Beat the Black Friday Blues

A meaningful approach to gift giving…another practice for you to try
by Michael Lee – Founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy

Thanksgiving is over and our in-boxes are bombarded with Black Friday opportunities that are, OH, so hard to resist. Bargains abound. But something about it just doesn’t sit quite right. My wife and I want to get all the gifts we need for the upcoming holiday season and its tempting to take advantage of bargains while they last. Know the feeling?

Black Friday originally began as a day to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The day represented the transition from Thanksgiving – the end of the harvest season – to Christmas – the season of giving.  Although we dislike shopping, my wife and I love the spirit and intention underlying this transition from gratitude to generosity.   And, we do love to give gifts.

So, in our quest for a more meaningful approach to gift giving, we engage thefollowing exercise and would like to offer it to you. Its based upon the embodied mindfulness approach we use in our work in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.

STEP 1. Begin by engaging your body. Raise your arms above your head, inhale, then let your arms drop to your side as you exhale with an open mouth. Do that 5 times. Swing your body in a twisting motion, side to side for a minute letting out abig exhale on each twist. Move your head neck and shoulders anyway that feels good and let out some some sound – anything that comes and move as fast or as slow as you want to. Time for Step 1 – about 2 minutes. Then sit down in a comfortable place.

STEP 2. Close your eyes and bring one hand to your chest. Visualize the first person on your gift list. Focus on the person as you feel your heart under your chest. Imagine a flow of connection from you to that person and back.

STEP 3. Let you hand ask your body this question “As I visualize (Mary), what service, gift, action, or creation, could I offer her that might in some way enhance her life and bring her joy? What could I offer her that might make a genuine difference to her life?” Listen for the answer in any way it comes.  Don’t limit yourself to “things” necessarily but stay open to other possibilities as well, such as doing something, making something or offering a memorable experience that might enhance the life of that person.

STEP 4. Write down what came to you for that person and then repeat the exercise for each of the people on your list. Some will be easy, others might take a little more time and patience.baskets_food_191082_tnb

STEP 5. Look over your lists and sit with each individual gift giving experience from an “embodied” place. Hold each item and person in your heart and see yourself making your offering to them. Notice what happens in feelings: in your body, and in your breath.

The next part of this process is to plan time for preparing your offerings. Maybe it’s writing a poem, making a table, reading up on how to tile a floor, or buying a gift. The downside of this approach is that it often takes more time. Yet, in my experience, when I see the smiles on the faces of the recipients, I feel a deeper connection to my giving experience and know it was well worth the focus and the time.

Let me know how this works for you with a comment below.
I’d love to hear about your experience.