You Can Have What You’re Willing to Give
Posted by Gail | Filed under Life Lessons
When I was very young, I used to write letters to God. Whenever I was concerned, unhappy, questioning, confused, I would pen a letter to God, put it under my pillow and go to bed. The act of releasing my concern or question to the universe brought back the answers. Not always the answers I wanted. Sometimes the answer was, “yes;” sometimes the answer was “not right now;” sometimes the answer was, “Umm, think we have something else in store for you.”
Often it takes people hitting rock bottom before they are willing to not only give over the questions but receive the answers, whatever those answers might be. I was lucky. I – and I’m not sure why – always knew I had the ear of the universe and that if I asked — and was willing to accept the answer — I would get an answer.
In giving, I received.
Receiving and giving are two sides of the same spectrum. You can’t give TO receive, you must just give. And when you’re given back, you must receive graciously, with thanks. Many people have a great deal of difficulty receiving graciously. We feel beholden or like we owe something back.
We’re not talking just about money here. We’re talking about any good thing you can give: your time, your experience, your knowledge, your heart, your joy.
Giving money is part of the spectrum, and it’s the part that often gets all the attention when talk turns to “giving and receiving.” So let’s pay a little more attention to that for a moment.
If you give money and you do so only as a bargain to get more money, you won’t experience the flow. Your giving must be done honestly to share what you have. When you experience the joy of sharing, you’re in the flow.
Teaching our children to share helps them set up a natural flow of giving and receiving. When I gave my children their allowance, they were asked to put 5% to sharing, so for every dollar they got they put a nickel in their sharing jar. Over time they used that money to contribute to food drives at school, participate in MS skipping marathons, and heaps of other activities. We would go at Christmas time and shop for toys for those children not as lucky to have our abundance. We would as part of our giving to each other, give to others.
I’m not big on “charities.” I like to know to whom I’m giving. So I don’t give randomly to people who ask. Instead I figure out what’s important to me, what I’m interested in, and then I give accordingly both in terms of money and time. And when others ask me to open my wallet, I smile and say, “I’ve got a giving plan, and I’ve already decided on my gifts for this year.”
As much as giving of my wallet, I’ve learned that giving my time, my expertise, my knowledge, my joy, and my acceptance are huge for the people in my life. Friends, lovies, strangers who need something I have are welcome to what I can give them.
But my giving of myself (as opposed to my money) isn’t random either. I don’t waste my time giving to people who aren’t prepared to do the work to help themselves. You probably saw that a lot in the TV shows I made; I had all the time in the world for people who would put to and bust their butts to change their lives. I had no patience for people who wanted to be spoon fed, or worse, wanted me to waive my magic wand and make everything right.
I don’t have the magic. YOU have the magic. I can point people in the right direction, but it is up to them to do the hard work to find their own path. Whether it is a path to financial stability or a path to a new career, a path to love or a path to joy, I can only share what I know, I can’t make it work for someone else. And I won’t waste my time with people who aren’t prepared to take responsibility for their own decisions.
And neither should you. Sharing isn’t about randomly throwing your goodness about. Like a farmer, you must feel confident that the seeds you are planting have half a chance of growing. Otherwise, you are wasting resources that would better be used elsewhere. Throwing your precious knowledge, concern, joy or encouragement on a field of stones won’t result in anything good. Be wise in your sharing. Make sure your giving is worthwhile.
Living a worthwhile life means contributing in meaningful ways to the energy of the universe. Angelina Jolie, when accepting an award spoke of the most important lesson her mother taught her. “Nothing would mean anything if I didn’t live a life of use to others.”