My sister is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She may not realize it, but she practices mindfulness regularly. She is thoughtful in choosing her words, noticing others’ responses, and being present in her relationships in general. This time of year, I most admire her mindfulness to wrapping gifts. When she gives, whether it is small or big, you feel the meaning in how she has carefully wrapped each item. It’s not that the wrapping is especially fancy or expensive. You can just tell that she took her time and thought of how to package not only the gift, but the intention in giving.
This week, consider wrapping your holiday gifts mindfully. Resist ripping through it or making it an assembly line.
- Find a quiet time when you won’t be interrupted. You may want to light some candles or play some music. Avoid television, computers or any other distractions.
- Before you wrap your gift, hold it in your hands thinking of the person you plan to give it to. What made you choose this gift? What does this person mean to you?
- Keeping your focus on these thoughts, select your materials – paper, ribbons, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It could be recycled newspapers and twine. The point is that you put mindfulness into the wrapping.
- While you are packaging the gift up, continue to bring your attention to what it is you are doing. Notice how you need your hands, your eyes, your attention to use scissors, unstick the tape and make a crease in the paper.
- When your mind wanders, as it naturally will, just bring it back to the gift of wrapping mindfully.
Enjoy the spirit of sharing mindfulness with those you love!
Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself. Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice. Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.” Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday. May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.