I got up in the dark the other morning so that I would be on time for the 7 a.m. meeting of the Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary. I had been invited to present my talk about Horses and the Settling of California. They were a magnificent and attentive group of about 25. As the meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m., I found a small crowd around me. Many wanted to share something from their own lives with me. I felt their urgency. One gray haired man said he had been my student in the 1980's. Another, a lady named Anita, excitedly told me that she is the descendant of one of the great ranchero dons. He was Don Antonio Maria Lugo who was born in 1775 at the Mission of San Antonio de Padua of Alta California. She said one of their family adobes is still standing. It is one of a very few two-story structures then built in the pueblo of Los Angeles. It dates to 1840. She told me more; her grandson's first name is Lugo in honor of that early Californio. She lamented that she did not know more history. I invited her to become a certified docent at Mission San Juan Capistrano, thus learning more. She beamed at the possibility of it all.
I was familiar with the Lugo name and raced home to Google more details. I exhaled in great satisfaction as I discovered rich stories of her ranchero ancestor. He once owned one of the most magnificent horse and cattle breeding ranchos in all of Southern California. More importantly, I had another, more valuable, take-away from my morning experience. I realized that I would have learned none of this from my listeners, if I had not eagerly listened to what they wanted me to know. To listen is a special gift we can readily give to others.
It seems to me that we have a precious voice within. This is a voice that does not use words. It is the intuitive inner voice that whispers to us, "step back and just listen." I believe that many whom we encounter have a deep hunger to be heard, to be seen, to feel a human connection. The good news is that we have the power to bestow the gift of our attention. We can listen.
The holidays can be very hard on some of our friends and neighbors. The music and decorations alone can be painful reminders of the past. We can reach out and connect with them. We can also be proactive for ourselves.
Holidays Allow Time with Family
If we know that the holidays are going to send us spiraling down the rabbit hole, we can take an action and do something about it. We can volunteer to help others by visiting hospitals or senior centers or wrapping toys for tots.
There are many ways to be of service during the holidays. Helping others can help us. Perhaps it is just as simple as gifting them our attention for a little while, by listening.