Tag Archives: generosity

Year of Self Compassion # 3

Hospitality nudges turn welcomes into life lasting trust-building exercises. The Balinese take hospitality to a new level from offerings to gods and their heavenly hosts to all the creatures in the fields and crevices offering back their God-given gifts to their surrounds and to each other. There is a constant conversation between all of heaven and earth mediated by the elements and all of creation. It is good to have arrived in the land of the gods. After a fall 36 hours ago, my back has seen a healer today, received treatment in the form of home made oils and potions, spent time in a salt water pool, a stone heated sauna, had volcanic salts turned into body scrubs as well as many acts of kindness to ease me into various locations including motor bikes and cars. Despite all these interventions I come to bed with panadol and a sneaky suspicion it is a cracked rib causing the pain.

This pain under my left shoulder blade is asserting itself and claiming it has no right to go away. The pain has earnt its place in my body and will not fade or dissipate until it is done with being needed. Calling me to pay attention to it in the same way as any meditation aide might, reminding me to come back to the breath, come back to the practice. The pain becomes visible to others when I want to traverse a space and having a midwife to coax me through many of the transitions. People hold their hands out to guide me on slippery steps (it is rainy season inside and out), open and close car doors for me as the weight of the push or pull are too much, theories of what might work to get me better are widely shared and discussed in a range of languages and charades. Overall my effort to be invisible is completely thwarted and I seem to be at the centre of attention in ways unfamiliar to me. Krishna playfully constructs new ways I can be in receipt of kindness and hospitality.

Emotional roller coasters are crashing and colliding in the lives of people I call family. The highs of love and new beginnings, the lows of loss in ravines of agony, the fear of waiting for results and the paralysis of prevarication are finding fertile ground and throbbing through veins, sinews and tendons. Complexity, vulnerability, anxiety take their turn in many of the bodies. I am a long way from being witness but I can feel the effects via messages mediated across all kinds of devices.

For me though, I return to my beginner practice in this year of self-compassion. Being in receipt of care from friends and strangers is the lesson – to take everything on offer with grace- to enter fully into the experience of being cared for is such a turn around for me. Ever self-reliant and in the service of others, being served definitely has its benefits and while my apprenticeship is just beginning, I am learning to notice and appreciate more deeply all the acts of kindness and generosity I have bestowed to others along the way. If I take a karmic approach to this time, the abundant care from a bottomless cup inevitably is overflowing.

The daily check-ins from afar, the up close and personal clutches, the invisible and visible help across thin places permeating my spirit telling me with crystal clear certainty I am holding on and being held. The pain is the platform for a mantra. Breathing in and out as dictated by the phrasing or the mantra that arrives at the moment it is needed. I find myself returning to the same mantras: I am alive; Keep me safe O God you are my hope; Sat Nam. I am alive is new to me. The second is from a favorite psalm that has accompanied me in times of trouble over a lifetime and the third is from my yoga practice which is well and truly in remission. So I am hearing all of these calling me forward and offering me an interiority of stillness in the raging storms swirling all around and within.

germany-duisburg-tiger-turtle-106155.jpeg

 

 

Promises to tomorrow #39 #befriending self

I am getting lessons on how to be my own best friend by noticing what my friends are gifting me and accepting those gifts with the love and gratitude of a receiver. The love transaction in friendship is transformative.

My friends are creating a nest for me at this time, little pieces of straws and sticks broken and re-arranged for me to fit, shiny foil reflecting light to ward off evil, catching feathers to enable a soft landing for me to rest in, keeping enough space to hold the structure together with a light touch. My friends are familial, close by, far away. They are in real time and virtual. They are known and unknown to me. Being blessed with friends and knowing the sinews and muscles of friendship that have been exercised and strengthened over time tells me who I belong to and who belongs to me. There is recognition in love, even love unrequited is recognised. My inability to return right now perhaps is a falsehood, for it is in the receiving of the unconditional that the gift is given. My practice now is to receive.

A Friendship Blessing

May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam ċara.

John O’Donohue: Anam Cara

My anam cara – my soul friend – is making his way to soon be turning towards the light. It is a journey that refuses to be hurried and stubbornly almost defiantly won’t turn down the paths even though the signposts are calling. This is marathon vigil. Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta was made to alert readiness for battle and so there is some of me that thinks the final message while in the process of being sent, is not yet delivered. My anam cara still teaching me about friendship, forgiveness, integration, identity in the few hours of wakefulness he has each day. You might also think of anam cara as friend to your soul – and in doing that – you too could be your own anam cara. This is the love and friendship you have where there is no pretence and all the illusions have faded and fallen away.

My promise to tomorrow is to make more time to nurture the friendship with myself. How might I bring the knowledge and experience of anam cara to the mirror? There are magical healing powers in forgiving others and yourself and surely that is what takes friendship to a new stage each time, more transformational than transactional.

Anne Lamont says: In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves.

Generosity is an ethic of abundance and is the fuel for friendship. So thank you to all those who are being generous with me and patient and kind and inviting me to be a better friend to myself.

62ead9bf8a585c044e20b39d49ba1b2a

anam cara

Generosity

Dear Sor Juana,

Generosity is beautiful. Sharing what you have in abundance may be easy, and sharing what little you might have perhaps more challenging – in either circumstances the gift, freely given reveals whole-heartedness. I have seen so much generosity this past week and in each case it has flowed from a rich vein of being part of something bigger than the giver or receiver. Going so far beyond charity or courtesy to almost regal magnanimity, these acts of generosity have touched me deeply and I have been blessed as witness to these actions. The gifts have all been priceless, without a price on the market and unable to be purchased. They have been wrapped up love and a demonstration of the commitment of the giver to the receiver. They hold promise and are a sign of harvest. I am caught in the glow of the acts of generosity and through no efforts of my own, get to bask in some of the reflected light. So different to being in the shadow of stinginess and meanness that has a way of dragging you down with it, generosity lifts you up and fills spaces beyond itself.

I have seen generosity with my own eyes; it is good, humble and wise. Meanness though is more like pride in disguise, wanting to mark its territory and transacting relationships with malevolence. I yearn for more generosity in our world, unlocking what we have to share with others and tapping into our humanity, for there is enough for all of us to have a fair share of the bounty of our planet. There is enough love to go around as that astonishing emotion amplifies the more it is given away.

When I see meanness of spirit I am repulsed and want to turn away, yet there are days when I am looking at train wreck, unable to avert my eyes from the meanness and getting dragged down into the mud because of it. I need to look up and look around to see all the generosity in abundance and turn away from the scarcity world view draining the way we live as a nation.

I was excited to learn this week one of the new whizz bang apps designed by young hackers was an app for homeless people and those with a spare room to find each other – a sort of underground Air BnB. I am in wonder and awe of the creativity (given freely as a volunteer) and the joy in other people’s willingness to share. Just like the publican in the famous story of a mother giving birth to a son in a stable there is always room for Generosity to be born.

A scarcity mentality and approach is ugly. Sharing is all about giving away knowledge, information, ideas, smiles, hugs, time, skills, money, spare spaces. Living generously brings an intimacy and knowing of our deep connectedness. By releasing what we have in abundance or even just a little of, opens us up to new possibilities and being witness to that opens me up a little more too.

Is it time to take down the “No Room at the Inn” sign and put out the welcome mat in your heart?

Living Generously

Living Generously