Remember that abundance knocks on gratitude’s door? (See newsletter #11) It’s true that gratitude brings us an awareness of abundance, but it also attracts abundance. That may be useful to remember as you practice the next Breath and Water Club assignment. And that is generosity. I began writing this newsletter before hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. That terrible event has given us ample opportunity to observe both the lack of generosity and the presence of generosity.
Here’s my augmented dictionary definition of generosity “showing a readiness to give more of something, such as money or time [or attention or space or interest or kindness], than is strictly necessary or expected.”
Gratitude opens your heart. An open heart allows generosity. An open heart results in generosity. An open heart delights in generosity.
Pay attention to generosity as you move through your day. Yours and others. Also pay attention to any inclination to be stingy, any inclination to be greedy or to hoard, any inclination to be rude. In every interaction we have an opportunity to be generous.
Think of generosity as a celebration of gratitude. Certainly you can be generous with your money. Donate to hurricane relief. Help a friend who’s had some bad luck. But you can also be generous with your spirit, with your actions, with your emotions. Give the crabby clerk at the grocery store the benefit of the doubt. Drive generously. Give money to the guy on the corner with a sign asking for help. Listen with your heart and your attention when your kids/spouse/neighbor/friend is talking. Be generous towards yourself in your thinking. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Be generous with your love, for yourself and all others.
Practice generosity every day.
Generosity isn’t all about giving. You can receive with generosity also. Generous receiving includes appreciation. When someone gives you something allow yourself to fully feel the gift. Communicate your awareness of that feeling. That’s generous receiving.
Your daily practice
You are practicing Intentional Breathing for 15 minutes twice a day. You are drinking 8 glasses of water daily. Your 15 minutes of breathing includes 5 minutes of gratitude and 5 minutes of some other quality of energy you’d like to have in your day.
And now you are also practicing generosity in all your relationships and all your interactions.
As you find ways to be generous with yourself and others, please write and tell me. We’ll share with each other. You can keep a list of generosity ideas. Because sometimes you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a way to be generous.
It might not be a bad idea to begin keeping a journal of some kind. You can keep your list there. Keep track of your Breath and Water Club practice, how regular you are with it, the changes you notice in your life, your frustrations and joys with the practice. Then you can write to me about it all and I can share it with the group!
What you’ve been telling me
*Thank you for the new info and for keeping this going.
*I use intentional breathing to fall back to sleep when I wake up at night to visit the bathroom. I’m 64 so this happens several times a night for me. It clearly helps.
*In gratitude for this forum and your teaching.
*Hi Nancy. Thank you for the reminder to breathe. I’ve restarted the practice since this latest issue. I have to tell you what happened to me today:
I was in my chiropractor’s office waiting for him to come in to adjust me. I decided to do my breathing until he came in. I started by asking what I needed to bring in to my life for the day. I got the surprising answer of my mother’s love and saw an image of her hugging me. (my mother died 9 years ago) It brought tears to my eyes. I breathed that in until Dan came in to treat me.
Well, within the next hour, at several different places, I heard music that my mother loved, music that was always on at our house: Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Benny Goodman, and Bobby Darrin. It blew me away. Especially when I heard Goodman on the Current—which is usually playing cutting edge new music.
It reminds me of the power we have to bring energy into our lives, which we often choose not to pay attention to. It felt really huge. Thank you!
*Thanks for the newsletters. The reminders are so useful as I attempt to keep this practice going. Here’s a result I’ve noticed. My calf muscles aren’t so tight! I’m one of those people who never drank much water. And my calf muscles have always been tight, which at times has been quite painful. I’m sure it’s the water that’s helping, because sometimes I forget to drink water and then my calves hurt again. I’ve been to doctors about my calves and no one ever mentioned water. What a blessing you are. Thanks again.
*Nancy, I’m just writing to say that I really value Breath and Water #11 and the excerpt from Signal Fire of Feb. 2003. I keep a paper copy of it (them) in my journal so I can re-read frequently the important parts about gratitude.
*Dear Nancy, the practice of gratitude has had a profound impact on my life. In more ways than I can even tell you. The changes have been huge, and they’ve all been within me. Thank you for your wise teaching.
*Hello Nancy, and thanks for all you’re teaching me.
*When I started this breathing practice I couldn’t imagine just sitting and breathing for 15 minutes. Now I miss it terribly when I don’t do it. Now, after practicing gratitude for a while, I find that gratitude is the quality I most want to have in my day. Once in a while I come up with something else. I did like your suggestion of curiosity. But gratitude is my favorite.
The Autumnal Equinox is upon us, when we have equal hours of light and dark. It’s a good time to pay attention to balance. Dance a balancing dance, learn to juggle, pay special attention to yoga postures that demand balance, look at all the ways your life could be in better balance and take some action to achieve it.