Dexter, Benji, Dolly and Acorn – puppies bringing untold joys every day to my friends and neighbours at this festive time of year.
In contrast the top 5 unwanted Christmas presents are: 1. Clothing & Accessories; 2. Cosmetics and Fragrances; 3. Household items; 4. Food & Drink; 5. Literature, according to finder.com. Here today, in a charity shop tomorrow?
I was fortunate enough to be offered a gift for life from a History teacher. He shared ninety minutes of his time, once a week for 8 weeks, with me and several other stressed teachers at work.
As the weeks unfolded, I realised I’d been driving myself to distraction for years. This came through increased busyness. I was always happy to take on promotions and the extra work that came with them. I was lucky, others in broader society turned to drugs or alcohol for their escapism. We were all finding our own ways to avoid facing up to aspects of our lives that we found difficult.
The History teacher was also a mindfulness teacher. The gift he offered was an insight into a different way of living. In stressful situations, mindfulness can bring skilled response rather than reactivity. It opens awareness to the inevitable difficulties that arise in life, rather than seeking endless distraction to avoid them. It illuminates moments of hidden joy and focusses on self-compassion and exposes self-judgement.
There are many reasons people come to Mindfulness – at the core of them all, is that it offers change, an alternative way of living.
For the 31 days of January I will be sharing a mindful offering each day. You are very welcome to ‘dip a toe’ into mindfulness to see how you find it.
It can be a gift for life, not just for Christmas.