lead to solving great mysteries. See how that would take the sting out of going into a crowded store with a list of names and a cranky attitude?
I find this technique also works in human interaction as a whole.

Paying attention to how people communicate gives me clues to who they are. It isn’t just a matter of hearing the words they are using, but also listening for the meaning behind those words. For instance, what do you usually like to talk about? Do you find other people’s behavior interesting? Or do you prefer to discuss activities or events? Some people like to ponder ideas. What you talk about defines you as well. In every conversation in which you participate you are privy to massive amounts of information. You are likely sharing a whole lot more than you realize too.

So, I pay attention, listen to what people are telling me about themselves, what I am telling other people about myself, and choosing how I want to respond to what is happening between me and the other people in the conversation. What I’ve come to terms with is that I like talking with people and that I don’t always share the same opinions as other people. As my friend, Ellie, says, “People are funny.” That is a kind way of saying that people sometimes say things that can be used by other people to make themselves cranky. If we listen people tell us who they are and sometimes they are funny. If we want to be cranky about that we can be or we can choose not to be.

Practicing this perspective can change your life.

So can bringing the Sanskrit word Namaste into your thinking and living. Namaste means, “I honor the place in you where we are all one.” Stay with that for a moment, read it over a few times, honoring the place in you where we are all one. It’s a powerful concept, to claim that space of wholeness and oneness that unites us.

What I love best about this belief is that it eliminates that culturally pervasive need to put people in their place. Instead, we honor the common ground of our souls, standing with one another in holiness on a sacred plain. And it is here that we ultimately honor God, our Creator, Source and Salvation. God with Us takes on a whole new meaning.

And so does Christmas shopping.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Challenge your faith - visit