December 7, 2009

* Generosity

'Tis the Christmas season, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old mans' hat.  We are in a generous, giving mood.   That got me to thinking.  Are we, as a North American society, generous?  My first thought was a resounding YES!  Of course we are.  We give our money to good causes, our time to help others, we share whatever we have in times of crisis.  Why, we would give others the shirts off our back if they needed them.  We have good hearts.  We have no trouble doing the 'right thing'.  I believe all of this to be true.

Deeper questioning set in.  What other ways are there to be generous.  What would serve us well, and where do we tend to hold back.  I have a hunch we are not as generous as we might be emotionally and spiritually.  We are reserved.  We are cautious.  We are stoic.  We are taught to hold our emotions in check.   Don't laugh to loud, but always show your bright side.  Don't cry, it will upset other people.  Don't say what you are thinking --- good grief --- that could get us into no end of hot water.  So ... in the process of keeping our emotions at in check, we also withhold a multitude of generosity.

Are we a little afraid to shower praise?  Praise nurtures spirit and helps it to grow.  Praise nurtures confidence.  Praise allows people to move forward.  Praise encourages people to take a little risk and a another step in the right direction.  Praise encourages people to believe in themselves.  How many of us could use a little more praise?  How many of us are a little afraid we may be over doing it in the praise department?

What about compliments.  Do we always express those little niceties we would like to say so people know they are appreciated?  "I adore the hat you are wearing - you look absolutely wonderful!" Something as small as that may encourage a woman to step a little more out of her box.  To perhaps express herself in a new way.  "Your dog always looks like she has just come from the beauty parlour", may allow someone to share their knowledge in regard to grooming and give them more confidence to do so.  We have no idea, none, when we give a complement, how it may affect the person, and what ripples it will cause.  Compliments grow self esteem.  It's important to have a little of that in this day and age.

I thought about our smiles, our touch, our laughter, our eye contact. All of these help us to feel acknowledged.  Each one of these small, trivial gestures help us, in this very busy world, to feel a little less invisible.  Are we generous with those gifts?  What about our ears?   Are we generous with our listening???? Are we really aware of what others say - or are we busy multi tasking and thinking about what we have to do next.  When I think about it, perhaps we are loosing the art of listening.  We are eager to be heard.  Are we eager to listen, so others can be heard?  Being heard in life is absolutely crucial to our development.  It's like sleep.  It's necessary for our mental stability.  Sleep deprivation can put a person right over the deep end .... so can not being heard, not being listened to.  When a human being feels they are never listened to, never heard and acknowledged ... what must that do to their spirit.  Probably breaks it. Perhaps we could be a little more generous and take the time to really listen to others, pay attention to what they are saying and acknowledge what we hear.

Joy?  When we are happy, do we share our mood with those around us?  Do we lift others up? Excitement?  It's catching, if we choose to share. Contentment?  Peacefulness?  Quiet confidence? Abundance?  Calmness?  Feeling blessed?  Feeling grateful?  All of these delightful emotions can be shared, passed on for the enjoyment of others.

There must be so many ways in which to show our generosity.  Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject.  I've decided to be more mindful of the small ways in which I can be generous and act on it.

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."  ~ Mother Teresa

                                                 WHAT MAKES MY HEART SING

CAROUSEL HORSES!  As a child, I always adored Carousels and their horses.  It was the first ride I wanted to go on when Mama and Papa and I went to the fair.  It was the beautiful painted ponies I adored.  When I was in Europe, I fell in love with antique carousels and would attended every country fair I could to enjoy them. The music, the colours, the engineering, the smiles they put on peoples faces. All great stuff.  I once thought these horses would make great seats around a bar --- actually, I still think that would be great fun.  Fancy 'ponying' up to the bar, glass in hand, swinging up into the saddle.  I like it!  At the time I wanted to have them for bar stools, an antique pony was about $2,000.00.  Last time I checked, not to long ago, they have appreciated to approximately $22,000.00 each.  Not a bad investment.  Alas and Alak, I never acted upon my obsession. Still love them.  Still appreciate their beauty and their craftsmanship.  Carousel Horses make my heart sing. 

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