It’s funny about generosity.
I almost always get replies to Tenacity Notes. Not always many, but at least a couple. However, I don’t get replies when I mention generosity. I understand that generosity can be an edgy topic for many.
Given that we live within a mass culture focused on taking and having, the impulse to close down, to defend, to hold onto is a strong one, and it can feel normal or natural. But it isn’t.
Maybe this is a good time to think about generosity. Maybe this is a good time to risk the freedom that being generous brings — freedom from being tight and fearful and defended; freedom to be vulnerable and wide open and glad.
One easy way to think about generosity is to note all the ways there are of being stingy.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when we think about stinginess is money. But there are many ways of being stingy besides money.
We can be stingy with our time, with our love, even with our curiosity.
We can be stingy with our acceptance of others — stingy with our willingness to be available in the moment, any moment.
We can be stingy with our expectations —“ this is how I expect something to be, and I will not be satisfied with any other possibility.”
We can be stingy towards ourselves — stingy with the permission we give ourselves to be vulnerable, to be joyful, to be the person we suspect we’re capable of being.
This might be a good time to think about generosity; a good time to identify the ways that you are tight, closed down, or unwilling — the ways you are stingy.
This might be a good time to be curious about all the ways you say “no,” and then practice saying yes; to notice when you are critical or judgmental, and then practice acceptance and approval; to notice when you are impatient, and then practice being available; to notice when you hold your purse strings tight, and then ask yourself if your tight grip is truly necessary or is it just your automatic way of being in the world, your attempt to feel safe in the unpredictability that is life. Then let go your grip.
Practice generosity diligently for a time — an afternoon, a day, a week, a month. Yes, it can be edgy. It can feel scary to be wide open when you’re accustomed being closed, to be loose when you’re accustomed to being tight, to say yes when you’re used to no. But practice generosity long enough, and I’m sure you’ll come to love it. To be truly generous is to know freedom, and joy, and wonder, and a glorious sense of possibility. I guess that’s because generosity is a form of love.
Let me know how it goes!