Monday, October 11, 2010

Generosity

I attended a wonderful workshop on Saturday on generosity and giving. A real opportunity to sit in circle with women, listen to some interesting readings, and then discuss what is and isn't generosity. We were encouraged, if we chose, to adopt a week-long practice of 5 unplanned/spontaneous acts of generosity each day.

That sounded pretty easy to me but after today, I'm not so sure. One, you have to pay attention. You have to watch for ways to give or it's not spontaneous. I could sit down and write five cards to friends. That would be a generous thing to do but it's not spontaneous, it's not watching for opportunities.

Yesterday I was more attuned. I met with two strangers to discuss a course we're taking (I was chosen to be in their group) and I sat back and let it be what it was going to be without controlling it as I probably would have. Then I stopped to listen to a young Palestinian who wanted me to convince the management of a local food chain not to carry Israeli produce. I wasn't sure how I felt about his request, but it seemed generous to let him make it. Before Saturday's workshop, I wouldn't have given him my time and attention.

But after that I came home and I worked and was by myself. And most of today I was by myself. I did practice generosity with myself. I told a client I couldn't take her rush project, which would have made me crazy. I gave myself some good breaks, and got some good rest. But I can see that I need to get out in the world to practice being generous.

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