Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We don't need to learn to Give

I just recently had a convo about this with a cashier.  A person ahead of me was shy just under a dollar...for that ever taboo thing call booze (/sarcasm). I immediately handed over a dollar and waved away the change. When the cashier gushed about how it was so nice of me, I explained my thoughts on it.

Giving is necessary. There was a time when people gave out of religious requirement. They never thought it was needful except that "God" required it. In this day of post-religion and a growing atheism or agnoticism, it is still needful to give. The reason is that we can not open ourselves mentally/emotionally/spiritually to receive if we do not open ourselves to give. It is a cycle that can not be broken without disasterous results. "Altruism" is required for the benefit of our society's survival.

This also means that we must be open to receiving. When people say no to "charity," being too proud to accept gifts and help, they close themselves to giving. This is where I believe we have gone wrong. By being too prideful and independant to receive the blessings and care of others, we have prevented ourselves from being able to give. We can not give to those that will not receive.

Universal law states what is good for one is good for all.  We live in a reciprocal society.  If we say no to receiving then we close others off to receiving from us.  As universal law dictates, if we do not allow others to give to us then they can not allow us to give to them.  Reciprocation.  If we say no to giving to others then others must say no to giving to us.  This is what our society functions on.  Reciprocation.

An excellent example is of the payments of KMart layaways by anonymous people.  By giving to others who were open to receiving, the receipients became open to giving (some were able to give a christmas to their kids, some used some of the money to "pay it forward") which continued the cycle.  We all understand the principle of "paying it forward."  Reciprocation of gifting and receiving frees us to move forward and really live.  If those who had their layaways paid for refused the gifts, KMart would have to reverse the payments and pass it on to someone else...or be holding money they can't account for which would put them in a legal bind.  So those people were open to receive and we able to give in return to others.

I firmly believe that the change our society needs most has nothing to do with learning to give...we are desperate to give, we know how to give, we love to give. I believe we need to learn how to receive...with grace, with dignity, with love. Open ourselves to the blessings and gifts of others. It is not greedy, it is not selfish. It is loving to allow others to give to us, for that opens them up to receive from us our blessings and gifts...which we all LOVE to do.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Spring Anomaly

Spring is in the air, the energy bursts forth and you feel the stirrings and awakenings of …what?

It is a similar feeling at the New Year…whether we celebrate it at Samhain, Yule or the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year.  Suddenly the feeling arises to make a change, have this year different from last, better, improved, and made over.  I reflect on this social phenomenon every time it occurs in the people around me.  Personally, I have stopped making those resolutions pressured on me by others in the spirit of the season.  Why?  Is it because I feel the uselessness of it all, self-defeat overwhelming me into apathy?

We often feel the obligation to make another promise to ourselves and to others that we will do better this time around.  When we do, do we really feel the need to change?  Are we ready to change?  Or are we just doing as we are told to by our peers and society?  Are we conditioned in our upbringing to play the same ritual out, without feeling; play-acting out our role in a time-honoured tradition that no longer has any meaning to us or any joy.  As an advanced society, we already know that to make plans to change when we aren’t prepared to do so equals failure in our mission.    It is lip-service to the trendiest trend of self-improvement.

We listen to stories of people who have made changes in their lives; extraordinary changes.  We reflect how wonderful it has made their lives and wish we could do the same.  I notice one tiny detail…they certainly didn’t wait for New Years.  They didn’t wait for Spring.  They just did it.  And that seems to be the marvel of it all.  They begin to live their lives with meaning, adding energy and life to every step, every word, and every task.  Their world is open and they look for the next challenge with anticipation.  Fear has been put to the wayside; there is no time in their lives for fear or indecision.  Dreams are rekindled and lived.  And what is the phrase we hear?  “No time like the present because tomorrow may never come.”

Usually, these people are awakened by some tragedy in their lives or in the lives of others.  A small child escapes the ravages of a fatal disease…or not.  A family is removed from our world suddenly, without warning.  The person is diagnosed with cancer.  Suddenly, they live as if they are living their last days…maybe they are.  I wonder why people wait for that wake up call.  Why wait on the right season, the right inspiration, the right person to come along.  Just what are we waiting for anyways?

Every day is a new opportunity to make goals, achieve them or just enjoy life as it’s presented to us.  Every day can feel like spring if we want it to.  Every moment is a new opportunity.  Even after just eating that last piece of chocolate cake.  Just because we make an oops one moment, doesn’t mean we are doomed to make it again.  When we don’t succeed, we get to try, try again.  So we reached for the cake instead of an apple this time.  And?  It’s called practise and it makes us perfect.   We can practise good health until we get it right.  We can practise our game until we succeed.  We can practise our writing until we get it just write…err right.

“But, I need to first.” 

Sometimes we have to wait for something to happen to get on with our goal…maybe it’s finances, maybe we need to get better health before we can even get into the game, maybe we have to reorganize our time and that means getting others to agree to change timing, too.  Ok, then there *is* the waiting...or is it preparation?

We know that successful changes take being prepared to do so.  These preparations don’t just occur; we have to do them ourselves.  If we want to run a marathon, we have to get in shape.  To get in shape, we have to get up off our butt and do something, either walking on a regular basis or joining a gym.  We can either wait to run the marathon for when we are in better shape, or we can prepare to run the marathon.  If we want a great job, we have to make ourselves ready to take it on.  It sounds like symantics.  It is, but that is what our brains work on.  Waiting puts our brains on pause, preparing puts it into gear.

When we set our goals, we have to look at whether or not we are ready to achieve them.  Do we have all we need in order to walk that path?  If I want to travel the world, I can cast whatever spells I want, implore Hermes to bless my ambition, and put up pictures of places I want to see on my Vision Board.  It will mean absolutely nothing if I don’t mail out my Passport Application.  It’s about being prepared to achieve the goals we want instead of waiting about for some mythical time and place to align itself to our vision.  When we are prepared to achieve, all goals are easy.  Preparation can start now.

So what are we waiting for?