My apologies on the delay in continuing this series, that last blog post really took a TON of energy to put out and I’m very happy with the result. I’m thrilled so many have found it helpful and I thank all those that made the effort to share with your people! It just so happens the putting out of energy is exactly on track for this entry’s topic:
The Art of Giving
I’m incredibly disheartened by the epidemic of radio commercials I keep hearing that run along the lines of: “while you’re out shopping for everyone else, make sure you don’t forget numbero uno; buy yourself a treat too this holiday season!”
Really? Is this what Christmas and this holiday season has come down to?? Marketing is just getting more sleazy, and by extension, the brainwashing it counts on…leaves us (society) more sleazy.
Before I begin this rant of sorts, I’ve been up front about this series being one based on my opinions which tie into this idea that:
“If something is important, do it every day”
Give: Every Day
Anyone who knows me, knows that I take gifts, compliments and help like a hole in the head…I’m just not good at it. It ties into the topics of listening and receiving which I’ll be covering in this series soon. I’ve just always been a giver. It’s not to say that I’ve not received a tremendous amount in my life, as I have, but again, it’s not my focus.
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” – George Sand
Here’s some thoughts for you, from me (a gift I hope):
To a stranger: The grandest gift you can give a stranger is quite simply a genuine smile. At one point, each person in your life was once a stranger. Look what became of that!
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa
To a spouse: The share of burden. Help out with those daily tasks one must go through. If we are to build a life together am I not supposed to help you as you’ve helped me? Could I not give you that much every day?
“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” – Sally Koch
To a sibling: The art of patience and the simple phrase, “I appreciate your presence in my life. It’s brought me great joy.”
“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” – Pindar
To a friend: The gift of the never tiring, mindful ear. There is a time and a place to stop a friend who’s spinning his/her wheels over the same subject endlessly…but how would you know it unless you spent enough time listening in the first place? Some of the greatest insights in my life have come from those quaint conversations about some of the most trivial life stuff between my buddies and I. I absorbed the frustration, the lessons to be learned. It became a part of me, just as they have.
“Consider the hour-glass; there is nothing to be accomplished by rattling or shaking; you have to wait patiently until the sand, grain by grain, has run from one funnel into the other.” – John Christian Morgenstern
To co-workers and other acquaintances: If I can offer expertise, an opinion that I feel may help, or perhaps even something tangible, I’m happy to have done so. Even better are those times you forget it happened because it’s just second nature. Nothing is forgotten on some level.
“It’s important to give without expecting anything in return, rather than keeping a tally of whom we’ve helped and who has helped us. Silence and service go hand in hand. Random acts of kindness, particularly those anonymously accomplished, reflect a healthy non-attachment to deed or outcome.” – Chelle Thompson
To family: Some of the greatest sources of both frustration and the intense sense of caring come out of the family system. I’m not sure we can control too much in either regard, nor should we on the receiving end; instead focus the energy on the giving end by lessening the frustration we cause and showing the caring and gratitude instead. This holiday season is not best for the iPhone 4Gs you’ll be receiving but instead, even if that’s what happens, that someone took the time, resources and care to attempt to make you happy. Thank them not for the item, but rather the action.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Benjamin Franklin
I will admit, when I was in my early twenties and discovered the power and amount of return investment in giving I began to make it my way of being. But I kept tabs on it and when the “I gave this, and this, and this, and this too…why have I not received this and that…” became frustrating, I knew something was wrong with the equation: expectation and assumption.
I do what I can to forget the score. It’s when I best accomplish that, my best and most frequent attempts leave me with the greatest sense of joy.
“To give and not expect anything in return; to give for no special time or season; to give, not for any particular recognition; to give, not for a substantial tax refund; to give for the sake of giving — often just between giver and receiver — has a life of its own — an elevated one.” – Glaceta Honeyghan
I shall leave you with this Japanese proverb:
“One kind word can warm three winter months.”