The Art of Mindful Gift Giving - finding creativity and inspiration during remarkable times
Nourish and Flourish Magazine caught up with Katherine Zimmer, one of our favorite creative contributors located in Napa, California, to see how folks on the West Coast are managing and staying positive during this challenging time. She is a photographic artist, writer, and successful corporate marketing professional with decades of experience in tourism, nonprofit, and digital information industries. She has intertwined her training as a personal brand strategist and creativity coach throughout her marketing career to enhance the teams behind the brands. In the face of the pandemic, she has also had to refocus her career path to follow her dream of creativity coaching and helping people realize their inspired paths. We asked her to share her thoughts on mindful gift giving for the holidays and other occasions. Here is what she had to say.
The Art of Mindful Gift Giving
I think we can all agree that this year has been remarkable, devastating in some areas and bringing gifts in others. Our lives have been significantly altered, no doubt, mine included. I have always been a creative soul and have known that I need to express myself creatively and consistently to keep my sanity. When I don’t, I flounder and move toward mindless spaces that are closer to existing than thriving. My artistic outlet is primarily photography with occasional spurts of writing. I also poured a lot of creativity into the corporate marketing jobs I’ve held for decades, but my life in the working world was transformed in March along with so many others.
Most of you have told yourselves that you don’t have a creative bone in your bodies. Luckily, this gift is not contained in our bones. Our expressive “bones” are in our senses: our hearts, eyes, ears, noses, stomachs, and touch–where we feel things.
One of the amazing gifts that 2020 has brought to me is watching so many people discover creative ways to cope with the chaos and their life-altering decisions, many of which we have no control over. After going down the rabbit holes of Netflix, Amazon, and Zoom, we came up for air, slowed down, and looked around. What we saw was inspiration! The idea of taking small steps toward change grabbed our attention.
You are crafting, cooking, baking, photographing, painting, building things, and redecorating your homes. You’re learning a lot about interesting things like astronomy, mixology, gardening, butterflies, music, and reinventing who you are. And you’re getting to know your kids (and pets!) by exploring the world through their eyes. Exercise found renewed meaning. It’s fun again to bicycle and stroll and do yoga when you have time to be aware of your environment.
Then the completely unexpected started happening. Your friends across town brought you vegetables from their gardens, and you reciprocated with a favorite bottle of wine and fresh baked cookies. The kids up the street left painted rocks on your steps, and you delighted them with big smiles and waves from a distance. Your brother found his calling playing the ukulele from the neighbor’s yard sale; you collaged its vintage case. Our porches, stoops, and mailboxes are now gift receptacles for magical things that warm our hearts.
I hope you didn’t think I was going to just offer up a shopping list of mindful gifts to buy for this holiday season! I’m very confident that you have a new awareness of what your loved ones are doing and needing. They’ve been finding their inner artists over these crazy months as well.
Being present and engaged with their creative spirits will give you insightful ideas. It’s okay if you don’t make the gift yourself. Giving a thoughtful gift, one that connects you to their heart’s inspiration, is just as wonderful. Looking for gifts in smaller, unique places will give you the gift of being the conduit from the artisan’s creative spirit to your gift recipient’s heart.
Bringing appreciation to the personal artisan creations all around us is what this beautiful magazine issue is all about. Seek out a maker’s market, small local art gallery, bakery, vintage shop, a garden store, or the neighbor’s seed exchange stand. Discover treasures that make you smile while thinking of the person you’re shopping for. Or simply thumb through our pages and go shopping online through the maker’s eCommerce stores and have that special gift delivered directly to your loved one’s front door. It’s that easy.
I’ll leave you to ponder a favorite quote from Lewis Hyde’s book The Gift: “The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.” Whether that gift is the creative talent or the result of it in the form of an object to give, if it resonates, it will wake your spirit.
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