Monday, April 27, 2015

Living Generously

I've recently been reflecting on what it means to live generously. What could it mean to live a generous life?
  • Donating money - enough so that it hurts, a little? enough so that you notice you are donating?
  • Donating time - volunteering?
  • Being generous with your words - how you speak with others?
  • Being generous with your heart - opening your heart to others, especially when it's hard, especially when you feel challenged by others? 
  • Giving someone else... A helping hand? Credit where credit is due? A few extra minutes of your time (even when you feel you have little time to spare)? Your undivided attention?
So much of my own life is bound up in the concept of generosity. My profession (a fundraising consultant for nonprofits). My faith (Judaism, which emphasizes giving to others in many different ways). My yoga (yoga includes principles that could be interpreted to include generosity). My home life (I've recently adopted a child, which means giving, and giving, and giving! Though I certainly don't see parenthood as an act of generosity, it definitely requires a generosity of spirit). My communal life (which, until I became a solo parent, included many hours per week of volunteerism).

I've also been reflecting recently on the notion of abundance. In order to be generous, you have to feel that you have enough. More than enough, in fact. It can be hard to look at your bank balances and feel like it's more than enough. It can also be really hard to look at the amount of time in your "time bank" or the amount of energy in your "energy bank" (hello, solo motherhood!) and feel like it's enough.

Over the past couple of years, I've identified my core desired feelings, and one of them is "abundance." I've come to believe that if I cultivate a sense of abundance (yes, cultivate. It's not dependent on external factors, like what's in my checking account), I can feel more "ease" (another core desired feeling, and I can feel I have more to give. I can life more generously.

What does it mean to you to live generously?

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