Exchange the routine of surprise and delight.

instead of relying on proximity and routine to communicate meaning to our loved ones, what happens when gifts speak for us?

To create a connection with someone near us, we exchange a gift. Sounds simple enough.

To take notice, to even exchange a glance, can be a gift. To see someone as we walk past them, to acknowledge their existence and see, nod, even exchange pleasantries, is to tell that someone that they matter.

Imagine the daily gifts we could give just by acknowledging the presence of each other. Imagine what happens if we all get to a place where we understand every interaction is meaningful in some way. What would a single exchange in this world wind up feeling like? Maybe a small lift at first, but with time, imagine the growing energy we would exchange with each other. Imagine the collective energy swirling around all of us, connecting us, within our homes and offices and communities, along our strolls and commutes.

And then imagine what that energy might do as we increase proximity to the people we love, those few special people we see everyday, the loved ones we circle and touch and sit with regularly. If we were to openly and routinely exchange gifts and honor the gifting process among our loved ones, our understanding of, and our expression of the intimacy within these relationships would expand. Our ability to gift and exchange more meaningful gifts within these relationships and within our relationship with the world would expand.

Instead of relying on proximity and routine to communicate meaning to our loved ones, what happens when gifts speak for us, what happens when we exchange a gift with our loved ones more often? What happens when surprise and delight become the routine within our most treasured relationships? Not only do we acknowledge our loved ones and who they are and who they are becoming each day, but also, we might begin to notice some of the smaller sensations they experience, and we might begin to understand how to better serve and inspire them to encourage more sensations, more interactions, more exchanges, and more gifts for all.

“Spatial proximity becomes social life through an exchange of gifts.”

  • Lewis Hyde

So if we expand on Hyde’s insight by reimagining the potential of our social lives through an exchange of more gifts with those humans we are near, we might open doors to more meaningful interactions across all degrees of our spatial proximity, not just within our homes, or our communities, but beyond, and into unknown spaces we have yet to explore.

What might we gift our loved ones today? How can we communicate understanding, show them we're thinking of them, and make sure they know without a doubt that we are paying attention to them? And that we are not simply aware of their needs and wants, but in tune with what matters most to this incredibly unique and wonderful person standing before us?