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  • Marilyn Halpern

The Mindful Path - Spark Joy | Dec. 3, 2019

The greatest gift this holiday season originated in Ancient India and has been re-gifted millions of times. The gift of being in the present may be our greatest present. Mindfulness allows us to slow our frenzied life by purposely bringing our awareness to a simple mantra.


The organizing guru Marie Kondo encourages us to keep only the items that “spark joy.” We can use this wisdom as a gauge to our plans, habits and traditions of the holiday season. Are we choosing to spend our time immersed in activities that “spark joy?” Our December obligations can seem like a run-away truck. The off-ramp can be letting go of guilt, expectations, extravagant spending and even commitments. A friend recently confided that she plans to remind herself by quietly singing the jingle, “Let it go, let it go, let it go” to the tune of “Let it snow.”


Mindfulness can offer clarity of what is important to us. Quieting our inner critic can be a daunting task. Allowing our mind to be in a healing space can promote acceptance, happiness and better health. Mindfulness is not euphoria. When you allow yourself to have time for reflection, especially during the holiday season, difficult thoughts and emotions can arise. This does not mean you are doing mindfulness wrong. The goal is to release the attachment to those troubling emotions and to move toward acceptance.


For December, our mindful moment will involve sitting in a manner that lengthens the spine. Gently roll your shoulders back and settle into a posture that opens your chest as much as possible. Set a timer for five or ten minutes. Begin with three slow, steady breaths. Place your open palms on your thighs, with your palms facing upward.


As you breathe in, say to yourself, “I breathe in peace.”

Simultaneously bring your fingers into a soft fists as if you are gathering peace.

When you exhale, allow your fingers to open and silently say, “I breathe out love.”

The process is repeated. Inhale, “I breathe in calmness.”

Bring your fingers into a soft fists as if you are collecting calmness.

When you exhale, allow your fingers to open and silently say, “I breathe out love.”

The process is repeated. Inhale, “I breathe in joy.”

Bring your fingers into a soft fists as if you are bringing joy into your day.

When you exhale, allow your fingers to open and silently say, “I breathe out love.”

Continue this exercise until the timer goes off.


I hope you allow your breath to calm you mind. When in stress, take three deep breaths. When planning your month, remember the most important question: does this plan spark my joy?


(Article was originally posted in My Prime Time News, a Colorado newspaper for seniors. Visit their website at https://www.myprimetimenews.com/ .)

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