GIFT GIVING AND PEACE
I wrote earlier about my participation in the 29 Day Giving Challenge. Today is my 29th day. I am left pondering the concept of GIVING. Why do we give? Who should or shouldn’t we give to? How much should we give? Who benefits from our giving? Who could possibly be harmed by our giving and why? I’m not going to attempt to answer all those questions here. But, I think it’s important to pose the questions.
I am totally comfortable with making a few conclusions now. A focused giving commitment is a growth opportunity for the giver. It potentially gives people the time and focus to struggle with these questions individually. I’ve done some of this work earlier. Here is my summary of the book HOW CAN I HELP where some of these questions are addressed. But, today I am moved by the connection between giving in our day to day lives and PEACE. If we want peace for our planet, living day to day with empathy, compassion and generosity seems like a logical and important first step. It starts in our own nation, communities and circles of family and friends.
A gift to yourself is to track your giving decisions – at least for a while. If you’d like check out http://www.29gifts.org/ . The lessons you will learn about yourself as a participant in this loving community are the greatest gifts.
And here are some small ways you can be generous with others in your day to day life. If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear about them.
- Find something to praise someone about. It MUST be a sincere and valid compliment. Praise others regularly.
Be nice to someone. That sounds pretty obvious but we often get so busy with our lives that we focus more and more on ourselves. Take a minute to look for opportunities to notice someone and make them aware of your caring. It takes awareness to keep your eyes open to the opportunities to be kind to others.
- Smile while waiting in a long line. Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to have to wait. But, if you can soften that frustration with a small but sincere smile, that helps.
- Hold a door for someone.
- If a salesperson has a name tag, use their name while calmly thanking them for their help.
- If a business created a problem with your account, resolve the problem but don’t take it out on the clerk who didn’t create the problem.
- Tell a parent how cute their child is.
- Leave a generous tip.
- Listen carefully to someone. Do that by being quiet while they speak and don’t work to plan your response to what they say. Study active listening.
- Visit or write to an incarcerated person.
- Study about forgiveness if you carry resentment. Once you are able, forgive.
- Be aware of your own moments of irritation and make a conscious effort to temper your mood.
- Practice looking for the best in people. It’s easier to fall into noticing faults most, but it’s worth the effort to switch your focus.
- Evaluate a pet peeve that interferes with your ability to be kind to someone. How important is it really?
- Encourage someone who is struggling. How? Try a note, a call or a very small gift.
Lessen someone’s burden. Help someone do something that they could use help with. Make sure that your offers of help are welcome. But, if they really are, go for it!
- Maybe you can rake some leaves so your neighbor doesn’t have to do it. Or, you can shovel a little extra snow.
- Would someone at work enjoy a surprise snack?
- If there is an unpicked fruit tree in your neighborhood, see if you can pick the fruit and give it to a local food bank.
- Join a volunteer service that helps elders.
- Use your money to help someone out but take care to not do things for people that they can do for themselves. If you do that, you’re serving yourself more than you are serving them. A good way to share your money is to make a microloan to someone who needs some help getting their small business going. Learn about what kind of help is helpful and what isn’t. Check out www.kiva.org. They offer opportunities for you to make mini-loans to entrepreneurs.
Spread your love,
spread your generosity,