Today Kat McNally invites us in Reverb to consider this prompt offered by Kira Elliot.
I am not going to lie, I often dread the holidays because I grew with the holidays laden with heavy expectations of giving. The gifts wrapped in bright colored paper sitting under a tree sparkling with multi colored light were tied tight with invisible cords of what I was suppose to be or do that made it almost impossible to enjoy the gifts.
Now as an adult I strive understand there is a difference between generosity and giving. Generosity is free of obligations; it opens the heart, and creates warmth and connection between the giver and receiver. When I cultivate generosity the holidays become something I look forward to sharing with my loved ones.
Look back at the last year and consider: how did generosity open your heart? How can you cultivate generosity in the coming year?
I do love this Reverb process of reflecting and sharing. Today’s prompt is another one that gave me pause as I didn’t quite know how to dive into it.
First let me say I feel like I’ve been met with so much generosity in my life, in this year, in every day. I know not everyone feels that, and saying that I risk dismissal, but that’s how I feel.
I’ve talked a number of times here in this blog about one of the most important books to me: The Invisible Garment – 30 Spiritual Principles that Weave the Fabric of Human Life by Connie Kaplan. The premise is that we all carry a weave of divine prinicples, chosen by us before incarnation and activated at the moment of our birth into this lifetime. These principles help remind us of our divine nature and what energies we came here to live and express.
One of the principles I carry is Generosity and it happens to be in my moon, which represents mastery. While I want to be careful in stressing that the spiritual definition of a principle isn’t precisely the same as our more mundane understanding of the word, I’m particularly taken by Kira’s connection of generosity and an open heart.
I think this is key because in my perception Generosity understands that there is receiving in giving. Not in the linear, I give you something and expect something back in return, but rather I release this and know the reciprocal nature of energy means there is always balance.
Pema Chodron has an interesting take on this:
”The essence of generosity is letting go. Pain is always a sign that we are holding on to something – usually ourselves. When we feel unhappy, when we feel inadequate, we get stingy; we hold on tight. Generosity is an activity that loosens us up. By offering whatever we can – a dollar, a flower, a word of encouragement – we are training in letting go.”
I believe we can all afford to be generous, AND I also believe we have a responsibility to honor what feels right for us. True generosity is not over-giving and it’s not ignoring your limits.
I’m reminded of the quote, author unknown, which is often mis-attributed to John Wesley:
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
That’s the kind of world I want to live in. And I hope to contribute to.
And now tell me your take on generosity – you know I want to hear.
“True generosity is not over-giving and it’s not ignoring your limits” – boy, have you said a mouth-FULL!!! If only we women had been learning that in grade school! =\ But as they say – start where you are!
Indeed Monica. And wouldn’t it be fun if we were actually in charge of the educational curriculum? I can only delight in imagining what I might choose as priorities.
I love this Deborah, especially this bit: “Generosity understands that there is receiving in giving. Not in the linear, I give you something and expect something back in return, but rather I release this and know the reciprocal nature of energy means there is always balance.” Thank you for articulating this so clearly.
Thanks Claire. And I have to say one of the reasons I love Reverb so much is the opportunity we have of deepening and expanding our understanding of things as we share of reflections collectively. There’s such a deliciousness in that isn’t there?
So interesting to link generosity with letting go of experiences that don’t serve us. I’d never thought about it this way!
I thought it was interesting as well Tat. But it fosters such a wonderful sense of trust that we’re fully supported always despite the impermanent nature of things. It’s the grasping/clinging piece of our nature that can be such such an impediment.
I really resonated with your blog – Loved that we used the same quote – I didn’t know it was mis-attributed so I will update my post. As I was reading your blog the image of standing with my arms open came to me. Open to receive and open to give and open to let go in the greater circle. I appreciate your words and wisdom and I’m excited to check out The Invisible Garment 🙂
I love that image of arms wide open, and I think that’s an important part of generosity as well. The knowing at heart level that giving and receiving are both interconnected, and we are all one big circle. Nice!