I have a tendency to get a bit serious when I am doing something that is good for me, like hiking or cooking a good meal. Between moments of full presence and enjoyment, I am going through the motions. In preparing to co-lead a retreat with the theme of The Connected Heart (proposed by Amita Schmidt, my co-teacher), I have been doing a lot of reflection,which has jump-started my interest in writing again.
Consciously bringing my awareness into my heart when I am engaged in such activity has brought a sense of juiciness and pleasure. While I was reveling in this on a recent walk, the thought came to me, “this is a gift to myself.” I’d already been playing with giving to my future self by doing the dishes so I didn’t have to the next day, and even going on those walks so I’d be more likely to be mobile as I aged, but this gift was one I was giving and receiving in the here and now. I’m always looking for good motivators to add to my tool kit
Now I find myself asking, “in this very ordinary activity, is there a gift being given right now?” It can be to myself and/or to someone else. For instance, I enjoy being kind to and interested in people as I meet them at their jobs; wrapping this kindness and interest as a gift makes it even more enjoyable. Generosity is a foundational practice in Buddhism, so it’s great to find an easy way to practice it: look for the gift in everything I do.
These amazing cupcakes were one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Thanks, Trish!