On Being Generous

Here's something I've come to believe: 

We must be generous with ourselves. 

Both in act, and in spirit. Giving ourselves good sleep, good nourishment, good inspiration. And giving ourselves kindness when we fall short, miss our mark, aren't where we hoped we would be. 

It's more than refilling our cup, recharging our battery, re-gassing our tank. It's doing that with love. As though this cup, battery, tank is a beautiful thing worth caring for. Which it is. 

It isn't self-indulgence. It is giving abundantly to ourselves. Which enables us to give abundantly to the world. 

We get no training in self-generosity. Quite the opposite. We get groomed to go to war with ourselves: be leaner and stronger; always be fixing, improving, bettering. It can easily devolve into stinginess, nastiness, perpetual discontent with ourselves. 

And it's so hard to give abundantly to the world if our spirit is malnourished. 

For me, I've realized I'm fuller with seven hours of sleep. I'm kinder, calmer after 30 minutes of meditation. If I'm gentle and forgiving with myself, I regain my footing after a slip-up more quickly. And then I'm less resentful, drained, burned out. 

The alchemy of generosity can be so transformative. 

It's hard. I've got those strident voices that bellow: "You don't deserve generosity, better to whip yourself into shape than nurture yourself there." If I can extricate myself from those rigid thoughts - which I often have to do over and over again - there's fresh, fertile possibility outside of them. 

It's an evolving process. But what I've seen, felt, known is that the more generous I can be with myself, the more generous I can be with the world. 

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