3.2
December 13, 2013

How to Give the Perfect Gift.

I gave my golden lotus necklace to a friend yesterday.

This intense need to gift it washed over me so suddenly—and unexpectedly—that I knew it was always meant to be hers, not mine.

Sure, I’ve loved this delicately gilded charm since the moment I bought it for myself—a present for having the courage to further grow and blossom by attending a yoga teacher training even though I was insanely nervous about how this would affect my young daughter and busy husband.

Yes, I wore it—quite a bit actually—I was obviously wearing it when it was handed over to its new owner.

Yet the thing is, it’s never connected with me on the level of symbology and meaning that other pieces of jewelry have within my life and my heart space.

Because to me, jewelry is symbolic—it’s greatly meaningful in fact.

For example, the pendant that my husband got me for our anniversary—right before our daughter was born—has lived close to my heart when it was hurting and needing to be held. My silver pendant was there, too, when I celebrated my new little family and there, as well, to feel the impossible growth that my heart experienced along with motherhood.

Similarly, my wedding rings adorn my finger and when I look at them I honestly see the smiling, loving face of the man who gave them to me.

And, on my other hand, the ring that has been in my family for decades reminds me that love perseveres and that life does go on, even when we’re feeling so tender and painful that we almost wish it wouldn’t.

So I gave my lotus necklace to this friend, with gratitude, not only for her, but for all that exists within my life and that makes me full and round enough to find something worth giving on a day when it felt like I had nothing to offer up to anyone.

Because we do—we always have something to share with the world and the people who share it with us.

While the holidays are certainly a declaration that light exists in a sometimes cruel and darkened world, they can also be, equally, a time of unsettling emotions and fear that we don’t have “enough” to give.  

And I do love jewelry.

So much that I’d love to give a stunning pair of earrings to someone special who’s on my list—but I can’t.

I’d love to give my husband gifts that are much beyond our budget—but I won’t.

And as I lay there with my daughter last night, in her pink princess sheets—with her sleeping, and her arms wrapped tightly around my neck—I realized something that momentarily shocked me.

I was stunned to recall that the most precious—and meaningful—gifts don’t come with price tags and aren’t difficult to part with (because we receive more from giving them)—and I was further stunned to have temporarily forgotten this obvious, yet briefly eclipsed, reality.

And as my sweet, budding child cradled my own—grown—sleepless body in her miniature arms, her soft and genuine display of love for me began to heal my recently wounded and fragile beating heart.

Her breath on my cheek pulsed with life and I felt her fingers twitch just the smallest amount in her dreams as she wove them through my hair during her embrace—and her existence is the best gift that I’ve ever been given, cheesy and cliche though this may be.

I was mentally transported back to a few days prior, while resting there with her as she slept—touched by her unconsciously perfect gift-giving—to when she had given my husband a running hug upon his return home one evening from work.

I stood agape as I witnessed this unparalleled scene, played out like in a movie (which would try miserably to capture and reproduce it).

But, in real life, her boundless joy and enthusiasm for her daddy’s coming through our front door had left him so deliriously happy that he is still talking about it, all these days later.

And I thought next—as I lay, yawning, in pink princess sheets—about my friend, the one who I gave my golden lotus to.

I think she thought, at first, that I was telling her she would, indeed, bloom from the murky, muddy waters where she felt momentarily rooted.

What I was letting her know, in actuality, is that she has already bloomed—she’s a gorgeous blossom in fact—and that she merely needs to remember this when the world becomes gloomy and blackened; disguising miraculously thriving petals.

Because we are good enough—just as we are.

We are strong enough—even when we feel weakest.

We are resilient—especially when we’ve broken.

And we—just ourselves—are more than enough of a gift.

And the real gift—as I secured that golden chain around her neck—was mine.

Because she had—with corresponding suddenness—reminded me of something too:

That when we give gifts from a place of fullness, and from love, we acknowledge that we are bottomless wells of offering and that we house—and are—limitless vessels from which to give—and to receive.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

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Hand Made Gift Boxes Jan 11, 2014 6:56pm

I agree the most precious gift we can give to others are priceless, I love giving gifts to my love ones but that doesn't mean I have to spend that much well as what they say it's the thought that counts.

Sara Rodriguez Dec 14, 2013 12:36am

This is beautiful. You are beautiful. And even saying that doesn't do this/you justice.

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Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’s also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.