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Archive for October, 2010

Give Generously and Let Go

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

“What does that mean and why should I give at all?  I don’t have any money to give away.  Money’s tight these days.  Haven’t you been listening to the news?”

It’s interesting that when we think about giving, we think we have to dig into our wallets and give someone our hard earned cold cash.  Cash is nice and it is important to share our abundance; however, that is not the type of giving I am talking about.

There is something interesting about us humans –  we enjoy the process of giving.  It makes us feel good.  In fact, the act of giving and receiving is a core part of life on a very basic level.  Each time we inhale we receive and each time we exhale we give.  If we just received and didn’t give, we would die.  In the breathing analogy, a natural balance is maintained for life and health to be present.  The same is true out here in the world.  It’s important to maintain a balance between our giving and receiving.

We also have let go of what we give.  However, can you imagine trying to hold onto your last exhale?  The universe does not hold on either as it gives us our next breath.  There’s a continuous process of letting go on both sides of the equation.

Do you hold onto your giving?  Are you afraid to receive from someone because they hold onto their giving?  Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to let go.  So, let’s explore the actual process of giving and receiving.

When you receive something from someone your job is just to receive it.  When you receive it, it’s nice to be polite and say, “Thank you.”  Then, after you receive it, I would encourage you to cut any strings the person might have connected to their giving.  Just put the item or compliment aside for a while and claim it.  It’s now yours.  At this point, you can cherish it forever, give it away, trash it, sell it, or use it however you choose to use it.  It’s yours.

The person who gave you the item or the compliment might have expectations that you now owe them something.  They might want you to clean out their closet.  You just might love cleaning out closets and it’s something you would love to do, so go ahead and have fun.  However, you’re not required to give back.  When you received the item or compliment you completed the action for the giver.  If you didn’t receive the gift, the giver would have felt cheated, insulted or slighted some way.  “How dare you not take my gift?”  Or, “There must be something wrong with me if you don’t want to receive a gift from me.”  It’s important to receive and your receiving completes the action.

When you give, it’s important to give freely out of your overflow.  When we give out of our overflow, we usually don’t have any expectations.  The gift is just given freely.  However, if we do not give out of our overflow and give out of our essence, we are tired and yet, we are still giving, then we do have expectations.  And, rarely are our expectations fulfilled.  When we give out of our essence we give with strings attached and we often end up walking away from the situation feeling resentful and bitter.

Being aware of staying balanced in our giving and not giving too much, helps keep us in a loving and centered place.

Okay, so now you’re balanced in your giving and receiving, you’re not holding onto your gift, you’re not having unrealistic expectations, and you’re not building up resentments.  So what do you give – if you’re not giving money?

How about giving your loving, your peace, your joy, your smile, your compliments, your time, your words of appreciation, your touch, your sharing and your caring.  And give generously!  The act of giving becomes your reward.  Best of all, your life will be joy-filled and full.

Sound familiar?  How often have you heard someone blame you for their mistake or their shortcoming?  How often do you blame others?

It’s easy to do.  We hear it all the time in the media, in the work place and in our homes.  So, what does it mean to blame someone else?  Part of the definition is in the word itself.  To blame is to “Be Lame.”  To blame means to speak evil or unkind words about another.

You probably thought it meant that you were just standing up for your “rights” and putting the “blame” on the person who did the “wrong.”  You probably felt proud that you could point out their shortcomings and tell them the way it is.  The way you see it – the “right” way.  You probably felt good in “shaming” them and putting them in their place.  After all, they didn’t fulfill your expectations.  They probably surprised or even shocked you on some level.  How could they do what they did or say what they said?  Don’t they know who you are?  Don’t they know how things are supposed to be?  If they only did it your way, the “right” way, then everything would be just fine.  Then you wouldn’t have to reprimand them or call them out to the “authorities.”  You are just doing your duty.  If they hadn’t tricked you, lied to you, or if they hadn’t acted behind your back, then everything would be just fine.  It wasn’t your fault!

If I am blaming someone else for whatever reason, it suggests a few things.  It suggests that I am “right” and my way is the only way to do something.  It suggests that I know all the rules and everyone should follow my rules.  It suggests that people can and should read my mind; at least in the areas I want them to.  It suggests that you should fulfill all of my expectations.  It suggests that I’m not responsible for my actions or reactions.  “You made me do it!”  It suggests that I’m the “righter” of all wrong doings.  I’m the “teacher” and the “enforcer.”  And, it suggests that I never make mistakes or make inappropriate decisions and if I do, you should lovingly correct me and take responsibility for allowing me to make a mistake.

With the above explanation, it’s pretty clear that entering into the process of “blaming” is not the most effective, loving or peaceful way to walk through life time on this planet.  You ask, “If I’m not blaming someone else what am I doing?”

You are taking responsibility for your life.  I come from the point of view that we create, promote or allow everything that comes into our life.  That’s a big statement.  Let me define my terms and I think it will help you move out of the “blaming” process into being responsible.

Let’s say we are at a café having a wonderful time, and I say to the guy next to me, “Dude, you are really ugly!”  He hears me and smashes his fist into my face.  It’s easy to see how I “created” that.  It would be hard to be a victim or to blame him.

Now, let’s say we are in the same café and I’m minding my own business.  I’m not saying anything bad to anyone.  However, I say to you, loud enough for this guy to hear, “That guy is really ugly!”  He does hear me and I find myself eating a fist sandwich.  This is a little slipperier and I could claim victimhood and blame him for my bloody lip; however; I actually did “promote” the action.

Okay, once again we’re in the same café.  We’re having a great time.  I am being good.  I’m minding my own business and I’m not saying anything to anybody.  Suddenly, this guy and someone else get in a fight!  I pull my chair closer to watch the battle and a chair is thrown.  It hits me in the head.  It wasn’t my fault.  They did it to me.  I can easily claim victimhood here.  I can blame them for years.  However, I did “allow” myself to be hit on the head because, I know when people fight, people get hurt and by my choosing to stay and watch, I put myself in a situation where I could get hurt.  It’s in this “allow” category that most people slip into the blaming process.  It’s easy to feel wronged.

There might be times in our life when we feel stuck and we aren’t aware that we have a choice or that there is a way out of the situation we are in.  I have heard people say, “You just don’t understand.  I can’t leave.”  At these moments, we are at one of those “have to/choose to” places.  I have to eat.  I can choose to stay in a job that is abusive or I can choose to quite and stand on the street corner and beg for money.  Choice point.  I could go into the victim/blamer process or I could choose to take responsibility for where I am and find resources that can help me.

There are actually three decisions we make when we choose to change.  Am I going to leave?  When am I going to leave?  And, how am I going to leave?  Sometimes we are clear we need to leave, but the timing is not appropriate, so we plan for the most effective time.  When that time arrives, then we decide how we can leave.  Each of these steps requires us to be responsible for our situation and we choose to take the best action we can with the information we have at that moment.  We take small steps toward the end result we want.

To move from being a “victim” and a “blamer” to being someone who takes full responsibility for what they are feeling, thinking and doing is a transformational process.  It requires courage and inner strength.  And, it’s an on-going process through time.  The pay off?  Peace, Loving and a Joy-Filled Life.  It’s a choice.

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