There are things like pounamu (jade or greenstone) that should always come to you as a gift. In New Zealand at least this is the culturally this is the correct way to acquire pounamu and (I think) bone carvings. I have my dad’s pounamu (see photo), which was given to him as a gift in Kawhia where he lived the last years of his life as the eccentric English painter and one of the biggest personalities of a small town. It’s one of the few things of his I have, so it is a treasured possession.
Yesterday while having a birthday brunch with friends a gift of scorched almonds was given. We joked that like pounamu, scorched almonds is something that you must only receive as a gift. While this isn’t official, have you ever bought them for yourself? Maybe the reason they’re so wonderful is that they’re a rarely eaten treat – for me they’re synonymous with Christmas, one of the afternoon snacks you eat even though you can barely move after Christmas lunch.
There are probably other things that should only be received as gifts, but at the other end of the scale, there are things we only receive as gifts that we could totally buy for ourselves. I think that there are too many things we love but never do or have because we don’t know how to treat ourselves. I’m not saying our lives should be all about self, but something I have learned is that a treat can be as good as a holiday as far as self restoration goes. Big treats are lovely, but if you are lacking funds or time, then there are small things you can do for yourself like a bubblebath or breakfast in bed.
It’s really important to relax and have fun. If you’re a really busy person you may have forgotten how to chill out. Here are some of my favourite ways to rejuvenate my soul with fun – ranging from the free to the ‘this is nice but had better not become a habit’.
· Going to the zoo – only a fool would want to be serious when feeding animals (this is not just a pastime for children).
· Taking holidays away from home – I’ve been to Sydney this year already, my never ‘overseas trip’ will be to Waiheke Island. Just as fun, but not as damaging to the wallet (especially because there are less shops).
· Pampering/personal maintenance – a haircut, a very occasional manicure, or even doing my nails myself is relaxing. Thanks to the generous people at About Face in St Lukes I have a facial I’m very much looking forward to.
· A scheduled night home – not because you have nothing to do, but because you want to get in your trackies, pick up some Pad Thai or make cheese on toast and collapse on the couch with some mind-numbing TV or a favourite DVD that makes you happy every time you see it. These times are gold.
· Going for a walk somewhere beautiful – if you don’t have time to drive to your favourite beach, do you have time to go to a park or garden? Fresh air is good.
· A special piece of jewellery – I brought myself a lovely watch to celebrate a job a few years ago. Hmm, might be time to get the strap repaired so I can enjoy it again.
Really, I think the miracle that happens when you have these moments that that you are taking time to breathe. You just can’t think about serious things when you’re having a bubble bath with candles and a glass of wine. You can’t consider work timelines when you’re talking to your hairdresser and I find that serious concentration is required when painting my toenails that makes my mind perfectly blank. Ooh look, a pony!