Each Monday, The Heart Work highlights a different aspect of our common human experience that we are, perhaps, unlikely to consider in the pace of our everyday lives and asks readers to reflect on it for a few moments each day. Anyone, anywhere can participate; all are invited to make comments on the Facebook post; and each Friday, participants are invited to join a short conference call, which gives people a chance to connect to one another by sharing what they have noticed and/or learned by reflecting on this aspect of life throughout the week.
July 20-24: Generosity
Introduction: We tend to think of generosity as giving things away to other people – our time, our money, gifts, etc. What if, for a few days, we radically expanded our idea of generosity? What if we understood generosity as an attitude – toward ourselves and others –rather than a particularly outwardly “nice” gesture.
What if our morning shower was reconceived as an act of generosity toward ourselves and the people around us? What if completing the challenging work assignment we’ve been avoiding was an unbidden act of generosity toward our whole team? What if, as an act of generosity, we “gave up” a certain belief – like “I need coffee in the morning” – for a few days. Beyond our initial, aversive responses to giving up coffee, we might be genuinely curious: What might happen?
It would be tempting, in an exercise like this, to take on the belief that we “should” view things as generous acts and we’re somehow wrong because we haven’t been. That, too, might be a belief we give up – that we always have to do the “right” thing.
The possibilities are endless.
Instructions: Between now and Friday, make a deliberate effort to stop three times per day – at midday, at 5pm or 6pm, and just before you go to sleep – and reflect on the ways in which you have and have not been generous – to yourself and to others – in the previous block of time. Note: See if it is possible carry out this exercise without feeling a need to justify “ungenerous” behavior; instead, see the realization that you were “ungenerous” as its own kind of generosity.
Please feel free to make comments on the Facebook post and/or join us for the weekly, 30-minute, conference call on Friday morning. Details below.
Conference Call: Friday, from 7:45AM until 8:15AM CST. While it may not be possible to stay for the length of the call, please make every effort to arrive by 7:45.