Giving Away What We "Need"
For a while now I’ve been practicing giving away what I “need”. Giving away what I fear there isn’t enough of in my world. Not enough to fill the places in me that aren’t whole and full and satisfied. The places in me that still struggle with fear. Struggle with feeling that I am not enough, that I don’t do enough, that more is required of me.
That struggle, that battle that is waged is what stands between me and the world I want to see. A world of kindness, compassion, and generosity. That feeling of lack, that so many of us have keeps us in our own little bunkers. Shut away from the world, shut away from the sunlight.
What I have come to believe is this. We can’t hold onto anything that we aren’t willing to share with others because fear will destroy any pleasure that we might take in the thing we are so afraid to lose. The pleasure in the things that matter is the sharing of them. From the film that so moved us we want everyone to see it and share in our experience, to the love that lives most fully in true expression. What we share is ours in a way that what we hoard can never be.
From the tiniest thing to the most important emotion our sense of lack keeps us separate from others.
My absolute favorite sweet thing in the world is See’s Cashew Brittle. I love that candy like no other. A few times a year a box of these divine treats will come my way. When I was with my ex I would tell him that I had named each piece in the box and would be doing roll call upon my return to get him to keep his hands off my candy while I was out of the house. Yeah, I got to eat most of the candy this way but I always felt subtly guilty about my lack of generosity. And that was just candy. What about all the other ways we hold on too tight?
Some time back, after reading an article about a woman who always gave money to those on the street who asked I decided to do the same.
I expected it would take a while, there aren’t a lot of panhandlers where I live, but I got my chance a few hours later. A man was panhandling by the side of the road and when I stopped for the light I waved him over and gave him some cash. Not a lot, just a couple of dollars. He smiled and said, “God Bless You.” I smiled back and told him to have a great day. And I felt …amazing. I felt full.
It was as if the space in my wallet where the couple of dollars had been was filled with a sense of sufficiency that I didn’t normally have. For the rest of that day I felt flush, like I had more money than I needed. That there was plenty to go around. I felt that my sense of who I was in relation to money had shifted a tiny bit. That living inside me was a tiny bit less fear about money.
Not only had I shared a bit of money, I had shared a bit of myself. Human to human we looked at each other and exchanged our few words and we both were seen. I remember feeling as though my heart had expanded to include in my world someone I would never see again and hope never to forget.
And that’s just money. When what we share is trust, joy, or love the feeling is even better.
Hanging on tight is where we live when we are afraid, and yes the world can be terrifying. But we aren’t meant to get through this experience alone. We are meant to allow ourselves to be seen and to see others. We are meant to help each other and care for each other on this journey.
We most easily give away what we need to those we love, our family and friends. What if we expanded the definition of “those we love” to include humans in general? What if we let ourselves be generous because in doing so we find that there is a deep peace that comes from embracing ourselves as partners of the entire human race?
What if who we are is far bigger than we have imagined? What if all we have to do to experience our magnificence is let go of holding on so tightly to what we think we need?