Today is Day Ten of Reverb14, hosted by the lovely Kat McNally who blogs at I Saw You Dancing. Check out the Reverb14 page HERE to join along and journal to the amazing prompts as we journal our way out of 2014...it's YOUR CHOICE to journal publicly or privately, as we all journal our way out of 2014 and plan for the new year ahead...
Today's prompt, given to us through a lovely lass by the name of Kira Elliot, is this:
I am not going to lie, I often dread the holidays because I grew with the holidays laden with heavy expectations of giving. The gifts wrapped in bright colored paper sitting under a tree sparkling with multi colored light were tied tight with invisible cords of what I was suppose to be or do that made it almost impossible to enjoy the gifts.
Now as an adult I strive understand there is a difference between generosity and giving. Generosity is free of obligations; it opens the heart, and creates warmth and connection between the giver and receiver. When I cultivate generosity the holidays become something I look forward to sharing with my loved ones.
Look back at the last year and consider: how did generosity open your heart? How can you cultivate generosity in the coming year?
Okay, I am in TOTAL AGREEMENT with the opening lines of Kira's statement, but this 'dreading of the holiday season' began to happen as an adult, particularly in the face of certain people who are really into 'gift giving' but have no real connection to what the holiday actually signifies for the many of us raised in the faith that Christmas is grounded in...
And I have made the distinction between generosity and giving, since my young adulthood, so when I find myself bombarded by the prevailing attitudes of 'gift BUYING' at this time of year, it makes me a Scroogy* cranky gal!
But on one particularly horrid holiday, when I found myself being screamed at for my generosity to give a gift of sacred TIME, and on the sacred holiday that did not carry as much meaning for the individual I made my offer to, it made me see very clearly that sometimes generosity of spirit is not as welcome as much as the reward of material gift-receiving and, from that day, I limited my generosity to this person...
This does not mean that I have closed off my generous nature in general, in fact, I practice generosity as much as I can, so much so that I believe I deserve a day off from my generous giving, whether in the form of TIME, MONEY or SKILLS, and I deserve this day off, especially on Christmas day! ;)
(Which is why I often prefer to spend the day in quiet solitude rather than spend it among people who have no real connection to the meanings behind this 'most wonderful time of the year')
But after being so rudely lambasted for my gift of sacred time, I am now VERY particular about the recipients of my generosity because I want my generosity received in the spirit in which it is given:
With open eyes, open mind and most of all, an open heart
And being screamed at is not conducive to this openness...
Now that I have learned to be more discerning about who I give my sacred time and energy to, it is easier to spot where and how my generosity will be at most effect.
And due to this discernment, I am glad to say that I have been a recipient of in-kind generosity and giving. I've mentioned the wonderful online connections I've made this year and it gives me as much pleasure (if not more!) to give of myself freely in the monthly exchanges of mail art as it is to be the recipient of the mail art that is generously made and freely given to me. I truly look forward to continuing this exchange into 2015 and hopefully beyond...
I also enjoy giving my time, expertise, wisdom and support to those who are beginning to explore their creativity and to those who are already immersed in their creativity and my recent connections afford me the opportunity to share myself in these ways, not to mention the teaching opportunities that afford me the ability to share my gifts.
However, in order to do be able to do more of this giving, it means I need to close off connections to those who are not so graciously open to my sacred gifts, so that I can build a COMMUNITY of people who ARE open to them.
And it becomes clearer and clearer to me that 'you get more of what you focus on'...
* - I once mentioned the book "Scroogenomics" here on my blog before and it is a good read for an overview of how the annual gift buying of the season is wasteful and inefficient in many ways, with wonderful ideas for giving differently that can be much more meaning-FULL for ALL. You can read an overview of the book on Wikipedia, insightful reader reviews of the book HERE, and if you're interested in having a copy for yourself, you can buy it direct from the author HERE.