I have been participating in Cami Walker’s Twenty-Nine Day Giving Challenge. Give one thing away each day for twenty-nine days. Why? Because to see your world change, you have to do something to change your world.
I think as mothers we give and give infinitely. As we should. As wives, as women, we do this automatically. (Most of us, many of us, but some women do not, and some mothers do not, I also recognize that.) The giving has been going beautifully. I did something interesting yesterday. I was walking the green way through the woods and sang a song to my husband who was twenty-five miles away at work! We are buying a home, closing on it tomorrow in fact, and he has a big wedding to cook for this weekend (he is a chef at a four-diamond golf resort for those not in the know). I sent the song to him through the air and it was wonderful. We are so connected, he and me. It was “Steady As We Go” by DMB.
I then left a new toy outside a little girl’s door step as well. I am going absolutely crazy on Toys for Tots this year-as well as serving the Durham Rescue Mission for Thanksgiving.
What I am finding in my life right now is a deepened sense of dear, sweet, all encompassing connection to all that is when I am in the flow of life herself (life is a woman to me) … and for me, being in the flow—being present—witnessing the moment, being here now to quote one of my favorite men Ram Dass, is definitely enhanced by giving with no expectation of receiving.
It is so liberating for me to give. And receiving is surely wonderful, I am finding myself really loving the process of giving and not even thinking about the other side of that … it keeps me open to surprise I think-and helps me see myself as unselfish. I am not a selfish person-especially emotionally speaking. I tend to give exponentially, but this is truly soul-dilating in that I am giving deeper, harder, more expansively. Life to me seems to be about dilation, just as birth is…and who knows what we are birthing … life is a process rather than some linear progression of events. Ever opening in a spiral of depth into oneself … like a staircase to the inner self. Oh the things we’ll find!
Interestingly, I have also realized that giving to oneself is of utmost importance-as is recognizing the everyday gifts we bestow automatically … and praising ourselves for that. So in giving with zero expectations of what my giving might do for me, materially or otherwise-I was led to realize, that unlike that way I was raised (long story-lots of abuse/selfish family members etc) I am truly by nature a pretty unselfish person…and that led me to see that giving to myself is absolutely NOT a selfish endeavor and is exactly what I need to remember to do.
So, that starts with saying NO. No to too many engagements. No in small ways, no in big ways. Are we not scared of no? I think we are. I am, aren’t you? Afraid to say no sometimes-that we may hurt someone’s feelings, make them uncomfortable, that we may be missing out, that we must satisfy our obligations? N. What does that mean, when we are brave enough to say no?
I have been spending more quality time with myself. Me. Solitude. Something I was terrified of as a child-being abandoned and neglected … Solitude is now a beautiful essential to me now. But it requires no. Yes to myself; yes to more solitude, time with my dog, time being creative. It requires that I be brave enough to say no to others. And let them feel whatever they feel … another way of giving, allowing others to have their feelings. Good or bad. Right or wrong. So yesterday, I said no. In that no, there was a great big yes to myself. I took a sea salt bath, I did some much needed resting, I meditated. I ran four miles with my wonderful four legged child Maggie. I ran and played with Maggie, and we came home and we were tired, we took a nap.
Gavin de Becker says wisely in his book, The Gift of Fear, which is about women’s safety and the role of intuition, “When you say NO to something or someone, you are saying YES to yourself.” NO is not a void. NO is not some terrifying abyss. Give yourself the gift of saying NO more, see where it leads you, see if it feels like a gift you give yourself.