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.
It’s a given that we all disagree with people. That’s normal, healthy and perfectly ok. We disagree with people who hold different values. Differing religions, politics, lifestyles, and priorities are common fodder for disagreements. When there is a disagreement with someone outside our circles, it’s easier to speak out and present our case! But, when the disagreement is with family or friends, there are a wider range of unhealthy responses. Fortunately, there are effective ways to handle disagreements.
I’m turning 64 this month and I’m feeling motivated and very enthused about life! For a long time, I’ve pictured myself living an active, full and healthy life to at least 100 and I still do. I don’t feel overly concerned about aging. I’m still very young compared to my 100 year old self!
However, it is part of the human condition to wonder about what happens when our time on earth is done. Sadly, this is often accompanied by a fear inspired negativity towards aging in general and elders in particular.
I don’t know how important it is to answer this question. I do know that it can be helpful sometimes because how we spend our life’s energy is directly tied to how we have answered that question. In other words, if you consider yourself an athletic person, you’ll work out a lot. Philosophers philosophize. Thieves steal. Artists create art. Loving people put their efforts on developing compassion and loving kindness.
I learned a lot from the book GROWING UP AGAIN by Jean Illsley Clarke. She lays out, in an easily understood way, the normal stages of human childhood development. Not only is this important information for learning parenting skills, it is also a road-map for people who need to and want to re-parent themselves because they didn’t get what they needed as children. But the lessons go beyond the cut and dry. From this information, it becomes easier to forgive, to be less judgmental and to embrace an optimistic and hopeful outlook. All good stuff!
WHY THINK ABOUT THIS TOPIC
In my lifetime I’ve suffered from being on the receiving end of passive aggressive behavior; so, I’ve thought about it as I process the details of what has happened to me. And, at this stage of my life, I’m not just concerned about my own hurts; I am concerned for those who are stuck in this mode of being. As a person interested in fitness, I know that allowing negative feelings to fester inside creates harm beyond the emotions themselves. Internalizing frustration or anger reduces quality of life for all involved. I think it’s a good thing to increase everyone’s understanding of this dynamic because maybe then we all can better understand each other.