How to open a gift mindfully

imageHow beautiful is this 2005 Food and Wine cookbook I found at a local antique store, nestled  cozily next to pristine flowers and aged wood?  Quite a sight of HGTV proportions I’ll say (photo cred: your’s truly).

I love this photo for so many reasons.  Its reminiscent of home, the home that we officially sold (well we are under contract) last month, in less than five days on the market (I knew it would go fast-its my interior design baby; I will miss it).  Though I have rung through the gamut of emotions, grappling with the stressful reality that I have to pack up nearly seven years of life and stuff (so much stuff), manage life daily, and continue my strenuous journey in healing my mind, this picture somehow calms this chaotic to do list.

For those of you who share my love for all things HGTV and the sort, you can imagine what metaphors (maybe) that parade in my wonderland of thoughts, when I feast my eyes on the above picture of beauty; a gift, wrapped in the finest gold glitter paper (I love this type of wrapping paper by paper source), and adorned with the perfect red velvet bow, wrapped cleanly with each loop well calculated and contorted.  Pretty over the top description, but my mind can go to these fantasy lands at times, if depression is forgiving.

So how would you open such a gift as this?  What emotions might you feel, to find these items in that beautiful packaging, knowing that these items have been on your dream list for some time now?  Naturally, gifts connote positivity, which denotes an ode to positivity; aka exuberance of some kind.

I haven’t felt exuberance and gifts in the same context in a long time.  It’s hard to be genuinely excited about something, when you don’t have enough neurotransmitters in the synaptic clefts of your brain, in order to feel what should happen naturally.  No need to feel sad if you don’t know about this experience, or let your mood plummet, if you are all to familiar with this sentiment; take heart, because today I made a discovery on how to ‘open a gift mindfully’, without setting yourself back, due to disappointment from being mentally dead to the ‘natural’.

I received a gift today; beautiful items packaged in a lovely email that I have been dreaming about for a long time.  Naturally, well my ‘new naturally’, I felt nothing.  If pigs could fly, they did today, because there were no fireworks, I didn’t feel giddy like the schoolgirl with her first crush, I just felt nothing.  Some fear of course, because these beautiful items come with great cost and requirements, as well as pros and cons related to my future, but crickets sang a serene song today.

Depression almost took me down that all to familiar mental path of black hole sadness, making me question what’s wrong with me and when will I ever be fixed, as well as see a semblance of what ‘normal people’ do naturally when they get a great gift as mine, but I had just enough fog cleared to grab a life line; God.

It may sound cliche to some, which is fine, everyone has their own relationships and deities, but mine has always been fear of God; the God of Issac and the God of Jacob, ‘am that I am’.

He’s followed me to the pits of my despair, even to lowly places I never knew my mind would take me, but I’ve always felt his presence, which has sustained my life, I believe, despite dealing with depression for so long.

My cry for help, to him, in that moment of mental black hole sadness today, is what put gift opening in perspective.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.[c]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared. (Psalm 119 36-38)

…With these words, I realized that my focus was all wrong.  It’s not that the items you receive are gifts, because at the end of the day, everything on this earth are “worthless things”, its the meaning behind the gift that is important, the intangible things, emotions or reactions that may be ‘natural’ in many different ways to many different people; our gifts and what we do with them are unique to us, to you as an individual.

So if you find yourself in shoes similar to mine, where you are battling day to day sadness, at times your head barely above water enough to breathe, yet alone respond ‘naturally’ positively to life’s gifts, just remember the intangible things.

The gift is always that fight in you, that thing that keeps you going when you want to give up.  Only you can make the ‘items’ given to you in this world, hold as much meaning as you let them.

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