Merry Happy Kiwi Christmas From Mount Maunganui Where We Celebrate Christmas With Champagne Brunch And Give Presence Instead of Presents This Year

A very merry Christmas from New Zealand where we've now been for 10 days. It feels like so much longer - we've done so much, seen so much and it's a whole new amazing world I'm experiencing here. Most importantly: the world where my better half grew up. And what beautiful idyllic conditions. His family's home in the New Zealand beach town Mount Maunganui has blown my expectations, I LOVE IT. The nature, the weather, the neighborhoods, the coffee and of course Leon's lovely Swedish/American/Kiwi family.

A Colorful Kiwi Christmas

I admit that it's not easy for me to be away from my family and from Denmark during Christmas. It's not only the Christmas 24th celebration, it's the entire preparation phase and all the Christmas "Hygge". I don't know of any other country with as many small and big Christmas traditions as Denmark or maybe it's just my crazy family =) And as much as I'm not really into traditions, Christmas is so magical.

This year I'm having a very different but just as magical Kiwi Christmas with Danish & Swedish input as Leon's mom is Swedish. Indeed a warmer and brighter Christmas than what I'm use to. And a very colorful mix of traditions: Yesterday on the 24th of December we were having a Danish/Swedish dinner with herring & snaps followed by the Scandinavian'ish warm rice porridge with cinnamon. And we started today with a New Zealand Champagne brunch on the deck in the sun #notcomplaining.

Happy Holidays: Give Presence This Year And Find "Happy" in Most Days The Buddhist Way

I do miss my family and our big Christmas gatherings but Skype is invented these days and how fun it was to Skype with my entire family in Denmark as they were opening presents on the 24th evening and we were getting started with champagne on the 25th morning (New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Denmark).

Most importantly I find, we should focus on as well as appreciate The Now: The people we're with and our current reality, right here and right now. Our minds often seem to long for something which is not in the Now: either something from the past, the future or a physical different location from our current reality. By focusing our attention on our "Now", we can really become better at appreciating, finding more peace of mind and more happiness. It's the essence of Buddhist teachings and without getting too caught up in religious practice read some quotes from the Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh this Christmas and just give it some thoughts. It makes so much sense. And makes me so calm and happy =)

Merry Happy Christmas Everyone. I hope you all are with someone you love or with the feeling of loving and being loved.

We are committed to a certain idea of happiness. We think that if we cannot realize this or that, if we cannot change this or that, then happiness will never be possible. Because of our commitment to that particular idea of happiness, we are not at peace with ourselves. We are trying to do something, to realize something; but maybe happiness is already there. All the conditions for you to be happy are already there. You only need to recognize them. But how can you recognize them if you are not present and aware?

Maybe you have not realized that the sun in the sky is a condition for your happiness. Just take one second to look, and you see that all life on Earth is possible because of the sun. All our food comes from light, from the sun. And when you look at the sun like that, you see the sun as your father, your mother—nourishing you every day. The sun is always there for you. You might think to yourself, “Nobody takes care of me, nobody loves me, nobody pays attention to me,” but the sun is nourishing you every second, every day. The earth, the trees, the water, the air, the baker, the farmer, the birds, the insects, they are all there for you.

Those of us who have practiced stopping and dwelling in the present moment are able to touch the many conditions of our happiness that are available in the here and now. We find out that we don’t need more, because these conditions are more than enough for our happiness. Stopping is very important. As long as you continue to run, happiness is very difficult. Stopping allows your body and mind to rest. Stopping allows you to recognize the conditions for your happiness that are already there.

The practice of mindfulness helps us to be happy right in the here and the now. We don’t have to wait ten years to be happy. The moment we breathe in mindfully, we feel calm, fresh, and solid right away. We don’t have to wait. Mindfulness helps us to be happy right now, today.

— Thich Nhat Hanh