This post is a bit long, but I think you’ll agree it’s well worth reading. (More replies will follow on another day.)
This first reply from a reader is a beautiful example of what I mean by living life wide open, and being available. But, and to me this makes it even more beautiful, it’s a poignant story of someone recognizing that she had been stingy.
“I was waiting for a bus on a rainy evening, to meet friends downtown.
At the corner, sitting in the shelter was a very drunk Native American man. I said hello, he said hello. He asked me if I could call his son, then his daughter, then his friend for him. No one was answering.
He kept asking me where he was, I kept replying.
I asked him where he wanted to go. He was heading towards Saint Paul. He kept on getting up trying to check out the schedule. He was staggering fiercely.
I helped him read it.
He said he had just gotten out of the hospital, detox I imagine.
There was a pill bottle next to him. He left it on the bench. I asked him if it were his, he said yeah, but it was weed. And he opened it to show me. Did I want to smoke with him? No, I answered.
He dropped it, and I reached down to get it for him.
He asked me why I was being so nice to him, and I told him it was good to help people.
He told me he wanted to kiss me, so I said, okay—but just on the cheek, which he did ever so lightly.
We are joined by another person(white male).
Paul (Native dude) says, “I got to pee” and goes to the corner of the shelter at does his business. I discreetly turn my back.
The bus finally comes, I help him in, we sit next to one another on the bus. I ask the driver for the bus to Saint Paul and where to get off. That done, I take my seat next to him. He wants another kiss, and I offer my cheek.
But this is the thing that made me ponder. He wanted to hold hands, and I “allowed” him to put his hand over mine, but I was very aware about how I was not returning his touch. And did nothing about it.
As he got up to get to the other bus, he asked me for a couple bucks. I gave it to him, no more, cause I was afraid he would buy even more booze.
I wish I would have squeezed his hand.”
Opportunities for generosity abound! Take your generosity to the next level!
Here’s another reader who is aware of ways that she is stingy, and is learning to be less so:
“I regularly attend a Buddhist based mindfulness meditation group. The first lesson the Buddha taught is that of dana or generosity.
I continue to learn to give freely monetarily.
By far the most difficult lesson is that of learning to give in the other ways you mention, especially generosity or openness of attitude toward others, letting go of judgment. It’s an inheritance that my parents gave me, and I continue to work on letting go of it.
It isn’t useful and most certainly isn’t kind to myself or others.”
Let’s all try this for awhile — never pass up an opportunity to be generous.