I remember a couple of years ago I decided that my word for the year was going to be love. I decided that I was going to love, no matter what happened, no matter how much it hurt.
As it turned out, I was swimming in the stuff, and I hadn’t even noticed until I started doing it myself. My conscious decision to love showed me all the love that was already in my life. It was brilliant. Literally. It shone. Metaphorically.
If I apply the same principle to generosity, it looks something like this: let me be generous, and I will find what is already there.
Another principle that I have been trying to live by is this: I have everything I need.
There is a scene in Apollo 13 where the engineers at Houston have to work out a way to convert a square filter to fit a round hole, restricted of course to the objects and materials that the astronauts have at their disposal, stranded in their little box like a teatray in the sky. I can trust that all the resources that I need to deal with any particular situation are already available to me; I only have to find them. It would be nice if I always had a round filter going spare, but, if it comes to it, I can improvise. I have everything I need.
What about when I’m tired? What about when I am out of energy, or time, or will? What about when I feel as if I have nothing to give? No gold, frankincense or myrrh; no lamb; no heart.
How can I let it flow back to me?
Thoughtless giving is not helpful. Thoughtless help isn’t help. Giving to someone without first finding out what they need has only a tiny chance of actually being what they need; it overrides their autonomy, and that’s almost certainly not helpful. I need the sort of generosity that diminishes neither me nor the one who receives.
Can I at least meet everything generously? The thought that is glowing the most is generosity of spirit, and that’s not really about giving anything – at least, it’s not about giving anything that I can lose. I think this comes back to what I was saying the other day, about meeting people where they are. To give people back their selves.
That’s a start. And I have what I need. It’s already there.