Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

Moments That Change Our Life

When I say this phrase ‘moments that change our life’ I imagine we all think of an event of magnitude.  Something that anyone witnessing would immediately identify as a life-altering event.  But what if it isn’t?  What if the experience is so small, or ordinary that it virtually goes unnoticed by anyone other than oneself?  In my mind these are the big moments because the meaning is not inherent in the event but comes in the form of a personal message.

I had one of these moments when I was twenty.  I was at the home of my soon-to-be husband, Bill.  Bill’s family consisted of his parents, Betty and Howard, and his four brothers: Jimmy, Bobby, Johnny, Tommy.  Bill was the eldest.  As the new addition, I was the girl.  Bill and I had our own apartment but we were often at his parents house with the other brothers.  In this instance, we were around the dinning table when Jimmy asked John to get him something from the kitchen.  John, without hesitation, got up and retrieve whatever it was.  That’s it!  The whole story is in that moment.

What struck me was John’s action.  It wasn’t easier for him to get it, more convenient, or requiring knowledge only he had.  He just did it!  In my family we kept an emotional distance to one another.  I don’t recall us doing for one another unless it was perceived to be one’s duty, or a chore, or a response to a demand.  We did not just act because asked or, at least,  I never recall such an event.  In the world in which I grew up, acting from self interest seemed quite ordinary.

When Jim asked John I remember thinking “get it yourself”.  Perhaps that is why John’s response stuck with me.  He didn’t do what I thought everyone would do, he did the opposite – he acted without any self-interest.  He didn’t make a smart retort or an exaggerated act of compliance, he wasn’t doing it because Jim was older/bigger or he would get some future payback.  He just did it.   It was a simple act of generosity.

We live in a culture that laughs at snarky remarks, the glib put-down, the humor of aggression.  A world where the clever remark demands to be noticed; wants to know that the arrow has hit the mark.  We also live in a culture of quiet generosity, where the act of open-heartedness often goes by unseen.  Where there isn’t any intention to teach or insist on acknowledgement of virtue.

I like knowing that in any moment someone is acting from pure generosity, no strings attached.  I like that generosity is quiet and the moment often goes unnoticed.  Unless, there is someone there who is ready to benefit from being the witness, then that moment changes their life.

What moments have changed your life?


CC – Solstice 2012

A few of us were talking about the Solstice and someone said that in the future we would look back on this time and see that there was a shift in our experience of time and we would refer to this change with a new demarcation.  Meaning that at other times in history shifts in perception brought forth a new time signature as BC and AD, so in turn, this time beginning with the Solstice will be viewed as a turning point and will receive a new identifier.  Not wanting to be behind the curve I decided to come up with my own , CC for Clear Consciousness.  Now, I don’t know if this will catch on but I’m going with it.

Why you ask?  I’m doing this because it helps me remember that I want to use this moment to embrace new ways of being.  Here’s the list of intentions I made for the Solstice.

  1. I want to support and participate in intentional communities.
  2. I want to open my heart and see what is good and positive.
  3. I want to release all negativity and see that we are all on the path to greater wholeness.
  4. I want to expand my ability to listen and hear what others are really wanting to communicate.
  5. I want ever-expanding generosity and compassion for myself and others.
  6. I want to find and cultivate relationships that nurture me and keep me in touch with my deepest wisdom.
  7. I want to grow my talents in art, music, gardening, and writing.
  8. I want my yoga to be my life.
  9. I want to use my difficulties as steps on my path to increasing clarity.
  10. I want to learn how to better cooperate and support others in their fulfillment.
  11. I want good health and long life.
  12. I want to experience how I make a contribution to others and how they contribute to me.

The challenge when I write these intentions and ‘ways of being in the world‘ down is they immediately start to show me where my work is.  I’m reminded of Pandora’s Box and when she opened the box how all the challenges came first before hope shined through.  I can tell already that this is not going to be easy and I will have to remember at every moment that I asked for this change.  My old habits of thought and emotion are all to present to ignore, and the energy to persist in them is so strong I can only do mantra to break the groove of my history.  Today, in a moment of despair, I heard myself asking for a healing to stop a cycle of negativity.

One of my biggest pitfalls is when I tell myself a story of rejection and abandonment.  My hurt rises up as a force to push away that which I identify as the hurting source.  I feel angry and tell myself stories to justify my position and then create strategies that only serve to keep me locked into these patterns I want to break.  I don’t even know if the story is true and am reluctant to check in because I’m basically embarrassed by my own behavior.  Generally I’ll come up for air just long enough to notice how I am judging those whom I have identified as judging me.  It is all so seductive out of long familiarity, like an old blanket I wrap myself in.

Now that I have written down my intentions it seems the flood gates have opened and at times I wonder why I ask for ‘my difficulties to be steps for healing’, or ‘to release all negativity’?  Am I really strong enough to face my emotional habits?  I’m glad I, at least, included ‘compassion for myself’.  This is hard to face and the way through is murky.  One thing is clear, I am not saying the phrase ‘new energy’.  I fear it will be code for categorizing and rejecting anything and anyone who I’m at odds with, as in ‘that’s not the new energy’ or ‘they’re the old energy’.  I want to remember that all of us are on our own path to greater wholeness.

So I welcome my list of intentions and have added another list to help myself along the way.

  • I will honor how hard this is for me.
  • I will remember I’m doing my best.
  • I will hold myself with compassion.
  • I’m going for CC, Clear Consciousness.

Happy to say, writing this has brought a healing.  In the language of NVC, sharing myself openly has created a space to get connected and from that touch my need for authenticity, honest communication, and community.  As Garrison Keillor says, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch”.  So I hope you will keep in touch with me and at some point we can compare notes on how we’re doing in this time of CC – Clear Consciousness.