Turning mindfulness into meaningfulness


On the 20 January 2022 I decided to undertake a task in mindfulness; a task to fold 1000 cranes. I had been inspired in part by a passing comment online and then by the book ‘Senbazuru’ by Michael James Wong. I was delighted to read that the author had some New Zealand ‘roots’ too which ultimately connected me even more with the concepts he was sharing. It was Michael’s beautifully sculpted and thoughtful book that truly began my journey into this mindfulness practice. Though the thought of actually putting it all into action and folding 1000 cranes was a little daunting to say the least. I wasn’t sure what the end date would be or even if I was capable of completing it within the suggested year however I began, endeavouring to fold at least five cranes each day. This way if life presented me with any ‘hiccups’ I would be ahead in my folding rather than getting further and further behind

I knew I had some washi paper in the cupboard, left over from making washi eggs many years ago, so I decided my first cranes into the world would be folded with this and be as beautiful as I could muster. To begin with I took the cranes into the world daily , leaving them places and hoping that they would be ‘adopted’ into someone’s home or at least bring a smile to someone’s face. It wasn’t long though before the mental list of places I felt I could leave my cranes began to be exhausted. Whenever we went somewhere different I took the opportunity to deposit them somewhere new. In restaurants, cafes, libraries, shops, bus stops, music gigs and even laundromats my little birds remained. As my ever increasing collection of cranes continued though the question on everyone’s lips was ‘What are you going to do with them?’

23 July 2022. Finally 1000 cranes!

It was a question that I constantly played with in my mind. What would I do with them all? The story behind the cranes had been a topic of conversation a few times during my folding journey so the fact that the 6th of August fell on a Saturday this year felt a little serendipitous. Quietly I made a decision to complete my 1000 cranes before the end of July. This way I could send the cranes in to the world on the day they were linked with in so many minds. I could gift the cranes into the world, hopefully raising some money for a peace based charity too, on the anniversary of the devastating Hiroshima bombing which in a way triggered the popularization of origami cranes internationally.

Many thanks to Kevin Jones and Warwick Halcrow of Paraparaumu Beach Saturday Market for assisting me in turning my mindfulness exercise into a more meaningful one along with answering the question in everyone’s mind. This past Saturday, 6th August, Kevin and Warwick very graciously allowed me to have a stall in their market so that I could gift my cranes to the community; hoping to spread a little joy on a winter’s day and if anyone wanted to ‘pay’ then to pass the money over to UNICEF. With a date set I began thinking of everything I would need for the day.

Thanks to my amazing daughter and her friend for creating beautiful strings of cranes

Despite the threat of rain and a cold breeze blowing, Kevin and Warwick had thought ahead and offered me a great spot, protected and under cover. After all paper cranes aren’t that hardy. Despite the occasional gust to tempt my cranes into flight they thankfully all stayed put until some generous souls came to collect them. There were in fact many generous souls that day. I found the generosity of the community immense and thoroughly heartwarming. I would like express my thanks to everyone in the Kāpiti who supported me, both in ‘adopting’ a crane and in donating money for me to pass on to UNICEF. Ultimately the later was an act of trust and faith, on the part of people, which I am grateful for.

Market Day

Getting home that afternoon we were delighted to count up $268.40 in donations, which we have now passed on to UNICEF. Just as the folding of 1000 cranes is believed to bring good fortune I know that the donations made by our amazing community will help bring a little good fortune to many children in need both in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the world. As an added bonus, later that day, it was fantastic to see one of my cranes adorning a cash register in a local store. Their daughter had gifted it to them after being at the market that morning.

Thank you so much everyone who played a part in turning mindfulness into meaningfulness.