How to Be Mindful Carving a Pumpkin

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Meditation for Real Life

“An annual tradition like carving a Jack O’ Lantern can become a mindful moment by cultivating what is known as beginner’s mind. With beginner’s mind, you are fully present, engaged, curious, and open to discovery.” — Dr. Michelle May, founder of AmIHungry, which teaches mindful eating.

When selecting your pumpkin, observe the variety of sizes, shapes, textures and colors of the pumpkins.

Notice whether any of the pumpkins inspire creativity. What ideas pop into your mind?

As you lift the pumpkin, feel its heft and weight.

Tap it and listen whether it sounds hollow and ripe.

Draw a circle around the stem for a lid.

Using pumpkin carving tools, pierce the skin of the pumpkin, feeling it give way.

As you remove the lid, inhale the aroma of the fresh pumpkin.

As you clean the inside of the pumpkin, feel the slimy, stringy strands and seeds.

Draw your design on the pumpkin’s face, incorporating its natural curves.

Using a gentle back and forth motion, carve your design, observing it take shape.

Place a candle in your pumpkin and appreciate your work.