Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How's it going, generosity?

As you may or may not know, I'm on year-long (well, ok 14 month-long) adventure where I'm saying Yes! to more things and exploring different qualities every month. January's qualities are generosity, gratitude, acceptance, allowance, and flow. (They kind of meld into one. Like cheese in a microwave. mmmmmm.)

I've come up with a couple of interesting observations.

1. I can be generous in three different ways (that I've uncovered so far); thoughts, words, and deeds.
Essentially, I can give more people the benefit of the doubt, and think better things of them. I can share my thoughts generously and not keep them or hoard them as if there were some kind of Thought Lack pervading the land. And I can do more things that are generous, like buying my sister a pair of shoes that both she and I think are cute (but that her husband makes fun of her for -- ungenerously, I might add -- because they're from a somewhat Old Lady Brand).

2. It's kind of fun to force people to let me be generous.
I've bought lunches, drinks, and dinners. I've split checks in unequal ways. I've bought tickets to shows and music festivals. And my friends have protested, but I told them that they HAD to let me do it, it was all part of the plan. And when I forced my generosity onto them, some were much more willing to accept it.

Which begs an interesting question... when is generosity NOT generous? Does it count as being generous if you get something out of it, too? And is it generous if it's something you'd do anyway? Or does the nature of generosity force you into going above and beyond what you'd normally do?

3. I can be generous with myself and that totally counts.
There were times when being generous with myself meant spending more money (like when I sparred with a trainer and got my ass handed to me on a platter this week) and there were times when being generous with myself meant being disciplined and NOT spending extra money.

4. Being generous with time frames, accepting and allowing other people their right to their own timeline, is much less stressful than expecting everyone to do it my way.
News flash: not everybody does things the way I want them to when I want them to. (I know, this is sad news, indeed.) But my practice this month of allowing things to just flow the way they happen to be flowing (instead of forcing them to "flow" the way I want them to) has opened me up to new perspectives. A guy doesn't call when I think he should? How fascinating! A coworker doesn't get back to me within twenty minutes? How fascinating! This has forced me to take some of the stress out of my life.

The month's not over, and I know there's more to learn. That's why I'm hoping you'll join me for a group call on generosity. What does it mean to you? Where do you practice it? Where could you practice it more? Are there rules to generosity? What's your favorite way to be generous?

Ask and answer these questions and more on January 30th at 4:30pm Eastern. Just call 712.775.7100 and use the participant passcode of 500681# to join. (Feel free to leave an RSVP in the comments!)

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