"Your past is not your future; you have the power to make new decisions for your life starting today."
- Deb Sofield

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Generosity of Spirit

Like many of you, I like to think of myself as a generous person, or at least that is the ideal I have in my mind about who I am and those I associate with.

I have come to believe that we all hope and trust that we have a place inside us that realizes that it is good to be thoughtful, kind and generous to others, and it’s at that foundation of our deep moral makeup that reflects who we are at our soul level.

Now I know that some people do not feel this way. While I don’t understand their mentality (every little thing is mine, and nothing can be given away), we all know that idea, and these people exist even if it is cleverly hidden by those who are the takers rather than the givers in our society.

As an adult, there is nothing more odious than to see someone in our group or organization who is stingy at best and cheap at worst that we don’t tend to dismiss as uncouth, ungrateful or uncivilized.

While the understanding of the concept of generosity is usually taught in childhood, it is a skill that will carry one far in life if they adhere to the principle of abundance rather than scarcity. As kids, the reality was I’m sure there are only so many cookies in the box or only so much candy in the dish, so the idea of scarcity was real when we were five years old.

That was a long time ago. You and the world have changed.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time today on a topic that you should know by now, but I do want to focus on a few thoughts that I am seeing to the distress of our community.

Let me set it out plainly. You have enough, you are enough, and if you’ll help others, they will grow into being enough too. That gift of generosity of spirit that you provide can change our world for the better.

I like to watch the TV show, “Storage Wars.” While I’m intrigued to see what is in the self-storage locker, I am consistently amazed at the trash (I’m sure they think of it as treasure) that people save, when in reality the cost of the unit vs. the value of their stuff is weighted on the side of the storage unit company. On this show, the things that people choose to hang on to rather than donate, give or throw away astounds me show after show.

Since for 25 years I held an auctioneer’s license, I can say this with a bit of authority. I learned firsthand what is one person’s treasure is an auctioneer’s trash, and to the dump we go with a lifetime of cool whip bowls, bread bags, broken, chipped, stained, and unusable items that someone could not or would not toss out.

Now please don’t hear my critique as being better than or holier than others. It is just my observation that left a lifetime of disgusting memories when I was on the auction circuit clearing out houses, barns and units for sale. Pennies on the dollar, if that, for most people’s treasures.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I would walk through a house or attic and find musical instruments tucked away in a closet. Maybe clothes and shoes or books and toys in good condition, all to be sold for little to nothing or trashed because of the time crunch to clear the property for sale.

Sometimes I would imagine new life being blown into a trumpet by a kid who wanted to learn to play, or perhaps a child’s imagination taken to faraway lands by the coffee table books with pictures of places worlds away. Alas, these opportunities were wasted and lost due to neglect or lack of interest by the owners who didn’t dispose of their treasures while they were alive or while they had a network in which to put these items to good use.

A few years ago, I moved to a smaller house, and if there is one thing you realize quickly, it’s just how much stuff you have when you’re the one packing the boxes for the move. Suddenly, I found that I didn’t need that full library that I once had. Yes, I saved a few of my favorite books, but the others went to the book sale. That was just the beginning of my cleaning out and making changes to live lighter, easier and without the mountains of stuff propping me up.

Everyone needs to do what is best for them, but let me be a voice of reason from the outside. If you can’t get your car into your two-car garage, or you can’t find a thing to wear or if you can’t ——- (I will let you fill in the items), please consider giving, donating or gifting your excess to others.

That will be your generosity of spirit to live a bit lighter than how you’ve lived in the past by giving things away you don’t need or want or care about anymore to those who could use a helping hand. No matter where you live, I am sure that there is a place nearby such as Goodwill or a local rescue mission that would be grateful for your kindness and your stuff.

One thing we all saw with the recent storms is, while many people lost everything, many people who were affected looked around and, if they still had their family and their pets, they realized that they would be fine one day. I have no doubt that the loss of material things is heartbreaking and life-changing, especially the items that held memories, but to still be standing after the storm is a gift unto itself.

And we saw the gift of generosity of neighbor helping neighbor in those trying times. Will it be easy to recover? I doubt it, but time and tenacity will help most of them who have the will to live and fight and rebuild another day. Only time will be able to repay them for their loss, but if you listened closely to the voices of those who accepted the outcome of the storm, for many, it was one of hope and a renewed spirit to start rebuilding.

Change is never easy, but I’ve come to believe that staying the same is just about as hard. As our world rocks and teeters to and fro from nature’s fury, to nation’s unrest, to the divide of neighbor against neighbor, holding it all together is getting harder when the winds of change push and pull at the fabric of our society. So what can we do to provide a place of safety and protection? Well, I believe it comes down to a few simple ideas that we all can adhere to and accommodate in our daily lives if we are willing to be the change we say we want to see in the world.

Let me go back to my idea that I really want you to understand and believe, which is this; you have enough if you have food, water, clothing, friends and family. If you have someone who knows your name, trust me, you have enough. Now, no doubt you’d like more. I get it. So if that is what you want, then keep moving in the direction of your dreams, and don’t stop until you achieve the desire of your heart with an understanding that you will receive commensurate with what you give to others. Life just works that way.

If you think you can cheat the system by giving less than your best and thinking you can take more than you give, that would be a mistake and selfish on your part. Don’t be misled by the world’s push and pull for materialism. By now you know that within an instant it can all be washed away, and then what are you left with? I’ll tell you. If you lived selfishly, you will most likely get back less than what little you gave. If on the other hand, you were generous, you have every reason to believe that others will be generous toward you. I am not a guru, so I can’t explain it any better than to remind you that what goes around comes around. So just think about that next time you make a decision to keep an item or give it away.

I also want to remind you that you are enough. If you are doing your best, if you are giving it your all and if you are living within the bounds of decency and order and kindness and generosity, then you are enough. So stop with your self-pity and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and settle within yourself and your purpose on this earth in the time you have left.

You know that you are on this earth for a reason–you were born for such a time as this. Now it is your job to figure out what you are to be doing with the time that you have. Let’s start with a deep dive in understanding that out of 7.5 billion people on the earth, no one is just like you. Isn’t that amazing? Seriously. Think about that for a second. No one is just like you, so why are you so uncomfortable in your own skin?

Hear me. You are enough just the way you are, and if you don’t like how you look or smell or feel, then do what you can to make your outside as happy as your inside DNA that makes you uniquely you. Never forget the bigger picture–that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you have a purpose in life, a calling, a command to live up to your best ideal and your full purpose. So set aside your self-defeating image of your made up, gloomy self-esteem, and step onto the grand stage of life and live fully in the light. Yes, I said self-defeating self-esteem because, as I work with so many people, I am finding the easiest place to hide is in the all-consuming excuse of a poor self-esteem. Someone, somewhere, didn’t do for you what you wanted or felt they should have done for you. Okay, shame on them for not doing their part! Now stop living in the past, and accept the future of you are enough. So, now and for the rest of your life, live like it.

Before you lay your head down on your pillow tonight, realize that when you help others, they will grow into being enough also. So here is where it gets a little bit harder for you, since I am asking you to give up a bit of time, space, and energy to help someone else achieve a place to stand in this world. The reason I am asking you is because you have shown wonderful courage in the past, and I am using that as a predictor for your future. I am sure you understand that if each of us would work to make a difference in the life of one or two others, the world would be a vastly different place for the good of all of us.

I am not sure you will ever understand how much our friends and neighbors need to hear that they are okay–until I became a coach, I would not have believed it myself–and that all will go well enough if they will stay on the path that is good and right and not veer off course. The simple fact that you believe in you is enough to give others hope and faith in the system that they too are enough. Too many of our friends and neighbors believe “the system” ignores them or leaves them on the outside, but the truth is the only reason they are on the outside is that they lack the faith and belief in themselves to come in from the cold. That is where you come in. You–amazing you–can be the light that warms their soul into believing that they are enough too. And the best part is knowing that, because of your belief in them, they have the courage to believe that they are enough, and they can soar with the best to dream of a new place where they can give back into the generosity that they borrowed from as they were getting their footing for success.

Friends, let’s be generous of spirit. Let it be said of us that we helped others become the best they could be as they made their place in this world. I can think of no better gift to the world, our friends and family than to be thought of as being generous of spirit.

Thanks for reading. If you have a friend who needs to hear today’s message please forward this email and suggest they sign up! I am reading this week’s podcast in the link below – it is a 18-minute listen. You can listen now or download for later. Download all my podcasts from iTunes, Stitcher, Podkicker or Soundcloud. I am now publishing on Medium – please follow me here

 

People, even more than things, have to be restored, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anyone. - Audrey Hepburn