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As we head into the last few days of November and the ‘shopping’ season for gifts and giving seems to be upon us with the approach of the holidays, I pause and reflect on the nature of Giving and its connection to Gratitude (which has been the #SpiritChat theme for this month).

First, a look back. What was given to me in the past year that I am truly grateful for? For me, this question is relatively easy to answer, as it pertains to my personal sense of gratitude. Last November, I was given an invitation to begin a new practice of #meditation. For that, I am very grateful. My practice of the morning meditation has become a habit that has brought many hours of ‘struggle’ and many moments of joy to my heart. And as I grow in this practice of sitting, silence, serenity and surrender, my heart knows that my sense of gratitude will only increase.

As if to balance my sitting practice, Nature gave me an invitation to walk amongst her over the past year. I admit that I am not much of a ‘goal setting’ kind of person, but the fact that I set (and then carefully tracked) a goal of walking 10,000 steps everyday worked wonders for me. On days when I didn’t ‘feel like it’, my goal energized me to put on my walking shoes and many layers of clothes and go be in solitude with nature. By giving in to my goal, I received the gifts of hundreds of miles of walking in nature, in every season.

I was given an opportunity to volunteer at my daughter’s school. I was given a chance to renew and revitalize friendships that go back many decades. I was invited to from new partnerships, get involved in new projects in my professional career. I was also given a choice to walk away from beliefs and relationships that were toxic to my spiritual and personal growth. For all of these, I am grateful.

In the face of what was perhaps the greatest challenge given to me this year, I discovered some resilient parts of me, and those around me, that I never knew existed. In the wake of my mother’s sudden passing in February, I was the grateful beneficiary of the outpouring of words and actions of many in the #SpiritChat community. Thank you. In the process of healing, I (re)discovered the gift of empathy for those healing from grief of loss of loved ones.

It seems that this has become a post about (my) ‘receiving and gratitude’. And that is okay, because this was a good exercise for me to reflect on the receiving of the intangibles in life. And from the receiving springs the giving. Maybe I could have asked a different question at the beginning. What did I give to others – or enable and empower them to receive in the past year, that they were truly grateful for? Maybe I did not ask this question because it requires feedback from the receivers – only their heart knows… 🙂 I invite you to do this exercise. Take a few minutes and blog/journal/write your answer to the first question – What was given to me in the past year that I am truly grateful for?

In conclusion, a short story from Indian history about the nature of giving and gratitude…

Poet and visionary, Tulsidas asks Rahim, who was a great ‘giver’ and one of the nine ‘jewels’ or advisors in Akbar’s court:

where did you learn such giving? the more you seem to give, the lower you seem to cast your eyes, averting the receiver! why do you avoid the gaze of those that you give to?

And Rahim, knowing that Tulsidas already knows the answer, replies anyway…

The True Giver is someone else, bestowing, day and night. So that the world may not give me undue credit, downcast are my eyes…

In our giving, may we be conduits. Namaste,

Kumud

I invite you to join us for our weekly twitter chat – Sunday, November 27th at 9amET / 2pmUTC / 7:30pm India – we will talk more about ‘Giving and Gratitude". Thank you.

Heart of Giving

The Zentangle Heart of Giving (art by AA)