Whole Life Magazine

December 2012/January 2013

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Page 27 of 43

Mindful GivinG a Simply paying attention can transform you into a champion giver By Michal Lemberger ccording to cricket Buchler, a consultant and puBlic speaker living in los angeles, her husband, gary, a stay-at-home dad to their four children, is the best gift-giver she's ever known. "he doesn't wait until the holidays come around," she conided over lunch one day. "it's like he's always looking. he'll come home and say, 'i saw the perfect thing for your dad.' or he'll show up with a dress i mentioned liking months before, and completely forgot about; he'll go back and get it, and surprise me with it on my birthday." gary has a talent for gift-giving; he pays attention to people's likes and dislikes, listens closely and acts on what he hears. as the holidays approach and we get our own gifts lists in order, that kind of ability can come in very handy. instead of getting caught up in the pressures of the holidays, we can all develop that skill to bring more meaning and thought into a process that otherwise often becomes a grinding chore. A Closer Look What gary does instinctively is pay attention to others, and then make choices that show his appreciation and respect. this kind of attentiveness is at the heart of values-directed action, an approach to "mindfulness," which is a way of being that entails contemplating what really matters to you and then behaving in ways that relect those principles. and while the primary goal of mindfulness is not to make the process of gift-giving more signiicant, it has the ability to make the experience of the holidays more satisfying for everyone. codiied as a system by Jon kabat-Zinn, founder of the center for Mindfulness in Medicine, health care and society at the university of Massachusetts Medical school, the application of mindfulness within psychology has roots in both Buddhism and more mainstream Western approaches. it's a form of mindbody therapy that incorporates meditation and other exercises into both medical practice and daily life as a means of reducing stress. 28 wholelifetimesmagazine.com MindfulGiving.indd 28 11/27/12 3:20 PM

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