by Angela Clark
Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, I came across an excerpt from Pema Chodron. The topic was ‘generosity’ and I thought how fitting a read for this time of year. Pema says that, “the essence of generosity is letting go. Pain is always a sign that we are holding on to something – usually ourselves…”
She talks about how we have to practice being generous that’s it’s something we train in. For most of us we have to work hard at it. It requires us to slow down, see what exactly it is we are holding on tightly to – painful words someone said to us; a bad experience we once had; feelings of insecurity. It all exists within each one of us. We are not alone in these feelings and there is a way of loosening the grip these thoughts and feelings can have on us. After all, they are just thoughts.
Pema’s instructions are not complicated. We don’t have to give up everything we own in order to cut the strings that can feel so binding to us at times. She simply says, offer whatever you can, “a dollar, a flower, a word of encouragement…” It’s all part of the training.
We tend to dig a little deeper into ourselves at this time of year. The time of year where we are constantly reminded to give ‘thanks’ to others, a time to be generous.
When we do this practice of generosity we turn our focus and attention towards others, we start to see that we are not alone in our feelings of sadness, shame or inadequacy. We see that we can be there for someone else even in our own confusions of the world we live in and that we can make it a place of generosity.
As we continue to be generous, to extend kindness towards others, we begin to not only see the kindness returned to us, but we actually tap into our confidence in being who we are.